For those who are not familiar with Philippine legends, an Aswang is a shape-shifting ghoul. Stories of Aswang abound in provinces where basic services such as electricity and mass media infrastructures are not yet available. They are said to feed on human cadavers, and are the primary reasons why friends and neighbors insist on keeping awake during the traditional three days wake for the dead - that is to protect the cadaver from ghoul attack.
Ghouls are also said to target unborn babies and naughty little children who play on then streets after 6 PM.
I live in the city, so I was never predisposed to believe in Aswangs. I have many friends, and although they have tons of stories to tell about how a cousin of their close cousins, or a friend of their best friend actually experienced first-hand an awing attack, and how the experience changed their life.
I did dream of Aswangs, once, and it remained as one of the unanswered oddities in my life. It happened more than ten years ago, in our own house in the city. I dreamed of three grossly obese people and they were staring at me with bloodshot eyes. There was nothing threatening about their appearance, except for their red eyes. They were not even looking at me in a menacing way. They were just there, staring.
Aside from the fact that they were grossly obese, they were also covered with filthy slime and had matted hair. They were also giving off a foul decaying odor, similar to rotten shrimp shells.
The first word that popped into my mind was, "Aswang," then I woke up. The filthy odor lingered, though. I was wondering why I connected the dream with the word "Aswang" since what I had seen in my dream had nothing in common with the acceptable standard of what an Aswang is supposed to look like.
Meantime, the filthy odor lingered, and it was overpowering. I got out of bed and out of the room; I was trying to look for the source of the foul smell.
I found my niece in the hallway (she was 13 at that time) and she had this puzzled look on her face. I asked her why she was wandering around in the middle of the night (it was early morning, around past 2 a.m.) "I was dreaming of some Aswang," she told me, and she proceeded to describe the very same images I had in my dream. "They were giving off a foul, garbage smell, and when I woke up, I could still smell it," she said. "I went to the kitchen to see if anything had been left on the table to give off that rotten smell. It's all over the house," she complained.
I didn't want to scare her, so I kept quiet. I told her to go back to sleep.
Other than the foul smell, there was nothing at all in the house that would suggest that we were in any danger. Just the same, I checked the door locks, and behind the curtains, and the windows (for chrissakes.)
Soon it was past 4 in the morning, but I still couldn't sleep. The smell had already dissipated, and I was still spraying Glade in each room. I checked on my niece and my nephew, and they were sleeping. I wanted to knock on my parent's room, but decided it was not worth it.
A few minutes before 5 my sister-in-law came in to the kitchen to prepare some breakfast for the kids. She gave me an odd look (she was probably wondering why I was awake at that hour, since I normally wake up late at 8 am.)
As she was cracking eggs in a bowl she said the strangest thing, "I dreamed of a couple of obese guys last night. They were really filthy and very smelly. And in my dream, I thought they were Aswangs."
That was the last time we had dreamed of anything like that. So far.