Although the appearance and behavior of today's featured beast varies widely from region to region, it's known through centuries of folklore as the most feared monster of the Philippines. Mainly regarded as their version of the vampire legend, the "Aswang" has also been described in stories and artwork as a kind of werewolf or other shape-shifting creature – often created as the result of a curse – which walks as a human by day and transforms into an animal at nightfall.
Among the stories passed down over the generations, the most distinctive aspect of the Aswang is its hunger for small children (it's often the subject of fairy tales used to scare kids into staying away from the jungle at night). Even creepier, the Aswang's appetite extends to unborn babies as well; it's been said that a flying version of the beast called a “Tiktik” or “Wuk-Wuk” has the ability to suck the fetus right out of a woman's womb... and this is where it gets really disgusting: some descriptions refer to a weird appendage, much like an insect proboscis, which the Aswang uses to extract the child.
The Aswang is also the subject of some bizarre but entertaining horror films, shows and games: most noteworthy is a creepy and gory US film known alternately as Aswang and The Unearthing, which actually screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994 and later developed a cult following (it was finally released on DVD in 2003 by Mondo Macabro), and the Aswang made an appearance in a recent episode of Lost Girl. The latest version is the big-budget Filipino action/horror production Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles (the source of the images shown in this article). Check out the epic trailer for that one here!