In the age of the information superhighway, it amazed me that here at the end of 2008 in the business process outsourcing company where I work, a story of the "tiktik" (a variation of the uniquely Filipino supernatural being called "aswang") was told and retold in detail a number of times.
The work colleague who told this story is a pregnant woman in her first trimester. She said that a tiktik came to her house one night last week. She was sleeping lightly and was jolted by an ikikikik sound accompanied by flapping wings directly above the roof of her bedroom. She woke her her sister up and they turned on all the lights in the house, which was when they heard the sound of the bird flying away. She went as far as saying that the tiktik could actually be a set of new neighbors that moved to their vicinity. I totally did not know how to react. I know quite a number of stories about this old folklore. In my younger days me and my cousins loved trading these stories at night and scaring each other silly in the process.
In Metro Manila and nearby provinces, aswangs remain to be mytical beings but if you travel further down south or up north the myth becomes a rumor and even further down or up the rumors are believed to be true. This is one area though where science and religion see eye to eye. Both sectors scoff at the suggestion that aswangs really exist. These stories are attributed to the ignorance caused by poverty or the mere simplemindedness of people in the provinces. Again, not one for tempting fate I accept my grandmother's advise that one loses nothing when they guard themselves against the most ridiculous of superstitious beliefs and I am all for that.
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