Saturday, 18 June 2016

Grimm TV Series: Aswang, The Imported Witch

               (An aswang husband)

I grew up listening to stories about ghosts and witches. In the Philippines, witches are called 'aswang' and my childhood was filled with scary stories not just about aswang, but of other night creatures of the Philippine folklore

And if you're a fan of the American supernatural TV series Grimm, you probably have been educated about those night creatures that make the Portland police department's work more interesting.

And one night, as I was switching channels to avoid those Korean reality TV shows full of faces fresh from plastic surgery clinics in Gangnam, I chanced upon Grimm. And to my delightful surprise, the show was about aswang!

The storyline was simple: A Filipino couple living in Portland; the wife was pregnant; and the husband's mother was the aswang, who was after the fetus of her daughter-in-law so she could eat it to live longer! And of all the titles they could think of, they named the episode 'Mommy Dearest' (Season 3, Episode 14). Ha-ha-ha!

Mommy Dearest Is Aswang, if you asked me. Ha-ha-ha!

Although I know it was difficult for the Grimm writers to fit a Filipino aswang into a stateside setting, I was impressed with two things in the story: the aswang made the 'tik-tik' sound at night when it's near its prey, and the grandmother, the aswang, sang 'Ili-ili, tulog anay', an Ilonggo lullaby!

That 'tik-tik' sound is true. I have actually heard it from numerous aswang stories and I must have heard it myself when I was in my teens.

And the lullaby? I grew up listening to that haunting melody!

The Ilonggo language is spoken in the provinces in the middle part of the Philippines where I grew up and I could not believe that the aswang was actually Ilonggo! The aswang made me feel...scary proud! Ha-ha-ha!

The grandmother was played by Fredah Foh Shen, and if it was really her singing the lullaby, then I am aswang-ishly impressed!

But I wished they did more research on how the aswang actually looks like because when the husband (played by Alain Uy) and his mother transformed, they simply looked like one of the creatures from Constantine, the movie. They didn't look like the Filipino aswang.

So, if you haven't seen the replay of that episode, you can probably search it online. 

Thanks to Grimm and Reggie Lee (a Filipino actor in the series who plays Sergeant Drew Wu), I enjoyed watching this episode about an imported witch. 

Now, can you please feature a kapre? 

(Credit to Grimm Wikia for photo above)

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