Document Type


Publication Date



The study examines the motif of ominous bird calls auguring the coming of aswang; from the historical accounts of Antonio Pigafetta and Fr. Jose Castaño; the ethnographic notes of Frank Lynch; and the Panay-Bukidnon epic “Hinilawud.” The comparative reading of these texts configures a critical response to the notion of the community of listeners failing to become credible earwitness as they have misconstrued their own soundscape - a rationalization of the supernatural usually held by etic observers of such communities. The critical analysis follows the dynamics operating in the aswang-bird tandem and the ambiguous role the bird plays in the aswang modus. It traces the identity of the bird figure; from tiktik identified as corocoro; and the corocoro identified as alimokon; and the alimokon being the white-eared brown fruit dove of Western Visayas; to be associated with other bird motifs of identical function. This cacophony of ominous calls; with actual equivalent in local ornithology; serves as warning signal; not only for the coming of the death-dealing aswang; but interestingly so; for a coming storm as well. Thus; recontextualizing the soundscape recipients as earwitnesses sensitive to the forebodings provided within their folkloric sphere; and the local knowledge it entails; as part of both survival and environmental adaptation.