The Aswang Complex: Deconstructing Predominant Thematic Focus in Hiligaynon Folk Narratives

Author: Joseph P. Casibual Jr. (Western Mindanao State University, The Philippines)
Speaker: Joseph P. Casibual Jr.
Topic: Anthropological Linguistics
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2020 General Session


This paper aims to remark on directions taken by folklore studies conducted by Filipinos, and to situate Filipino scholarship within Philippine Anthropology. The research identified genres of folklore namely folktales, myths and legends in Hiligaynon language, locally known as “Sugilanon.” After identifying types of folklore, efforts have been made to trace some for the purpose of documentation and analysis focusing on specific themes. Emphasis has been given to narratives drawn from fantastic stories containing “Aswang” as content, as the availability of literary pieces and genres other than the intended content was not encouraging. Selected pieces of narratives were then analyzed, focusing on the predominant themes contained in the narratives.

A Thematic Content Analysis (TCA) was used to unearth the predominant themes portrayed in the selected narratives, and to determine how the “Aswang” was used as a medium in conveying such themes. The themes of the identified genres were all similar in their message, which sometimes contains political undertones, love of family, and bravery, which are all culturally endemic among Filipinos.

It is hoped that the overall penetration into the overwhelming hybrid of folklore and the themes depicted in the study will attract interested researchers in the field, and will provide information as a way of preserving local values and literature.

Keywords: thematic analysis, folk narratives, content analysis, Philippine folklore