Lieutenant Gimo or Teniente Gimo is known in his town as someone belonging to a family of "aswang," creatures in Philippine folklore who are known to feast on human flesh. He and his family lived somewhere in Dueñas, Iloilo. As a proud aswang, he is not afraid to ever deny what he really is. He believed that being an aswang makes him powerful against the people and their fear of him and his clan all the more made him stronger.
One of Teniente Gimo's daughter is a student in a university somewhere in a city. On a school break, his daughter invited two of her classmates to come and go with her to her hometown. The two young ladies were excited to take a trip to a new place, so they both agreed to come along.
When they arrived, they were greeted with warm hospitality, typical of a Filipino family. A small party was held with sumptuous food on the table. As the night grew deeper, despite the ongoing merriment, the young ladies retreated to a visitor's room and slept there together with Gimo's daughter. In the room, the three of them slept beside each other on mats laid on the floor. Juana was the one in the middle.
As the two girls went to sleep, Juana can't sleep no matter how tired she felt. She just can't bring herself to sleep. This feeling is referred to in Filipino as "namamahay," the state of not being able to do a certain routine (like sleeping or taking a dump) comfortably because you are not in your own house.
As the hours pass, Juana was amazed as the party continued even in the wee hours. The had gotten louder and it seemed that more people are joining the celebration. She heard more people greeting each other, some restrained giggles, laughter, and some whispers. She thought, maybe it's for another party the next day.
Juana got curious and took a peek from the window. As she lifted the window cover, she was horrified at the sight. In the middle of the night, people were gathered together in a huge circle and at the center is a huge cauldron over a big fire! Some women were busy cutting spices and vegetables, while some drunken men were happily sharpening their knives. They are cooking something unusually big!
Juana had a very bad feeling of what is going to happen. Just then, in the next room, she heard Teniente Gimo talking to another man.
"There are two of them, one in the middle and one on the right," Teniente Gimo said.
"Understood," said the man. "There will be four or five of us, just to be sure."
"Just hit her in the head to keep her quiet."
"That is fine."
"Bring the sack, we will take care of the other one."
It was clear as day. They are going to kill her and her friend and then cook them in that big cauldron outside!
Juana was terrified and at the end of her wits. But she has to keep calm and think. As she heard the men approaching their room, she hurriedly went to the mat and gently pushed Gimo's daughter toward the middle, covered everyone's head with a blanket, and quickly laid on the left side of the mat. She gathered all her strength to keep calm and quiet.
Soon after, the men slowly entered the room. She heard footsteps getting nearer.
And then, there was a swift thud!
The men were very quiet all the while as if they were very used to what they were doing. Her friend wasn't even awakened by the horrific event that happened just beside her
Unknowing of their mistake, the men quickly wrapped the bleeding girl in a sack and left. Now is Juana's chance to escape. She tried her hardest to wake her friend, but her friend was in deep sleep. She couldn't afford to take a second longer, so she hurriedly went to the other window in the room opposite to the one where the people were. She heard them joyfully beating the body inside the sack.
Carefully and quietly, she climbed down the window and made a run for it.
Not long after, she heard shouts and screams from the crowd of people she was running from. They must have realized by now that the one they were beating was none other than Teniente Gimo's own daughter.
Juana heard the commotion as she ran faster away from the house. Her poor friend was left behind, but she couldn't do anything about it now. She needed to run away. She ran through grassy paths, over rocks and pebbles, and was cut by sharp thorns from shrubs that she passed by.
Teniente Gimo cried furiously at the sight of her dead daughter.
"FIND THE GIRL! BRING HER TO ME!!"
Men pursued Juana into the trees -- grown men with strides longer than her and with strengths forcefully taken from the poor people they have slaughtered before her ill-fated friend.
They were gaining on her. She knew she can't outrun them and they probably know how to scout the whole area to find her.
She stopped at a huge tree that towered in front of her. There at the strong branches and thick leaves, she cowered and prayed, not knowing how she managed to climb the tree in the first place. She stayed quiet but fervently praying to God to protect her from the vile enemies, not let them see her, hear her, nor even smell her.
She can hear the footsteps getting nearer. The voices of the angry mob echoed through the silent trees. The women had joined the search too, holding torches and the knives they used to cut the onions and vegetables at the table. The torches lit the leaves and branches as the angry aswangs passed by the tree where Juana was hiding.
God heard her prayers. Not a single one of the crowd has looked up that tree. They searched and searched, but they couldn't find her. A few hours felt like an eternity to Juana, who stayed hidden, patiently waiting for the right time to finally get away.
Soon, the aswangs came back. They looked exhausted much like the faded sparks of the torches they brought along. They pass a few feet away and seem to give up on their futile hunting.
Still, Juana stayed until the sky turned to gray. It is only a few minutes until sunrise. She made sure that absolutely no one was in sight and carefully climbed down. With tired legs and aching body, she ran again and again until she finally reached the main road.
Maria was finally saved and came home safe and in one piece. She never again will step foot on the town of Dueñas again.
As for Teniente Gimo and his clan of aswangs, it is said that they decided to leave the place and reside in a new home. As to the location, no one really knows. They are believed to be moving from place to place, in search of unknowing preys.