Aswang stories sound different when told by an American novelist. Read on:
He gave the lad a quiver of arrows and a very strong bow and charged him to stay all night in the granary at the bottom of the path, because there he would slay the aswang. Many cats gathered in the granary at night, one of whom was in fact the aswang, who assumed this form in order to camouflage. ‘But, sir, how will I know the aswang, because you haven’t given me arrows to shoot every cat?’ And Saint Gabriel said, ‘The aswang will not play with its rat when it catches one, it only tears the rat in pieces intantly and revels in its blood. When you see a cat do that, you must shoot him right away, because that one is the aswang. Of course, if you fail, I don’t have to inform you you’re going to feel yourself being torn apart by the fangs of the aswang, and it will drink your blood as you die.’
— p. 51, Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007)
Very, very interesting. Self realizes she would rather read more about aswang than about Edward Lansdale. Stay tuned.