by Evans Yonson
Barcelona – I found this statue outside a museum in the middle of a cemetery, in Malta last year. This statue is placed on top of a column, which is very unusual for me because this was the first time I saw a half-body statue. I have been used to seeing decapitated statues – no head, no arms, or no knees. But this one, nothing from the waist down. This gave me a creepy feeling and it reminded of a folktale in the Philippines, the aswang (Philippine ghoul) -a vampire-like creature and has a wide variety of myths and stories. As a growing up, my grandmother would tell us stories about the aswang. Most of them are females. They come out at night and go to a swampy and muddy area. This is very strategic because no one would find them here. Then they would shake their bodies and slowly their upper part would be detached from the waist down. Upon separation, their wings would come out and flap. The aswangs feed on pregnant women and small children. They eat their hearts to make them energetic and feel young for a long time.
After reading about this Maltese statue, I was relieved that she was a local nun who became a saint in 16th century. But the religious has their own horror stories too.