Aswang: The Tiniente Gimo Story

I was browsing for a good aswang story over the net and I stumble upon the story that brings me back to my childhood again, the story of Tiniente Gimo. I never expected that story to be popular but of course, you’re not a full bloodied Ilonggo, even if you’re born and raised here, if you don’t know or at least heard the name, Tiniente Gimo, in my opinion. All of my childhood friends of my age heard the name. It’s probably the most famous of all aswang stories. They even made a local movie out of it. Let me give you a quick recount about it, that is if I still remember it.

It happened in the town of Dueñas, Iloilo. There’s this guy they called “Tiniente Gimo” (Lieutenant Gimo). He was addressed as Tiniente (Lieutenant) because he’s some sort of a captain (a chief) of a baranggay (Barangay, is native term for a village) of the said town. It was all also said that he’s also referred Tiniente because he’s also a chief of his clan, a clan of aswangs.

One of her daughters who’s studying in the city decided to invite her friends to come over her place in Dueñas because they’re celebrating a fiesta (also a spanish influenced custom). Two of her friends accepted the invitation and they went on the eve of the fiesta.

They were greeted with enthusiasm and all by Tiniente Gimo and some other relatives. They were fed and entertained. As soon as the night go deeper, they decided to sleep in the room of Gimo’s daughter while the others are still busy preparing the food for the next day. They all agreed to sleep on the mats on the floor since there’s no bigger bed to accommodate them.

One of their guest, we will name Juana, seem can’t shake off the feeling of being uncomfortable. We usually refer it in Filipino as ‘namamahay’ or in Ilonggo as ‘gapangbalay’, which is when your body and mind are still in the process of adjusting to a new environment and thus cannot perform a certain routine, especially sleeping. It is what prevented Juana from sleep.

She decided to peek from a window and noticed that there are more people coming in, the noise just gets louder and louder with small laughter and soft giggles. The men were drinking while some women busy chopping some vegetables. There also some children there too. In the middle of the circle outside, she also noticed this unusually big cauldron. She thought, “If they’re really going to cook something, it should be bigger than chicken or goat.”

Just then, Juana heard Teniente Gimo’s voice just on the other side of the wall, talking to another person.

“So which one is it?” the person asked.
“The one in the middle and the other one’s on the right,” Teniente Gimo said.
“Okay. I’ll bring three or four along in case there’s a struggle.”
“Let’s just hit her on the head. Keep her quiet that way.”
“And bring the sack to carry her with. We’ll take care of the other one.”

She was shocked and filled with fear. The cauldron she saw in the middle was actually going to be used for her and her friend. They’re planning on how to butcher her and her other friend.

Her own survival instinct kicks in. She debated for a while on whether to wake up her friend or not but the men were coming up the stairs and if her friend woke up suddenly, there’s no telling what she would say or do. They could both be in bad trouble if she delayed for another second.

Juana hurried back to the sleeping girls on the floor, pushed Gimo’s daughter towards the middle, lay on the girl’s right and covered everyone’s head with the wide blanket. That way, the heads were hidden underneath. She tried to calm herself to prevent from shaking. Soon the door opened slowly and noiselessly.

She didn’t know how many men came for Teniente Gimo’s daughter that night. All she felt and heard were soft footsteps, a few whispers and a loud thud as they hit the young girl on the head. They were very quiet, as if they were used to doing what they did. They didn’t even wake up her friend, who was sleeping so soundly just an arm’s length away. Teniente Gimo’s daughter lay moaning next to her.

They quickly wrapped the bleeding girl with the blanket and took her downstairs.

After the men had left the room, Juana got up, tried to wake her friend for the last time, failed and decided to go alone. She opened the window across the one facing the clearing where they were presently beating the body inside the sack and carefully but fearfully climbed down.

As soon as her bare feet touched solid ground, Juana began to run. She didn’t care where she was passing through – all she knew was that the main road was in that direction. She hadn’t gotten far when she heard shouts and screams from the group. They had opened the sack and found out the terrible mistake they made.

Enraged, Teniente Gimo cried for everyone to check the house, find the girl, she who was supposed to be in the middle, she who was supposed to be in the sack, she who was supposed to be the one they should be prepping tonight, she whose throat they should have slit.

Behind her, Juana heard the commotion and simply assumed that people were now climbing the stairs, opening the door to the daughter’s room and finding that only one was left behind and the other had run away. It would only be a matter of time before they found out where she was headed. So she kept on running over the grass, the rocks, the pebbles that cut her feet, the sharp thorns of the shrubs and the slimy dead things underneath her.

But those who were in pursuit of her were men – grown men, taller than her, with longer legs, with great strength. As the men with the torches began to gain on her, Juana felt panic rise from her legs to her heart, threatening to turn her legs to stone. She could never outrun these people and if she could hide, where? They knew the area better than her.

Then she saw a tree. It was tall enough but not so tall that she couldn’t climb it and it looked strong, with a thick truck and even thicker leaves. She had no memory of how she managed to climb the tree that night but there she cowered, shaking, mouthing prayers for the Virgin to protect her, to please not let them see her, hear her and smell her.

The voices grew nearer and so did the footfalls. Not only the men came in pursuit. There were a few women as well, some of them holding torches, some gripping a thick tree branch and others, still holding on to the knives they used to cut the onions and the tomatoes. Light from the torches illuminated the branches and the leaves of the tree as the mob passed underneath her. If one of them ever looked up…

No one did. The crowd of angry men and women who tried to come after her came and went. They can’t see her. A few hours later, which seemed an eternity to Juana, they came back again, walking this time, tired and hungry, their torches fading but they came a few feet away now, no one passed under Juana’s tree.

Although the crowd had gone, Juana stayed hidden in the tree. She waited for the morning breaks and very carefully, painfully climbed down. No one was in sight and she was too far away to actually hear anything from where Teniente Gimo’s hut. Besides, it was morning and if they did party on last night, they would be too full and tired to give care. Juana brushed the thought of her other friend, the one she left behind, away and began to run again, towards the main road.

I no longer remember how Juana got help. Maybe she stopped a passing bus or jeepney or maybe a person with a good soul came across the fearful girl with the wild eyes. But she did get help and she did find her way home, safe and alive. She never went back to the town of Dueñas.

As for Teniente Gimo and his clan of aswangs, it is said that the incident devastated him. It was his own beloved daughter after all. They packed up and abandoned their home and moved someplace else. Where he and his family are now is only whispered about and whether they are still hunting and luring human prey, it can only be guessed at.

Now, if you believe the story, whatever. I’m not saying that it’s true. I’ve heard that the aswang stories of Tiniente Gimo was made up by one of his envious enemies. They created some sort of a bad reputation to bring him down. It’s a Filipino trait, you know. There was a story I’ve read that there was a body of a boy mutilated found under his hut and he was accused of it. Some say it was a set up. Well, if you asked me I would think so too. I mean, why the hell would he put a dead body under his hut if he really did killed the boy. Anyway, I’m not sure if they guy really existed. Whatever’s the case, I’m just sharing one of my childhood stories.


55 thoughts on “Aswang: The Tiniente Gimo Story

    1. Yeah.. I didn’t know at first that the actual setting of the story from the said movie happened here in Iloilo, until I’ve read the story and more stuffs of Tiniente Gimo on the book called “Ginto ng Iloilo”. Then, when I mentioned it to my Mamang (Grandmother, she already passed away), she knows the story even though she didn’t watch that movie or read it on the book. That was really weird.


    2. smokebear do you know a bookstore or a library here in iloilo city where i can find “GINTO NG ILOILO BOOK” because it’s hard to find nowadays i would like to own a copy so that i can share stories to my children..


  1. I am from Dueñas and I suffered the pain of discrimination put upon us Dueñasanons since childhood to present. The town once so glorified because of its glorious story was being stained by such fictitious myth made by such bitter storyteller given by God with such gift only to put it in a bad use. For such conscience, the end of the line is hell. And for those ignoramuses who believed and even add up their own fake story to make it even worse, are you happy now that you caused such negative psychological effect on the innocent future generations of Dueñasanons? Let me tell you this: Dueñas was one of the first civilization of the Malayan race which all Filipinos are. Dueñas was the nesting place of the brave “sandigs” and beautiful and richest “maharlikas” of our pre-colonial Malayan times. If you do not know this, you have no right to stain this place for this is where all Filipinos came from. If the aswang thing is the past that you wanted to embrace, it is your choice but do not put on us the brand coz the brand that we uphold is the brand of nobility and honor, love of God and country. We have been ripped off of our glory but we still have stories to tell: (read my Book: History of Dueñas: Facts and Folklores, 2011). My ancestors and not yours, are the most reliable sources of information about our place. The next time you use Dueñas in your story, rest assured that you will be paying a very high royalty to our town. If you want an aswang story, please use your own, not ours.

    Proud to be Dueñasanon, Susan


    1. Do you even understand why this was shared? lol I pity you dear that you are ashamed of the folklore you have in your place. We have a scholar before who is from Dueñas as well and she shared the story to me when I was a kid, and she’s a professional now, prosperous and true blood, proud of her place. Do you really think Dueñas will be that known if not for the story of Tinyente Guemo? Ilonggo man ta tanan, parte man kamo sang ILOILO, so kng my right ka mag brag about xa Dueñas, may ara man kami kay palareho ta ILONGGO. It’s a new age and people now a days have different perception about things. And what’s not to love about epics, folklore and myths? It wouldn’t be ours if we tell somebody’s story, right? So stop mugging and just be cool about it. It’s something we cannot change but rather use to our own advantage.


    2. ay manang susan, ngaa kay daw kalain sang imo batasan? hndi pag intra diri sa topics kun subong man lang sna imo ihambal kay daw pagkita ko, gusto mo lang may ara magbakal sang imo books. ngaa, waay waay gid? diin nga local bookstore may ara sna kay pakyawon ko nalang tanan. base great great grandfather mo si tinyente..stop bragging about your book ‘coz no one gives a damn! why don’t you write about your own existence because a person like you is quite interesting. get life SUSAN!!


    3. Don’t know if you know me… but who cares?/

      ikaw lang ang nahuya sa instorya ni Tenyente Gimo..

      It is a folklore.. at ang mga anak ko interested sa kwento…. and because of that story gusto nilang pumunta kami sa aking pinakamamahal na bayan.. DUEÑAS..

      Dahil kay Tenyente Gimo, Lahat ng mga colleagues ko believed that I am a genuine Ilonggo…

      … at dahil dyan.. Proud to be a Dueñasanon.. Thanks Gimo!


  2. the girl didn’t run because she will not make it since the people outside will notice her running and will chase her since it is a town full of these creatures. she climbed down the window and embraced one of the four corner post of the house that whole evening. there was a town fiesta that night, she was invited to go with the daughter of gimo, they planned to have a party and she was supposedly the food. she borrowed the dress of gimo’s girl that evening as they went to sleep she noticed the comotions and peaked into the kitchen and she saw a chopping board the size and shape fitting for a human being. she also saw the collections of skull on the kitchen cabinets. she took the earings, bracelets and necklace from the girl of gimo, and that was the thing the aswangs spotted as they went inside the room so they take the girl of gimo instead because shes not wearing any of the jewelry. the whole town was raided early morning with six by six trucks of military soldiers. they took mang gimo and have him wore around his neck one of the skull they found from his house and paraded the entire town warning all the townsfolks not to follow his deeds. since then they have never seen or heard of him.


    1. Nice.. Thank you for that. My recounts of the story are verbally collected from my childhood playmates and the old folks, so I really can’t say if it’s true or not. But if you don’t mind, would you care to share your sources? This is actually the first time I heard that they were raided by military soldiers.


  3. totoo naman talaga na hometown ng mga aswang ang Duenas! masyado lang guilty ang iba dyan siguro nga isa ka dun at kamag anak mo pa si gimo. tumigil ka nga! nabubuking ka tuloy. tanungin nyo mga matatanda sa kabisayaan, talagang nagyari yan at di kwentong kutsero lang. ang iba kasi dyan wagas magreact kaya pahalata. yung mga taga duenas nga na mga caretaker sa fishpond, talagang mga aswang.


  4. Teniente Gimo’s story made my hometown famous. Whether you believe the many versions of the story, it’s your call. Long time ago, my grandpa told me his version and it was interesting. Did I believe it?,not really. For me it was just another story of fiction. At least it placed my boring hometown on the map. Why not make something out of it and create a tourist attraction for people who like this creepy stuff. Maybe that can help improve the town’s economy.


    1. hmmmm,,,interesting talga ang story na to.. pero nasan na yung girl?
      anong nangyari sa kanya pagkatapos ng insidente?
      anong name nya?may interview bang nagyari pagkatapos non?
      yun lang… 🙂 peace to all…


  5. this story is not far from the mainstream pinoy society, Dueñasanons as it seems carry a nobility of the past was branded as the core of evil community, we as maharlikans as what our ancestors are now nicknamed as bunch of thieves, corrupt and a failed country because of a few that turnish the image of the entire community now even the unborn generations will suffer the same humiliation.


  6. it was the story that makes all ilonggos talks since my childhood days..a very known story in capiz..but theres any further evidence…just a urbanlegend but critism it self can suffer all the locals that living peacefully with their love ones and the nxt generations..


  7. ..I agree!Aswang now is maybe everywhere na, because they also multiply…but indi mna japun nila mpantayan ang power ni God..


  8. astig yung story,.

    yung mga aswang nga b n tntwag nila ay my mga pangil o pakpak ??

    baka naman cannibalism lng ung napratice,.

    eh db my mga tribes n gumagawa nun nung mga sinaunang panahon??

    anyway ang gnda nung story,.


  9. “;i want 2 bcum aswang……i want 2 fly and fly throuh out the univers….mau pa ang fly lng even though wla gasoline…hahahaha..nka save!!!!!


  10. I want 2 bcum aswang…..i want 2 fly and fly throuh out d universe…Libre lng kg wla na ned sg gasolina….HAHAHAHAHA.


  11. I don’t think this is all made up. The story originated even before my father was born and he was born in the 1950s. The story has variations actually. What my father said and even my mother, they said the night the visitor was there Gimo’s daughter decided to exchange rooms with her visitor. The visitor was in Gimo’s daughter’s room and his daughter was in the guest room. So they really expect that the person in there is the visitor to only find out that it was actually his daughter. My father also said, naghihiraman daw sila pag may patay. I don’t know if they will eat it or something. To think that this story originated way way back our time maybe around 1940s, 30s, or 20s. And one of my lola was born between 1910 and 1920 so this story is really very very old and people that time are still innocent unlike today. And believe me, during those times, pag sinabing aswang maniwala ka. Base sa mga naranasan ng mga magulang ko sa probinsya namin nung bata pa sila, dapat lang paniwalaan but the actual place shouldn’t be shared so that people will not become scared. There’s also this one incident in our province where my father’s neighbors actually chased a lady who flew from the roof and my father that time was only a kid. It happened around dusk, mga bandang 5-6 pm pa gabi na. One of their neighbor was startled because something came down or fall to their roof and their roof was only made of nipa. Nagtaka sya kasi pano may mahuhulog sa bubong nila e wala naman silang katabi puno ng buko at medyo malaki yung bumagsak. I don’t know if it’s the owner of the house who went outside to look on the roof, but somebody saw a woman standing on their roof. Maybe the girl saw him because he actually saw the girl flew from the roof. I think it caught attention that’s why they chased the girl and ang alam ko hindi nila nahuli yun. This happened in our barrio in Negros Occidental. In provinces, this thing is real. But for people in the city, these are all stories to entertain and scare children. I still have some stories to share but maybe some other time. [video, videos,]


  12. good story,but not that tingin nyo ba na kung toto yan wala na sana tayong mga iphone at smart phone.ginawa lang yang kwento na yan kasi panakot sa mga bata at sa walang masyadong libangan noon.hi tech na tayo ngayon.baka youn mangkukulam ngayon di na kylangan ng picture or manika.facebook nalang makipag frend,or comment.or baka mag download nalang ng application na makakatulong sa paghanap ng biktima.goggle earth.pag gusto nyang paga lawin ang tao.bluetooth nalang.pag gusto nyang lumipad gamit nalang ng mahal sa zoo ang tao na naging hayop thats called pls. science… inutil na utak…


    1. In this age of information, you think impossible ang media black out dahil may science? Minsan ang problem, people tend to brush ideas kahit half-assed namn and d substantial ang research.. oh well


  13. I believe the legend is true. I always visited Duenas and the house of Tenyente Gimo was shown to me by the locals there. It is located in the town center near the public square (plaza) and market. What is troubling is that the remote barangays of this town are rumored to be the dweling places of these aswang families, especially those bordering the towns of Badiangan, Calinog and Lambunao. There is a certain barangay there of which from the national highway(going to Roxas City)there is a crossing road before you approach a long bridge marking the boundary of Dingle and Duenas. The landmark is a funeraria (funeral parlor) and the Carmelite monastery. One time in 2007 my subordinates went to this interior barangay to conduct credit investigation on a “would be” customer who wants to avail financing for a Suzuki Multicab. The time was late afternoon or “kasisidmon” in Hiligaynon (“palis” in Cebuano). Upon reaching said barangay my men felt an unusually eerie feeling; their skin hairs rising. The people were staring at them; eyes’s red and upon looking straight the figures in their eyes were “baliskad”(inverted)… My men immediately left the place cowering in fear…The atmosphere? …Late 5:00 PM, the sun’s about to go down and an unusual cloud cast in the sky….Now for the unbelievers would you believe now?


  14. when i was 15 [in bukidnon], i saw a man in flight. he had wide wings and from a distance i totally saw his face. his eyes was sparkling with the light of the moon. i was sick for days after that incident.


  15. when i was 15 [in bukidnon], i saw a man in flight. he had wide wings and from a distance i totally saw his face. his eyes were sparkling with the light of the moon. i was sick for days after that incident.


  16. Enjoyed reading the reactions and conversations. The late historian Ramon Lagos Sr. made book out of the story based on evidences a historian should do. The conclusion is that it is a story with so many twists and turns with a thousand and one episodes. Just like a work of fiction, each narrator could make a twist to make the story more interesting. It spread in different medium, the latest is the shake rattle and roll movie. Bombo Radyo made a soap opera about it and it also has a different twist compared to what was written above. Liwayway magazine, If I remember right run a series of stories about Teniente Gimo as well.
    Why bother? I am not a fan of horror and fictitious stories. But they are part of the spice of life, the ingredient that would make the children fear, thereby becoming obedient.
    As long as we entertain these pulp fiction, they will continue to circulate around even in these digital age. Yes, when we do entertain them and make rehashes everytime we want our children comply with our wishes.
    Academically, it is an interesting research material. What is Teniente Gimo to your growing years? How did it influence your world view especially on aswangs (still to define that)? Is our corrupt government officials more cruel than the aswang of yore? So on and so on.
    In the meantime, we will be spiced by these stories. As allusion of society’s realities is best mirrored on how we tell and narrate the same to our children.


    1. Mr. Danilo Cuadra, perhaps your men sent to conduct credit investigation in this remote barangay in Duenas were drunk and tipsy. Thus, when they looked straight into the eyes of the “would-be customers”, their eyeballs figure were inverted. At 5:00 pm, it is customary for locals to gather in stores drinking “biti-biti”, tuba and whiskey. So do your men, while they were waiting for the “customer” to come home from work. Anyway, your men had a very shallow alibi. Believe ka rin sa kwentong kutsero ng mga iyon. Jane Doe from Duenas.


    2. perfect…

      Dahil kay Tenyente Gimo, Lahat ng mga colleagues ko believed that I am a genuine Ilonggo…

      … at dahil dyan.. Proud to be a Dueñasanon.. Thanks Gimo!


  17. The story is a throwback to my childhood as well. Exactly how it was told to me. I grew up in Negros though; I didn’t know the story was set in Iloilo!


  18. Whether the Teniente Guimo legend is real or fiction… We do not dwell to the story as Duenasanon. In this fast-paced high tech world, I am browsing my iPad about what’s happening at present and what is awaiting for us tomorrow. Let us all pray for world peace…..


  19. I was born in Negros Occidental during the late 50’s. I also heard that story from my baby sitter who was also a relative when I was 5 years old. I asked my motner then who was born in 1910’s in Iloilo if the story was really true, she said yes because it happened in Duenas sometime between 1860’s to 1870’s as told by her grandmother( my greatgrandmother) when she was still a child in 1920’s. My mother said that her grandmother went to same school where the daughter of Ten. Gimo went to. After that incident the Aswang clans transferred to some other rural areas of Iloilo and other Visayan regions. Now please people of Duenas don’t fell bad about it. Its part of your history or folklore that we cannot change.


    1. Thats true kya tinawag na lugar ng aswang ang duenas ky ditra si tinyente gimo istar,ay ambot a mga aswang pahimonong kamo,kaon kmo karne baboy kg baka indi ang tawo..tonto!


    2. Tuod…

      Dapat maging proud pa kasi napag uusapan… at nagkaroon ng lugar sa mapa ng mundo…

      wag bitter…

      proud to be a genuine Dueñasanon..


  20. Thanks for sharing…

    For the information of everybody, maraming twists ang kwento ni Tenyente Gimo.. You can also add or revise the whole story.. The most important thing is that napag uusapan ang bayan namin…

    At no big deal… it is just a Folklore… mas maraming aswang dito sa Manila kesa dyan sa Dueñas.. Aswang is everywhere… hahahaha!

    I was born in Dueñas and lived there for 20 years.. but I didn’t see any “Aswang”.. (Inaswang na asawa meron pa… hahahaha!)

    I miss Dueñas..

    …proud to be a Dueñasanon..


  21. Daw ka bias man kadayang page nga ja. Insat gin erase nyo replies ko nga iban. Are you afraid of facing the reality that what i am saying is the truth. Kag ang naghambal nga malain ako. Kilala mo gid ako. Waay ka guro kamaan nga mayad ako. Basi kamo ya aswang nga nagabutang butang lang sa iban.


  22. grew up and heared of this story in several versions, maybe true may be not,,,,but the place is now famous for its aswang festivaland gaining lots of tourists..
    ….it has its advantage d ba?


  23. na flatan ku sa duenas sg last halin ku sa roxas mga around 9pm na wai man aswang,
    mga buot pa gne ka taga duenas nag offer pa assistance para mag bulig,
    i offer them money para e compensate tni ila bulig but wala nila gin baton okay na knu sa ila ang simple thankyou kag gusto lang nila maka bulig man sa parehas nila 🙂

    thankyou sa mga taga duenas, 🙂
    God bless

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Teniente Guimo was a brave ilongo volunteer on the spanish army on the “Batallon de voluntarios ilongos”. Once the indepence was declared he fought against the americans, and the amercans turned him into an asuang.


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