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The Manananggal (sometimes confused with the Aswang) is a sighted creature of the Philippines, an evil, man-eating and blood-sucking monster.


It is described as hideous, scary, (usually) female, and it is also capable of severing its upper torso and sprouting huge bat-like wings to fly into the night in search of its victims. The name comes from the Tagalog word tanggal (cognate of Malay tanggal), which means "to remove" or "to separate", which literally translates as "remover" or "separator". In this case, "one who separates itself". The name also originates from an expression used for a severed torso.

It is said that they mostly prey on sleeping, pregnant women, using an elongated proboscis-like tongue to suck the hearts of fetuses, or the blood of someone who is sleeping. The severed lower torso is left standing, and it is said to be the more vulnerable of the two halves. Sprinkling salt or smearing crushed garlic or ash on top of the standing torso is fatal to the creature. The upper torso then would not be able to rejoin itself and will die by sunrise. It is known to hide in volcanic caves by day.

The Manananggal shares some features with the vampire of balkan folklore, such as its dislike of garlic, and vulnerability to sunlight.

The legend of the Manananggal is popular in the Visayan region of the Philippines, especially in the western provinces of Capiz, Iloilo, and Antique. There are varying accounts of the features of a Manananggal. Like vampires, Visayan folklore creatures, and aswangs, Manananggals are also said to abhor garlic and salt. They were also known to avoid daggers, light, vinegar, spices and the tail of a stingray, which can be fashioned as a whip. Folklore of similar creatures can be found in the neighboring nations of Indonesia and Malaysia. The province of Capiz is the subject or focus of many Manananggal stories, as with the stories of other types of mythical creatures, such as ghosts, goblins, ghouls and aswangs. Sightings are purported here, and certain local folk are said to believe in their existence despite modernization.

See Also[]

  • Aswang: Manananggals are popularly referred to as aswangs. However, aswang is a generic term and can refer to all types of ghouls, mananangals, witches (mangkukulam), etc.
  • Tik-tik: Manananggals are sometimes referred to as tik-tik, the sound it makes while flying. Folklore dictates that the fainter the sound, the nearer the Manananggal is. This is to confuse the victim. Black cats and crows often signal a tik-tik's presence, and deformed faces or bodies in children are allegedly signs of the aftermath of a tik-tik attack.
  • Leyak, a demon from Bali in the form of floating head and intestines.
  • Penanggalan - A vampire akin to Manananggal from the Malay peninsula
  • Tiyanak - Blood-sucking creature in a form of a baby that turns into what is known to be the child of the devil
  • Krasue - Floating vampiric female head and entrails that is similar to a Manananggal
  • Chonchon - Mapuche creature that also detaches its head
  • Nukekubi - Japanese creature that also detaches its head to feed on victims


Main article: Aswang

The following is an excerpt from D'Jhal, a Filipino who is currently a Manager at Bireuen, Indonesia:

"I had a real experienced of seeing this monster, I was a young boy at that time and our house was in a small barrio (small town) with only few neighbors and surrounded with trees. The wife of our neighbor was pregnant at that time and their house was a small hut with windows that cant be closed, which simply means you can see the stars in their house during night time. It was a very noisy mid-night that i could not sleep, our neighbor dogs keeps howling in our backyards. So, I tried to check it, I slightly-openned our window good enough for my eyes to see everything outside, I am fascinated because the moon was so bright and there was no dogs in our backyard so i look at our neighbor’s house and there i saw the howling dogs, but when I looked at the window, I saw something dark floating – It [was] like a person floating horizontally facing our neighbor's oppened window. I was very scared because its hard to describe that dark floating thing, even the surrounding was clear. I closed the window and went straight to my bed covering myself with my pillow and sleep again.

On the next day I talked to my friend about what happened last night, and i asked him if there was something unusual that happened in their house that night. He said he and his siblings were guarding their mother all the time and they were aware of the possible attacks of the Aswang. He told me had stepped something like a hairy tail and then he had thrown Garlic unto it and then it suddenly disappeared."