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Title Manananggal
Description Self-segmenting flying viscera sucker of fetuses
Gender male / female
Region Philippines
Equivalent Vampire

The Manananggal (sometimes confused with the Wak Wak) is a vampire-like mythical creature of the Philippines, a malevolent, man-eating and blood-sucking monster or witch.


  • Mythology 1
  • Appearances in film and other media 2
  • Other terms and versions 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


The manananggal is described as hideous, scary, often depicted as female, and capable of severing its upper torso and sprouting huge bat-like wings to fly into the night in search of its victims. The word manananggal 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.

The manananggal is said to favor preying 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 is the more vulnerable of the two halves. Sprinkling salt, 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 would perish by sunrise.[1][2][3]

The myth 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.[4] They were also known to avoid daggers, light, vinegar, spices and the tail of a stingray, which can be fashioned as a whip.[2] Folklore of similar creatures can be found in the neighbouring 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 generically referred to as aswangs. Sightings are purported here, and certain local folk are said to believe in their existence despite modernization. The manananggal shares some features with the vampire of Balkan folklore, such as its dislike of garlic, salt, and vulnerability to sunlight.

Appearances in film and other media

  • Manananggal (1927)
First ever Filipino horror movie,[5][6] A silent picture movie portraying the manananggal in its current form, having the upper torso detach. Not much was known on the plot of the story.
Cast: Mary Walter
Directed: Jose Nepomuceno
  • Manananggal vs. Mangkukulam (1960)[7]
Horror Comedy starring the top comedians of the 60's.
Directed by: Consuelo Osorio
cast: Pugo Lopito Patsy Chichay Aruray
Studios: Lea Productions (Prod. company)
  • Mga Bata ng Lagim (1964)[7]
Star-studded cast of the 60's teen matinee idols "Sampaguita-VP All-Stars". A scene where German Moreno and Boy Alano turned into a manananggal after applying oil at their bodies after which they sang the popular paruparong bukid folksong.
cast: Sampaguita-VP All-Stars, German Moreno, Boy Alano
Directed by: Consuelo Osorio
Gloria Romero plays as the respectable Miss Luna, Narda's school teacher who has a mysterious secret. She is the blood sucking flying creature that roams at night.
cast: Vilma Santos, Gloria Romero
Directed: Maning Borlaza
  • Pagsapit ng Dilim (1975)[7]
Perla Bautista plays a mother who tricked her daughter Gina Pareno into becoming a manananggal as part of her coming of age rites.
cast: Perla Bautista, Gina Pareno
Herbert Bautista plays a teenager in a faraway province in an episode of this horror anthology movie series. A manananggal is said to live within the vicinity and is out to eat people. He is given the task by his grandmother to kill this creature. Having found a way to prevent it from returning to its body, he must now survive the night to protect his family from the creature's attacks.
Cast: Irma Alegre, Herbert Bautista, Mary Walter
Director: Peque Gallaga
Jean Garcia plays the role of a young girl whose mother is a manananggal, and when she turns 18, she will transform into a wild bloodsucking creature at night by the eerie sound of a bat and sucks the blood of any living person she can find.
Cast: Jean Garcia, Richard Gomez, Aga Muhlach, Gloria Romero, Nida Blanca
A homeless family and their neighbors in the city of Manila are plagued by attacks from a manananggal. A little boy (IC Mendoza) suspects a nun (Aiko Melendez) to be that creature, but no one believes him. He finds himself racing to prove his suspicions before he becomes the monster's next victim.
A brief scene where Marjorie Barretto plays a young lass who turns into a ravenous manananggal at night who hunts for unsuspecting victims.
Cast: Angelu de Leon, Rica Peralejo, Bobby Andrews, Marjorie Barretto, Red Sternberg, Amanda Page
An English-speaking manananggal Alma Concepcion spreads terror in Manila.
based on krasue folklore
The plot revolves around Bubuy (Nash Aguas) who is out to save his abducted grandparents in the land of Elementalia.It features a friendly Vegetarian Manananggal named Anna (Katrina Legaspi), relating her to a different species of bat which is a fruit bat, as opposed the blood thirsty ones based on the folklore.[9]
Cast: Nash Aguas, Katrina Legaspi, Pokwang
Directed: Robert Quilao
  • Lose #3, 2011 comic by Michael Deforge
"Manananggal," a three page wordless comic.
Episode: 5 "Island Lights" (The Island of Fire)
Blade and his partners encounter a mutated version of the Manananggal and its victims while hunting down Deacon Frost on the island of Siquijor, an island province in the Philippines.
Jordan Clark's documentary is an exploration of the aswang folklore and its effects on Philippine society. The evolution and history of the Manananggal is explored from an anthropological, sexual and pop culture view. Produced by High Banks Entertainment Ltd.[10]
Cast: Peque Gallaga, Rodolfo Vera, Maricel Soriano
Fatima is a blind girl with a golden heart who is the offspring of a mortal and a manananggal. Her fate is to end the devastation of the Aswang in the human world with the help of Anghel, the dog statue of San Roque that has miraculously animated. It features Kanlaon, the manananggal leader of the Aswang of the Wind (or Airborne aswangs). He once loved and failed to Lourdes, a manananggal herself and the mother of Fatima.
Cast: Mona Louise Rey, LJ Reyes, Gardo Versoza
Directed: Don Michael Perez
A novel based on the tv series Supernatural features the main characters battling an Aswang in the Sierra Nevada mountains during a blizzard. The creature in this novel sucks human organs out through a proboscis and inserts body parts of other humans into the victim then seals the hole. The main characters make a whip tipped with a stingray barb and coated with spices to kill the creature.
  • Mananang Game (Android App) (2014)
An android game based on the Manananggal wherein players fly through obstacles and avoid other hazards much like Flappy Bird.
Developer: Jigzen Game Studios
Episode: Si Esperanza, Ang Rebeldeng Manananggal (Esperanza, The Rebel Manananggal)
The story is about Esperanza, played by(Glaiza de Castro), a pediatrician with two mortal sons. Her desire to protect her children and avoid the way of the life of being a manananggal.
Cast: Glaiza de Castro, Valerie Concepcion, Maria Isabel Lopez
Directed: Topel Lee

Other terms and versions

  • 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

See also

  • Philippine mythology
  • 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


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Clark, Jordan (2011) The Aswang Phenomenon High Banks Entertainment Ltd.

Further reading

External links

  • Filipino Folklore: Manananggal
  • Mananang Game Official Website
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