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Manananggal: The Naked Flying Creature in the Philippines

Manananggal Picture

Manananggal (pronounced as mah-nah-nang-gal) a Tagalog term, is a type of Aswang that is found in the Philippines that came from the word “tanggal” means to detach.Aswangs are shape-shifters. They are human-like by day but transform into different monstrous forms to harass and eat awake humans at night, especially pregnant women who are about to give birth. The legend of the Mananaggal is popular in the Visayas region of the country, particularly in provinces of Antique, Iloilo and Capiz. Even though the Philippines are composed of many Islands, most of the people share the similar stories describing their experiences in the encounter of the Manananggal.


Manananggal are exclusively female, and they disguise themselves as ordinary human women and live in normal society and can fly after separating itself from the lower half of its body. Human by day, the Manananggal flee to a hiding place at nightfall, and use special oil that is applied to her body, then grows giant bat wings behind her back, and then detaches its upper body from its lower body. It then takes to the air, leaving its legs and the bottom half of its torso on the ground.

The creature feeds on human internals and unborn fetuses. It does so through its proboscis-like tongue, which is said to be hollow, fine, and sharp; a very long and extremely flexible. She uses it to puncture the womb of the sleeping woman and to suck out the fetus. In order to feed, a Manananggal in its detached form will usually seek out a house where a pregnant woman resides. Stories say that a Manananggal’s preferred victim will smell like fresh mangoes or ripe jackfruit to them.

Her weakness is her lower torso, which is just left unprotected while the Manananggal’s out hunting. Salt, ash, and/or garlic should then be placed on the exposed flesh, preventing the monster from combining again and leaving it vulnerable to sunlight. Although, Manananggals use a spell to cast illusions to her vulnerable lower torso from any person who attempts to destroy her half body. Small containers of salt, ash and raw rice, and the smell of burning rubber are said to deter the Manananggal from approaching one’s house. Some old practices do hanging cloves of garlic or onion near the window panes to ward off Manananggals.


Some say that being a Manananggal is in their bloodline, from previous generation to the next. It is a cursed being handed to the family’s next siblings. A Manananggal cannot die until the curse will be passed to the other member of the family.

In the modern times, some people especially in the rural areas in the Philippines still believes in Manananggal because Manananggal usually lives in these areas. One of the main reasons is that some people say that to prevent the extinction of their kind the Manananggals took an oath that only their family knows about the truth and promise live away from a lot of people.

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