The Manananggal Demon, A Filipino Superstition

This morning I saw something bizarre going on up the street.  The men of a family were holding machetes and were busy chopping the branches off trees in their yard and shaving them down.


My father-in-law was outside and when I asked him what was going on, he said that they thought they saw a manananggal last night.  He then told me that the manananggal is a demon that comes in the form of a good looking woman with wings.  When it flies, the torso separates from the legs at the abdomen, so basically it’s like a half of a woman flying around with boobs hanging out.

Like western vampires, the manananggal avoids light and garlic.  Additionally, they don’t much care for salt, daggers, vinegar, spices, or the tail of a stingray which has been fashioned into a whip.  Also like vampires, the manananggal likes blood, but prefers to use a proboscis tongue to suck the heart of a fetus still in the womb.  Not quite as watered down as Edward Cullen is it?

I’m not sure where cutting trees down comes in, but perhaps they wanted to reduce the amount of places that the manananggal could hide, so they could better see it coming.  Either way, it’s an interesting superstition with a lot of parallels to Western superstitions.  It’s just odd to see people so actively taking measures against it.  Most superstitions in the West are only believed by children.

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