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Other names (a.k.a): aswang, abat, boruka, and aswang na lupad
Location: Philippines, most prominent in Capiz

The manananggal is one of the most terrifying monsters of the Philippines. There the natives claim it to be an aswang. Convincingly the manananggal shares most of the traits of an aswang, a subclass of Filipino monsters; most strikingly a human-flesh diet, method of reproduction, a metamorphosis, and weaknesses. As previously mentioned the creature haunts the Philippines archipelago with reports of its existence still being reported and disputed to this day.

Natives of the islands describe a manananggal to look like a beautiful woman during the day whose goes through a horrific transformation during the night. The woman’s face shifts from beautiful to hideous as her face wrinkles, eyes widen, teeth shapren, and tongue elongates. Her body sprouts large leathery wings similar to a bats as her upper torso graphically detaches from her lower. During this process her torso further morphs as she gains lethal claws and hardened muscular skin. The final product of this transformation is a flying (usually nude) torso with protruding entrails and armed with claws, teeth and a proboscis tongue. The leftover half is just the lower opened half of a torso which can be reconnected once the hunt is over.

Once the manananggal has turned to it’s night form it goes out to hunt. Cleverly the aswang does not hunt near its home which lowers or avoids extra suspicion onto their persona. It is presumed that the manananggal gets information about their favorite prey, the sick or pregnant, or hunting spots during the day which leads to their efficient hunting reputations. From various stories the manananggal uses two different methods of hunting which are likely determined by the individual’s personality. However, both types favor the same food ranking fetuses, the heart, and liver at the top. To reach the fetus or suck out blood the aswang uses its proboscis tongue to stab into the victim then suck out the food. 

The first type of hunters are considered to be more intelligent and calculating as they hunt by breaking into vulnerable homes to feast on the sleeping inhabitants. In the isolated environment of a bedroom or small home there is less of a chance of interruption and by extension less chance to be identified or killed. The second type prefer to search for an isolated individual. Once spotted the manananggal charges terrifying the victim as they are caught and humiliated. These hunters are considered to be more sadistic and violent than the first type especially those who toy around with their prey. A favorite aid to this type is a supernatural hunting bird species named tiktik. A tiktik bird possess the unique ability to dislocate and throw sound. This means that the tiktik can make the manananggal sound farther away than it really is or scare the target into panicking by making it sound like the manananggal is right over them.This bird has allowed the manananggal to get the confusing associated trait that the farther away you hear it the closer it is. This association has caused the mananggals who don’t have a tiktik to be more successful hunting as the more “informed” targets think that the manananggal is far off while it flies in for the kill.

It is very unclear how to become an aswang or manananggal due to differences in stories and legends. The three methods that stand out from this are blood, magic, and parasites. The simplest method of becoming an aswang of any type is to have blood on blood contact. Frustratingly. the second method of magic is uncertain at best; as rumors and lies plague the ritual. The most common details requires the participant to place an egg of a black chick into or onto their body during a specific day then make prayers to become an aswang with the finer details varying wildly. The last method of infection is to host a black chick in your stomach. Of the three methods the last one is the most widely accepted as all aswangs are considered to have a black chick within themselves. It is believed that when an aswang of any type is dying or unwilling to host the chick anymore it will search for a new recipient. Once a recipient is found the aswang will link mouths and allow the black chick to switch hosts. Once in a new host the chick will start to eat their interior organs and food to sustain itself while the host- either as a byproduct of hosting or a boon from the chick- gains new powers and a desire to consume human flesh. It is clear that the chick does not control the body of its host, but most details are not concrete about this relationship. Manananggal do not have a specific stated reason of why their chick causes them to split in two among other differences which leads to some debate over if the black chick theory is correct.

Luckily aswangs have many weaknesses that can be easily exploited. A manananggal like all aswang are said to be averse or get harmed by: sunlight, holy items, spices, salt, garlic, stingray tails, fire, incense, and special conconctions made by babayans (filipino shamans). Aswang hunters use only what is tried and true however that varies on who you ask for everything but sunlight. The natives of the archipelago are extremely suspicious of aswang setting up in their villages which leads to many actively looking for evidence which they will call out if found. Other than ripped up clothing, the stench of blood, and commonly being sleep deprived some say a marker of an aswang is that their pupils give an upside down reflection. To test one another’s eyes the tester will have to get the suspect’s attention on themselves then look into their eyes with the most reported way being to look up at someone from in between your legs. A common way to hunt manananggal is to destroy or set an ambush on the lower half of the creature. If the creature cannot rejoin to their lower half they must now hide during the day or perish in the sunlight. However this has its own risks as if the manananggal survives the first day without the lower half it will seek to infect or kill as many as possible before it is hunted down by those who uncovered their persona. A supposed cure exists for aswang that have a black chick within themselves. The procedure is to tie up the aswang then spin them around (preferably while they are upside down) until the black chick exits the body either of it’s own will, momentum, or vomit. Boiling water should be nearby or underneath the aswang so that when the black chick exits the body it dies within the water or if no water is used is executed by a readied participant.

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