Around like, Halloween time, like how they would do it, is like they’d literally just like, have, a bunch of like, scary movies of like these folklore creatures that have been like, told, throughout the years. It’s funny cause like the same, like, half floating demon lady with her guts floating out and like her, her wings, and she’s just like chasing people throughout school. Yeah, she’s called the Manananggal, she’s insane. My mom used to call me that. How I remember her… so, this like half lady, right, she’s like got, half a pair – she’s like this lady that’s like cut in half, she’s got wings, but like, so half of her is like flying, and then her other half is just like standing in one place, like just her legs. And her whole things, is like, she preys on like unborn kids, yeah, she’ll like prey on unborn pregnant women, like the only way to basically end her reign of terror is to find its legs, and then you put salt on its legs so it can’t recombine. Around like, Halloween time, or not even Halloween time, because Halloween’s not really big in the Philippines, so around Day of the Dead, is like when spirits are most active and stuff like that, so like, when you’re like in, like labor units, if you see like labor units in the Philippines like you’ll see a bunch of, like preachers and these like, shaman type people who are like blessing these pregnant women so they don’t get their unborn babies, like, deaded, because like, miscarriages were really popular and that’s just kind of how they would . . . because like modern medicine wasn’t really a thing until, like, recently, so Filipinos would have like shamans pray over them and their babies and hopefully not get murdered.
Background: My informant, as is their family, is Filipino, and they speak Tagalog often with their parents and siblings. They recall their family telling them this story, as well as TV shows in the Philippines that dramatized this creature. They also went to nursing school, which is the source of their knowledge of labor units. As they explain in the piece of folklore, they view the Manananggal as an explanation for the large quantity of miscarriages that occur in the Philippines.
Context: This piece was collected in an in-person conversation in my apartment.
My thoughts: My informant is likely correct as to the primary reason for this legend’s prevalence. Manananggal, as a creature who pursues pregnant women, is an obvious explanation for miscarriages, especially unusually common miscarriages. The reason for her separation from her legs isn’t entirely clear, but outside research suggests that she was once a woman left at the altar, and this is why her legs remain stationary. In light of this, it’s possible that she represents a warning against breaking a marital bond.