The Manananggal of the Philippines

Background: My informant was a Filipino immigrant who came to America when she was 12. She was born and raised in Manila before coming to America, her father seeking out new opportunities. She then got married and moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and currently works as a Denial Analyst for the Sanford Health Network, the largest hospital network in the Siouxland area.

Main Piece: The Manananggal is a vampiric creature that leaves half of its body and flies in search of its victims. The only way to kill it is to find the other half of its body, and kill the creature by putting salt inside of it. It is a hideous female that flies around one hunt after another preying on pregnant women. It will land on top of that hunt and use its long tongue that falls down the side. With its tongue it will go through the abdomen and eat the fetus of the growing child by sucking its heart. It hunts from village to village like so until it is killed. This story is told mainly through horror films in the informant’s experience, but it is quite well known because of this.

Performance Context: According to my informant, the story originates from the area of the Philippines known as the Visayas. It is one of the three major groups of islands of the Philippines, being in the center.

My Thoughts: I think it is interesting because this is another example of how horror really shapes the perception of people. This story itself may be older and written into older text, but it gains a lot of effect out of its pop culture nature. This is evidenced even more so by the fact that it is not really a story that originates from the entirety of the country, but from a specific portion. Thus, it gains attention through multimedia that does not know borders, so to speak.