Manananggal: The Creature Who Preys on Pregnant Women

The Philippines has a fair share of mythical creatures that will leave anyone sleepless at night. One dreaded monster is the lady who splits herself half before her search for a helpless victim – pregnant woman.

At night, the lady transforms into a deadly creature (

The word is from the Tagalog word “tanggal” means to split or detach or separate. Literally, manananggal means “the one who separates itself.”

The Manananggal is popular in the provinces of Capiz, Iloilo, and Antique in the Visayan region in the Philippines. The female monstrous creature is similar to vampire in the Western culture, Penenggalan in Indonesian folklore, the Krasue of Thailand, Ap of Cambodia, and the Kasu of Laos.

The Manananggal is said to be a beautiful lady during the day. At night, the lady transforms into a deadly creature. Legends held that as she applies oil all over her body, she chants her prayer to transmute her into wrinkled face beast, with jagged claws and teeth and big scowling eyes. Huge bat-like wings grows on her back as she separate from her lower body. She leaves her lower part hidden in a bamboo or banana plantation. Also, the Manananggal is believed to be accompanied by a bird called ‘’tiktik’’ or tikling. The tiktik that signs the approach of the Manananggal.

She flies to the target victim’s house and waits in the rooftop until all fall asleep. It is said that the Manananggal forms a hole in the roof with its claws and stretches its elongated tongue to suck the fetus from the pregnant mother.

It is believed that the Manananggal has a bird companion called tiktik that signs the approach of the Manananggal.

The Manananggal uses its extracting tongue to suck the fetus out of mother’s belly (

To ward off the evil creature, households especially in remote areas in Capiz, Iloilo and Antique spread salt and garlic around the house and in the windows.

Here is a story narrating an encounter with Manananggal:

I think I was seven at the time and while everyone else in the family was asleep, I somehow couldn’t bring myself to follow suite. I was restless, with nothing in particular in my head keeping me awake. I remember just lying there in bed, staring at the ceiling when suddenly, I hear a noise. Confused, in sat on my bed and looked around. Nothing but darkness.

I listened again. “Tik tik tik”

My eyes went wide open. If I knew how to swear at this time of my life, the F’s would be flying.

I slammed my head back into my pillow, and as kids would normally do, I covered myself up in my magic blanket, trembling in fear.

The noise kept on, my heart was beating out of my chest and I was on the verge of tears. I was weighing the options between screaming for my mom or not, because screaming might alert something that might eat me up that I’m wide awake. I can’t let that happen. Yes I know the Manananggal went for pregnant ladies, but at that age, I thought everything could just eat me up.

The “tik tik” noise went away slowly, as if the one making it was fleeing away. I sighed relief, calmed a bit, and made the biggest mistake of my life: Forgetting that when the “tiktik” goes far, it means the Manananggal was near.

After I removed my cover, bricks were shat. The bitch’s grinning face was on my window. Her blood thirsty eyes looking into my frozen, wide eyes.

Mother of Jesus, I screamed and ran into my mother’s room, where she welcomed me into an embrace. By then I think I may have passed out of fear.

The next morning my mother asked me what happened, and I told her what’s up. She laughed at me and told me how imaginative kids are, and how cute it was. This is why I still have my doubts even after her face scarred into my memory.

The thing though is, at that moment when my pregnant yaya (maid) served us our food and overheard our conversation, I saw her freeze and her eyes went wide.

She looked at me and said, “You saw her too?”

I cried. – HollyxTurnMeOn, Reddit

Source:  Mangkukulam    FFE magazine   Haunted America Tours

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