The Manananggal (sometimes confused with the Wak Wak) is a mythical creature of the Philippines, an evil, man-eating and blood-sucking monster or witch. It is described as hideous, scary, often depicted as female, and capable of severing its upper torso and sprouting huge bat-like wings to fly into the night in search of its victims. The word manananggal comes from the Tagalog word tanggal (cognate of Malay tanggal), which means "to remove" or "to separate", which literally translates as "remover" or "separator". In this case, "one who separates itself". The name also originates from an expression used for a severed torso.
It is said that they mostly prey on sleeping, pregnant women, using an elongated proboscis-like tongue to suck the hearts of fetuses, or the blood of someone who is sleeping. The severed lower torso is left standing, and it is said to be the more vulnerable of the two halves. Sprinkling salt or smearing crushed garlic or ash on top of the standing torso is fatal to the creature. The upper torso then would not be able to rejoin itself and will die by sunrise. It is known to hide in volcanic caves by day.
The manananggal shares some features with the vampire of balkan folklore, such as its dislike of garlic, and vulnerability to sunlight.
The myth of the manananggal is popular in the Visayan region of the Philippines, especially in the western provinces of Capiz, Iloilo, and Antique. There are varying accounts of the features of a manananggal. Like vampires, Visayan folklore creatures, and aswangs, manananggals are also said to abhor garlic and salt. They were also known to avoid daggers, light, vinegar, spices and the tail of a stingray, which can befashioned as a whip. Folklore of similar creatures can be found in the neighboring nations of Indonesia and Malaysia. The province of Capiz is the subject or focus of many manananggal stories, as with the stories of other types of mythical creatures, such as ghosts, goblins, ghouls and aswangs. Sightings are purported here, and certain local folk are said to believe in their existence despite modernization.
Other terms and versions:
- Aswang: Manananggals are popularly referred to as aswangs. However, aswang is a generic term and can refer to all types of ghouls, mananangals, witches (mangkukulam), etc.
- Tik-tik: Manananggals are sometimes referred to as tik-tik, the sound it makes while flying. Folklore dictates that the fainter the sound, the nearer the manananggal is. This is to confuse the victim. Black cats and crows often signal a tik-tik's presence, and deformed faces or bodies in children are allegedly signs of the aftermath of a tik-tik attack.
- Penanggalan - A vampire akin to Manananggal from the Malay peninsula
- Tiyanak - Blood-sucking creature in a form of a baby that turns into what is known to be the child of the devil
- Krasue - Floating vampiric female head and entrails that is similar to a manananggal
- Chonchon - Mapuche creature that also detaches its head
- Nukekubi - Japanese creature that also detaches its head to feed on victims