The Manananggal ("self-segmenter") is a Filipino Aswang (evil spirit) that detaches her torso from her lower half and then takes flight during the night to eat infants.

This creature's name was derived from the Filipino word, "tanggal," which means "to separate" because of the manananggal's ability to separate itself from its lower body.

Myths & Legends

To feed, the self-segmenter chooses an isolated place where she will leave her lower torso while she hunts at night. When she separates from her lower torso, she then gains her ability to fly. She then goes off in search of houses where pregnant women reside. Upon choosing a suitable victim, the Manananggal alights on the house and inserts her tongue through the roof. The tongue is long, hollow and extremely flexible. She uses it to puncture the womb of the sleeping woman and to suck out the fetus. At other times, she seduces men with her beauty and lures them to a private place before eating them alive. She usually eats the insides, like the heart, stomach or the liver.

A manananggal can also be a sorceress that visits villages and barrios.

In some stories, the Wakwak and/or the Sigbin are kept by them as either pets or servants.


The Manananggal is described as being an older, beautiful woman capable of severing its upper torso in order to fly into the night with huge bat-like wings and prey on unsuspecting, sleeping pregnant women in their homes.


Sunlight is deadly to the Manananggal when she is in her monstrous form. Should her two halves still be separated with the coming of dawn, she will be destroyed. According to legend, to destroy the Manananggal, one should search for the lower torso that she leaves behind during her nightly hunts. Salt, ash, and/or garlic should then be placed on the exposed flesh, preventing the monster from combining again and leaving it vulnerable to sunlight.

Small containers of salt, ash and raw rice, and the smell of burning rubber are said to deter the Manananggal from approaching one's house.

Other Filipino Vampires

There are other vampire-like creatures in the Philippines: the Tagalog Mandurugo ("blood-sucker") is a variety of the aswang that takes the form of an attractive girl by day, and develops wings and a long, hollow, thread-like tongue by night. The tongue is used to suck up blood from a sleeping victim. They use an elongated proboscis-like tongue to suck fetuses from these pregnant women. They also prefer to eat entrails (specifically the heart and the liver) and the phlegm of sick people.


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