Monster Research: Mananangal


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The Mananangal

The most feared Filipino creature; also known as wak-wak in the Bisayan dialect. Common people believe the wak-wak is always a woman. Between six or seven o’clock at night this creature finds a secret place near her home. She bends her body down while her legs remain rigid and straight; her hair becomes stiff and nails turn into long sharp claws; her eyes grow bigger and eerily glows; while large bat-like wings protrude from her body echoing the sound “wak-wak-wak” as it flies along. It preys on the livers of the sick and disobedient children who refuse to come indoors at twilight. They are especially fond of developing babies in their mother’s womb; whose blood is sucked by using its tongue as a threadlike proboscis which enters through the mother’s navel. Vigilant eyes, garlic and a pair of scissors or thorny branches should be kept beside a pregnant woman at all times.

The subject of countless movies here in the Philippines, the Manananggal and Wakwak are other types of evil creatures in the same league as the Aswang.

Legend says the Manananggal is a pretty woman by day that transforms into a vicious, half bodied, viscera-eating monster by nightfall. It is said that the Manananggal will sneak out of her house near midnight to hide in the bushes, or maybe a grove of banana trees. There she rubs her body with a certain type of oil and minutes later, she will sprout bat-like wings and her body gets cut at the waist. The body from the navel down will stay rooted on the spot while the top half will fly around looking for something to eat. With its acute sense of smell, it can smell a sick person or a pregnant woman even miles away.

In some areas in the Philippines particularly the Visayas, the locals call it the Wakwak. The Wakwak is so named for the sound its wing makes while hovering or flying. In the movies it is normally portrayed as flying in an upright position.

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Documentary on the Mananangal


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