I am from the Philippines, I was born and raised here. I grew up hearing about the things that go bump at night. There are many mythical creatures similar to other cultures but some are only present in our mythology. The “Manananggal” for example is said to be a beautiful maiden at day and turns into a half bodied monster at night.
I heard stories about the “Manananggal” since the day I learned to understand our language. One story, told by my grandfather, still haunts me until this day.
Manananggal of Camiguin Island
My grandfather was a fisherman in a small province of Camiguin located at Mindanao, Philippines. That was when the population was so small the nearest neighbor was half a kilometer away. If you all know, the Philippines has many festivals celebrated almost every day in different parts of the country.
That day, the neighboring town was celebrating a fiesta and they held cock fights where two roosters armed with small sharp blades battle to death in the arena, while the people put their bets in one of the roosters. It is considered one of the favorite pastime activities of Filipinos, and my grandfather was one fanatic of the game.
Back then there were only asphalt roads that lead to each city and municipality in the province and it is mostly built on the sea side. The people who don’t own a horse and carriage often pass through the forest mountain where the route is shorter than using the roads. My grandfather knew all the paths that leads to every town in the province, it was his playground when he was still a child.
It was already getting dark when he decided to go on his way home. He used a torch made from coconut leaves and entered the forest. The forest canopy made it darker since the light from the setting sun was blocked by the towering trees. Around the middle of his journey he heard something.
It seemed like someone was walking on the fallen leaves. He can hear each step, slowly pacing like and old person. He tried to locate where the sound was coming from until he reached an unfamiliar part of the forest. Using his torch, he tried to illuminate the surrounding area and saw a silhouette of a hut. He called out for anyone who lived there but no one answered.
He went closer to look if someone was actually living there but found no one, so he entered. He knew it was inhabited when he saw embers still glowing from the kitchen fire-pit. Then he heard the thrashing of leaves outside, now closer and coming from the back of the hut.
He went outside to see who was walking but didn’t find anything. He waved his torch up to brighten the area. At the edge of the light illuminated by the torch were a pair of bare legs and feet. It’s thighs were round and the skin was so smooth it glowed as the light shone on it.
He greeted good night but the woman didn’t respond, so he went closer. As he approached he noticed that the woman was naked all the way down. He stepped closer to see the woman’s face and was shocked with what he saw. There was no upper body and yet its moving and standing up-right! He can see the exposed organs and the still beating veins, even without a heart to pump blood.
Is the story hanging? Well, I was just telling you the personal accounts of my grandfather. He always ends the story on that part, he keeps on telling me that story every night on my bed since he passed away on that gruesome night.