The Manananggal Demon, A Filipino Superstition

This morning I saw something bizarre going on up the street.  The men of a family were holding machetes and were busy chopping the branches off trees in their yard and shaving them down.


My father-in-law was outside and when I asked him what was going on, he said that they thought they saw a manananggal last night.  He then told me that the manananggal is a demon that comes in the form of a good looking woman with wings.  When it flies, the torso separates from the legs at the abdomen, so basically it’s like a half of a woman flying around bare-chested.

Like western vampires, the manananggal avoids light and garlic.  Additionally, they don’t much care for salt, daggers, vinegar, spices, or the tail of a stingray which has been fashioned into a whip.  Also like vampires, the manananggal likes blood, but prefers to use a proboscis tongue to suck the heart of a fetus still in the womb.  Not quite as watered down as Edward Cullen is it?

There used to be images of manananggal and aswang here, but I had to remove them because they’re apparently too shocking for Google and they were counted as Google Adsense policy violations.

I’m not sure where cutting trees down comes in, but perhaps they wanted to reduce the amount of places that the manananggal could hide, so they could better see it coming.  Either way, it’s an interesting superstition with a lot of parallels to Western superstitions.  It’s just odd to see people so actively taking measures against it.  Most superstitions in the West are only believed by children.

Update: February 25, 2019
A screenshot of Google's policy enforcement violation list for this page.
A screenshot of Google’s policy enforcement violation list for this page.

Who knew a drawn image of a mythological creature could be a violation of Google’s Adsense policies? I wonder if the same restriction is applied to images of Sirens or Medusa?

But what’s really odd about the violation is that it suggests that someone would be sexually aroused by the upper torso of a woman with bat wings, or that the manananggal is intended to be sexually seductive when, in fact, it’s meant to be horrific and terrifying. Maybe some people are into that sort of thing, but intent has to count for more than one person’s perception or we’d never be able to say or do anything about anything.

That being said, the images were kind of shocking, which is a violation of Google’s Adsense policy apparently. But, again, it’s a mythological creature that’s supposed to be scary. How can a topic of this sort not be ok? I don’t get it. We’re not allowed to have scary stuff next to Google Ads? It’s history and it’s folklore and it has a purpose and should be talked about and depicted and remembered.

But, what are you going to do? One person has a problem and reports your page so you have to make changes. So, the images are censored heavily now. Hopefully, the censorship is heavy enough to be ok with Google’s review team.

Update: April 3, 2020

I came back and removed the images entirely. The page was reported again for “shocking content”. I can only assume that’s the images, because God forbid history and folklore should be considered too shocking to be monetized.