Artists Keep the Philippine Folklore Alive with #MayNananggal
by Maria Romero, May 08, 2019 4:55pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
The Philippine Folklore and its mythical creatures have stood the test of time. And it still remains as one of the world's richest and most diverse oral literature. Aswang, tiyanak, and manananggal—these are among the most popular names in Philippine Mythology. Even international author Neil Gaiman, known for the novel American Gods, loves our myths. This 2019, after social media movements like #ManilaEncounters and #SigawDarna where artists posted their modern take on ghost stories and Darna, the #MayNananggal, another social media trend is giving the spotlight to Philippine Mythology.
I really LOVE the myths and monsters of the Philippines. But you also have many terrific writers there who can do a better job of telling those stories than I can. https://t.co/Igp3x3vtIR— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) August 7, 2018
Last year, illustrator and comic creator Rob Cham initiated the #MayNanananggal pun to start conversations and encourage artists to post manananggal-inspired art, the half-bodied monster in our local folklore. They are vampire-like malevolent, man-eating, and blood-sucking mythical creatures. This was after#MerMay, a month-long celebration of Philippine folklore about mermaids gained international traction online through the amazing workmanship of artists from around the world.
proposing that we start Maynananggal next year as the #PHArt bandwagon we can all get up on— (@robcham) May 18, 2018
there are so many types of people we can draw in half
What started out as a joke now turned into an online art treasure where Filipino artists shared their creative takes on manananggal. But before these horror myths scared the daylight out of us, let’s take a walk down the online creative lane with these ingenious #MayNananggal takes:
Before we begin, here’s a little trivia:
Known as wowog, ungga-ungga, kalibadot in Visayas & Mindanao; magtatanggal among precolonial Tagalogs, this creature from Filipino folklore is the flying head variant of the manananggal & related to the penanggal of Malaysia/Indonesia & the krasue of Thailand. #maynananggalpic.twitter.com/x49010sSQA— Erwin (@stoic_aswang) May 1, 2019
There can be different kinds of manananggal like this sweet little manananggal who secretly meets with a mermaid at night in the West Philippine Sea. This entry hit two trends in one art.
so what's a nice girl like u doin' on a rock like this?— ali is on the tweeter now (@_artsy_alice) May 2, 2019
(for #Mermay & #Maynananggal 2019!)
hitting two birds with one stone in this one. feels good to finally ink and color old sketches and concepts (this was supposed to be for last year! omg) pic.twitter.com/JcRNpVAmwG
There may also be a manananggal masquerading as a student.
A liberated manananggal, the protector of LGBTQIA+ community and enemy of the homophobic people. Hell, yes!
What if the manananggal are the ones who collected the flying balloons to protect Mother Earth from a bigger hole in its ozone layer? We hope so!
Perhaps, our favorite doctor as a kid was once a manananggal who vowed to take our pain away?
Mae is a doctor who tries to balance her hospital duties and dating life. When she gets catcalled/harassed, she remembers their scent & feeds on them, leaving their organs unharmed & give it to her ill patients who has been waiting for healthy organs.#Maynananggal#artphpic.twitter.com/MBAtXH36Jj— #36-22-25-37-5-9-59-23 (@sittihscan) May 2, 2019
It would be nice for a manananggal to have cute glowing space wings.
And here’s our take on #MayNananggal, someone ala Ricky Lee’s Amapola who encourages people to vote wisely!
And just like that, social media once again proved to be our generation’s powerful tool to keep our Filipino identity like our folklore alive! Manananggal, although fictional, is an important part of our culture and heritage. Many may have forgotten them but let’s all strive to create an environment, both online and offline, where our Philippine Mythology is celebrated.
Got any other creative #MayNananggal entry? Share it with us using #InsideManila and get a chance to be featured!