Neil Gaiman is a multi-awarded English author whose works include "The Sandman," "American Gods," "Coraline" and "Norse Mythology." Gaiman
Philippine lore's blood-sucking 'manananggal' steals Neil Gaiman's heart
Kristine Joy Patag ( - August 9, 2018 - 3:18pm

MANILA, Philippines — Years after his last visit from the Philippines, English fantasy author Neil Gaiman has maintained his fascination with the Filipino mythological creature “manananggal.”

The international best-selling author, whose works include “The Sandman,” “Coraline,” and “American Gods,” was asked by a fan, whose account has now been set to private, if he could delve into Filipino mythology.

Gaiman’s recent work, “Norse Mythology,” drew a large following, but the English author said he would rather let the many terrific Filipino authors tell these stories.

“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,” Gaiman said.



Gaiman is no stranger to Philippine mythology as he joined Fully Booked in launching the Philippine Graphic Fiction Awards Anthology in 2010. The project was borne from when the English author first visited the country in 2005.

Another fan replied to Gaiman’s tweet and offered to do artworks for him if he decides to write about Philippine lore in the future.

Gaiman replied: “gosh. LOVE the manananggal.”



The “manananggal” is a blood-sucking mythical creature that usually looks like an old crone or a beautiful maiden. She searches for prey by separating her upper body from its lower half, flying with bat-like wings while her lower body with protruding entrails is left behind. The creature has an elongated proboscis-like tongue that helps it to suck blood and the heart of fetuses.

In a 2010 interview with ABS-CBN, Gaiman revealed that his favorite mythological character is the “manananggal” which, he quipped, he keeps pronouncing wrong.

“I think it’s got to be those wonderful, witchy vampire ladies who leave their bottom half behind and fly off trailing entrails and suck your life out with their incredibly long tongues,” he said.

Gaiman said he would rather not touch Filipino mythology as he is “an outsider.”

Other Twitter users directed the fan, @joe_sunga, to explore works of Edgar Samar, Arnold Arre, Gerry Alanguilan, Budjette Tan, Yvette Tan and Karl R. De Mesa to name a few.


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