Divine Manananggal

FEU Advocate
March 18, 2022 01:50

From the moment I was born, I knew where my worth was placed: my inability to make life. They gave me a crown of sampaguitas, so beautiful—they praised. So gentle and compliant to the will of the wind. I followed everything they said without a complaint.

Yet, when midnight strikes with no eyes to watch my every move, I am free to separate my heart from these shaking knees. Every high-pitched scream into the darkened skies is a scream for every other aswang who’s been chained down with orthodox rules and expectations.

Maybe, I flew too close to the moon, leather wings rooted in scarred shoulder blades that cast too big of a shadow to ignore. They took a needle and thread, tried to stitch me back together, stuffing me full with their doctrine. Falsely hoping that I can still be salvaged.

Unblessed fruit of thy womb is what they call this wrath, watered with my tears of pain as it bloomed in silence.

Fists stained with blood from the cut that always bleeds. Freedom tastes sweet on my forked tongue, coating the canines of my teeth. You cannot chain a monster and expect her to follow you around. You cannot muzzle an aswang and expect for her to live quietly. You cannot pour salt into an open gash only to kiss it better.

But you are not alone, there are other creatures who will guide you—hand in scarred hand. You will find a home with brujas who will love you, even with your sharp edges. They will teach you how to lick your wounds and wash the red off your baro’t saya.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned but heaven hath no love like a woman cherished.

- Beatrice Diane D. Bartolome

(Illustration by Jazmine Merry Veluya/FEU Advocate)