Apparently this short story is now assigned reading at Ateneo de Davao. I am posting it here for the benefit of students looking for the story. Of course, if you want the other stories from the book, I still have copies for sale. Send me a shoutout on Twitter at @domcimafranca.
“There are three ways to deal with a manananggal,” said Cousin Omeng as he initiated me into the lore. “There's the hard way, which is to go at it head-on with bolos and bamboo spears.” To emphasize this point, he brought his bolo down on the head of a green bamboo stalk. With that one clean stroke he turned the stalk into a spear. He charred the tip over burning coals to harden it. When it was sufficiently black, he showed his handiwork to me.
“Of course, that's not a very smart thing to do,” Cousin Omeng continued. “Remember: a manananggal is a creature of flight. She can stay well out of the range that you can throw a spear. And if she does decide to fight — ” Cousin Omeng shuddered — “there's her powerful bat wings to reckon with.”
“I suppose it would work if there were a few dozen of us,” I pointed out.
“But there's not a dozen of us, is there?” Cousin Omeng countered, “it's just you and me. Now don't interrupt, or we'll never get to the important parts.”
What prompted this hasty lesson was a series of manananggal sightings around our town of San Antonio. The first one happened just the week before. Tiago and Teban, the village drunks, were staggering home from a late-night drinking spree. Tiago (so his story went) looked up and saw massive bat wings against the waxing moon. Teban laughed at his friend's overactive imagination but when he looked up, he also saw those wings coming down in a swoop.
Of course no one quite believed the town drunks. For the next two days, San Antonio had a few more jokes to add about Tiago and Teban. But then the evening of that second day, Pedring, whom everyone knew was having an affair with Rosa, ran screaming from their trysting place among the banana leaves. He said he saw the manananggal fly by where he was waiting. (“Her eyes were as big as saucers!” Pedring had said, “and her tongue waggled down to her neck!”)
Other accounts started pouring in. There was the story of Kulas, on an errand for his wife who had a midnight craving for santol. He caught the manananggal's silhouette against the clouds. (“Her claws were razor-sharp!” Kulas had said, “and she had fangs this long!”) Then there was the story of Berto, whose wife had banished him from his house because he lost their savings at the cockpit, who said he saw the same. (“I could see her entrails hanging from her waist!” Berto had said.)