Yesterday’s blog concluded with Melinda and her family being taunted by the Manananggal, a witch that took the form of a cat. As Melinda’s father continued to stand at his post at the front door, armed with his bolo, Melinda relates that she could still hear the witch cat laughing and screaming at them, but the burning pile of rubber flip flops was keeping the creature at bay. A half hour passed and finally the jungle fell silent; the witch was gone for the moment, and even the cry of the lizards halted.
Photo by Reiko Fimicoloud
Photoshop by Moira Goode photo courtesy of Flickr
Morning finally arrived, and though shaken by the previous evening’s horrible events, Melinda’s Mother and Father prepared the carabao for the long journey out of the jungle to San Miguel; Emily’s condition was worsening, and the carabao had to be sold to raise the funds necessary to admit the little infant to the hospital. Hospital services had to be paid for when those services were completed.
Tatay and Nanay, Melinda and the family reach the outskirts of San Miguel, and Nanay (Melinda’s Mother) runs into her sister Feliciana, a local healer. They had not seen each other for months. “Have you heard there is a new Manananggal in town looking for a baby so she can eat the infant’s liver?” asks Tita (Aunt Feliciana.) Tatay and Nanay froze! That was the witch that visited their house last night! Manananggal take on the form of an attractive woman during the day, and are known to seek out the most beautiful of babies. The witch was after little Emily!
With a quivering voice, Melinda’s Mother told her sister of the visit last night. Tita grabbed her sister’s arm, and told her they had to get Emily to the local healer that had far greater powers than Tita, the healer, had. They would need an extremely powerful healer to deal with the wretched Manananggal! Tatay and Nanay, and Melinda and family along with Tita Feliciana who needed to make the necessary introductions since this particular healer was know throughout the region as “the healer of all healers”. One could not expect to just walk through his door without waiting for hours as he had a multitude of people that sought his services every day; but this was a dire situation. Immediate action was needed.
Tita Feliciana intervened. The healer listened to the story of the previous night’s harrowing event. His face remained stoic. Did not nod in agreement or disagreement with anything said. Asked no questions. He knew how to deal with this menace. The Healer instructed Melinda’s Mother and Father to go out and purchase a black chicken and then come back with it and Baby Emily. Fortunately it was early Sunday morning, the busiest market day in San Miguel. It did not take long for Tatay and Nanay to purchase a black chicken. They rushed back to The Healer with the ailing Emily, Melinda and the rest of the family in tow.
As witnessed by Melinda, The Healer chopped off the head of the black bird with one swift blow of the bolo. He poured the blood of the chicken out into a vessel, and made the sign of the cross on Emily’s forehead, legs, arms, and stomach. Then he took some ginger and rubbed that on the infant Emily. The Healer instructed Tatay and Nanay to go straight home, but be sure to leave the candles lit the whole evening.
Melinda’s family made the long journey back home to the jungle. Nanay fed Emily some milk. She hungrily drank all of it. Did not vomit any of it. Nanay fed her some rice porridge. Again Emily ate it all, and again, did not get sick. The house was lit with every candle available in every room. Nightfall came again. Emily went to sleep quickly, still covered with the dried chicken blood; it was the first time in almost a month that she slept so peacefully. The little one did not get ill the whole day since she left The Healer that morning. Tatay sat near the front door the whole evening with his bolo nearby, but the night slipped away without any event.
Morning came, and Emily again drank all her milk and ate her porridge. Nothing happened, she was completely healed. The chicken’s blood was then washed off of her, and Nanay patted her dry, and held her in her arms, grateful for what The Healer had done. Oh, and the carabao? It was still there. Didn’t need to sell it now. The witch? Don’t know what happened to her, but a new one has taken her place here in San Miguel now. She is a young one in the second year of high school, and it is said she is looking for a beautiful young child to devour that child’s liver. Again, The Sainted Patient Wife was eyewitness to this account, and swears it is true. Who am I to say? Many forces of darkness battle against the good every day in this world. I am but a stranger in a strange land.