“Gloria Mannanggal” – Tabi Tabi Po!

November 30, 2009

When you walk down the streets of  the SOMA district at night, it’s almost always guaranteed that you’ll fear for your survival what with all the creepy sketch people walking around. Word of advice? Go with a group of friends – that way you can all run away from the crazy drug addicts trying to hit on you together. In whatever the case,  the walk down 6th St. was well worth the risk to see the amazingness that is Tabi Tabi Po.

I remember feeling all artsy and cool to be able to go to an art show gallery in San Francisco in the late hours of the night. It was always on my list of things to do and I’m glad Tabi Tabi Po was my first experience in this type of scene. I was mainly excited about the fact that all the artwork were based on the legends and myths that sit at the core of Filipino traditions.

For as long as I can remember, I was always told by my Lola to “Sleep early anak ko, or the aswang will come in your window and get you!” I always use to pull the covers over my head and nearly suffocate myself because I was so scared. Tabi Tabi Po showed me a whole different side to these myths and legendary creatures – a different person’s perspective, I guess. It was interesting seeing the artwork and how every artist had their own portrayals of the mannanggal or the aswang. My favorite interpretation of the mannanggal was this one:


I think this was by far the cutest mannanggal I have ever seen in my life. I mean, granted, it’s not the most flattering picture but it definitely shines a whole new light on how I see these supposed deadly, vicious creatures. There’s such a strong use of red and black in the right places to accentuate the fact that you’re only looking at the top half of the mannanggal.

One of the pieces that really made me laugh was the political strike at Imelda Marcos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. (Seen below.) I never would’ve expected to find a piece that would portray Marcos and Arroyo similar to that of these mythological creatures. I couldn’t stop laughing in my head when I saw the words: Gloria Mannanggal. So witty and clever. Props to the artist who made this:


Overall, I had a really good experience with Tabi Tabi Po. The whole ambiance of the gallery was just right for the artwork, especially with the funky background music that sounded like an aswang was chasing you down or something. There were so many things that was right about the exhibit that I could probably sit and talk for days about it. I even brought one of my roommates with me because I had such high hopes and expectations for the whole thing. Expectations met. In the end, I think it’s safe to say I’m less scared about a dwende or an aswang – but let me not speak too soon. 🙂


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