We may live in a modern 20th century world, however, we can still witness a lot of people still practicing the beliefs of our forefathers. Much as we respect them, oftentimes we just don’t want anything bad to happen to us thus, there’s no harm in following them.
However, much of these superstitions may limit our potentials in many ways and may not be applicable during these times. Though recalling some of them, they may sound silly, but it was sure fun to do them while we were young because of the things associated with it.
Listed below are the super pinoy superstitions, together with a potential limitation and some controversies.
10. On building a house or similar structures for occupancy – paint or splash some blood from pigs or chickens on every pillar of a newly erected dwelling.
1. This is to serve the spirits living in the area so they wouldn’t harm the new occupants.
2. In return, the spirits will make the structure more durable.
Origin: Filipino paganism practice before the arrival of Christianity.
Limitations: Some people cannot afford the offering therefore, does that make their homes less durable? When buildings are erected, this would be a very costly practice that could sum up to millions in budget without a solid proof of protection.
Controversies: In the late 1960’s to early 1970’s, there was a myth that a lot of children had been lost and were never found. It was then associated with the rumor that they were abducted, killed, and their blood was used for the erection of San Juanico Bridge, the longest Philippine Bridge.
Good memories: Though there were no real proofs and until this day this remained a myth, the parents used this scary story until the 1990’s so children and teenagers would not stay out late at night.
9. On creating a staircase, the bottom up to the topmost steps should not be dividable by three. The three-step series stand for “Oro” (gold), “Plata” (silver), and “Mata” (death, but mata is literally a Spanish word for “kill”). Therefore, the total steps should fall to gold or silver to bring wealth.
There were no known purpose for this superstition, as some just pointed out that the evil spirits like to do the “eeny meeny miny moe” for their victim. Now you wouldn’t want that!
Origin: This popular architectural belief has existed in countless Feng Shui books, however, from the words “oro” “plata” and “mata” alone, it’s also quite unsure if this was from a Spanish belief. This belief is very popular to exist in the Philippines. Another proof that this doesn’t come from the Chinese, is because they don’t believe that number 3 is bad, rather, number 4 is, because “four” almost sounds like “die” in their language. Thus any number 4 is taken into serious account in China.
Limitations: There isn’t much limitation, however, if you’re going to have your dream home, this concept is quite scary, especially when you just knew about it AFTER the stairs were already built and you weren’t informed. Jeepers!
Controversies: A film in 1982 entitled “Oro Plata Mata” received multiple awards. A story of a family that depicts this superstition.
Good memories: the longer the stairs, the longer the rails you can ride and slide on. Weeeee!
8. Wearing red in wakes and funerals is prohibited.
Colors have their own meanings. Bright colors especially red is a symbol of love and happiness. Though we might love the person who is deceased, it’s just inappropriate to be happy during the event. To pay respect to the family of the dead and the dead himself/herself, it’s just better to follow it than be sorry. You wouldn’t want to be in their shoes, would you?
Almost all people around the world agrees that red is a color of love and happiness. So, as a time for mourning, this color is simply unacceptable at such times.
It is during such times that we almost don’t want to be fashionable and think about what to wear. Simplicity is the key, however, at such times we just pick some clothes that seem comfortable not minding the colors and could accidentally wear red. Many young generation just simply want to extend their condolences and support the family by visiting during wakes and attending funerals, wearing red by accident or simply because of lack of information regarding this belief. It’s quite rude to send them away because they definitely don’t mean any ill will.
You will be controversial if you wear this color during wakes and funerals.
7. Bringing home food from a wake or funeral is a bad thing.
1. The food offered during wakes and funerals are served as a means of thanking the visitor, however, the visitor is not only you, there will be others coming so, as a sign of consideration, only take what you can consume.
2. The family just lost someone. Aside from the loved one, death could also mean expenses, and other unexpected expenses. Bringing home some food is just like hoarding from someone who already lost so much. How insensitive!
3. Scientifically, dead bodies are very attractive to microorganisms, aside from that, you might not know the entire story of what illness caused the person to die. Microorganisms are not just attracted to dead bodies, just like you, they also like food.
Not sure where this originally came from. However, this isn’t just superstition, this is plain common sense and ethical practice.
There are no limitations in following this belief. This is a good practice and deserves continuity of the act. However, after mentioning the microorganisms, surely some of you wouldn’t want to eat the food served during vigils. The limitation there is, it’s also rude to refuse and not eat any food when attending.
Many Filipinos practice attending wakes just because of the food. From many observations, during prayers, there isn’t much cooperation, but during food serving, suddenly the numbers grow. Knowing these kind of people, they are worst than the microorganisms. At least those bacteria gave balance to our world and they are just…bacteria. But those who attend wakes just for the food are normally called…parasites.
Talking and joking with friends and relatives until sunrise over peanuts and coffee is a warm memory. These are the times you wished would happen often, but not on vigils.
6. Sleeping with wet hair causes blindness or insanity in the long run.
So people won’t take a bath before bedtime?
Probably, in the old days, this is due to the difficulty in accessing water and to avoid wasting too much of it. Thus, bathing at night is discouraged. Not to mention, that the type of work years ago are farming, crafting, fishing, which are almost physically draining thus, bathing cold water during nighttime causes muscle spasms linking to different physical ailments, but which is still considered a myth.
During those times, people use candles in the evening. Anyone doing crafts at night using their eyes, and bathing in cold water afterwards will surely experience problems in the visual periphery. This is perhaps (not scientific but just my theory) due to continued visual nerve dilation (focusing in the dark) and a sudden contraction (effects to the nerve when exposed to something cold). But, there were no scientific basis to this belief. To add this one myself, I bathe before sleeping so I sleep with wet hair every night. Yet, until now, I don’t even wear glasses.
Our lifestyles have changed. During the early industrialized period in the Philippines, people always go out fresh with decent clothes on, even when using public vehicles. That’s how formal they were back then. Nowadays, I hate to say this but, sometimes on your ride back home, you can sit beside a construction worker, a market vendor, and even a thief who haven’t bathe for like 3 days! Imagine getting what they have sticking on your clothes and transfer it upon arriving home. So what do you do then if you don’t bathe at night?
Some people don’t take a bath after a day’s work because of the belief that it would cause health problems. However, if you noticed, the world is getting dustier and dirtier. Those who don’t bathe before bedtime don’t know how it feels good to be fresh, which in turn gives a better quality sleep.
Some people in the old times claimed of being blind because of this practice, however, this could be purely coincidental.
Some old folks will tell you this and suddenly you get scared. You’d stay awake until your hair gets dry and constantly annoy your brother or sister so that they’ll stay awake with you.
5. If you hit your head, you knock your chin so you won’t become a loony.
When you hit your head, your brains are pushed downward, therefore, you knock your chin upward to put them back up, sort of balancing the impact.
Not sure if this existed in other regions of the country, but this practice is quite common in the Visayas region. Although this could be used as a prank or a joke at first from the adults to the children, the kids took it seriously and became dumb enough to break the habit and correct it even after growing up.
Bumping your head will not instantly make you a loony, knocking your chin will make you look like one.
A strong punch on the jaw can cause a knockout.
Your sides of the chin are very vulnerable since these are connected to the skull. However, a strong punch even in the middle portion can cause brain trauma.
A strong frequent bump between the brain and the skull can cause brain damage in the long run.
Hitting heads and knocking on chins are sometimes how children tease each other that ends up in a game, causing laughter because of how silly they all look.
4. Say “Tabi tabi po” when you pass by a mound or tiny hills, or even peeing in the woods.
Mounds or tiny hills are believed to be the homes of tiny people or dwarfs, passing by their territories is disrespectful and might cause them to curse you. Other version is that, they might be around which you couldn’t see and you might accidentally step on them. Saying the mantra “Tabi po” warns them that you are coming toward the direction, giving them a chance to get out of the way. This is the same when peeing or walking in the woods. You might accidentally pee or step on them, of which the offender could be punished.
The actual walking in the woods or toward the mounds is not scary, chanting this phrase is what makes it scary. Constantly thinking about other elements prevents people from discovering, and discovering feeds or corrects the imagination which leads to rational thinking. If people will keep on believing without proven facts, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog today.
Some people reported the curses to be true, as if they were punished by suddenly becoming ill. The question is: If some territories are ruled by such elements, how then was the city created?
Listening to scary stories is a good pastime.
3. Don’t keep your money, let it roll by buying something from it or putting it in a bank.
Probably based on the belief that the more you give, the more you receive.
Putting it in a bank is savings. But it will not make your money grow.
Many Chinoys are getting richer, and Filipino natives end up working for them. Even if you check the top ten richest businessmen in the Philippines, you’ll see what I mean. If not Chinese origin, it’s from a Spanish-Filipino clan.
When one of our friends has money, you’ll get to enjoy the treats. When you have the money, prepare to shell out for your friends. It’s not a good habit, but it’s fun.
2. When a pregnant woman craves from a certain sweet fruiting tree, or touches a certain plant, the tree will soon bear sour fruits, and the touched plant will wither or die. So the owner should send her away.
Sending the pregnant woman away is just to prevent the tree from bearing undesirable sour fruits.
This time, it’s better to believe in better to give than to receive. What to do with all the fruits anyway, surely the family could not consume them all. Unless the tree is in a hacienda. If these belief is real, 90% of our fruits today would be sour.
Another belief is that if a woman strongly craves for a certain type of fruit or other food, the child will have characteristics similar to that fruit or food. So for fair-complexioned couple, pregnant women should stay away from chocolates or else this could lead to early annulment. Just kidding!
1. A pregnant woman should only look at handsome or pretty faces and should only eat sweet and pretty fruits.
It is mainly to have a handsome, or pretty baby. Whatever she looks at or craves for, the baby will have characteristics similar to those which a conceiving woman is exposed to.
You can’t hide all the ugliness in the world. Be it faces or attitudes, or simply ruined structures, there will always be some depressing areas on the other side of things.
There were a lot of rumors in the old days were some women gave birth to babies that look like a fish, a bat, or even an octopus. These women would tell that they crave foods on what their child looks like while they were still pregnant. But these are just myths.