Buying your first home is an exciting and scary experience, especially since you don’t really have a lot of knowledge with the home buying process. What’s even worse is when you start experiencing a lot of creepy things in your new home. Like writing on the wall or mirrors, unexplainable thumping, things moving around, or your kids telling you about a new imaginary friend that sleeps in the closet at night.
Joking aside, Filipinos are very superstitious. A majority of us believe that the mystical and supernatural affects our daily lives. With this, we do all that we can to protect ourselves, and our homes, from dark and negative forces that could cause problems. We have rites and beliefs on cleansing our homes to ward off evil spirits and other unknown entities.
Below are 10 interesting ways that we Filipinos protect our homes form ghosts and bad spirits.
Padugo or the Offering of Animal Blood for Sacrifice
Padugo or blood-letting is one of the most common rituals done if a new house or building is constructed. According to the belief, this serves as an offering to the good spirits, as well as drive away the bad ones that live in the area where the house or building is going to be built. The practice is also done to prevent any accidents from happing while the workers build on the property. This practice is done in the province, but many in the rural areas also perform the ritual. The animal sacrificed for the ritual is usually a white chicken. The chicken’s throat is slit and the blood is dripped all over the site.
Having the House Blessed
This is bounded by our long history of being a religious people. For Catholics, which is the religion of more than 90% of the people in the country, when we move into a new house, we always ask a priest to bless it before we officially live in it. This is the first step to give a home good vibes and drive out any bad, mischievous supernatural beings found in the house. Also, there’s a little house party afterwards. We invite our friends and family and the blessing is done by a priest of a pastor. Holy water is sprinkled in every room of the house and prayers are recited.
Keeping Holy Water by The Altar
Although the house has been blessed by a priest or pastor, many Filipinos still keep a bottle of holy water on their altars. We believe that holy water can chase off evil and cleanse all that it touches, so having a bottle of one in handy gives us peace of mind. We often ask for holy water from the church, or ask a priest to sanctify water and turn it to holy water. The water is not only keeps to repel evil, we also keep it to bless a persons, places, and even objects.
Placing Religious Icons Everywhere
Speaking of altars, most Filipino homes have at least one altar in their home. We also have a knack of placing religious icons, pictures, figures, and candles everywhere in our homes to help protect it from evil. Every room in the house often has a cross for protection, some even have altars with figurines of the holy family, saints, and angels. Photos of saints and the holy family are also hung all throughout the house. Also, a large painting or mural display of the Last Supper is often place somewhere in the dining area.
Keeping a Bottle of Lana
Going back to our superstitious roots, we believe not only in evil spirits, but in monsters and mythical creatures as well. A common practice in the rural areas of the country is keeping a bottle of lana or oil that’s usually been bless or contains certain herbs, on the altar. This lana is said to help ward off Aswangs and other ghoulish creatures of the night. They even say that the oil in the bottle boils if an Aswang is near, which helps you get ready to protect your home.
Buntot Ng Pagi
As for protecting ourselves from an Aswang attack, the Buntot ng pagi (stingray tail) is a must-have weapon. A stingray’s tail is preserved and is made into a whip-like weapon. Many believe that if you have one of these in your home, an Aswang would not dare to go near your house. Other anit-Aswang must-haves are salt. Salt has long been known as a cleansing agent and something that can be used to ward off evil.
Hiring Paranormal Experts and Spiritualist
If you’ve been experiencing a lot of strange, unexplained activities in your home, like things moving or getting “misplaced”, the lights suddenly turning on and off, shadows lurking in the dark corner, then you might want to call an expert. Yes, some people go as far as hiring experts in the paranormal to deal with their unwanted guests. If holy water won’t do it, then maybe a spiritualist will. The paranormal expert is hired to feel the energy or presence of the spirit or otherworldly being in the home. They then attempt to talk to it and find out what it wants or what they need to do to have the being leave the home. Cleansing rituals and prayers are often done in the end to please or help the spirit move on or leave.
Chinese culture has a huge impact on us. We’ve had a good relationship with them since before the Spaniards came, and we can see their influence in our food, language, and even beliefs. Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of attracting luck, as well as driving away bad luck and evil spirits. For us Filipinos, we apply Feng Shui in our homes and businesses. We follow certain furniture arrangements based on Feng Shui to give our homes a more tranquil and safe feeling. Some people even hire a Feng Shui to help them with their home’s interior design and architecture.
Pausok or Burning Incense
Pausok is often done as a way to cleanse a house. People who’ve been experiencing strange things or have a bad luck streak often perform pausok as a way to chase off negative vibes and bad spirits. The Ambolario or the local town healer is usually the one performing this ritual. Herbs and incense are burned and the smoke is wafted all over the person’s home. It’s believed that the smell of the burning herbs and incense tells the spirits and entities to leave the place, cleansing the home like a breath of fresh air. The Ambolario also says chants and prayers that help with the ceremony.
Not Going Home after Visiting a Graveyard
This might sound silly, but the belief of stopping by somewhere else before going home after visiting a graveyard or a wake is a common practice for us. This is because we believe that bad and evil spirits could follow us home. By stopping by somewhere else, the spirits can’t follow us. Others are very specific about where to stop by, such as the place needs to be somewhere happy so as to shake off the negative and sad vibes.
Although these traditions and cleansing rituals might sound silly, many of us take them seriously. Think of it as our way of being safe than sorry, and to ensure a good night’s rest. Know any other home cleansing rituals? Share them by commenting. Don’t forget to share this article to friends and family with new homes or are having problems with the other side bothering their home.