Like any other nationalities, Filipinos also have their own superstitious beliefs. We believe in mystical beings and magical entities that all came alive from the colourful narratives of our ancestors.
The story of Juan Tamad (or Lazy John) being the most popular all stories, is being told even in the contemporary times. He was known to be the laziest man on earth. One infamous thing that he did was instead of going up to the tree to get the fruit he wanted; he laid on the ground and waited for the fruit to fall. Furthermore, another antic he was known for was the incident when Juan was running errands for his mother. he bought crabs- but being too lazy to bring the crustaceans home himself, he ordered the crabs to crawl from the market to his mother’s kitchen! His apparent laziness has caused him to become silly and funny- which surprisingly has endeared him to the simple minded populace. Perhaps that is the reason why this story keeps on resurfacing from generation to generation. This story has given potent lessons to many Filipino children- warning them of the imminent consequences of being lazy.
The Filipinos also believe in heaven and hell. This belief is largely on the account of the undeniably strong influence of the Roman Catholic Church to infuse on the Filipino public the belief on the heavenly reward for earnestly seeking to be a good christian with faith and good works and a holy fear for divine retribution and punishment. The piety and religiosity of the Filipinos stems from the three centuries of Spanish occupation whose influenced our reverence to the Cross and Christianity. In Addition, the belief in Bathala as the supreme god and the creator has survived modern times though this pre-historical name of God has been around since the ancient age of animism.
Filipinos also has this uncanny belief that their homes, gardens and properties are inhabited or visited by benevolent and sometimes evils mythical beings. The engkanto (elves- can be either good or evil) that lives in some dark corner or some old tree in the backyard, the kapre ( or elemental monster that resembles a giant and hairy human-like monster lounging on the tree branches of very old and huge trees, the tikbalang ( imagine a centaur but the other way around- head of a horse body of a man) , the aswang ( imagine a blood sucking, flesh eating vampire) It is said that these creatures feast upon the flesh of infants and little children. Horrid. Nowadays, parents use these macabre stories to persuade their children to keep them still inside the house at night time. Moreover, another very popular mythical being is the duwende ( dwarves or trolls/ goblins). These mythical creatures are said to be mischievous- they enjoy hiding things in the house and will only give it back to you depending on their mood. They can also be a source of fortune as they are believed to bestow material favour or an amazing sense of good luck on people whom they like.
The agimat ( Amulet) is also a very popular mythical item that is said to have several benefits and powers. It is an amulet that is commonly seen looking like a pendant or a jewelry. If worn depending on what its charms are intended for- the benefits ranges from making the wearer immune to bullets and blade, sickness, curse or defense against malevolent elemental spirits.The wearer can also have super strength and mental alertness. In some other stories, they said the wearer will be able to easily woo a girl for marriage.
There are still hundreds of Filipino myths and stories in every part of the Philippines being constantly told from one generation to another. Whether these stories are true or not, we can only say that Filipinos indeed have wildly imaginative minds that continues to tickle our concept of reality and provides inspiration to colourful epic plots for movies and literary works of art.
MC Pitt- Editor
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