Philippine Folklore Myths And Legends
Philippine Folklore Myths And Legends Reviews
Oct 09, 2007
damn i couldnt sleep again - its 2 am, so i'd write to make me tired, and i just thought about writing some interesting unknown cultural facts about my country.
since i was a child, my grandfather (now deceased) and me - if was visiting the province, used to wake me up at 4 am and walk towards the sea, as we walk along the path towards the sea, he carries with him "buntot-pagi" all the time to scare off evil spirits that would disturb us along the way (a buntot-pagi is the dried and preserved tail of the manta ray which according to shamans in the phils scare off evil spirits). as a seven year old child, i was already aware of these stuff, because my grandfather was a well known shaman in his neighborhood. he always surprises me with stories and some superstitions he had witnessed in his life. now the reason why were going to the sea in the middle of darkness (no flashlight only the stars guiding) and very very quiet and still time of the night, because he wanted me to witness in the open sea the "santelmo" (st. elmo's fire) and he was always telling me if i saw one, we follow it until it would stop and at the end of its blaze there is an "agimat" (amulet) to be found (but of course i never saw one). sadly, we were doing this for almost everyday that time, regretfully, that would be the last time i would spend with my grandfather because i never returned to the province and he died withouth me even in his side and i was his favorite "apo" (grandson) because of my neverending curiosities about life.
let me share to you some creatures of the night in our folklore and an experience when i was 7 years old.
aswang - my favorite night creature, as a child in my province, i would sit down with my cousins and my grandfather would tell us stories about it - in the day they are maidens, aloof to people, solitary and usually pretty. but at night they turn into fierce blackish hairy creature with fiery red eyes and prey in pregnant women and suck the child out of the womb by its tongue. and the only thing to protect pregnant women is to put garlic around her because they hate the smell of garlic and smoke pomelo skins (a fruit i dont know whats in english) under the house. it is not only that, but aswangs fascinate me... my grandfather says that to be able to recognize an aswang in its human form, one should look in their eyes and if you see your reflection upside down, then that would be it. they can also mingle with people and usually offer foods which is always accompanied by liver and if you eat it, you could turn into aswang by yourself. in the province (because i can understand cebuano) when i was young - of course theres no tv in early 80's we used to gather around a small radio to hear a radio play of aswang series hahaha.. my god.. and after, me and my cousins scare each other!
tikbalang - half man and half horse - but its completely different from a centaur - centaurs had the half upper body of the man the lower of the horse, but the tikbalang is the opposite - the upper half is horse and lower half is human. some say that they disorient the travelers at night and make them lose their orientation, but my the sister of my grandfather told me that they are harmless, because hse saw one in her life just eating pumpkins and destroyed her vegetable garden and they smell really bad.
engkanto or diwata - these are the creatures of the mountains and forests - like nymphs. they can also mingle with humans if they want to, but my grandfather said to be able to recognize one is that they would ask, if ever they are served with food - no salt in it. they can be very helpful and naughty, and if they like a person they would take them with in their place and offer different kinds of food (unsalted) and if one ate it, he can never return back to his own world.
i had once an experience when i was 7, since i look different from my cousins - i was always the center of attention whenever i go to the province, they used to tease me "mestisong hilaw" (fake mestizo) hahaha :D and my cousins dont really like to play with me that time, because im too young and weak and they would go far in the forests with their "tirador" (slingshot) and come home with birds they shot. so i was left alone, it was about midday, and i was playing in front of the house, and suddenly a man came to me, he was tall and goodlooking (but his face was always covered with light) he offered his hand and wanted me to come with him. so i did.. we were just walking around and around the village - i see people, and i im calling them - funny, they couldnt hear me and the man was smiling at me all the time but he didnt talked and then suddenly he left me, and i was in the middle of nowhere, i was crying but no one was helping me, they couldnt even see me. then its starting to get strange, because im just in the neighborhoob but i couldnt find my grandfathers house and it was getting dark and i remembered what my grandfather told me (AT SEVEN YEARS OLD) that i should wear my shirt backside, then suddenly i saw my cousin looking at me and he asked where i had been? i told him that i was just walking and walking around but i couldnt find the house. and he said that "napaglaruan ka ng engkanto" (you were lured and played by an engkanto) and congratulated me that i did what my grandfather told me, or else he would take me.
ok, i feel sleepy now hehehehe, if youre still interested, more folklores to come :D
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