Beliefs: Luck and Ancient Filipinos

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The supernatural beliefs of ancient Filipinos can be gleaned from the Hagiographas of Spanish conquistadores. historiographers. and missionaries. At the clip of colonisation. the population of the Philippines was estimated to be 700. 000–based on the nose count of testimonials implemented by Governor Gomez Perez Dasmarinas whose term of office merely lasted three old ages from 15901593. Harmonizing to Fr. Pedro Chirino. Antonio de Morga and other Spanish authors. the ancient Filipino believed in a supreme being called Bathala. the Godhead of Eden and Earth. and all living things.

Under this allpowerful God was a pantheon of lesser Gods like the Visayan goddess of crop and fire Lalahort ; the Bagobo God of war Darago. and Apolaki. the Pangasinan God of war. Pre-Spanish Filipinos besides worshipped the liquors of their ascendants called anitos. They carved wooden or rock graven images to stand for their Gods and anitos. which they kept in their places and propitiated with nutrient. animate beings and other forfeits to convey about success in war. a bountifuI crop. or a happy matrimony.

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However. non all anitos were benevolent. Bad anitos existed in the forms of the liquors of dead tribal enemies. In A Short History of the Philippines. the Filipino historian Nicolas Zafra provinces: Besides the Supreme God. there were lesser Gods or liquors. They were called anitos. There was an anito of the woods and mountains. They prayed to him whenever they went out to those topographic points to run or acquire lumber. There was an anito of the deep-rooted field who they invoked for good crop.

There was an anito of the seas. They prayed to him for good fortune in their fishing expeditions and in their ocean trips. There was an anito of the house. excessively. They invoked him when person was ill or when a kid was born. Refering the spiritual beliefs of early Filipinos another Filipino historiographer. Gregorio Zaide. in his book History of the Filipino People. notes: During preSpanish times our people were either Muslims or Pagans. The Muslims were the “Moros” of Mindanao and Sulu. Mindoro. and Manila Bay part.

It should be remembered that at the clip of the reaching of the Spaniards. Manila and Tondo were Islamic lands. Bing superstitious. they read portents in the visual aspect of crows. crocodiles. and birds. Comets they believed to be a forerunner of bad fortune like dearth. epidemic. or war. Likewise. the ululation of a Canis familiaris or the falling of a tree at dark was an portent of decease. Sneezing before the start of a journey besides foretold decease or an accident along the manner. To cite Zaide one time once more:

Many of the superstitious beliefs of our sires still remain to the present twenty-four hours. Among them are the undermentioned: ( 1 ) when a immature miss sings before a range. she will get married an old widowman ; ( 2 ) when a biddy cackles at midnight. an single adult female is giving birth to a kid ; ( 3 ) when a pregnant adult female cuts off her hair. she will give birth to a hairless babe ; ( 4 ) when a cat wipes its face. a visitant is coming to the house ; and ( 5 ) when a individual dreams that one of his dentitions falls out. person in the household will decease.

The heathen priests and priestesses were called katalonas and babaylanas. severally. They officiated in ritual forfeits. aside from functioning as doctors. forecasters and Prophetss. The highest priest. akin to a bishop. was called a sonat. It was he who appointed the priests and priestesses. The sacrificial rite was performed either inside or outside the house. and normally ended in banqueting and conviviality. Our ascendant subscribed to the construct of life after decease. They believed that each person has an immortal psyche that travels to the other universe.

The psyche of good and weather work forces travel to a Eden called Kalualhatian. whereas the psyche of evil work forces are flung into a snake pit known as Kasamaan. To fix the dead for his journey to the underworld. his relations placed nutrient. vino. gold. arms. and other personal effects and commissariats in his grave. When a datu died. his slaves were killed and buried with him. to function his demands in the hereafter. In footings of burial patterns. the cadaver was embalmed. placed in a casket made of difficult wood or a burial jar. and finally buried in a grave or a cave.

Miguel de Loarca. a conquistador. gives a in writing description of the supernatural beliefs and spiritual patterns of ancient Filipinos in Relacion de las Yslas Filipinas. a treatise on the Philippine islands that was published in Arevalo. Spain. in June 1582. Fr. Juan de Plasencia. a Franciscan missionary who came to the Philippines in 1577. besides dwelt on the same affair extensively in Dos Relaciones. which saw printing in 1589. Miguel de Loarca studies. sing the belief of ancient Filipinos in the fate of psyches: They say that there is in the sky another God called Sidapa.

This God possesses a really tall tree on saddle horse Mayas. There he measures the lives of all the newborn. and places a grade on the tree ; when the person’s stature equals this grade. he dies instantly. It is believed that at decease all psyches go straight to the infernal parts but that. by agencies of the manganitos. which are the forfeits and offerings made to the God Pandaque in sight of the saddle horse of Mayas. they are redeemed from Simuran and Siguinarugan. Gods of the lower parts. It is said that. when the Yligueynes dice. the God Maguayen carries them to Inferno.

When he has carried them there in. his barangay. Sumpoy. another God. wisecracks Forth. takes them off. and leads them to Sisiburanen. the God mentioned before. who keeps them all. Good or bad likewise. he takes them all on equal footings. when they go to Inferno. But the hapless. who have no 1 to offer forfeits for them. stay everlastingly. in the hell. and the God of those parts eats them. or keeps them everlastingly in prison. From this it will be seen how small their being good or bad helps them. and how much ground they have to detest poorness.

The supernatural ritual performed by babaylanas. Loarca vividly depicts: The priestesses dress really gaily. with Garlands on their caputs. and are glorious with gold. They bring to the topographic point of forfeit some pitarrillas ( a sort of earthen jar ) full of rice-wine. beside a unrecorded pig and a measure of prepared nutrient. Then the priestess chants her vocals and invokes the devil that appears to her all glistening in gold. Then he enters her organic structure and hurtle her to the land. foaming at the oral cavity as one possessed.

In this province she declares whether the ill individual is to retrieve or non. In respect to other affairs. she foretells the hereafter. All this takes topographic point to the sound of bells and tympanums. Then she rises and taking a lance. she pierces the bosom of the pig. They dress it and fix a dish for the devils. Upon an communion table erected at that place. they place the appareled pig. rice. bananas. vino. and all the other articles of nutrient that they have brought. All this is done in behalf of ill individuals. or to deliver those who are confined in the infernal parts.

It appears that witchery was a common pattern among ancient Filipinos. as Loarca describes with involvement: In this land are magicians and witches–although there are besides good doctors. who cure diseases with medicative herbs ; particularly they have a redress for every sort of toxicant. for there are most fantastic antidotal herbs. The indigens of the islands are really superstitious. accordingly. no indigen will ship on any ocean trip in a vas on which there may be a caprine animal or a monkey. for they say that they will certainly be wrecked. They have a 1000 omens of this kind.

For a few old ages past they have had among them one signifier of witchery that was invented by the indigens of Ybalon after the Spaniards had come here. This is the supplication of certain devils which they call Naguined Arapayan and Macburubac. To these they offer forfeits. dwelling of coconut oil and a crocodile’s tooth ; and while they make these offerings. they invoke the devils. This oil they sell to one another ; and even when they sell it they offer forfeits and invoke the devil. biding him that the power that he possesses may be transferred to the purchaser of the oil.

They claim that the simple declaration that one will decease within a certain clip is sufficient to do him decease instantly at that clip. unless they save him with another oil. which counteracts the former. This witchcraft has done a great trade of injury among the Pintados. because the devil plays fast ones on them. The spiritual have tried to rectify this immorality. by taking off from them the oil and castigating them. Loarca besides mentions a signifier of divination or luck stating used by pre-Spanish Filipinos: These indigens have a method of projecting tonss with the dentitions of a crocodile or of a wild Sus scrofa.

During the ceremonial they invoke their Gods and their ascendants. and inquire of them as to the consequence of their wars and their journeys. By knots or cringles. which they make with cords. they foretell what will go on to them: and they resort to these patterns for everything that they have to set about. Native beliefs refering decease are besides included in Loarca’s Hagiographas. For illustration. pre-Spanish Filipinos believed that those who are stabbed to decease. eaten by crocodiles. or killed by pointers climb on a rainbow to heaven and germinate into Gods. Those who die by submerging are most luckless.

Their psyches are trapped in a watery grave forever. Those who die immature are believed to be the victims of hobs called mangalos who eat their bowels. For those who die in their old age. the air current comes and snatches their psyches. When person dies. his relations light torches near his house. At dark armed guards are posted around he coffin to forestall magicians from touching it. for fright that it would split unfastened and a awful malodor will publish from the cadaver. When their male parent or female parent dies. the kids of grownup age mourn by fasting and are forbidden to eat rice until they win in prehending a prisoner in conflict.

Occasionally. a adult male. after a relative’s decease. vows to eat nil and finally dies of hungriness. Fr. Juan de Plasencia takes into history that the pre-Spanish Filipinos had a fundamental cognition of uranology and were steadfast trusters in portents: Some of them besides adored the stars. although they did non cognize them by their names. as the Spaniards and other states know the planets–with one exclusion of the forenoon star. which they called Tala. They knew excessively. the “seven small goats” ( the Pleiades ) –as we call them–and. accordingly. the alteration of seasons. which they call Mapolom and Balatic. which is our Greater Bear.

They were. moreover. really apt to happen signs in things they witnessed. For illustration. if they left their house and met on the manner a snake or rat. or a bird called Tigmamanuguin which was singing in the tree. or if they chanced upon anyone who sneezed. they returned at one time to their house. sing the incident as an sign that some evil might bechance them if they should go on their journey–especially when the above-named bird American ginseng. This vocal had two different signifiers: in one instance it was considered as an evil portents ; in the other. as a good portents. and so they. continue their journey.

They besides practised divination. to see whether arms. such as a sticker or knife. were to be utile and lucky for their owner whenever juncture should offer. Judging pre-Spanish Filipinos through the eyes of a Christian. Fr. Plasencia flatly branded all types of heathen patterns as devil worship and divided their practicians into 12 classs: The differentiations made among the priests of the Satan were as follows: The first. called catolonan. was either a adult male or a adult female.

This office was an honest 1 among the indigens. and was held normally by people of rank. this regulation being general in all the islands. The 2nd they called mangagauay or enchantresss. who deceived by feigning to mend the sick. These priests even induced maladies by their appeals. which in proportion to the strength and efficaciousness of the witchery are capable of doing decease. In this manner. if they wished to kill at one time they did so: or they could protract life for a twelvemonth by adhering to the waist a unrecorded snake which was believed to be the Satan. or at least his replacement.

The 3rd they called manyisalat. which is the same as mangagauay. These priests had the power of using such redresss to lovers that they would abandon and contemn their ain married womans. and in fact could forestall them from holding intercourse with the latter. If the adult female. constrained by these agencies. were abandoned. it would convey sickness upon her. and on history of the abandonment she would dispatch blood and affair. This office was besides general throughout the land. The 4th was called mancocolam whose responsibility it was to breathe fire from himself at dark. one time or oftener each month.

This fire could non be extinguished ; nor could it be therefore emitted except as the priest wallowed in the fecal matter and crud that falls from the houses ; and he who lived in the house where the priest was wallowing in order to breathe this fire from himself. fell badly and died. This office was general. The fifth was called hocloban. which is another sort of enchantress of greater efficaciousness than the mangagauay. Without the usage of medical specialty and by merely toasting or raising the manus. they killed whom they chose. But if they desired to mend those whom they had made ailment by their appeals. they did so by utilizing other appeals.

Furthermore. if they wished to destruct the house of some Indian hostile to them. they were able to make so without instruments. This was in Catanduanes. an island off the upper portion of Luzon. The sixth was called silagan. whose office it was. if they saw anyone clothed in white. to rupture out his liver and eat it. therefore doing his decease. This. like the preceding. was in the island of Catanduanes. Let no 1. moreover. see this a fable: because. in Calavan. they tore out in this manner through the anus all the bowel of a Spanish notary. who was buried in Calilaya by male parent Fray de Merida.

The seventh was called magtatangal. and his intent was to demo himself at dark to many individuals. without his caput or visceras. in such manner the Satan walked about and carried. or pretended to transport. his caput to different topographic points ; and. in the forenoon. returned it to his organic structure staying. as earlier. alive. This seems to me to be a fable. although the indigens affirm that they have seen it. because the Satan likely caused them so to believe. This occurred in Catanduanes.

The eighth they called osuang. which is tantamount to “sorcerer” ; they say that they have seen him wing. and that he murdered work forces and ate their flesh. This was among the Visayas Island: among the Tagalogs these did non be. The 9th was another category of enchantresss called mangagayoma. They made appeals for lovers out of herbs. rocks. and wood. which would inculcate the bosom with love. Therefore did they lead on the people. although sometimes. through Satans. they gained their terminals. The ten percent was known as sonat. which is tantamount to. “preacher.

” It was his office to assist one to decease. at which clip he predicted the redemption or disapprobation of the psyche. It was non lawful for the map of this office to be fulfilled by others than people of high standing. on history of the regard in which it was held. This office was general throughout the islands. The eleventh. pangatahojan. was a forecaster. and predicted the hereafter. This office was general in all the islands. The twelfth. bayoguim. signified a cotquean. a adult male whose nature inclined toward that of a adult female. In Myths and Symbols Philippines. Fr.

F. R. Demetrio. S. J. . describes a sort of psychic induction antediluvian Filipino priestesses underwent before presuming their sacred functions: We have it on dependable beginnings that shortly after the coming of Christianity ( Alcina 1668 ) . the call to the office of bailana or daetan ( priestess ) among the Bisayans began exactly with this lunacy. or tiaw that the campaigner underwent. Alzina has interesting narratives stating of merely this fact: The hereafter bailanas were wont to be lost for rather some clip. They were said to be brought into the wood by the liquors.

When eventually found. they were seen sitting absently among the high subdivisions of trees. or seated under a tree. particularly the balete. Sometimes. excessively. these people were found blunt bare. with dishevelled hair. possessed with a strength beyond the ordinary. Constantly they appeared to hold forgotten their former egos. A power that they were powerless to agitate off had them under its entire laterality. Merely after these people had been cured of their initial unwellness. did they get down to work as bailanas. This map made them the specializers of the sacred in the community. In the aforesaid book. Fr.

Demetrio recreates the belief of ancient Filipinos sing the nature of the psyche. based on the observations of Don Isabelo de los Reyes in La Antigua Religion de la Filipinas. To cite the Jesuit bookman: Juxtaposing the description of Edward Taylor with transitions from De los Reyes in Religion Antigua these points are clear: 1. That the liquors of the dead of the early Filipinos was immaterial but possessed of an aerial organic structure which resembled its corporeal proprietor. and appeared like a fume or shadow. for the psyches are in the signifier of fume or shadow ; and though unobserved. they are hearable.

2. The spirit independently of its corporeal proprietor possesses personal consciousness. will and love for its life relations whom it visits either on the 3rd or 9th twenty-four hours after decease. and for this intent the Windowss of the house of the bereaved are ever unfastened. the entrywaies are spread with ashes for the spirit to go forth its imprint on them. 3. Though intangible and unseeable. still it manifests physical power in the noises it makes to do its presence felt. The liquors can entice the liquors of the life to lose their liquors and go insane.

4. That the spirit of the dead can incarnate itself in animate beings. Over three centuries of Spanish colonisation and Christianization wrought their impact in reshaping the supernatural beliefs of Filipinos. From the ancient worship of Bathala. most Filipinos have shifted their religion to Jesus Christ. From reverencing diwatas or mountain goddesses. many Filipinos have become devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. And from have oning appeals. local trusters have switched to scapulars and spiritual decorations.

Yet somehow the supernatural beliefs and patterns of their ascendants still exert a major influence in the day-to-day lives of modern Filipinos. This is apparent in the many rites of common people Catholicism that bear a strong resemblance to their heathen opposite numbers. This is evident in many Filipinos of today who still wear appeals and talismans. and on a regular basis consult mediums. religion therapists and even enchantresss. Most of all. this decision is reinforced by the groundswell of local cults that espouse a happy blend of Christian and heathen beliefs. if non a complete return to the supernatural tradition of their ascendants.

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