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Belief That Sickness Is The Work Of Some Evil Spirits

Examples of such beliefs are the following:

When a child has epileptic fits or when a pregnant woman has convulsive seizures, an evil spirit is supposed to have entered the body of the child or of the woman.

When some painful and red spots appear suddenly on the body of a person who came from the field or from a thicket, an invisible hand is suspected to have mischievously touched the person.

When a man has a stroke of paralysis, an evil wind is believed to have hit him.

When a tumor grows in a part of the body, a displeased witch or a person who has contact with an evil spirit is thought to have planted it.

When a member of the family has persistent fever, the spirit of a deceased relative is presumed to remind the family of an unfulfilled obligation to the departed soul.

To scare the spirits away and to cure those afflicted by the evil spirits, the curative practices are: to flog the patient, put signs of the cross on his forehead or at every post of his house, and make all kinds of noises; sacrifice some live animals or offer some food, buyo and oil to appease the offended spirit; and wear amulets (anting.anting) to neutralize the machinations of the devil.

When a sick person is seriously ill or is pronounced by reputable physicians as hopeless or incurable, he and his family have that instinctive urge to resort to the cure of the magicians, wizards, sorcerers, voodoos, mystics, conjurers, manghihilot (sprain curer), herbokirios, or faith-healer, be it of dubious value. Remorse comes if they do not resort to such a practice because as a result of breaking away from old beliefs and practices, someone in the family might keep saying ever afterward, If only we had done this, the patient might have pulled through.

Rabies, Superstitions and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to get Rabies Shots. May 2009.

In the last few years a sane and effective rabies vaccination program has been instituted. But before that, not much was done in the way of vaccinations, but for something people did they felt work, though it was obvious it didn't. They killed the dog that bit the person, usually a child. Dogs keep their distance here are considered at best by the average Filipino, at worse by some few provincial Filipinos as tasty morsels, though the dog eating stories from what I have seen are way over told. And the practice was limited to a few in Northern Luzon, was and is repulsive to most Filipinos as it is to Westerners. I understand Korea and maybe some other countries have a taste for canine meat but it is not so popular anywhere anymore.

Killing the rabid dog who bit the child was a sure way to prevent the child or adult from dying, all felt, even if the child died. The cause of death had to be something else, not rabies. Killing the dog is sill in some places is a strong superstition practiced to prevent rabies. Though scientifically we know it does not work, it does keep the dog from biting yet another victim. Dear dogs don't bite. I still have an love my dog, though he is in the province where he is more happy and he has his rabies shots. I did pay for them, but sometimes they are free under the new program. Locals and foreigners alike praise the Government for there ever growing rabies vaccination program, hope one day rabies is no longer a problem here. It is not a major one now, but any rabies is bad.

On a personal note I had a Filipina friend bitten in her low priced rooming house by a rat. Scared of rabies she went to the emergency room. They recommended rabies shots, about 600 dollars worth. I was worried about the girl and she was terrified of dying. So I sprung for the medicine only available at Mercury Drug Stores....She got almost the full course of shots then went back to the hospital for clearance and an exam. They told here the only ones who could give her the final shots was the City Health Officer, a doctor whose name I have forgotten and don't care to remember. When she when to him, he would not give her the last and mandatory shot for rabies because he said, Rats here do not carry rabies.

I guess he was right since she never even got sick. So the money was spent and the shots were evidently taken for nothing. There are other things to complicate life here than superstition, but I will not address more of those strange things. Since we have the Internet to do research on diseases I don't think we would have gotten as deep into the problem as we did then, today....Remember, no mater which country you are in, you will find doctors disagree. But most will tell you killing the dog with rabies will not safe the life of the one who was bitten, only those others it may have bitten if not destroyed. Yes, it is a dumb superstition, but I guess it has and upside like maybe some others do too.

Don A. Herrington, May 2009

The heat or moisture of the earth neutralizes the snake venom in a snakebite.

Many people leave their skin diseases untreated because of the belief that these ailments serve as outlets for noxious substances produced in the body.

A red patch of skin is the result of the mischievous touch of an invisible hand of an anito.

No two pregnant women should live under a common roof lest one meet with a tragic accident.

Delivering twins is a result of eating twin bananas or looking at twin objects.

A child in the womb might be marked in some obscure way by what the mother has thought, felt, or seen during pregnancy. Thus, a pregnant woman should refrain from seeing horror movies and looking at grotesque pictures in comic magazines and advertising billboards.

All the wishes of the pregnant woman should be satisfied lest miscarriage take place. A husband should inquire most solicitously about all that his pregnant wife wishes to eat or to possess.

A pregnant woman should not go out at night unless she hangs her hair loose. A vampire (aswang) might trail her and suck her blood or that of her fetus.

Tying the umbilical cord of a baby girl with a string and hanging it in the front part of the house will give the baby girl many suitors when she grows up.

Air should not be allowed to seep through the skin or genital organ of a woman who has just delivered a baby. Otherwise, the woman and the baby will have frequent attacks of colic or the mother will be insane.

Certain varieties of fruits and vegetables like eggplants, squash, gabi and arrowroots should be excluded from the diet of a woman who has just given birth. Eating them may cause colic in the newly-born baby or swelling and itching on the genital organs of the mother.

A woman who has just delivered a baby will bleed if she eats unpolished rice mixed with other colored grains.

A pregnant woman should not sleep at noontime; it will cause swelling of her body.

The baby's umbilical cord should be cut with the sharpened edge of a bamboo stick. Otherwise, a spirit might make the baby suffer pain during the next five days when the cord would begin to separate from the body.

When the umbilical stump is about to be cast off between the fifth and the tenth day after birth, the baby is expected to suffer from pains.

Amulets or anting-antings protect the wearer from illnesses and help counteract witchery. They also promote good health.

Diarrhea and fever normally come with the teething of babies.

Eating too much fish causes intestinal worms.

Splashing urine on a child's face will stop its convulsions.

Peeping causes sties (kuliti).

Looking at a placenta causes a rapid deterioration of one's eyesight. Because of this belief, the placenta should be carefully wrapped in rags and immediately buried in the backyard after a mother's delivery of a baby in the house.

Should a child look at objects above his forehead as a gust of wind passes by, he will develop a squint.

An evil spirit usually goes with the fragrance of flowers at night. Anyone who smells it would also suck in the evil spirit who will eat the bridge of the nose until it crumbles down.

Every temporary tooth of a child that falls off should be buried in the moist earth under the batalan (an open bathroom next to the kitchen of a Filipino nipa house) so that it may be replaced by a permanent tooth that is resistant to decay.

Any person delivered breech or buttocks or feet first has the special power to remove fish spines in the throat of others either by simply applying his hands or handkerchief on the neck or by rubbing his saliva over it.

A sacrifice should be offered in newly opened forest areas to befriend the evil spirits that are present in those places.

Recurrence of an illness, vernacular called binat, begnat, or belnat, is caused by eating certain kinds of food or by cutting the hair too soon after illness. This relapse is best treated by fumigating the patient with smoke produced by burning the offending food or the patient's hair.

After a person dies, his soul wanders around, for a time at least, before it goes to its final assignment. To keep this soul from molesting the bereaved family, relatives, and friends, and to coax it to go to its resting place, a novena should be recited for nine consecutive days.

Friday the 13th is an unlucky day-doubly unlucky-for anyone who does any business, work, or operation.

Every year, in the month of May, a certain number of lives will be claimed by lightning or falls from trees.

If one smells a burning candle, a relative must have died.

Meeting a funeral procession is a bad omen.

If a black bird perches on the roof-top of a house, someone in that house will soon die.

 

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