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Ryan Fauli's Yagting Cultural Heritage Collections
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Beliefs and Superstition


In this new age of computers, surfing the net in search of any information you want to know is a  fascinating experience. In the internet you can virtually go back to Jurassic period and even to the future. As I virtually go back to some cultural past of other tribes and nations I can’t let it pass without comparing our tradition, beliefs and superstitions handed down by our ancestors generation to generation. It seems that our ancestors many years ago lived literally as an island – should I say no man is an island, but Bantoanons long ago lived as an island – and have a unique ways to interpret the voices of the mountains, the color of the sky and other natural phenomenon. The following are my lists of our beliefs, traditions and superstitions that I heard and experienced during my age of innocence in the island:

Nature's Signs
Nature's Signs
Nature's Signs

Quahaw – If Pocahontas can understand why the wolf cry to the blue corn moon, our ancestors can tell when the rain will come when they hear the pity cry of the bird quahaw. Have you not wonder if this bird will cry "I thirst" in English countries? Could it be that this bird was God-given to Asi speaking tribes to ask or foretell the coming of rains? Quahaw cries as if it is praying to the heavens for rain and very Asi in tone -"quahaw" – diminutive of Asi word "ka uhaw" - I thirst.

Tikwi – This is another kind of bird that cries "tikweeeee…". When farmers hear the cry of tikwi it means the root crop ube is ready for uprooting. No explanation was given why this bird makes a cry only during ube seasons. Maybe this bird preys on animals or insects that feed on ube tubers. Naturally when there are plenty of foods for this kind of bird it is also the season for mating – hence they make a calling chirrup or cry to attract its mate.

Perlas – A kind of pearfish that glows during the night. Our ancestors believed that a sudden influx of this kind of fish along the shoreline of the island foretells famine. Though it was an omen dreaded by our ancestors it also warns them to prepare. Beliefs say that anybody who sees this phenomenon must catch a fish and bury it in the sand with its head facing directly to the sea. This "ritual" will thwart the foreboding occurrence of famine.

Sunrise in "Tinangisan" – Tinangisan is the spot in the horizon just in front of Punta Matagar. Tinangisan literally means a place where somebody had wept or weeps on something. Our ancestors believed that when the sun rises in the spot called tinangisan it foretells rainy season is coming. The faster the sun changes its position going to tinangisan the earlier the rainy season will be. This gives hint to our farmers to plow the fields earlier and prepare the seeds needed for planting.

Moon Signs – When the moon displays a bright circular light – "upak" around her it foretells rainy season is coming. Other signs of the moon are: A crescent moon in tilting position foretells rain. Our ancestors said that heaven is in pouring position. A crescent moon positioned horizontally in the sky means "sayor" – collecting rain – sunny days will pass. Some say it is also in a boat position, which means death of somebody in the island – a boat journey to afterlife. When the moon come to pass nearest to a star our ancestors wait for news of "takbo" – elopement or is it an ideal night to utter a careless whisper to the one you love?

On lightning and thunderstorm – When there is thunderstorm pour vinegar on the main posts of the house or nipa hut. Doing this will make the house unsusceptible to stroke of lightning. It makes the roaring sound of lightning heard in a distance. I don’t know if this is still applicable to concrete houses without wooden post. Another way is to bury a knife or bolo on top of the post – scientifically this serves as lightning rod. During thunderstorm mushrooms sprout. The islanders wakeup early in the morning to gather "ligbos" – a kind of mushroom with fleshy stem and cone or "kukamalig" – small mushrooms that usually sprout in groups. The "suso’t kugita" – kulogo also disappears when you slap it with your palm as the lighting bursts. When a lightning bursts in the middle of a sunny day and it is heard only once within that day, our ancestors decipher it that a very important person will die.

Other signs on weather condition – Reddish color of the sky at dusk or dawn foretells rain. Rainbow seen in the island in a straight position foretells typhoon. Native pigs "playfully in the mood" foretell storm. Sea birds flying near the island foretell typhoon.

Our ancestors said that never ever sweep falling leaves and debris right after the typhoon is over for surely the typhoon will come back. Washing clothes right after a typhoon is also not advisable for it brings the same fate. Our ancestors forecast that a sudden lull during typhoon means that the typhoon will stay longer. Scientifically this is true when the eye of the storm hits the island. The typhoon comes back blowing in opposite direction. That was maybe the reason why we are warned "aya kamo’g panilhig uya pa nalipas ng bagyo… baka isag kina magbalik".

More of our beliefs and superstition to follow... come again...
For comments and suggestions please email me.