I was raised in a traditional Filipino family wherein women have to behave accordingly and men are free to misbehave as much as they want to; a traditional family wherein superiors are the older ones and you do not have, in any way, any right to reason against them; a family wherein everybody helps one another, however difficult the situation goes; a family which is a haven cradled with traditions and old beliefs the society still follow even if Ipads and Kindles are a trending topic of today’s generation.
I remember seeing my younger cousin Ira rushing inside our aunt’s house teary eyed while yelling: “tita! Nag damgo ‘ko nga nakakas unto ko! (tita! I dreamed that one of my teeth fell off!). I raised my brows and smiled for I knew what was going to happen next).My aunt who’s a fan of Pinoy Superstitions panicked and told my cousin to bite the bark of a tree found in front of her house “para dira ma upok ang malas!” (so that it would absorb the bad omen!). My cousin, who was obedient as usual, bit the unfortunate tree which was expected to die in a day’s time because it has absorbed whatever bad thing was about to come. However, the tree is still alive until now.
Black cats, black butterfly, cleaning your house at night, breaking a glass, having dreamed of snakes—name it! these are all found in any Pinoys’ Dictionary of superstitious beliefs and are all in one label— MALAS. These superstitious beliefs are all part of our childhood and of course, our future. These beliefs often times affect our mindset and make us fear the unknown, for they sometimes suggest that something bad will happen; that something bad is actually on our way and will attack as anytime soon.
There is nothing wrong with following precautions in our beliefs as long as, we do not over do it; forgetting that we have to stand up and move to make our lives much better. Buenas will come our way when we are positive in life— how we see life makes a big impact on whichever path we take. As of the dreaded malas category, people will often say “wala may madula ah.” and yes, I agree with this. There is nothing wrong with following these precautions to avoid malas as long as we do not overreact to such things and we all know that by following these beliefs, we achieve that peace of mind.
Moreover, there are beliefs that are found in another category– the BUENAS category. Black ants inside your house represents money, keeping cooked rice in your “calderos” every new year will give you a bounty year ahead, wearing polka dots every new year (which I’m guilty of doing so) will give you a hefty fortune for the months to come, etc., These beliefs are still followed by many of us since it actually makes us have that positive mindset and thus, attracts positive energy which usually results to good things. These “buenas” superstitions are still imitated by many of us for the hope of having a better life in the days to come.
Let us treat superstitions just like the tree my cousin bit, no matter how hard we bite it, no matter how much effort we exert— it will live. we cannot erase superstitions in a snap because it is a part of our identities as Filipinos. I do not have anything against these beliefs; however, it will only go wrong if we overdo it. These beliefs will not die because we continue to nurture them, because by doing the rules of the buenas brings us absolute things in life. Whatever we do, it will always be up to us.
Our lives will always be shaped by our very own choices and not because we followed the BUENAS and avoided the MALAS.
P.S. this is an old write up that I posted on my now-deleted blog. Hope you enjoyed it.