by Chelsearth on 23/04/08 at 2:39 am
How time-old beliefs weave in and out of Philippine culture and living.
The night was young and the clouds were crowding. It was a particularly dreary day for me, with the gravity of academic frustrations and the melancholy of a non-existent social life. While walking out of the campus perimeter, a black cat from nowhere stretched its arms in front of me and continued strutting lazily. I thought to myself, “Well, that’s tough luck.” I carried on, ignoring the rumbling thunder and the singing of the crickets. Certainly nothing bad would happen to me, right? Wrong. The first drops of rain were pouring down already, and here I was without an umbrella! Logic instructs me to stay under the shade of the baletes nearby, but perhaps cellular phone snatchers were lurking nearby — or even worse! So there I go, scurrying past the ominous-looking trees that lined the streets. Later that evening, I went down in a predictable state of rain-soaked splendor… and a nasty bout of flu.
Fantastic story, isn’t it? Every one of us must have had at least one experience like that. No, not about broken hearts or failing grades (but it’s very relatable!), but about our superstitious selves defying the limits of reality and common sense.
There is no doubt that folklore — especially superstitious beliefs — still pervade in our daily lives. Christianity has not curbed it; science has not shattered its so-called integrity; and technology, while an exact medium, has only contributed even more to the permeation of the paranormal phenomena. There are all sorts of “CSI”s of the strange kind happening on television, and legends of the aswangs and engkantos are enhances its popularity by catering to the younger set in the form of literature and film. They are not just, and no longer, “old wives’ tales”, so to speak.
To say that superstition is a force of nature would be an understatement. It is deeply rooted in our culture, for they say that a nation rich in culture is equally rich with its treasure trove of magnificent mythos. From the time of oral tradition when our ancestors worshipped all sorts of pagan divinity; to the influx of the Malay, Indian and Chinese settlers when we not only shared our goods but also our popular beliefs; to the conquistador era where lands that have not been “Christianized” have been deemed wicked and nefarious; and up to this day and age, superstitions formed and swelled like a raging tide that seeped to the fertile shore.