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Have a meaningful Halloween by recollecting some of our local superstitions

Have a meaningful Halloween by recollecting some of our local superstitions

November is a spooky time. But other than trick or treats and hearing ghost stories we love, let’s reminisce by recollecting some of our country’s known superstitions!

Rather than mourn our inability to join Halloween parties, pull scary pranks, or visit haunted attractions like we normally do during Halloween, why not enjoy the treat of gaining knowledge instead?

Pamahiin” or superstition is a set of peculiar beliefs, a fragment of our tradition, and a beacon of Filipino culture that is passed on from generation to generation.

Here are some superstitions our elders taught us to believe.

“Tabi-tabi po”

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Although recently popularized by Netflix series “Trese,” “Tabi-tabi po” is an old chant one should say out loud to excuse themselves against spirits, and supernatural elements when wandering around unfamiliar territory like mountains and woods.

It roughly translates to “please step aside” and the superstition says this should be sworn to pay respect to unseen entities that may play a threat to your safety.

“Tao po”

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Perhaps this one is unknown for most Filipino despite practicing it daily. The statement is not just a counterpart to “knock-knock” in English, but actually means “I am a human.”

It is rooted in the belief that humans co-exist in the mortal realm alongside mythical creatures.

Thus, when we say “Tao po,” it is not meant to inform someone that a visitor has arrived, but to assure the door host that you are a human, not a supernatural being.

Bangungot/Masamang panaginip

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A Filipino term for nightmare, “Bangungot” is a common notion among Filipino households. Simply implying, a bad dream is a premonition of something bad that is about to happen.

Some usual conceptions of its versions of superstition includes it as a warning for danger, an indication that someone will die, or a disturbance from the dead that has an unfinished business.

“Oro, Plata Mata”

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Likewise the belief that number 9 is lucky, and black brings bad luck, your staircase at home means something too. According to a Filipino old saying, the step sequence of your stairs can speak your life fortune.

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Oro” means gold, “Plata” means silver, and “Mata” means death. That is why it is an unwritten rule among elders to count the number of stair steps and make sure it is divisible by three, because if not, they may have to deal with bad fate for the rest of their life.


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“Pwera-usog” is another usual and known superstition among elders that younger generations adhere to. Using your finger, you smear a baby’s forehead with your saliva while uttering the catchphrase.

Some people practice such to contradict potential harm that could linger around infants that are prone to “bati” or “usog.”

A more meaningful Halloween this 2021

Naku po! Doesn’t the list of these superstitions above give you goosebumps?

Whether amazed or scared, let’s remind ourselves the true essence of Halloween. More than frightening costumes, spine-chilling stories, and terrifying shows, we must remember those whom we lost.

So until you can, shower your loved ones with love and care, because the real horror lies in regrets.

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