Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Filipino Amulets: Anting-Anting

As with a Thai amulet, anting-anting is an amulet that said to grants its owner extra ordinary power.  The word anting-anting itself is derived from the word “anti,” which means against.  However, anting-anting is just the Filipinos’ version of the more widely known amulet and talisman. 


The amulet is an object worn or carried by a person in the belief that it will bring good luck or ward off evil.  They are frequently used to protect persons or livestock specifically against “magical” attacks.  On the other hand, the talisman is believed to have the power to work wonders, as in the case of Alladin’s “magic lamp”.  Some believe that the anting-anting is more powerful because it can possess both the qualities of an amulet and the talisman.


In the Philippines, anting-antings are allegedly taken from supernatural beings or imbued with power through rituals and incantations.  There are objects that are dug up in places that are believed to be inhabited by spirits or other supernatural entities; and there are those that are said to be acquired only if the seeker will undergo a certain process– a sort of an endurance test.


According to old folks, the most powerful anting-anting is the “hiyas-ng-saging” – a pearl-like globe that comes out of a ripe banana during the midnight.  A person who seeks this anting-anting must not touch it, but instead wait for the banana heart to open and expel the “hiyas” and catch it with his mouth.  The person will then have to fight a kapre, who guards the hiyas (banana spirit? Phi Pop?).  Only after defeating the kapre will he have the full power and ownership of the anting-anting.


Some people actively seek anting-anting because of its promise of power.  Anting-anting allegedly imbues its owners the power of invulnerability, invisibility, healing, or even the ability to fly or predict the future.  In fact, some, who claim to possess such objects, trek annually (during Holy Week) to Mount Banahaw in Quezon Province to “recharge” their anting-antings.  Mount Banahaw seems to have a special charm to those who believe in the supernatural.


But is there really any truth to the claim of those who possess such anting-antings?


If you are to inspect its physical composition, you will realize that there is nothing extraordinary about anting-antings.  They are mostly just crude pieces of metals with undecipherable inscriptions on them. But we can't really tell about the spiritual content, can we? Keep the faith as the power is only for the beholders ;-)!


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