Magic or Anting Anting run in the family down my Filipino grandmothers line. I recently found out about her father who was apparently a very powerful witch doctor. There were numerous times during the Japanese invasion that his magic helped him and his family escape disasters. Such as when he hid behind a single bamboo stem and wasn’t seen, or when he and his family were shot at in their home but despite the sacks of rice behind them being torn to shreds, they remained unharmed. My grandmother also has the gift, Which she has had to put to good use recently because of all the illness at the moment, her adopted son has a bad fever and so does Maxuel, my kuyas oldest son who lives with her. first she has a vessel of water and a candle. She melts wax on the surface which forms a shape, this is how the diagnosis begins. She needs to pinpoint what kind of curse is causing the illness. Then comes the prayer, usually with the wax wrapped in paper or the first laid egg of a native chicken (if you have one handy), i know its surprising, but yes she prays to her Christian god, and when questioned about the contradiction, she quite calmly explained that he was the almighty and generally much nicer to deal with than the devil. Treatments are quite harmless, a massage usually, in fact the tagalog word for massager also means healer. Massage is done with warm oils or some kind of herb, limes are good for chesty illnesses and guava leaves are good for most other things, Im sure that many other things can be used. I’ve fallen asleep in a dim room to the sound of my grandmothers softly said prayers and the scent of lemony oils. Not an unpleasant experience.
I’ve grown up with it, it wasn’t until I was forced to look around myself through Julians eyes that I really started to see. The lady on the jeepney with a cute baby, Julz and i spent a good part of the ride admiring the little girl, but we were not let off the bus without licking one of our fingers and touching her leg, in case we accidentally took a part of her spirit. The strange bird who you must never imitate, because if you do, the bird and any others nearby will follow you home and plague you. The evil spirit who lives in the bushes by my grandmothers house, who came close to claiming her grandson when he was found sleepwalking out to it. The time that Anna (julz sister) and i both went to do a wee in the bushes and we were told to ask the invisible dwarves to move first, in case you do a wee on one and it curses you.
There are many more stories, I wanted to share just a few because they are a part of me, my family and my history.