Five Filipino superstitious beliefs

Five Filipino superstitious beliefs

As what they say, there’s nothing to lose if one believes in superstition. Being innate among Filipinos, superstitious beliefs or what we call as “pamahiin” have been existent ever since the time of our ancestors and are just passed on to succeeding generations for centuries. These are believed to be made to prevent someone to do something in order to get rid of danger or unwanted events.

Without any confirmation or studies that prove whether these beliefs are true, some still comply given that some events that took place seem to prove its rationality. Though others think that such do not have any basis and has nothing to do with the things that are believed to happen, some Filipinos still care to try.

Some consider superstition as a reflection of the Filipino culture and tradition, and they also believe that following the practices can save them from bad luck and even death. Here are some of Filipino superstitions you might want to know.

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1. Oro, Plata, Mata

Five Filipino superstitious beliefs

Oro, Plata, Mata (Photo from

This superstitious belief is popular in Southern Luzon where people count the stairs in their house. When cement or wooden stairs are being constructed, you must count each step from the bottom to the top by threes while saying ‘Oro, Plata, Mata’ which means gold, silver, and death. If the topmost step falls under oro or plata, good fortune is believed to happen to the owners of the house. But if the top step falls under mata, the owners will experience bad luck.

2. Headless photograph

Five Filipino superstitious beliefs

A girl in the photo appeared to be headless (Photo from

Have you ever taken a ‘selfie’ where you cannot see your head or face? One Filipino superstition says that if you or another person cannot see a person’s face or head, it means that person is about to die. While this belief might freak that person out, there is a way to prevent his ‘death’. It is said that if the person takes off the clothes he is wearing on that very moment and bury it to the ground as soon as possible, he could cheat death.

3. Origin of “tao po” when knocking on doors

Five Filipino superstitious beliefs

Filipinos often say “tao po” (human here) whenever we would want to enter someone’s house. This might seem like our way of finding out whether people are actually inside that house, but saying “tao po” back in the old times is also a way of informing the owner of the house that his visitor is actually a human and not another being such as enkantos, fairies, and dwarfs that do not know how to speak the way humans do.

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4. Scent of flower or candle in a house

Five Filipino superstitious beliefs

Flower and candle scent superstition (Photo screen captured from

Smelling a scent of flower or candle when there is nothing such inside your house suggests death. A superstitious belief says that when you smell odd scents such as that of flower or candle, a family member, relative, or a friend is either dying or had just died.

5.  'Pagpag'

Five Filipino superstitious beliefs

After visiting a dead person's wake, you might want to drop by a store or a friend's house or anywhere you can think of before going back to your house. According to this belief, one should not go straight back home after visiting a wake for the dead person will follow you in your house. The superstition is referred to as "pagpag" which when translated, means shaking off excess dirt. - AA, Kami Media

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