Saturday, August 3, 2013

Let's Talk About Supernatural

Not the show. Sorry, fangirls.

As she has talked about in her post yesterday, me and Kate are motivating each other to do BEDA this year, and one of the perks of that is when one of us runs out of things to talk about, we can put our heads together and think of a topic that we both could talk about. Initally Kate thought of using ghosts as a topic, but I want to expand that and talk about supernatural things in general, because my family actually has quite a lot of stories on that subject. My family on my mother's side is very superstitious. My aunt and my cousins always has some creepy stories to share so I would look forward to going to Batangas to visit them. Because as much as I'm very easily scared, supernatural or ghost stories intrigue me.

The earliest supernatural story that I can remember is about this huge duhat tree in front of our house. You see in Batangas in front of our house is a little lot where we can play, and where we usually kill a pig for lechon if there's any sort of special occasion. But in that lot is a little kubo under this huge duhat tree. I don't really know how we got to talking about it but my aunt and my cousins told me that that tree is supposedly haunted by an aswang, and is magical. Apparently if that tree was cut down, every single tree or shrub in the town of Talisay will die. I know it sounds far-fetched, even six year old me thought so. But the interesting thing that I found is that when I came back to the Philippines, to our house in Batangas, I discovered that our little lot is not ours anymore and it has been turned into a little warehouse for a business that delivers fish, but that tree is still there even though they would have a lot more space if they got rid of the tree. But apparently no one wanted to cut it down.

We were also told not to stray too far to the grassier part of that lot, because we were told that there were nuno there. Little dwarfs that live in little hills. And when I say little I mean miniscule, like you would barely see them, and you can step on their house if you're not careful. And if you do destroy their house, they will cast a curse on you. It has crossed my mind that the adults are just telling us these stories to scare us, but I always found it strange when said adults would whisper "tabi-tabi nuno, makikidaan po" (Excuse me, dwarf, may I please pass through) under their breaths when walking through grassy fields.

Some people have been allegedly cursed by this type of dwarf, and some of them would go to my grandmother for help. My mother's mother. (She has pretty strange stuff going on with her too but we'll get to that later.) Apparently she's an albularyo, or, a doctor but for supernatural stuff (my aunt is a bit of that too, they say). I've never seen her actually cure another cursed person off a disease but when I was younger and I'd get little tummy aches, which the adults would say is a result of my grandmother doting on me too much (bati), she would lick her thumb and she would put a little cross sign on my belly, and I do remember the tummy aches going away. Whether that's because of what she did, I don't know. But that's a thing that happened.

Now about my grandma. She passed away five years ago, and in the few months before her passing I heard quite a lot of stories from my mom and my aunt that involve her. One of them is her possessing an agimat, which is what helps her cure the curses of evil supernatural things. The story of that apparently started in the 1940s, when the japanese took over the Philippines in the second world war.

My grandfather (my mother's father) was a soldier who fought for the independence of the Philippines. It is said that they didn't have food during battles so they would end up eating the soles of their own shoes! My grandfather was so hungry at the time that he started looking around for wild berries that he could eat, and in doing so, he accidentally ate a fruit that was actually an agimat and that's when it all started. Before my grandfather finally died he went through quite a lot of hardship, because the agimat that was inside his body was demanding for it to be transferred to somebody else, so even though he wanted to die the agimat wouldn't let him. My grandmother finally took the agimat from him, and it is said that when my grandfather died, hundreds of thousands of ants came out of his nose, his eyes, his ears, and his mouth.

The same thing apparently happened to my grandmother, because not one of her children wanted the agimat. My mother apparently pretended to get it from her and tricked her, because she threw the agimat out instead of swallowing it as she was supposed to. When my grandmother died, goo instead of ants came out of her nose, eyes, ears, and mouth.

These stories may be true or may not be true. To me the authenticity of a story has little to do on how good the story is. And the supernatural stories my family has accumulated over the years make for very good stories indeed.

-Danielle.

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