Saturday, January 5, 2013

Anting-anting Making in Mount Banahaw

Anting-anting are among the most sought after mystical objects here in the Philippines during the time of our forefathers, that still persist even today. Deeply embedded in the Filipino culture is the belief in talismans or amulets, rooted from the religious tendency and piety of Pinoys. Since the time of our ancestors, men and women have been searching for various anting-anting, while some have been making these. An encounter with a "maker" of anting-anting at the foot of Mount Banahaw gave more insights on how these things work.

His name had been attached with "ukit" (meaning carve) because of his skills in wood carving. Hailing from Paete, Laguna, he brought carving anting-anting to the Dolores, Quezon side of Mount Banahaw and makes a living out of selling these to the pilgrims that visit the mountain. From hardwoods and other "rare" materials found in Mt. Banahaw, he carves out images to resemble the ones found in churches.

Among his collection was a naked black Sto. Nino, a piece of wood with an imprint of the silhouette of the Virgin Mary, a very rare fruit or seed of a plant he calls gumamela caelis and several others. He said that anting-anting give protection, prosperity and luck to the owner. But for an anting-anting to be effective or in working condition, the owner must "feed" the anting-anting with prayers. A person should recite a set of oraciones or prayers while holding the mystical object preferably during the evenings. Failure to do so may leave the talismans or amulets useless.

Another long timer of Mt. Banahaw, Boy Fajardo who is an albularyo in a modern sense, said that man-made anting-anting are really strong and effective if done in a right way. But there are anting-anting made by nature herself, and these are called mutya. The mutya are more powerful, yet very hard to find. These can only be located during the very rare and strange events in nature, and the owner will find that he or she will inherit the characteristics of the mutya. For example, the mutya ng kidlat which comes from lightning, can only be acquired when a lightning strikes down a tree. It will make a man stronger, quicker and faster than normal.

Right now, the race to getting the best anting-anting is not getting very far. Fewer and fewer people have become interested and some of the knowledge have been lost. Before, almost every house, every family taking care of heirlooms and anting-antings are part of it. Perhaps the need for these is no longer around, especially now in times of relative peace.