Believe it or not - Weekend

Believe it or not

Your quick guide to superstitious beliefs

BY Martie De Castro, Kaye Santander and Mary Joyce Villaflor
Image: N. S. Villaflor
Illustration: Gilbert Manantan
SUPERSTITIOUS beliefs have always been a part of Cebuano culture, most of which have been passed on from one generation to another. Even though these beliefs lack any scientific explanation or basis, many still tend to believe in superstition, especially those that involve death, marriage, or fortune. Check out a few of the superstitious beliefs — familiar or not — that have endured throughout the ages…


1. Trail of black ants

It is believed if a trail Of black ants visits one’s house it means that a lot of money will come into your pocket.

2. Paying your debts

One should pay debts before January 1 because if not, he or she will be debt-ridden the entire year.


1. On a girl’s first period

When a girl has her first menstrual period, her underwear with blood stains must be wiped on her face to avoid pimples while growing up.

2. Jumping off the stairs

When the girl starts her menstruation it is believed that one should jump off the stairs from three steps up so that one’s period will last only for three days.


1. Applying snake oil on womb

Pregnant women should apply snake oil to their womb so that the baby will come out smoothly.

2. No bath for a week

A woman should not take a bath one week after the delivery of the baby so that she will not get sick and exhausted.

3. No wearing of necklace/choker

A pregnant woman should not wear a necklace or choker around its neck because the umbilical cord of the baby might also tangle around its neck.


1. Black buttefly

If you see a black butterfly, it means someone will die.

2. Cutting of nails

If you cut your nails on a Monday or a Friday evening, someone will die.

3. Don’t bury the dead with shoes

The dead should not be buried with shoes because, if so, the family might hear the footsteps of the dead at home.

4. Broken rosary

A broken rosary should be placed in the hands of the dead to prevent consecutive deaths in the family.

5. Chicks on the coffin

If the person died of murder, chicks should be placed on the coffin since the “pagtuka” (pecking) of the chicks will consume the conscience of the murderer.

6. Do not say “thank you”

You shouldn’t say “thank you” when someone says “condolence” because it might mean that you’re thankful that someone died.


1. Do not leave the dead body alone

Among Cebuanos, a wake lasts for more than seven days because the bereaved family might be waiting for someone from distant provinces or from outside the country. During those days of waking the family members should not leave the dead body alone. Someone must stay awake to watch over the dead body because a balbal or demon might take the dead body.

2. Someone should stay awake during wakes

If everyone is asleep, the dead body starts eating the thread of its clothes and if no one wakes up at the time the dead body finishes the last thread, their spirits will join the dead person in the next life.

3.Do not go home right away after a wake

One shouldn’t go home directly after the wake. He or she should drop by someplace else since the dead might follow him or her home.


1. Do not marry at the same year

Siblings can’t marry in the same year because “sukob,” which means bad luck, might take place.

2. Bride should not fit the dress

The bride should not fit the dress the day before the wedding because the wedding might not push through.


1. Black cat

If you cross the street and see a black cat crossing, it means bad fortune will come your way.

2. Do not sweep the floor at night

Do not sweep the floor at night so as not to chase good fortune away.

And there’s more…

1. Invert your shirt

If you get lost in a new place, invert your shirt so you will find your way back.

2. Do not give handkerchiefs as a gift

One should not give handkerchief as a gift because this may cause the receiver to grieve.

3.Taking pictures in 3s

Avoid taking pictures in groups of three because the person in the middle will die.

4. Dining

Wait for everyone to finish eating before leaving the dining table becaue the one left behind will be single forever.

5. Stocking grains of rice, small bottle of oil, sugar, and salt

It is believed that if one will stock a few grains of rice, a small bottle of oil, sugar, and salt, one will always have food in the house.

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