22 Superstitious Beliefs and Folkore During Holy Week in the Philippines

Holy Week is also known as Mahal na Araw or Semana Santa in the Philippines. It is the time of the year where people in many parts of the country practice several well-known superstitious beliefs and practices.


photo courtesy : geralt / 21357

In a country where almost 81% the general population belongs to Roman Catholic faith, some of these superstitious belief are still practiced. The practice had underlying pre-Hispanic influences, Malay, Indian, Chinese and religious origin.

22 Superstitious Beliefs and Folklore


photo courtesy :Dariusz Sankowski

22.) Try to finish reciting the Passion of Christ ” Pasyong Mahal” and the reader will be protected and luck will bestow the family. The uninterrupted recitation or Pabasa of the whole epic is a popular devotion especially among older generation.

21.)  Travel is reduce or limited at home- It is widely believe that during the Holy Week, unseen spirits and demons are out in the open, owing to the fact that on these days Christ is suffering and cannot protect people. Anyone who travels during the Holy Week is likely to have an accident on their trips.

20.) Moving to another place or house is not the recommended. This must be postpone until after the Holy Week. Moving in to new house will brings bad luck because it is unprotected. You should let the Holy Week pass because Jesus Christ has risen again and will fill your house with bountiful blessings.

19.) Placing blessed palm frond or “Palaspas” on one’s main door or windows can ward off evil spirits or bad fortune starting Domingo de Ramos or Palm Sunday. When mixed with coconut oil or holy water, these blessed fronds are believe to miraculously cure illness or antidote against kulam  ” sorcery or witchcraft”.

18.) Holding and using of pointed objects and knife is reduced to a minimum. It is widely believed that since Jesus Christ suffered and died during this time, using pointed objects or knife will do some harm.

17.) Wound Takes a Longer time to Heal – old folks believe that getting hurt and wound heal slower during this time.

16.) Swimming and Any outdoor activity is discourage- Swimming, playing basketball or any physical activities must be reduced or discourage.

15.) Avoiding Meat – Meat is associated with impurity and bad luck. It is generally practice  without eating meat for the week. Most older Catholic will also make some fasting especially “Good Friday” to atone their sins. Some would start fasting and eating only vegetables during “Ash Wednesday” and every ” Friday” Although few Catholics would observe and practice.

14.) Placing blessed sting rays tail ” Buntot Pagi” near a pregnant woman’s room to help protect against evil spirits, aswangs (vampire shape shifter ghouls) and manananggals (viscera sucker),tiktik. People believe that these evil beings have the most power during this time of the year.


Photo courtesy of :conger design

13.) Excessive Noise Making is Reduce – Many believed that everyone shall not make any unnecessary sound or noise so as not to distract others’ meditative focus.

12.) Wearing of somber colors- Avoid wearing loud colors like red, pink which are colors of celebration. People would wear white, green, grey, brown and light colored shirts during this time of the year.

11.) Best time to hunt for amulets or “Anting-anting” – Some people in the provinces and mambabarangs would make amulets and herbal concoctions during this time of the year.

10.) Visiting albularyo, mananambals or mambabarangs – Visiting local albularyo, mananambals or mambabarangs during Holy Week especially “Holy Thursday or “Good Friday” is touted to be the time when the native local albularyos are the most potent. Some would visit Mount Banahaw, Mount Cristobal, Siquijor, Mount Apo in order to get holy water or some potions made by local quack doctors. This belief can trace back to pre-hispanic shamans and folk religion.

9.) Putting blessed cross or rosary on one’s door to protect the inhabitants of the house. Although very few pious Catholics had been practicing this. There were still old folks who still practices this.

8.) Taking a bath after 3:00pm during Good Friday is observe – This traditional belief also had some parallel belief with burial customs and practices. This could be influenced by Chinese or Malay traders.

7.) General Cleaning of one’s house is strictly prohibited.


Photo courtesy of : wilhei

6.) Washing clothes or drying clothes especially during Good Friday is not allowed.

5.) Sweeping the floor during Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday is not allowed. Old folks believe that sweeping the floor will release any luck, grace of blessings contained within the home or that could come in.


Photo courtesy of : ErikaWittlieb

4.) Covering Mirrors and One must not stare at the mirror after 3:00 pm. Some pious Catholics in the provinces would cover their mirrors with black or white cloth. Mirror serves as a portal for the ethereal beings to visit and haunt living people. Bad elements are strong after the death of Jesus at 3:00 pm onward. A gaze at mirrors during these time will invite evil spirits or demonic spirits.  The cloth is then removed after Easter Sunday celebrations.

3.) Children must hop to grow tall – When one hear of bell tolls during Black Saturday morning, It is believed that the act will make the children grow taller, just like doing it on New Year’s Eve.

2.) Shaking of fruit bearing trees on black saturday or sabado de gloria. It used to be widely practiced among Ilocanos is to shake the main trunk of fruit trees on every sabado de gloria.. and chant ” gloria, gloria, ragsakan ti agbunga” ( glory, glory, fruits be bounty). This will make the fruits trees more fruitful and harvest will be bountiful.


Photo courtesy of : diego_torres

1.) Rain on Easter Sunday has therapeutic powers. One is encourage is take a bath whenever rains fell on Easter Sunday. Aside from healing powers, Easter rains is said to brings good luck.  Old people called these “Agua Bendita” or Holy Water in which they collect and used for healing or anointing of the sick.

Sources, Reference and Bibliographies:

Insight Guides, Philippines, APA Publication 4th Printing 1991, pages 54 to 60

Personal communication -Ms. Erlie Querubin, Aling Cita Arenas, Mrs. Pilar San Jose, Mr. Rodolfo Enalfe

Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines

Mendoza, Liwayway (September 1977). “Lenten Rites and Practices [The Philippines]”. The Drama Review. 21 (3): 21–32.


Grand Parade at the Santo Niño de Bago Bantay in Quezon City

Santo Niño exhibit within the Diocesan Shrine of Santo Niño in Bago Bantay is one of the highlight of the annual festival.


There were 486 Santo Niño mostly owned by the residents of the community were on display for 9 days.


According to the one manning the exhibit, There were a lot of residents who keep the image and statues of the child jesus.


church facade

The area is just within 1 to 2 kilometers away from SM North EDSA, DEPED -Quezon City and Trinoma Mall.


early mass

History of Santo Niño in Bago Bantay


The devotion of the child jesus can coincide with the establishment of Bago Bantay. Bago-Bantay started as a small visita in the early 1930’s under the jurisdiction of San Pedro de Bautista parish in San Francisco del Monte in Quezon City.


umbrellas at the church yard

After the second world war immigrants from the city of Manila and nearby cities eventually moved in the vicinity.


After thousands of displaced families moved from war ravaged Manila, Caloocan and nearby cities  due to the destruction from World War II. The migration came from the late 1940’s and early 1960s.


Sto. Niño de Bago Bantay with new vestment

These new migrants brought more problems to the community, as criminal gangs started carving their territories through the streets of Bago-Bantay and adjacent area.


colorful ati-atihan costumes

Petty crimes, snatching, criminal activities started creating problems within the surrounding area.  Bago Bantay area is almost synonymous to Tondo in Manila or Bagong Barrio in Caloocan.


In 1957, the parish became under Santa Rita Parish of Philam Life and in 1961 under the jurisdiction of Christ the King parish in Project 7.


church facade and belfry

On May 3, 1967, Rufino Cardinal Santos decreed the erection of new parish under the patronage of Santo Niño with 25,625 residents.



On May 3, 1967, RT Reverend Miguel P. Nuguid was appointed as the first parish priest and vicar forane.


Santo Niño Parochial School

The local authorities tried their best to remedy the situation, nothing much was achieved until the arrival of Fr. Miguel P. Nuguid as the parish priest in 1967.

Father Miguel Nuguid together with some parishioners started to conduct home visitation.



He also worked with the retired public school teacher, Mrs. Romana Delos Angeles, the Catholic Women’s League and residents to establish the Santo Niño Parochial School in 1968.


The priest also spearheaded for the construction of a new church which is now known as Diocesan Shrine of Sto. Niño de Bago Bantay, Quezon City.


current parish priest

It was in the early 1970’s that a master plan surfaced for construction of a permanent church of the Sto. Niño. On January 14, 1973 the church was consecrated and dedicated to the Holy Infant Jesus. In 1976, the Sto. Niño Church became the seat of the newly created vicariate made up them of seven parishes. This was an important historical event in the life of the parish.


On March 26, 1978, the devotees of the Sto. Niño witnessed the laying and blessing of the cornerstone of the permanent church where the Silver Sto. Niño would be enshrined.

In January 14, 1983 , finally the new shrine was dedicated by Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin.


Grand Parade


The grand parade started early after the early dawn mass by the parish priest, there was a street dancing competition were students of the nearby parochial school participated.


firecrackers were lighted prior to the street dancing competition


long lines of well-wishers and residents


street near the church


parade route


mass schedule


parishioners in ati-atihan costume ( photo courtesy by Mr. Vladimir Estocado)

There were also several residents who brought their cherished and beloved images and statues of the child jesus during the parade.

References and Sources:

Dedication Marker

Santo Niño Parish Church

Historical marker

Personal interview of Bago Bantay residents

Roman Catholic Diocese of Cubao website

Photo credits: Vladimir Estocado, Santo Niño Parish and the author

Regina Caeli: Pontifically Crowned Marian Statues in the Philippines at San Agustin Convent

San Agustin museum and convent became the site of the Marian exhibit entitled “Regina Caeli”.


part of the exhibit also included some Santo Niño de Cebú

The marian exhibit aims to show that the Philippines is “Pueblo Amante de Maria” or a people in love with Mary.


San Agustin church museum and convent

There were 35 pontifically crowned Marian images are on display at the San Agustin Museum in Intramuros, Manila.


Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario- La Naval de Manila- the first canonically crown marian statue in the country in 1907.


list of exhibitors and santo devotees

The exhibit opened last October 10. It is a joint undertaking of the museum and the different Marian shrines, parishes and santo devotees in the country with special partnership with Intramuros administration.


Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia


Nuestra Señora del Rosario


Nuestra Señora de la Vicitacion de Piat

Camarero : Mr. Jeorge Allan R. Tengco

We visited the shrine of Nuestra Señora de la Vicitacion de Piat few months ago in Cagayan province.


Nuestra Señora de la Regla de Opon

Camarero: Mr. Noel B. Abquilan

We were fortunate to visit the exhibit and met some of the Marian devotees and camarero who gave us some devotional pamphlets and leaflets. Saw some familar faces at the site.


Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculata Concepcion de Caysasay

Camarero: Mr. Jake Sylvestre

Regina Caeli Exhibition


Nuestra Señora de la Caridad


Virgen de los Remedios de Pampanga

Exhibitor: Cofradia ning Indung Virgen delos Remedios

Camarero: Mr. Jeffrey Popatco


Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Santa Cruz de Manila

Camarero: John Felix Santos


La Virgen Divina Pastora de Gapan

Monsignor Gabriele Viola, secretary of papal nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, led the opening and blessing of the exhibit with several dignitaries, Marian devotees, and art enthusiasts.


Government officials from the country’s cultural agencies were also present, including Intramuros Administration Director Atty. Guiller Asido.


Nuestra Señora del Santissimo Rosario de Orani 

Camarero: Mr. Roland De Guzman


Nuestra Señora del Pilar

Origin : Spain made of silver 1870

from San Agustin Museum collection

This statue was given by the 87th Spanish Governor General Domingo Moriones y Murillo ( February 1877 – March 1880) to the Augustinian friars of Convento de San Pablo in Intramuros, Manila


Our Lady of Lourdes

Camarero: Mr. Roger Lou Salva

Canonically Crown Marian Images and Statues


Nuestra Señora de la Caridad de Agoo

Camarero: Mr. Carlo Verdadero

There are at least 42 Marian images that have been granted a pontifical coronation and enshrined in shrines and churches across the country: 37 in Luzon, four in the Visayas and one in Mindanao.


La Inmaculada Concepcion de Malabon

Camarero: Mr. Jun Ortega

Three more will be crowned in 2020: La Purisima Concepcion de Santa Maria in Bulacan on Feb. 1, Nuestra Señora de los Dolores in Quezon on March 25 and Nuestra Señora de Lourdes of Quezon City whose date has yet to be announced.

The ongoing exhibit runs until October 31, 2019.

8 Fun Ways to Enjoy Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Piat Shrine

Piat is a town in Cagayan province known their miraculous image of Nuestra Señora de Piat enshrined at the Basilica Minore de Piat.


church facade with bell tower undergoing restoration

The jump off point is Tuguegarao city and it is just between 32.8 to 33 kilometers away from the town. On our second day, We took the chance to visit this famous pilgrim center despite our hectic schedule.


tourist center


The souvenir shop, tourist information center is closed and only one store located near the entrance was open. We arrived past 5:00 pm and few people where around the church.


bas relief of Our Lady of Piat and Piat logo


8 Fun Ways to Enjoy Pilgrimage to Piat


Department of Agriculture -Cagayan Breeding Center with giant boer goat

8.) Land Transportation– We took an hour or so travel via private car from Tuguegarao city to Piat. One can rent a tricycle or AUV vans which ply the capital city to the town.


People’s Integrated Agri-Tourism Center ( PIAT with giant corn)

7.) Scenery –  One would enjoy the leisurely travel by marveling both man-made and natural wonders.


6.) Food and Souvenir Items– One must not missed the “Pawa” a type of local delicacy which probably influenced by the Chinese. The steamed ground sticky rice is filled with ground and sweetened peanuts. They are sold in packs of 9 or 10 pieces per pack. They are best eaten when freshly cooked.


two kinds of Our Lady of Piat statue ( 10 inch) made from fiber resin

I was fortunate to have bought one Our Lady of Piat statue made from fiber glass from an old man manning the religious/ sari-sari store. There were t-shirts, key chains and magnets for those interested. This was the only store that remain open during our visit  to the shrine.


According to our tour guide/ companion/ diver for this tour. I was able to get a big bargain for the Our Lady of Piat statute which normally cost between Php 500 to Php 550.00.  I was able to buy the 10 inch statue for just fraction of the quoted price.


Our Lady of Mercy Reconciliation Chapel

5.) Bukal na Buhay – There was a spring located at the back portion of the Minor Basilica according to one of the caretakers of the place.


4.) Basilica Pilgrimage Inn, Museum and Inn – This is like a one stop facilities for those planning to visit the center.




religious / souvenir store located within the church



There is a small museum which features religious carvings, statues and church vestments. The souvenir store which sells religious images, t-shirts, books among others is close. A portion of the sales goes to helping seminarians and indigents.


3.) Stations of the Cross – life-size statues, garden, an area to lit candles and place admire the place.




2.) Santo Domingo Parish -is located within the premises, with centuries-old bell.


Santo Domingo parish with centuries-old bell


Basilica Menor de Nuestra Señora de Piat interior

1.) Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat– ( Basilica Menor de Nuestra Señora de Piat ) This is a must visit pilgrim site dates back to 1604 when Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary was brought from Macao to Manila. The image is dark complexion made from paper mache probably originated from Goa, India.


The dark skinned image resemble the Indians of Goa which is also a Portuguese colony. One can admire the church grounds and immediate vicinity.

Place to Stay : Our jump off point is at Hotel Carmelita in Tuguegarao City.

Note: We would like to “Thank” the local lay sister which took the time to welcome the group invited us to stay and tour around. But our group is such in hurry to go back to Tuguegarao.

10 Interesting Places to Visit and Stay in Tuguegarao

Tuguegarao is the capital city of Cagayan province. There are a lot of historical places, museum, churches and natural wonders for any visitor or tourist visiting the place.

The fastest way to visit the city is via air by taking domestic flights. While the most interesting and scenic places can be captured via land routes.


Van Gob statue near Robinson’s Mall -Tuguegarao

We took the exciting 9 hours trip from Cubao, Quezon City to Tuguegarao City with one stopover at San Jose City, Nueva Ecija province.Land travel from Metro Manila may vary from 8 hours to 12 hours depending on how fast or slow the driver due to ( road construction and traffic).

In our short stay in the city, We managed to visit these places.

10 Interesting Places to Visit & Stay in Tuguegarao City


Buntun Bridge and Cagayan River

10.) Buntun Bridge and Cagayan River – This is considered as the second longest bridge in the country with length of 1,369 m (4,491 ft) with 15 spans. It also provides panoramic view of the Cagayan river which is the longest and widest river system in the country.


Boy Kanin at the WOW Tuguegarao standee


WOW Tuguegarao standee at night

9.) WOW Tuguegarao Standee–  This is an iconic landmark to get a selfie or groupie when you are within the city. The standee is located near two important fast-food restaurants and mall.



8.) Tricycle and Calesa ride – We managed to ride in one of the colorful tricycles which ply the major streets in the city.


7.) Cagayan Museum and Historical Research Center- This is located within 5 kilometers within the city’s centro district.


Ms. Lorie I. Decena (Museum Researcher I -Cagayan Museum and Research Center)

The museum and research center was conceived by the Provincial Board in 1971 and became operational on its inauguration on August 15, 1973 during the traditional Aggao na Cagayan.


stone age tools and animals found in the province


Homo erectus skull replica

The museum is divided into several sections and theme


primary and secondary burial jars


Homo luzonensis


farming tools


religious statues, ecclesiastical items and vestments


ethnic group


portion of the building which used to be jail


fountain area and outer courtyard

This is one of the few buildings in the country which used to house a jail  with free guided tour service when one visit the city. There is no entrance fees collected in the museum.

Address: Otis corner and Aguinaldo street, Tuguegarao, Cagayan

Operations – Mondays to Friday 8:00 am to 12:00nn and 1:00pm to 5:00 pm

Contact: (078) 846-73-37


6.) Plaza Rizal and Monument- This monument was erected more than 100 years-ago in August 17, 1918 during the incumbency of Governor Honorio Lasam. Dr. Jose Rizal’s had an overcoat and at the foot of the statue had four Filipina ladies in period costume which represents (virtues): Prudence (Katalinuhan), Justice (Katarungan), Fortitude (Tibay ng Loob) and Temperance (Pagtitimpi).


details at the base of the monument

The design was inspired from the design of Mr. Carlo Nicoli. The base of the monument was made from adobe stones.


The monument is erected just in front of the Cagayan Museum and Research Center,Tuguegarao Cathedral, schools, sports complex and important historical areas within the city.

Sources: Cagayan Museum and Historical Research Center, Historical Marker
Cagayan Heritage Conservation Society (Mr. Prince Wilson Macarubbo and Mr. Kevin Domingo) Ms. Lorie Decena.


5.) Tuguegarao Horno– This is a place where bricks kilns are made and fired during the Spanish colonial regime. Most of the bricks were used in the churches and government buildings of the city.


Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral

4.) Tuguegarao Cathedral- Also called Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral. This was built in the mid-18th century with bricks, adobe, mortal and stones.


historical marker



High relief pilasters with alternating smooth and Solomonic/swisted design



The cathedral sustained a lot of damage during the second world war during the aerial bombings by the Japanese forces on December 8, 1941 and during the liberation of the city in 1945.


Address: Rizal Street, Barangay Centro 10, Tuguegarao City


Lighthouse Cooperative

3.) Lighthouse Cooperative and Financial district – Lighthouse cooperative is located within the city ceter, One can buy products made in Tuguegarao or within the province.


Tuguegarao City

2.) Ancestral Houses, Post Modern Mid-Century Buildings -There are few ancestral houses and mid-century buildings located within the downtown area. This is due to many factors, One is the city was heavily destroyed by the Japanese during the second world war, destructive fire and typhoons which destroyed many old buildings and houses.


mid-century ancestral house

According to our tour guide, Typhoon Lawin left a big portion of the province without power for more than two months.


1.) Hotel Carmelita– is located within the heart of the city. The hotel is just beside a bus company and features a restaurant, bar, a shared lounge, garden, convention place, venue place, swimming pool and 24 hour Boy Kanin restaurant.

All of these places are accessible within 15 to 20 minute drive or commute from the hotel premises.  WOW Tuguegarao standee is just 10 minute walk from the place.

Several well-known celebrities like Mr. DJ Durano and other personalities had stayed at the hotel.

Contact: 0917 572 2777 / (078) 844-1024

Address: # 9 Diversion Road Balzain, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan 3500

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