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Anting-anting (Picture from ([1]).

The Anting-anting is an amulet, talisman, or charm, believed to posses mystical supernatural properties. It is most commonly used by folk-believers as a means of protection or as a repellent to sickness, danger, and even death. The other names for this Philippine vernacular are: ginam-mol or galing-galing in Ilocano; mutya in Tagalog; likit in Waray; odom in Bicol; and adimat in Muslim.


Origin of the Word

There are theories tracing the origin of the word anting-anting. One of this is the theory of Lorna Revilla-Montilla. According to her anting-anting was derived from the English word "anti", or against. Although it is logical, it is disputed because of the fact that the anting-anting dates much earlier than the Americans from whom supposedly the word comes from. There are other view points that it is an obsolete native term. However, none of the languages in the Philippines gives the real key to its origin. On the other hand, Jose Garcia Panganiban believes the the word was derived from the Malaysian word anting, which means "dangling", and Javanese word anting-anting means "ear pendants."


The fact that Filipinos are unable to define the real nature of the "anting-anting" makes it more enigmatic. "Anting-anting" is not a common item that can be bought anywhere else and is not easy to acquire. There are lots of debate being held regarding the acquisition of the item. Some people insist that it can be acquired after defeating a certain spiritual giant in a bare hand combat. Still, the others believe that it can be achieved by swallowing a crystal drop of water from the heart of a banana tree at the dead of night. Or it can simply be received from the previous owner. There are several methods to acquire the item, but stealing an "anting-anting" is not an option because the act takes away its power. Thus, the item becomes useless.

"Anting-anting" also loses its power when it leaves its master's possession without his knowledge or blessing. The "anting-antings" sold at holy places are considered as patay (dead/blanks with no power). These kinds have to undergo sacred and secret rituals in order to become powerful and effective.


There are different kinds of "anting-anting" which come in different forms. It can be a crocodile’s tooth, snake’s fang, whale’s spine, shark’s fin, odd stones, rooster’s spur, guinea bird’s horn, plant's roots, herbs, or anything rare and/or strange like a twin-tailed lizard and two-headed snake.


Each "anting-anting" serves different purposes. Some of them provides a promise of romance or love charms while others promises the holder to be impervious to bullets, to disappear and reappear at will, and to ward off evil spirits and be protected from danger. There are also "anting-antings" that offer special gifts, such as the mysterious and esoteric art of hilot (massage and healing), hula (fortune telling), and kulam (spells and witchcraft).

Anting-anting and Christianity

One of the most intriguing aspects of the "anting-anting" is its association with religious belief. Religious medals are being passed on as "anting-anting" which utter confusion. Somehow, the folk ad religious beliefs share similar use to the owner-- "power to protect its possessor from danger." However, the attempt to associate it with religion is an established religious betrayal embedded in the consciousness of the Filipinos.

See also

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