Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Friend's Hidden Secret

My parents brought me to our province in Mindanao from Luzon when I was still a baby. We lived together with my grandparents. My father went abroad for a job, and didn't come back anymore.

Shortly, after my father sent a depressing letter to my mother, she also decided to go abroad for a job. So, I grew up there with no parents but with my grandparents. I have no siblings, I'm their only child.

Our house in the province is quite big, but I don't consider us wealthy. We have neighbors, however, unlike in urban cities, there's a wide distance between houses. They were comparable to a traditional Filipino Bahay-kubo (hut) with plants surrounding the house.

I had a friend there, and his name is Bryan. I was older than him. His family was a friend of ours since they arrived in our province. His father works in our family as mandayagay (coconut climber).

Because they were the nearest neighbor we had, we often play with his sister named Catherine. Even though we have electricity, we don't have PSP, computer, cellphone or any gadgets there. Thus, the only way we can enjoy ourselves is through playing traditional Filipino games, like patintero, luksong-baka and luksong-tinik. I admit that we also play games only for girls, like piko and bahay-bahayan. Aside of it, we can also go to fishponds, rivers, and beaches which are very near to our home. I can say living in the province is much more enjoying than living in urban city. It's seldom to feel bored there.

An unexpected death happened to their father. No one knows the reason why. It was a sudden death. He was still strong the day before his death. Some say it was caused by pasma, some say a kind of disease.

Years later, my mother decided to bring me to Metro Manila. She wanted me to finish my studies there. Since then, I never visited my province. I have no news about my childhood friends.

My uncle went home to our province. When he came back, I asked him what do it look like now. Of course, I didn't forget to ask him about my friends too. As we talked about Bryan and Catherine, I asked him if he knows the reason of their father's death. Well he answered me yes. He told me everything about him, and how did he actually died.

It was a silent afternoon in the fishponds. It was almost 6 o'clock pm. There was a family living there. Dado (not his real name) was cuddling his son inside their house to make it sleep. As the child slept, he laid him to the cradle, and went out to cook rice. His wife was out to buy something in the village. Minutes later, the child suddenly cried very loud. He was wondering why, so he left what he was cooking and went inside the house to check what's happening. As he arrived to the baby, he saw a black cat hanging in the cradle. The cat was reaching the child inside it. It looked at him with a blazing red eyes. Afraid of what he saw, he took immediately his bolo to kill the animal. But because the cat was in the cradle, he was afraid that he might strike his child instead. So he used the blunt side of the bolo. Then, he smashed it in its back. The feline rushed out through the window, bleeding. Dado chased the cat to kill it. As he get closer to the animal, he smashed it again, and created another wound on its back. Then, it ran much faster. He decided to let it go, then he heard suddenly the sound, "wak wak wak". Upon hearing it, he thought of an aswang. Hence, he went back faster to his house thinking someone will get his baby.

On the next day, Bryan's father died. They were thinking pasma as the cause of his death. The day before he died, he was watching over the coconut flesh he was fuming with fire. There was a pouring rain that time. Combining the heat caused by fuming the coconut and being soaked by rain may cause pasma.

When they prepared the body for a wake, upon changing its clothes, they saw two swelling straight wounds at its back. They wondered where did he acquire those injury. Dado heard of the wounds behind him, and told his experience the day before his death about the cat that he struck at the back two times. Of course, people just believed on the story without knowing the reality.

If it was true, I can't believe I played with his children.

You may also visit:

Shapeshifting Neighbor
Manananggal and Aswang in the City
Manananggal in Tondo
January 24, 1998 Aswang News in Caloocan City

Aswang in Antipolo City

I know it's too late to post an article for Holy Week. I didn't find any source of any story about the aswangs in Antipolo during those days. The said city south of Luzon was rumored to be the most popular place for aswang sighting especially during the Holy Week. Well, according to legend, during the three days of Jesus Christ's death, the forces of evil is very strong. Monsters and bad spirits rose from there realm to plague human beings.

I found a story in the internet about an aswang living in Antipolo.

The Story

Ever since she had arrived with her father in Antipolo several years earlier, Rosa had always been shy and retiring. Pleasant and respectful, certainly, but never outward-going or even overly communicative. Her father blamed himself, as fathers always do, believing that because her mother had died giving birth to her, he as a man had been unable to endow her with those innately-feminine social skills that other young women here seemed to possess in such abundance.

Still, as she had now reached the age when certain other aspects of her personality and appearance had begun to attract the attention of the local youths, soon she may no longer be her father’s responsibility anyway. Also, as she was training to be a midwife, it would not be long before she would be self-sufficient financially too. How time had flown, he mused – it seemed only yesterday that she had still been just a girl, tightly holding his hand when they had disembarked from the train that had taken them far from their previous home in a small rural village where nothing much ever happened to the ceaseless bustle and clamour of the big city - Antipolo.

Yet even here, shadows of the past, and ancient irrational fears, still linger. Tonight, Rosa would be going to the home of Maria, a friend, and staying with her overnight until her brother arrived there from overseas, where he would remain until Maria, now seven months pregnant, gave birth to her child. Prior to then, Maria had been living with her sister, but she had moved out that morning to live thereafter in a different area of the city in order to be nearer her new job, which left Maria alone in the house that they had been sharing. But what was so problematic about Maria living alone in their house now? She was a healthy, perfectly capable woman, and it was only for one night after all. The explanation was a single word – and the word was ‘manananggal’.


And so, before evening had chance to fall, Rosa was setting off on foot, walking swiftly through a series of fields that offered the speediest pathway to her friend’s house, and thus avoiding the hideously congested thorough fares whose traffic belched smoke and noise unceasingly. In contrast, only a single car drove past as she walked along this lonely rural route.

However, every step that she took was being matched by someone – or, rather, something far less welcome, and infinitely more terrifying. True, it looked like a young woman right now, but not for much longer would it do so. The manananggal – for that is indeed what it was - came to a large group of tall trees whose shadows amalgamated and coalesced like a wide black pool, hidden completely from view. Stepping into this pool of shadows, the manananggal took off its human clothes and hid them in some bushes. Then an incredible transformation took place.

Its human face’s complexion blanched to a ghostly pallor, a pair of long sharp fangs grew downwards until they protruded from its half-closed mouth, which lengthened until it resembled the jaws of some malign reptile, and emerging from their tip, flickering evilly, was a slender red fork-tipped tongue, closely resembling that of some vile serpent. But most terrible of all were its eyes. Gone were its round blue human irises, and in their stead was a pair of vertical golden slits, each one containing an even thinner black slit.

But if, somehow, anyone had been watching all of this, not even that latter dramatic change of form would have prepared them for the horrifying climax to this unholy metamorphosis. Without any prior warning, a dark horizontal ring spontaneously encircled the creature’s still-human waist. Then, a mere instant later, incredibly, the top half of the manananggal’s body - everything from its waist upwards - abruptly separated from its lower half. And as it did so, a pair of splits appeared in the skin concealing its shoulder blades, and out of these splits unfurled a pair of very large, dark, bat-like wings, whose flapping leathery pinions carried it aloft into the air, leaving behind the creature’s lower body half and legs, standing there as lifeless as the bottom portion of a tailor’s dummy in a shop window, but completely hidden from sight amid the shadows of the trees.

It is always imperative for a manananggal to locate a secure hiding place for its lower half, because if anyone finds it while the manananggal is away, they can kill this vampire merely by sprinkling salt or smearing sand, garlic, or ash upon the lower half’s open edge, or by burning it entirely. For when the manananggal returns, if it cannot rejoin its two halves to become whole again it dies.

By now, the sky was growing dark, and the grotesque half-manananggal flew swiftly on to the home of Maria. But would it find her still alone – had it arrived in time? It soon had its answer – in the form of a series of strange cries, sounding just like ‘tik-tik’, which were being given voice to by a small owl-like bird sitting on the roof. At a casual glance, it could have been mistaken for a real owl, but a closer look would have revealed that its fine feathers were actually hairs, not plumes, and its eyes glowed an infernal red. This was the manananggal’s hellish familiar or lookout, the tiktik, named after its cries - which confirmed to the manananggal that the house’s occupant was still alone.

The manananggal’s tongue thrashed like a veritable serpent, and two golden drops of venom drooled from its jaws. Now, just one more transformation was needed. Its human half-body became amorphous as it hovered just outside the house, remoulding itself into a new form, one that included a fairly long, repulsively-wrinkled body, and two slender hind legs with three toes on each foot, together with the large wings that remained unchanged from its previous incarnation. Its elongate head possessed a pair of huge glowing ovoid eyes, a red slit-like mouth, and, most bizarre of all, an extremely lengthy, slender proboscis that emerged from its large black nose, and undulated sinuously in front of its malevolent face.

As expected, the doors and windows were all tightly closed, and a roaring fire in the hearth prevented any possibility of entering down the chimney. But like all vampires, the manananggal was not bereft of ways in which to enter a seemingly impenetrable, unbreachable building. The roof was thatched, and it did not take the manananggal long to burrow through a weak patch of thatching until it had forced its way into the top storey of the house. Silently it flitted downstairs, its acute sense of smell confirming that Maria was there, and not in any of the bedrooms as it had initially anticipated. Sure enough, there she was, sitting in a large chair close to the fire, where, no doubt lulled by its comforting warmth, she had fallen asleep – and so had never seen that the bottle of special protective plant oil standing on a shelf close by was bubbling and frothing, warning of the manananggal’s presence.

The manananggal was now on the floor, and was stealthily walking towards her on its two legs, its large wings folded up and held over its back. Its serpentine proboscis flickered and twitched incessantly. Already it could smell and even taste in the air the scent of its prey – Maria’s unborn baby!

After just a few moments, the manananggal was squatting directly in front of Maria, on the floor at her feet. On account of her size and the very advanced stage of her pregnancy, Maria was wearing only a large maternity dress with no uncomfortable underwear to grip tightly. Slowly, the manananggal’s long proboscis rose upwards, cautiously, ensuring that it did not wake Maria as it gradually moved up between her calves and thighs, steadily approaching her vagina, which would in turn lead directly to her baby inside her womb. And once the proboscis reached the baby, it would apply its suckered tip to the helpless foetus and drain it not only of blood but also of its very life force until it died, murdered within its own mother’s body by a foul creature of nightmare. Had the foetus been smaller, just a few weeks old, the manananggal would have sucked it out entirely and consumed it.

Just a few more centimetres and its proboscis would be there, and then... But before it could even contemplate that, the still of the night was abruptly broken by a series of very loud ‘tik-tik’ cries directly overhead. It was the manananggal’s familiar – something was wrong, somebody must be approaching the house! The manananggal’s proboscis retracted instantly, but at the same moment Maria awoke, the tiktik’s cries having shaken her out of her deep warmth-induced slumber. Her eyes opened, and the first thing that she saw was a hideous rat-like horror on the ground at her feet. But even as she stared at it, it began to shuffle off on its two legs and a large pair of bat-like wings opened up above its back.

Involuntarily, Maria snapped open her mouth and screamed at the top of her voice, over and over again, shrieking and howling with uncontrollable hysterical terror and horror at what she had seen - what she knew to be a manananggal! Then she saw the table nearby, and the large box on it, which had been left there by her sister that very morning. They had both joked about it at the time, especially about some of its bizarre contents, never believing that these would ever be needed – but they were sorely needed now. For what the box contained was a wide selection of items guaranteed, at least according to traditional Filipino lore, to dispel manananggals. But surely this was all just superstition – wasn’t it? Yet the manananggal was only too real, so perhaps these assorted objects’ power would be too.

Quickly, Maria opened the box and tipped its contents out on the table. They were certainly an extraordinarily diverse, eclectic assemblage. A red pouch full of ginger and coins. The dried penis of a horse. A faded photograph of her grandmother. A bag of salt. A whip fabricated from the somewhat desiccated tail of a stingray. A long silver dagger. Scrabbling among them, she grabbed the bag of salt and hurled its contents over the retreating manananggal, which let forth an ear-splitting screech as its skin began to burn and sizzle where the salt had landed upon it.

Raising its head, its eyes glowing in fury, the manananggal turned around, and then stepped forward towards her, its red mouth open wide in hissing rage. Swiftly, Maria snatched up the horse penis in one hand and her grandmother’s photo in the other, and brandished them towards the approaching vampire. Instantly, it stopped in its tracks, its golden eyes now flashing in panic, because phallic objects and images of elderly women are items that, for reasons long since lost in the mists of bygone ages, induce outright terror in the minds of all manananggals. It opened its wings fully, in an attempt to fly up and away from the frightening objects, but as it did so, Maria began thrashing at it with the stingray-tail whip, hoping that its sharp barbs would pierce the manananggal’s skin - already blistered and raw from the effects of the salt.

Just as she did so, however, a loud beating was heard upon the main door. Rosa! She’d arrived at last! Why had it taken her so long? Maria shouted out, just to make sure that it was indeed Rosa – but it wasn’t. It was her brother, Juan! Maria raced to the door, unbolted it, hauled it open, and dragged a startled Juan inside. Without saying a word, she pointed at the manananggal, flapping overhead, and handed him the silver dagger, because if he could stab this loathsome entity with a weapon fashioned from silver, it would die. But even as Juan grasped the dagger, the manananggal had spotted an escape route. In the rush to get Juan inside, Maria hadn’t closed the door!

In the space of a second, the manananggal had flown through the still-ajar door and out – onwards and away into the night sky, accompanied by the tiktik, and free to attempt further attacks elsewhere. But at least the nightmare for Maria and her unborn child was over (although her brother swiftly placed a circle of protective coins from the red pouch on the floor all around her as she sat back on the chair, just in case). Juan had managed to catch an earlier train, which was why he was here tonight, and not the following morning as expected - but as Rosa had never appeared, that was just as well.

The manananggal flew back to the group of trees where it had concealed its lower half. When it reached them, it transformed back into its human upper half, which then settled upon its lower, and united with it at once, becoming a whole woman again. Afterwards, it swiftly dressed itself in the human clothes that it had originally been wearing but which it had concealed with its lower half earlier that evening. Then back towards the city walked Rosa – for the manananggal and Rosa were, of course, one and the same entity.

... When the original Rosa, the real daughter of her father, was four years old, one hot febrile night a manananggal had surreptitiously found its way into her bedroom while she was asleep, and had silently drained her of her life force until she was dead. Then, once again without making even the faintest of sounds, it had stripped Rosa’s clothes from her small cold body, which it had then devoured entirely, before shape-shifting itself into an exact likeness of her when alive, then dressing itself in her clothes. And no-one, not even Rosa’s own father, had ever suspected that anything was amiss. Or at least, not until, down through the years, an inordinate number of pregnant women in their village and others nearby had suffered miscarriages, given birth to stillborn babies, and in some cases had even experienced what had appeared to be an unexplained total reabsorbing of the foetus while still only a few weeks old.

Eventually, suspicious fingers had begun to point towards the withdrawn, uncommunicative, secretive Rosa. And even though her father had angrily denounced all such accusations, pointing out that they had lived together ever since Rosa’s birth – it was not as if Rosa had been adopted by him and was therefore of unknown origin, or had even been separated from him for any length of time – finally he had decided that they should move far away, which is what had brought them to Antipolo.

But once again, miscarriages and stillborn babies had lately been occurring with increasing frequency in areas of the city close to theirs, and sometimes near to their own home. However, the city was far bigger than their village, and Rosa knew that the number of cases overall was too small to attract unwelcome attention. So she would be safe, and would remain undetected here for a long time, assuaging her bloodlust without fear of discovery.

Back home, Rosa sat in her room, getting ready for dinner with her father downstairs. Her father – she smiled as those words entered her mind. Even at the heights of her bloodlusts, her father was the one human figure that had always remained inviolate, never at risk of being attacked by her, because as a child and even as a teenager she had depended entirely upon him to protect her physically from those who had grown suspicious, and also to dispel rumours that might otherwise have led to formal investigations. Of course, now that she was no longer a teenager, now that she was a grown woman soon to qualify as a midwife – and trembling with something akin to erotic ecstasy at the thought of the unchallenged access that this job would give her to pregnant women! – from now on she would be able to stand up for herself. Her father would no longer be invaluable, or even valuable. On the contrary, he was now entirely disposable.

And as she reflected upon this, her face glimmered with a pale, unearthly glow, as for just the briefest of instants her eyes became golden vertical slits, and a pair of long venom-dripping fangs momentarily materialised. Then, the voice of her father called up to her, to tell her that dinner was now ready. Instantaneously, her face became that of his obedient daughter Rosa again, except for the faintest of smiles that lingered as she stood up. After all, she speculated, tonight would be as good a time as any to bring this charade to an end, and the death of her father would appear to anyone examining his body to have been caused by nothing more dramatic than a massive heart attack. The shock of her father’s sudden, unexpected demise would even very conveniently explain why she hadn’t gone to Maria’s house that evening as promised. She walked out of her bedroom, closed the door, and walked along the landing towards the stairs. Yes, it was time...

Downstairs, her father stood motionless, willing his mind and his heart to accept what must be done. A few minutes earlier, he had received a phone-call from a near-hysterical Maria, who, with her brother Juan’s help, had somehow managed to convey what had happened with the manananggal, and that they fervently hoped all was well with Rosa, as she had never arrived at Maria’s house. When he put the phone down, Rosa’s father was ashen and shaking. He knew very well that Rosa had set out, because a friend driving by in his car had happened to see her walking through the fields not far from Maria’s house. Yet when Rosa had unexpectedly arrived back home only a few hours later, she had gone straight to her room without even speaking, let alone explaining why she hadn’t stayed at Maria’s. He had naturally assumed that she would explain everything at dinner, but the horrific news from Maria had driven all other thoughts from his mind – all other thoughts but one, that is.

So, it had indeed begun again, and closer to home in every sense this time than ever before. After all, Maria was a good friend. How could it be? It cannot be, surely – and yet, it must be. No longer was there any other explanation. No longer could there be any further attempt to brush aside such events as mere coincidences.

He glanced at an open drawer in his writing desk, then looked down at his hand, at what he had taken out of that drawer and was now holding, which gleamed brightly even in the evening’s subdued light. It was a long slender dagger, with a razor-sharp blade. A silver dagger.

He stood in the shadows at the foot of the stairs, and waited. Yes, it was time...

[For the whole story Click Here ... ]


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tasaday - Hoax or Genuine

Have you heard about the Tasaday Tribe? (The one which people considered as a Stone Age Tribe.) If yes, do you think this tribe is real? Or just a hoax? If they were not true, then someone was behind this greatest scandal.

Actually, till now no one knows who to believe - the debunkers or the believers. The Tasaday people are the only one who know if they were really true or just paid actors by Manuel Elizalde. Like what Ethnologist Thomas Headland said,
.... the Tasaday were a hoax when viewed as a group of paid actors that paraded around the forest wearing leaves.
.... they were authentic if they were viewed as a forest-dwelling group of people caught in the midst of the media.
For the sake of this discussion, let's think they were in the middle of true and fake. NO BIAS.

About the Tasaday Tribe

The Tasaday tribe is an indigenous people of Mindanao, island South of Philippines. They are considered belonging in the Lumad group together with the other indigenous people found in the same island. These group of people were believed to be living in the caves of the Philippine rain forest, secluding themselves to the others, and are not aware of their surroundings. They were wearing only orchid leaves and have their diet with fruits, fishes and insects. This tribe was called Stone Age Tribe because of their way of living which resembles that of the Stone Age people from the past, and, of course, they use stone tools.

Tasaday language is distinct from that of their neighboring tribes - Manobo in the east and Tboli in the west. They even don't have in their dialect the words war, hate, enemy, conflict and the like. However, in the mid-1980s, according to Linguistics Anthropologist Carol Malony their language was 80% similar to Manobos'.

As of 2008, their population is only 216.


On June 7, 1971, a local Manobo hunter from the village of Blit told Manuel Elizalde about their accidental encounters with this primitive tribe. A month later, he released the discovery in the media. Visitors were very excited in seeing them. But weeks after announcement of the news, the visitors were blocked by PANAMIN guards. They only allow important visitors to meet them.

By the way, Manuel Elizalde was at that time the head of the government agency PANAMIN, which protects the interest of cultural minorities. He also took credit in the discovery of Tasaday Tribe.

In June, 1971, Elizalde with his bodyguard, helicopter pilot, a doctor, a student, named Edith Terry, and a local tribespeople for interpreting purposes, met with the Tasaday people in the edge of the forest.

In March, 1972, another meeting was held, this time in the home site of the tribe, between Elizalde, and members of press and media including the Associated Press and National Geographic Society.

Being brought out to the world, Tasaday became so popular that they caught the attention of all medias, famous anthropologists and celebrities like Charles Lindbergh and Gina Lollobrigida.

Ethno-botanist Douglas Yen, Linguistics Anthropologist Carol Malony, and Father Sean McDonaugh studied the newly discovered tribe.

Anthropologists Zeus Salazar, Gerald Berraman, Alan Barnard and Swiss Anthropologist Journalist Oswald Iten told the media that the tribe was an absolute fake, that they were just making a great show to the whole world.

Studies of the Believers and Debunkers

Ethno-botanist Douglas Yen studies the ways of different cultures in how they utilize plants. He was also a strong believer that the tribe was definitely a genuine Stone Age tribe. He lived with them for about a month and what he found out was that they actually live resembling that of the Stone Age people. Also, according to him, they live by just eating relatively a low carbohydrate and protein foods.

He made an experiment using rice plants. He asked some children about it, and no one had an idea. This proves that they have no exposure to outside world. The rice grow outside there place and yet no one of them discovered it. Tasadays eat a different variety of rice, different from his sample, but they call it in other names. Tasaday was a hunting and gathering civilization and they never planted rice, so children never know it unless they plant some.

Linguistics Anthropologist Carol Malony studied the tribe's language if they were related with others. According to her, their language was 80% similar to Manobos'. Thus, it only mean they have contact with each other or they came from only one tribe but didn't lived longer and evolved together. The media concluded that the two split off around 1200 A.D., meaning they weren't Stone Age Tribe. And this specific conclusion brought out many speculation that the tribe is FAKE.

She also approved to what Yen said that Tasadays had no borrowed words from other languages. If they had, they are good in faking themselves to not saying by a fault any of those words. She also added that upon conversation with children, she found her discovery very strong. It seemed that their language is genuine. There are plenty of rooms for children to come out even a single borrowed word from their mouths in a conversation.

According to Father Sean McDonaugh, he followed them for twenty years, and he had Tboli tribe members with him to examine them. The Tboli tribe found that they were not related to each other.

In 1986, (the time when Marcos government was overthrown) Swiss Anthropologist Journalist Oswald Iten came back to the rain forest accompanied by Joey Lozano, a Filipino reporter, and Datu Galang Tikaw for an unauthorized investigation to the Tasaday cave, they are with six Tasaday for two hours. He saw the cave empty, then Tasadays were wearing T-shirts and jeans, and had footage that they were living in houses (huts). This became the basis of another story of Tasadays - that it was a hoax.

According to him, the Tasaday people were just farmers of Manobo and Tboli tribe, and were forced to live like cavemen by Manuel Elizalde in exchange of payment.
"We didnt live in caves, only near them, until we met Elizalde," they said. "Elizalde forced us to live in the caves so that we'd be better cavemen. Before he came, we lived in huts on the other side of the mountain and we farmed. We took off our clothes because Elizalde told us to do so and promised if we looked poor that we would get assistance. He gave us money to pose as Tasaday and promised us security from counter-insurgency and tribal fighting."
Manuel Elizalde was accused of promising food and clothing to the tribe if they will cooperate with him. He was also rumored that the reason why he made it is just to take their land. (But he was proven to had acquired some lands from other tribes.)

A few weeks later, a team from Dern Stern went there accompanied by the original discoverer of the tribe. There, they saw them again wearing leaves in the cave, with clothes under those leaves. This was supposed to disprove their authenticity.

Anthropologists Zeus Salazar who also believed that Tasaday were not true. He studied the tools that the Tasaday were using. He found out that those tools were not made just like that used by people in Stone Age, that those tools cannot be used in daily activities. With these discovery he concluded that they were fake, and was just used as props for the show.

Anthropologists Gerald Berraman also studied their stone tools. He didn't found any remains of old tools in the cave. Tasaday tribeman told him that after 1970s, they stopped creating stone tools because they were given knives by explorers who visited them. However, this reason, for Barraman, was unbelievable because if they started to use these tools at around 1970s then there should be any remains of their old tools somewhere. He also found out that these people don't have hunting tools nor any rituals and folklores which for him, was an important ways in survival.

Ban to Visitations

In April 1972, (same year when Martial Law was declared) Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos (at the behest of PANAMIN and Lindbergh) declared 19,000 acres (182 km²) of land surrounding the Tasaday's ancestral caves as the Tasaday/Manobo Blit Preserve. By this time, eleven anthropologists had studied the Tasaday in the field, but none for more than six weeks, and in 1976, Marcos issued a decree to close the preserve to all visitors in ... protecting the Tasaday and other unexplored cultural communities from unauthorized entry. This declaration was rumored that Elizalde persuaded Marcos to do such.

One of the reasons for the closing was a number of suspicions that arose. Apparently, their dead were left in the forest under a layer of leaves, yet no bones, compost, or the like were found. Secondly, although the Tasaday had claimed to be living in the jungle at their cave shelter full time, there was no garbage or sign of human waste. Elizalde claimed that among the 24 remaining Tasaday, there was no wife-sharing, adultery, or divorce. Their diet was claimed to be all forage, i.e., wild fruit, palm pith, forest yams, tadpoles, grubs, and roots. The calories in such a diet are less than the amount needed for survival, so they should have been paper thin. The apparent yams that they survive on were experiencing a shortage around the area where they lived. When dietitians and health advisors suggested further research, they were promptly banned from the Tasaday's home. An anthropologist reported seeing soldiers slipping cooked rice to the Tasaday, and he was banned as well.

Prior to the closing of the preserve to visitors, PANAMIN funded essentially all efforts to find, visit, and study, the Tasaday, with most of the money used to "protect" them coming from Elizalde and his family, with a lesser portion provided by the Philippine government. As contact between the Tasaday and the world outside their forest virtually ceased with the banning of visitors to the preserve in 1976, so did expenditures on the Tasaday by PANAMIN.

Rise of Controversy

In a TV program (ABC Televion's) 20/20 two young Tasaday, named Lobo and Adug, told the interviewer, through their translator Datu Galang Tikaw, that they were indeed not Tasaday. Because of this claim, the hoax of Tasaday became the headline worldwide.

Two years after them, in BBC Documentary, they interviewd again the same Tasaday. They showed the video of their interview with the 20/20 program together with other Tasadays. They confessed that what they said in the interview was not true, Galang told them to say those words in exchange of cigarettes, clothing, and anything they wanted. But Galang confirmed those statements.


At the time when Swiss Anthropologist Journalist Oswald Iten came back to the rain forest and found Tasaday wearing clothes and living in houses, it was about 15 years later from the time they were discovered and televised, and had contact with outside world. So in those years, it is possible that they had changed their ways. It doesn't mean that they were cavemen, will be cavemen forever; they were wearing leaves, and will wear leaves forever.

And at the time a team from Dern Stern came back after Iten's encounter, they saw them wearing leaves again. Its not a problem if they wanted to go back in wearing leaves again. Especially, if some of them find clothes irritating (just like Tarzan when he wore a cloth).

Lawrence A. Reid (U. of Hawai'i, Dept. of Linguistics, Emeritus) writes that he spent 10 months with the Tasaday and surrounding linguistic groups (1993–1996) and has concluded that they probably were as isolated as they claim, that they were indeed unfamiliar with agriculture, that their language was a different dialect from that spoken by the closest neighboring group, and that there was no hoax perpetrated by the original group that reported their existence. In his paper 'Linguistic Archaeology: Tracking down the Tasaday Language' Dr. Reid states although he originally thought that an individual Tasaday named Belayem was fabricating data, he later found, after a detailed analysis of the linguistic evidence, around 300 of Belayem's forms were actually used in Kulaman Valley, Manobo (Manobo languages), that Belayem had never visited and did not even know about. Reid also concluded that the Tasaday had not been isolated for a thousand years. He speculated that they split off from the Kulaman Valley Manobos, perhaps about 150 to 200 years ago. They might had fled into the jungle to escape any of disease, and war.

Ethnologist Thomas Headland says that the Tasaday were a tribe that was caught in the midst of a changing world. Headland edited a book composed of all the anthropological articles and data analysis along with the various arguments about the Tasaday and reached the conclusion that the entire Tasaday episode was the result of exaggerations and miscommunications among the media. He said that he doubted the accusations that the Tasaday were paid to live half-naked in the rain forest as dwellers and that he does believe they were a discovered tribe, but not a Stone Age tribe.

According to Headland, the Tasaday tribe incident was the result of the noble savage attitude toward a newly discovered tribe that came during the late 1960s resulting from the wars and the need for peace in the world. Headland also said that the Tasaday were a hoax when viewed as a group of paid actors that paraded around the forest wearing leaves. He said they were authentic if they were viewed as a forest-dwelling group of people caught in the midst of the media. Anthropologists instantly worshipped the Tasaday because they were seen as a new area of study. During this time, everyone thought this tribe was unique because the tribe had no words for war and hate in its society. This belief made way for the conditions of self-fulfilling prophesies that the researchers experienced causing them to only record data that related to their individual theories.

Now the tribe is okay. They are gaining population again, and they learn how to farm.

And its up to you if you believe some of the above information.

By the way, I had watched a documentary by Kara David in I-Witness (GMA): Tasaday Revisited 30 years. She asked Lobo if Tasaday truelly were Tasaday, and he answered a big YES, that they were.

For more about them, click here


Friday, April 12, 2013

Bangungot - Real? ... or Myth?

Dreaming is a part of our life. Every time we sleep, we often encounter peculiar images and feelings we cannot explain. Some may symbolize your personality, and physical and mental wants and needs; and some may show you your very fear. These might be situations and possible problems you don't want to occur, and things (living or non-living) you don't like most. Dreams are ambiguous. Till now, Psychologists are still solving and studying what are those things you see on it really mean and its importance in our lives.

Dreams mainly occur in the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep—when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake. REM sleep is revealed by continuous movements of the eyes during sleep. At times, dreams may occur during other stages of sleep. However, these dreams tend to be much less vivid or memorable.

But how if these dreams are not likable? If they turned to something demonic and deathly? This kind of dream, in the Philippines, is Bangungot. The question here is -
Is Bangungot real or just a myth?
Let's have a short introduction about what is this bangungot.

Bangungot is a Filipino word for the English nightmare. It is also the word used by locals in naming the sudden death of persons while they are asleep. Whether you are healthy or not, you may be affected. Victims may have no complications or even any other signs of heart diseases. This medical condition acknowledged by experts is named as Sudden Unexpected (Unexplained/Unknown) Nocturnal Death Syndrome or SUNDS. Filipinos identify the causes of how a person undergoes in the said condition as well as ways on preventing and waking a person experiencing this. But actually until now, no one knows the causes of it which everyone should accept and believe.

The Filipino word Bangungot came from Bangon (which means to wake up or stand) and Ungol (which means to to moan).

Did you know that 43 out of 100,000 young Filipinos die because of Bangungot? Its a small ratio, but alarming.

I included it here because some Filipinos don't believe in Bangungot. Some would just accept it as an urban legend. Bangungot is true! However the causes that local Filipinos identify are a little incredible. Maybe that's the reason some don't believe on it.

Foreign Similarity

Actually, it is not endemic in the Philippines. Other Asian and European countries also know and recognize this. They even have their own names for this. There are differences comparing it from one country and another, but they have more similarities.

  • Thailand. They call it Lai tai. They believe that this disease may have cause in eating a food they called phi am, which means ghost of a widow. This ghost visits young men at night.

  • Vietnam. Tsob Tsuang is their name for bangungot.

  • Indonesia. Digeunton is their name for it.

  • Laos. Dab Tsog.

  • Japan. They name it as Pokkuri. There was a temple called Pokkuri-dera in Nara Prefecture. There, people do a ritual to wish for a pleasant death.

  • China. Bei gui ya is there name for it.

  • Hungary. Boszorkany-nyomas.

  • Netherlands. Nachtmerrie.

  • Nefoundland, Canada. They call the local Batibat as Old Hag.

  • Mythical Causes

    There was this nature spirit dwelling in trees that punishes humans especially those people who cut the specific tree where she lives. It usually takes the form of an old, fat woman. This mythical creature I'm talking about is the Batibat of Ilocanos (more commonly known as the Bangungot).

    She punishes people by means of sitting over them while sleeping in the wooden beds and/or benches made from the tree where she dwell. Of course the person will be suffocated, and if not prevented, the worst thing may happen, he will die. The only way to escape her is to wake the victim up. However, you cannot wake the person by just slapping their body or face. You need to press hardly the thumb toe of that person and, if necessary, shake it.

    Another mythical creature blamed to cause this is the Engkantos, particularly the wicked engkantos. Reasons why they cause this sudden death while sleeping are: (1)they punish them; and (2)they fond the person. Yes! I do mean that if the engkanto fell in love with you, they will snatch your soul and never let you go any more. Thus causing your death. But this often happens to women, and bangungot usually occur to men.

    Natural Causes

    If a Filipino warn you not to eat to much at dinner or before you go to sleep, follow them. Acute Hemorrhagic pancreatitis is a disease caused by eating and drinking to much food and alcoholic beverage, especially beer, and this cause Bangungot. Some foods are avoided by locals like noodles and desserts. Eating Balut and drinking beer at the same time may also cause bangungot, as well as salty foods like bagoong and patis.

    In Thailand and Laos, Brugada Syndrome causes Bangungot.

    Famous Issues

    Rico Yan died at 10:45 am of March 29, 2002. The true cause of his death was acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis, which causes Bangungot. But because he, at that time, was one of the most famous celebrity in the Philippines, his death created many rumors.

    Marky Cielo, a newly discovered celeb, was also rumored that his death was caused by bangungot.

    Some of these bangungot might actually caused by problems and worry (in short stress) that you still put in mind even you're about to sleep. So remember, before going to sleep, you need to set them aside and be relaxed. A warm milk may also help you.

    For some ways on how to get rid of Bangungot, click here [1].