Usog - Real? ... or Myth?

Is Usog real or just a myth?

We have finished discussing all about Bangungot and Pasma - their causes and effects, and the reality and fiction sides of those said folk diseases. Now, let's have another one. For me this is the second most mysterious, well after Lihi. My first impression on this, when this was introduced to me when I was still a kid, is GROSS. Puting saliva of a stranger in your stomach? No thanks. And how if you're the person causing usog to somebody else? Well, some people would insist you lick their stomach. Hahaha . . .


I don't know if usog still exist to Filipinos. Well maybe to old-fashioned Filipinos, but to modern youngsters, they ignore and don't believe on it any more. I am not saying all of the kids today, but definitely most of them including me. My parents still talk about this, but only at this time that I have interest on it.

I asked my grandmother about it and she told me she still believe in usog. I asked her why people insist to be licked in their stomach. She answered me, Not always. You don't need to be licked, you just need their saliva. Just let them wet your stomach with it. Then I asked her again, what's about saliva? Well, the only thing she respond to me is, Ewan ko ... Sabi nila eh. (I don't know ... That's what others said.)

I'm still wondering who are those nila she was talking about. I think she was referring to those people who first told her about it.

Well, anyway, what is actually Usog?

Usog (others call it Balis and Hinsuokan) is an affliction that causes the affected person a headache, stomach pain, fever, convulsion and some more severe pains or disease. This is often discussed in Filipino Psychology. Usually, the victims of this are kids, but in some occasion adults. If an adult is still experiencing usog, it means that he or she is still a weak person (Usogin). The person who causes usog are said to be overpowering. Not all people can cause usog to somebody. Actually, there are only few people who (I think) has a power to do this, like an evil eye.

In folkloric explanation, there might be some mangkukulam (witch), who are looking badly at you, as if cursing you.

Usog may had been influenced by the Spanish mal de ojo.


When you ask somebody how to counteract usog, most of them would answer the use of saliva. Usually, they will tell you to Dilaan mo ako. (Lick me.) and/or Lawayan mo ako. (Put saliva on me.) to avoid usog to the child you greeted. While doing so, he/she should say Pwera usog ... or Pwera barang ....

If the person tells you to lick him, it doesn't mean to lick him in other parts of his body, but to his abdomen. The same place where you need to put the saliva. You just need to wet your finger with it, then rub it to him. In some cases, especially to babies, the finger is rubbed to his heel or sometimes in the forehead. In these two ways, rubbing finger wet with saliva is more used and preferrable.

Other ways on healing or preventing usog is by means of placing the clothing of the afflicted kid or adult in a hot water and then boiling it.

Scientific Explanation

One theory, explains usog in terms of child distress that leads to greater susceptibility to illness and diseases. There are observations that a stranger (or a newcomer or even a visiting relative) especially someone with a strong personality (physically big, boisterous, has strong smell, domineering, etc.) may easily distress a child. Thus, the child is said to be "overpowered" or nauusog and thus may feel afraid, develop fever, get sick, etc.[a]

In usog, the child's distress is the consequence of the child's failure to adapt to change. It is, in medical terms, the consequence of the disruption of homeostasis through physical or psychological stimuli brought about by the stranger. Technically, the condition results from the child-environment interaction that leads the child to perceive a painful discrepancy, real or imagined, between the demands of a situation on the one hand and their social, biological, or psychological resources on the other. The stressful stimuli to the child may be mental (stranger is perceived as a threat, malevolent or demanding), physiological (loud and/or high-pitched voice of the stranger that is hurting to the child's eardrum; strong smell of the stranger that irritates the child's nasal nerves), or physical (stranger has heavy hands or is taking up too much space).[a]

The stranger's act of gently placing his finger with his saliva to the child's arm, foot, or any particular part of the child's body, could make him more familiar to the child, and thus, reduce if not remove the stress. As the stranger keeps gently saying, "Pwera usog... pwera usog...," the child is made to feel and assured that he means no harm. The usog is said to be counteracted because the child is prevented from succumbing to an illness since the child is no longer in distress. Children or even adults who are shy or have weak personalities are more susceptible to usog in accordance with observations and theory. Some have observed that at times even praising a shy child by a visiting relative caused an usog.[a]



  1. Usog is transferable. If you touch a dead person who came to like you and that person died, and you touched that person before they die, they will pass on their usog to you. A person can usog somebody if they enjoy your existence, and in most cases if they are unwell or hungry. Usog can become really bad if the person that hexed you couldnt rub saliva on your stomach. I know, it sounds weird, and it could be all mental, but it actually exist. Especially in the province, because that was the place where witches resides.

    1. Corny. Alang usog. Corny na lng mga ganyang paniniwala. Unhygienic pa, using other's secretion/ saliva? A medium for communicable disease? Stop it.

    2. Tell that to your grandma

    3. Well usog is true.. Because when I was child nausog ako with the mother of my classmates then naitulog that's why nakakausog ako

    4. I agree with Marial, I also experienced being nausog and I had head ache for several days, I did not believe in such before even my mother that's why we did not seek for help or cure, my aunt suggested after a day for me to smell a specific plant.

      And then one time we were at the market with my sister, I was so stressed and I have a lot of things in my mind, we were rushing because we have to buy some stuffs that we will give to my mothers friend at a specific time and there wasn't much time because of the traffic...

      After buying stuffs, we I went to see my mom's friend and my sister is about to go home, but I forgot to give here something so I went straight to our jeepney line because I know my sister is there, when I saw here she was very pale and she felt stomach ache, she was nauseous and she felt that she needs to use the bathroom at the same time. Also she was sweating cold. So I held her hand and touched her ears.. after she vomitted, we sat for 10 minutes and then she was ok.

      So I realized, maybe, nausog ko sya, because my aunt told me that when you were not cured by the person na nakausog sayo, nakakausog ka rin.

      I felt really bad because all those she felt that time was what I felt when I was nausog, And I don't have any intention na mausog sya. So at that time I believed in 'usog'.

      I'm here because I wan't to know if there is a cure para hindi ako nakakausog. Because I don't want others to feel ill because of me, if I am nakakausog and I still don't want to believe that I can do such thing.

    5. It's true! It happened to me twice, I had a head ache, a stomach ache and vomiting.

    6. It's true! It happened to me twice, I had a head ache, a stomach ache and vomiting.

    7. . If you touch a dead person who came to like you and that person died, and you touched that person before they die, they will pass on their usog to you. - magulo

  2. sa bisaya ang tawag sa ganyn Nabuyagan,, pwera buyag,,o kea buyag buyag,,lalo n pag pinnupuri mo ay baby

  3. totoo yan..32 n aq at hangang naun naaalala q p ung itsura ng nakausog sbi pg nausog k at muntik mamatay ....
    meron k nding usog...acrosstheuniverse

  4. pag may usog ang isang tao...pwede pa po pang mawala un sayo so that u can't hurt people na?may solusyon pa ba para mwala?

  5. before ndi ako naniniwala sa usog/bati dahil laking manila not until na experience ko ito sa province ng mum ko sa bacolod.1 week ako sa hospital at suka't tae lang ako at walang makita problema ang mga doktor hanggang sa pina discharge na lng ako ng tito ko from bacolod at pina albularyo.dun nko naniwala,muntik ko na ikamatay yun.

    --ERL,25 from Malabon City

  6. I personally experience "usog" so for me this is so true. Wala ako probinsya pero lumaki kami sa antipolo na medyo parang probinsya pa din. At marami ako mga lola na malapit sa amin. So lahat yan usog, bati at kung ano ano pa ang tawag dyan. Pinalaki ako naniniwala dyan.. hindi lng tao ang pwede maka usog or bati pati daw mga ibang nilalang na hindi natin nakikita.. malalamang mo naman usog pag sobra at ang biglaan pagsakit pagkatpos ka batiin or may bago ka lugar na pinuntahan.. kht hindi mo na rinig ang bati pwede ka pa din ma usog.. ilan sa mga naramdaman ko na ay ang sobrang pagsakit ng tiyan at ngipin ko ng biglaan.. buti na lng na ang mga kasambahay namin ay puro galing sa probinsya kaya alam nila ang gagawin.. binababad ni ang suot ko damit sa mainit sa tubig.. at maniwala kaya o hindi nawawala na parang bula ang sakit.. wala nmn mawawala kung gagawin nyo.. kc kht ano inumin ko gamot hindi tumatalab..

  7. toto.o to sabi ni avee na bestfriend ni mitz na syota ni makie na ex ni crystal na bestfriend ni arianne na syota ni sean and zean na kaibigan ko.


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