Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Girl's Rear View Reflection




"Kung makikita mo ang sarili mong walang ulo sa salamin o sa litrato, malapit na ang araw ng iyong kamatayan."
[Whenever you see yourself headless in the mirror or picture, the day of your death is near.]


That's one example of a Filipino pamahiin or in English - superstition. Pamahiin is an irrational belief explicating a natural and/or supernatural action or incident that may lead to good or bad luck.

I was still in high school when I first heard this pamahiin. At that time, reading ghost stories were popular to students in our campus. We really love that hobby, and because of that, I became interested in everything mysterious, aside of my professor's influence.

Anyway, I also learned the only way how to reverse the effect of the said pamahiin.

Kailangan mong sunugin ang damit na suot mo noong oras na nakita mong wala kang ulo.
[You need to burn the clothes you wore the time you saw yourself headless.]


Doing that is a must, because there are no more other known ways to counter the pamahiin.

Speaking of this pamahiin, there was a story spreading about a girl whose taxicab driver saw her headless in the rear view mirror. The driver told her to burn the clothes immediately after arriving to her house.



The Story



[Taken from Internet:[1]]

A woman gets off work late and takes a jeep home. She is a little unnerved as she is the lone passenger but she's in a hurry to get home so she doesn't want to wait for another jeep. The driver keeps glancing at her through the rear view mirror. After what feels like forever, the jeep starts. The driver keeps looking at her and, horrified, the woman notices that he's trembling and sweating. She moves to the back of the jeep just in case the situation escalates. To her relief, they reach their stop. What the driver calls out after her turns her blood cold, though.

"Miss, pagka-uwi mo, paki-usap sunugin mo mga damit mo. Nung nakita kita sa salamin, wala kang ulo."
[Miss, as you arrive home, please burn your clothes. When I saw you in the mirror, you're headless.]




[Taken from Internet:[2]]

Isang gabi habang nagmamaneho ako ng Jeep may pumara sa'kin na College Student. Sya lang ang pasahero ko, gabi na kasi, mga 11;00 na.

"Manong sa Q.C. lang po ako". Sabi nung babae.

"Sige". Sagot ko.

(pagkadating nmin sa Q.C)

Manong sa kanto na lang po.

Sabi niya.

(tinignan ko siya sa salamin, tapos kinilabutan ako, iniba ko yung direksyon kung saan sya bababa.)

"Manong dun po sa kanto, san po kayo pupunta?" tanong niya sakin na parang kinakabahan siya.

(Ibinalik ko na lang yung direksyon ko knina. dun sa kanto kung san siya bababa.)

"Manong dyan nalang po. " Sabi nya.

"Pagkapasok mo ng bahay mo, sunugin mo lahat ng damit mo, wala kang ititira ha? wag ka munang lumabas ng bahay nyo." Sabi ko sa kanya,

"Manong anong sinasabi nyo?" Kinakabahan niyang tanong.




[Taken from Internet:[3]]

Jeepney Ride



It's funny when certain events in our lives occur and we blame it all to bad luck. What's funnier is the things that we do to counter the flow of bad energy that causes these so called bad luck or bad events. At least at that time I thought it was funny, until my friend shared her unlikely experience.

This story is about my friend and her scary jeepney ride going home. For those of you who don't know what jeepneys are, they are a popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. They were originally made from US military jeeps left over from World War II and are well known for their flamboyant decoration and crowded seating.

My friend went home late after finishing their school project, now since she lives within the vicinity of the U.P. Diliman campus (University of the Philippines) it was perfectly safe for her to take the jeepney instead of taking a taxi in going home during late hours. It was about midnight when she took the ride home, and she could not help but notice the driver kept glancing at her through his rear view mirror and then he would turn to her. (Now all jeepneys have their own route and do not take any turns and they have to stick to their route or else there is a big chance that they would run into some cop trouble). What's odd about this jeepney ride besides the eerie glances that the driver gave from time to time, he was also taking turns in corners that he was not suppose to. Afraid of what the drivers plans are, she was even more afraid of her surroundings because it seemed as if she was in the middle of nowhere already. So instead of going down, she just stayed on the jeep. On the last turn that the driver made, she noticed that they were back on the route that they were suppose to be in the first place.

Before reaching the end of the terminal, the driver turned to my friend and said, "Im sorry if I scared you or startled you! It was not my intention".. "Could you do me a favor and BURN all your clothes when you get home".. Wondering why my friend asked why he was acting very strange. The driver explained, "The reason why I kept glancing was because your head was not attached to your body when I looked through my rear view mirror." "That is why I changed my route awhile ago, hoping we could get away from the bad energy present in that area, and that's why I want you to BURN your clothes when you get home because I think its still with you."

Upon arriving home, still shaking from fear, my friend took all her clothes off and burned them as quickly as she could. A few days later she found out on the news that the jeepney driver died a day after the incident. It turned out the warning was not for her but for the driver.




Variations and Similarities



Urban legend stories almost always have variations. Even though they have the similar type of story, there is still difference.

Among the three stories above, I don't know which is the original. However I believe the third one is much close to the real story.
- The first story tells about a woman who got off from her work late at night. The second one (which I think is a self-reconstruction of the author's own version) says that it was a 'college student', while the third mentions the school. All of the stories also tell an identical gender - a female.

- Though I don't have a story that tells about a taxicab instead of a jeepney, still there were other stories spreading uses taxi. The above legends use jeepney.

- The female passenger felt uneasy because of the frequent glances of the driver. All of the stories say the same.

- Both the second and third stories suggest that the driver took wrong turns before reaching the destination of his passenger. The first didn't mention that.

- All of the stories mention about the drivers caution to his passenger and explained to her the reason why he acted very mysteriously. However, the last one revealed that the incident was a warning to the driver himself not to the passenger. That's also the reason why I believe it was the original story.

About



It was alleged that the urban legend started in the University of the Philippines. I don't know if it is true, but all the stories I found suggest UP Diliman as the setting of the legend which made it the origination. Others didn't mention any place.



Sources:
[1] http://www.reddit.com/r/Philippines/comments/1g18fh/filipino_urban_legends/
[2] http://www.wattpad.com/10990260-jeep-horror
[3] http://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=105


Image Source:
http://puugaownz.deviantart.com/art/headless-woman-192734883

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ativan Gang




Criminal gangs are known with their distinct way or technique or method (Modus Operandi) of robbing someone or a business. Some of them are fearless. They attack their victims as if they don't have any plans. While others have plans for an attack to a person or a business to ensure that none of them will be caught.

Thanks to CCTV cameras. Knowing the identities of the criminals become much easier. However, as time passes by, they become much more dangerous compared to those criminals in the previous years.

Anyway, the Ativan Gang is not only a mere urban legend which only sprouted from rumors of the people. They actually exist, and I don't know if they still until now. Like what I always say, not all urban legends are unreal. Some of them originated from real sources, or the story itself is real. However, they are altered because of the way how it circulated through the tongues of tsismosos and tsismosas.

They became an urban legend because there are e-mailed stories spreading in the cities where the Ativan Gang is the main subject. No one knows if these said stories really happen. One thing's for sure, the incident is told by a 'friend-of-a-friend', making it doubtful. These e-mails appear as a warning, but, for me, these are good warnings though. They make Filipinos aware of what's happening.



Ativan Gang



According to real sources, Ativan Gang is one of the oldest gangs in the Philippines. Their members invite or befriend unsuspecting foreigners (usually male tourists) to eat and drink (or should I say 'bond') with them. They are using the advantage of the known Filipino attitude - hospitality. As they finally got you in their hands, they will put an ativan pill in your food or drink. As you ingested it, you'll feel dizzy and drowsy, then you find yourself asleep suddenly. The time you are unconscious, they will start robbing you - get your belongings and left you alone somewhere.

One of their tricky modus operandi is by attracting the victim using a beautiful Filipina, which is one of there member. As they were engaging in sexual activity, the girl will secretly put the drug in the drink to knock the tourist out of consciousness.

Because of them, there's this expression Filipinos used to say: Na-ATIVAN - meaning 'you are victimized by the Ativan gang' and/or 'you accidentally ingested an ativan pill'.

According to some sources, the gang started to operate in the late 70's or early 80's.


By the way, we've been talking about this Ativan Gang, but some of us don't have any idea what an Ativan pill is. So, what is it?



Ativan Drug



The last time I hear the word 'ativan' was in a news about a drug syndicate, who not only produce illegal substance but also smuggle prohibited drugs from overseas to the Philippines.

As of now, the DOH (Department of Health) and BFAD (Bureau of Food and Drugs) prohibited the selling and importing of the Ativan drug in the country. According to the same news, this drug is commonly used by criminals to rob or harm people. They might be refering to the Ativan Gang.

The generic name of the Ativan drug is lorazepam.

Ativan is in a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. It affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause anxiety.[4] Often times, this drug is used to treat anxiety disorders.

Ativan should not be taken if you have allergies to eat. It may cause difficulty in breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. There are also serious and mild side-effects when you take this drug, namely:
  • confusion, depressed mood, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself;
  • hyperactivity, agitation, hostility;
  • hallucinations; or
  • feeling light-headed, fainting.
  • Less serious side-effects:
  • drowsiness, dizziness, tiredness;
  • blurred vision;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • muscle weakness, lack of balance or coordination;
  • amnesia or forgetfulness, trouble concentrating;
  • nausea, vomiting, constipation;
  • appetite changes; or
  • skin rash

  • That's the reason why the government forbade this drug in circulation. Aside of the reason that some people may abuse this drug, it is also dangerous.



    The Rumor



    [Taken from E-mail:]

    Carlo waited for weeks for the showing of the latest James Bond movie. Since all of his friends were occupied that day, he decided to see the movie alone. Before he bought his ticket, he went to Burger King to get himself a burger and a coke. Like what he always does, he didn't put ice on his soda. He entered the movie house at 5:30 pm. While nibbling on his burger, he placed the cup of coke in the armrest.

    After taking a few sips, he suspected something very wrong with his coke. There is now ice on it. Akala nya nainom nya yung coke ng katabi nya (He thought he had sipped the coke of the someone beside him) but there was nobody seated beside him. He lifted the cup to get a closer look. Surprise, Surprise!!!!

    He found powdery substance floating on the soda. He also realized that the cup is now "Jollibee" and not Burger King. He immediately run for the restroom for he knew that he was 'na-ATIVAN'. He spit all fluid that he has taken in. In no more than 2 minutes, he felt dizzy. He hurriedly left the mail. He didn't know how he did it but he was able to find his way home.

    By the time he reached the doorstep of his house, he was already asleep. When he woke up, it was already 8pm of the following day.


    This is only one of the e-mails circulating in the internet. No one knows if this really happened. I can't say this isn't true.



    Others



    On February 2012, a Belgian national was victimized by two women who were allegely a member of Ativan gang. The Belgian woman was a 52-year-old veterinarian. On her trip to Malate Church, two women befriended her and invited to go to Tagaytay the next day. The two also asked her if she wanted to travel to Northern Philippines, and they said they are happy to accompany her. She replied yes.

    On there trip to the north, the two also brought two more women and one man. They first went to Dagupan City, then Baguio, Banawe, and after three days, to Cabanatuan City.

    On a hotel in Cabanatuan, where they stayed for the night, she woke up feeling very dizzy and her companions were gone. At first, she didn't realized what actually happened to her. She was still thinking why her companions just left her alone without telling her. Upon arrival to Manila, she finally realized that here pouch is empty - her 15,000 Euros are gone. She checked the pictures on her camera, but those were deleted. Luckily, she retrieved them and printed a copy. The authorities concluded that the six criminals are members of Ativan Gang.


    The reason why I said that the warning is good, and somehow helpful, because it reminds us one thing:
    Don't talk to strangers.
    That's a very simple reminder whenever you are in a place you are not familiar with.

    Sources:
    [1]http://www.drugs.com/
    http://3stars-sun.blogspot.com/2008/03/philippine-gangs-and-criminal.html
    http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/metro-manila/03/06/12/belgian-loses-p1-m-ativan-gang


    Image Source:
    http://www.philippinen-reisen.com/aktuelle-info/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/06-ativan-gang-2.gif

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    Tuesday, February 4, 2014

    The Mysterious Death of Julie Vega


    After every celebrity death comes the rumors. The most peculiar and mystifying rumor becomes the most accepted of all stories. And finally, this rumor end up as an urban legend. From a factual information, this is added by opinions of other people, and the teller altered them so his/her hearers become interested. That's a simple formula of making a famous urban legend.

    One of the most popular celebrity death with an urban legend is Julie Vega's. Her cause-of-death story morphed into a much more interesting gossip. Ever since I was a kid, I always hear those claims of how she really died, who took her life, and why did she die at a very young age.

    Anyway, let's just try to discuss the mysterious death of Julie Vega from the utmost bottom of all reasons and/or answer.

    Julie Vega



    Julie Pearl Apostol Postigo (popularly known as Julie Vega) was born on May 21, 1968, and died at the age of 16 on May 6, 1985, 15 days before her birthday. She is a very good Filipino child actress, singer, and commercial model. She won Famas Best Child Actress by playing as Angelita in her 1979 movie entitled Mga Mata ni Angelita, and as Lucia in her 1980 movie Durugin si Totoy Bato.[1]

    She is the only girl and the youngest in six children of Dr. Julio Postigo and Perla Postigo.

    She studied at the Our Lady of Sacred Heart School from grade school till first year high school before transferring to St. Joseph's College where she finished her high school.

    She was discovered by Film and stage Director Lamberto Avellana, and actress Miss Boots Anson-Roa in 1975. She was performing at a Christmas party.

    She started to become famous from portraying as Angelita in the movie Mga Mata ni Angelita which made her won the award. Her other known role was her GMA Network's soap opera, Anna Liza. This soap opera caught the sympathy and affection of Filipinos which made her more popular. That time, Flor de Luna in ABS-CBN was her greatest rival, roled by Janice de Belen. That role should have been Julie's, but she declined because of her tight schedule.[1]

    She is also known in her portrayals in Mga Basang Sisiw, Isang Bala Ka Lang, Durugin si Totoy Bato and Lovingly Yours, Helen: The Movie.

    Lovingly Yours, Helen





    Lovingly Yours, Helen is a Sunday afternoon program aired on GMA-7 from 1980 to 1996. This evolved into a television drama anthology from a daily counseling program on radio with the same title aired in DZBB.[2]

    In 1984, because of its great popularity, they decided to turn it into an anthology movie.

    The first episode of the movie was a horror-drama, which starred Julie Vega, Anita Linda and Coney Reyes. The second episode was drama, then the third one is a comedy-drama.[2]

    Julie Vega roled as Ida in the first episode of the film. The shooting was done in an old house in Mt. Manalmon which is located in San Miguel, Bulacan.

    This movie is actually the last film Julie Vega had before she died. The story is about this little girl who was a daughter of a mortal woman and a demon. This demon frequently possessed her.

    The Rumor



    I am not yet born at the time of her popularity and death. So I only knew her from the movies and rumors.





    The first time I watch the movie Lovingly Yours, Helen, I was still a kid, and it really scared everything in me. The way she portrayed the possessed Ida made it much frightening. For me, she is the Emily Rose of the Philippines. Everytime I remember her face with bubbly mouth and her demonic voice, it really creates a nightmare.

    She used to be an energetic and lively girl before they started filming the scary episode. Rumor has it, that after the shooting, few days later, she started to get sick and died eventually in a young age. Thus, people blamed the said movie. For what reason?

    There are rumored reasons why she died. Some are connected to the movie, some are personal. Here's the alleged explanation of her death:
  • According to the rumor, she was cursed by a supernatural being called engkantada when they shoot this movie in San Miguel, Bulacan. This beings were disturb and disrespected by the movie staffs so they took her life as punishment. When she died, they said, her body is as if still alive - still soft, warm, and sweaty.

  • Other say, there are lamang-lupas (Land monsters) in the place of filming which fell in love to her. And still, people say that her soul was now living with them in the woods of Mt. Manalmon.
    On one account, Julie saw a bearded child many times in the temporary comfort room they built. They even made a sacrifice to appease the said being, and as respect to the place.

  • Another rumor has it that a Spanish ghost was fond of her, that's why this ghost took her life. During the time when she was to be buried, a spirit-questor claimed he saw Julie Vega's ghost floating over her coffin. She might be still alive at that same time.

  • There's another much scientific rumor, that she took a secret diet which lead her to death.

  • Another rumor blames the house they bought in 1982 using Julie's earnings. They started to get unlucky after purchasing it. A hundred days after the acquisition, her brother Jeffrey was stabbed to death inside a car.

  • After Julie was buried, it was said, that her song Somewhere in My Past was playing in her room while her parents were in their room.

    Conclusion





    She started to get ill after her high school graduation in 1985. She was complaining of extreme weakness and lack of sensation in her lower body. Her parents brought her to a private hospital for diagnosis and treatment. After that, she was diagnosed with a demyelinating disease. It is a disease where their is a loss of fatty covering myelin of nerve fiber. As she was getting worse, her parents transferred to Quezon Institute.

    As she was confined there, she also got bronchopneumonia which make her condition worse.

    Then she was transferred again to the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City on May 6, 1985, and she died at around 90 minutes later after her arrival at the hospital's intensive care unit. Her death is caused by Cardiac arrest secondary to Bronchopneumonia. Her death left Anna Liza incomplete.

    That's what really killed her. However, I cannot say that the rumors about the engkanto is not true, because almost all people who knew her claims she died of engkanto curse. These creatures are unexplicable beings, and no one knows when they attack people.

    Before she actually died, her family consulted a clairvoyant to know who killed Jeffrey. The clairvoyant asked them if they have a daughter. After saying yes, she warned them to take care of the child because she's about to die. Thus, Julie Vega's family realized the omen was true.

    Sources:
    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_Vega
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovingly_Yours,_Helen
    http://philippinetales.weebly.com/5/post/2013/02/february-22nd-2013.html
    http://www.pinoyexchange.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8509

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    Saturday, February 1, 2014

    'Death Caused by Cellphone' Incident




    When I was in the hospital, watching over by sick uncle, I heard some people talking about not using the cellphone in any hospitals because it may result to a temporary shutdown of equipments there. The other asked why, and she answered a story of a little girl who died because of this.

    Now, we will be discussing this urban legend. Is it true that cellphones can cause hospital equipments to shutdown?



    Mobile Phone



    Before we go to the main story, let's first talk about mobile phones.

    From the year 1998, when cellphones have antenna, 15 years later, we have now a touchscreen smartphones. I was surprised to know that.

    My mother bought me my first cellphone when I was still an elementary pupil. I forgot the unit but it is a Nokia mobile phone. But before that, she gave me first a cellphone with antenna so I can practice with it, but I don't consider it my first phone instead I consider it just like a toy.

    Anyway, Mobile phone (more commonly called Cellular phone or simple Cellphone) is a device that can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link while moving around a wide geographic area.[1] The much later versions of mobile phone can also make and receive messages from one mobile phone to another.

    John F. Mitchell and Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola demonstrated the first hand-held cell phone in 1973. In 1983, the first cellphone was introduced and made available commercially, and it was the DynaTAC 8000x. From year 1990 to 2011, cellphone users grew from 12.4 million to over 6 billion people worldwide.[1]

    At first, cellphones are just an accessory thing for people but as time runs it became a necessity and everyone should have this.

    According to United Nations, mobile phones have spread faster than any other technology. Phone can also improve the livelihood of the poorest people in developing countries by providing access to information in places where landlines or internet are not available.[1]

    Mobile phones, like televisions and radios, also use radio waves or electromagnetic waves.



    The Story



    As the story goes, the liitle girl died just because the hospital machine went dead after when someone used a cellphone outside the Operation Room. I don't know if the story actually happened. The real question here is, do really cellphones cause this incident?

    [Taken from Internet:[2]]

    Good doctors, here is an email forward I just received, which I highly suspect is yet another medical urban legend . Is there any veracity to this account ?

    ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

    The next time you visit someone in the hospital, do look out for signs that say, NO PHONES ALLOWED. You might not realise what unfortunate things can happen to your negligence . Be compassionate on other lives.

    This story was told by one Houseman in a local hospital. One day, a 4 year-old girl was admitted due to leg fracture. As it was an open fracture, she had to undergo an operation to stitch the protruding bone back in place. Though it was quite a minor operation , still she was hooked onto a life support system , as it 's somehow part of the process.

    The doctors had to input some data prior to the operation to suite different conditions. Thereafter, the operation proceeded. Half way through the process , the life support system suddenly went dead.

    The culprit : some idiot was using his/her handyphone outside the Operation Theatre. And the frequency had affected the system. They tried to track the fellow but to no avail. The little girl, young and innocent as she was, died soon after. Sad to say, she was the only child, and her mother could never be able to conceive again!

    ****************************
    * Message : Be compassionate ! *
    ****************************

    Do not use your handphone at any hospital or places where you 're told not to use it. You might not be caught in the act, but you might have killed someone without knowing!

    Please pass this on to as many people as possible, as many are just not aware of the seriousness it can cause!




    The Truth



    I heard that cellphones should be put away of you whenever you are sleeping because the radio waves it emits may cause something in your brain. I don't know if it is true, but I follow it.

    According to a study conducted by Mayo Clinic (published March 2007), calls made on cellular phones have no negative impact on hospital medical devices, dispelling the notion that they aren't safe to use near hospital facilities. Three hundred tests were performed over a five-month period in 2006 using two cellular phones, which used different technologies from different carriers and 192 medical devices. They found nothing.[3]

    But according to Harvey B. Simon, M.D., though cellphones have no effect to medical devices, it can still interfere pacemakers. But only if the user holds the phone directly over the pacemaker rather over the ear (preferably on the side away from the pacemaker). Hospital also ban cell phones in intensive care units (ICU) because they might interfere with sensitive electronic monitoring devices.[4]

    In a new Dutch study, according to CNN.com, all cell phones transmitting datas back and forth off should be kept at a minumum distance of three feet away from any medical equipment. The real cause is the electromagnetic interference. Researchers also found out that it can interfere with a variety of machines, including one, a mechanical ventilator or breathing machine, which switches on and off.[5]

    Afterword



    Maybe the best thing we should do when we're in a hospital is to avoid using it as soon as possible, especially near intensive care unit. Overall, the conclusion is, we can still use our cellphones but a bit farther away any medical devices.

    The No Cellphone sign might not be an urban legend, but the story is, and I can't find any other versions of it, except the one in Snopes.com.

    Sources:
    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phone
    [2] http://www.pinoyexchange.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21837 | by: brownpau | June 13, 2000 09:54 AM
    [3] http://www.gizmag.com/go/6979/
    [4] http://healtyliving.msm.com/health-wellness/why-cant-i-use-my-cell-phone-in-the-hospital
    [5] http://edition.cnn.com/HEALTH/blogs/paging.dr.gupta/2007/09/truth-about-no-cell-zones.html | Posted: Thursday, September 06, 2007 | The truth about 'no cell zones'

    Image Source:
    http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/how-to-unlock-cell-phone-1.jpg

    The Black Nazarene




    Have you watched what happened in the Black Nazarene Festival this year 2014? The aerial view of GMA Channel 7 displays how many people joined the procession. It only shows how Filipinos love this sacred image.

    The Black Nazarene (Filipinos call Him Poong Itim na Nazareno) is a life-sized ivory sculpted image of Jesus posing the scene of His passion and suffering - carrying the cross. This statue was transported by Recollect friars from Acapulco, Mexico to Philippines on May 31, 1606.

    The image is about 5 ft. tall and weighs around 50 kilos, having a dark wig hair made of dyed abaca or jusi with a golden thorn crowns. The cross the image is carrying is about 8 feet long. Oftenly, the Black Nazarene is dressed in a maroon tunic with golden floral or plant emblem designs embroidered on it, and with lace trimming on the collar and cuffs. A golden plate with His name on it encircles its waist. No one knows who sculpted the image. Probably, he is a Mexican because it originated there.



    Survival



    Traditionally, it was believed that the original complexion of the Black Nazarene was fair not black, as what it is now. However, it turned black because of an incident.

    According to stories, in 17th Century, there was actually two statues scuplted from pure ivory aboard the ship. As the friars transported the images from Acapulco, Mexico to Philippines, a fire broke out on the galleon ship carrying it. The other one was hardly burnt and left in the destroyed ship. This tragedy caused the statue to turn black. Hence, earning the name Black Nazarene.

    It was only in January 9, 1791 when the image was given by the Recollect priests to the Quiapo Church upon the request of Manila Archbishop Basilio Sancho, who also blessed the image in the 18th Century. On January 15, 1791, the chuch was engulfed in fire but the statue survived.

    In 1863, a great earthquake struck Manila and partially destroyed the Quiapo Church.

    On October 30, 1928, the church was caught in fire again and was almost completely destroyed, but then, it survived.

    In 1945, World War II during the Liberation of Manila, the copy of the statue kept by the Recollect friars were destroyed. That copy was the older copy and the most famous. However, the other one survived.



    Miracles



    When we say miracle, it is when something occurred unusually or almost impossibly to happen to someone who didn't expect it to happen. Miracle appears to be contrary to the law of nature, and because of that, humans refer it as an act of God.

    For some people who suffers a serious illness, they tend to believe to something impossible just because there were others who succeed on it. They do the most peculiar and outrageous thing to please the miracle or God to give them what they really wanted or needed. Philippines is not an exception for a country full of people who believes in miracle. Some mimic the sufferings of Jesus - from carrying a heavy wooden cross to being crucified; some dance in a festival for almost an hour just to have a baby; and some do everything so their towels or handkerchief touch the sacred statue. For non-believers, these people are fanatic, extremist, and more common - stupid.

    Anyway, I can say, the Black Nazarene is one of the most miraculous images of Jesus Christ in the whole world. Obviously, it is because of the devotees - not only one or two devotees, nor a hundred or thousand but more than a million of them.

    At some time in the past, I considered the belief of Black Nazarene as a miraculous thing as a mere folklore and even an urban legend. Now, I consider my belief wrong. How can you say it's not true if your opponent for that opinion is more than a million individual believers? How can you prove it's not true if you yourself didn't experienced going there?

    I wanted to include here an example of this thing they called miracle through Black Nazarene. But I think, I don't need to put one here. Why? Because there are millions of stories of miracles that happened to individual person - from a simple wish of having a happy family to healing the most serious disease. I also wanted to put here examples of wishes that didn't come true, but I have no right to do so. God moves in mysterious way. No one knows, aside of Him, when the wish will be granted.



    Afterword



    I've never joined the parade of the Black Nazarene ever since. As you can see in TV shows, it is very dangerous especially to those people who have no enough strength and determination. I am also not a devotee of the image so I don't bother going there. The truth is I don't like the festival. Maybe some of you would think the same way as mine. Why will you sacrifice yourself just to touch and kiss this wooden-made black image of Jesus Christ carrying a black cross if you can pray peacefully in any church for miracle? I am very sure it's not only me who questions the same way. Like what the bible verse said, "You should not create any sculpted image or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven, earth or water. You should not bow to them, nor serve them. I, the Lord your God, am a JEALOUS God . . . " (Exodus 20:3-5) In my opinion, statues are created to inspire each and everyone of us to live the same way as them, not to praise them.

    But as a Filipino, I am not ashamed of what my countrymen do in the festival. Yes, I am not in favor of it, but how can you explain their extreme devotion? They are willing to do everything for the sake of faith, and that made me say, "I'm proud being a Filipino." Well, even though the TV screen shows you a ruinous mob, you will not see even one person who looks angry and irritated. All of them have a smiling or courageous face. Some of them fainted and hardly injured but if you will talk to them and ask them personally if they still wanted to go back, only a small percent of people will say 'NO'. In my estimate, zero to five percent of them will answer that. One factor that affects my estimate is the continuous rise of number of people who joins the procession annually. Every year almost twenty to fourty percent adds to the previous number. The ambiance of the venue is not beautiful, but the fact that people love what they are doing is astonishing.

    My professor once told me this, "Filipinos are religious, but not spiritual." At first, I don't know what she mean with that, but as I became more rational I now understand her. For me, she's partly right and partly wrong. Yes it's affirmative to say Filipinos are religious, because they are faithfully devoted in religious belief like the Black Nazarene Festival and the Voluntary Crucifixion in Pampanga every Holy Week. But aside of it, what they (and my professor) didn't know is that the Filipinos are also spiritually affected. They somehow change some of their normal ways to make their lives more positively good enough. Their faith also expands largely.

    Source:
    www.inquirer.net/newsinfo/?id=560493
    www.solarnews.ph/news/metro/2013/01/09/brief-history-of-the-black-nazarene
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Nazarene

    Image Source:
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/t1/167628_495676934795_5334487_n.jpg

    Vile Burger Patties




    Burger (or Hamburger sandwich) is one of the main foods Western people eat every day, and now, of the whole world. As time continues running, varieties of burgers are created for the satisfaction of consumers' adventurous taste buds. From a simple 'Hamburger', other burgers like 'Cheeseburger', 'Chiliburger', 'Fishburger' and 'Veggieburger' sprouted into the market to suit on people's diet.

    A Burger is a kind of sandwich consisting of one or more cooked patties (usually made of ground meat) placed between two burger buns. Some burgers are served with coleslaw, mustard, mayonnaise, and ketchup.[1] Those are the basic ingredients in creating such a delicious sandwich.

    Anyway, let's have a quick history. The name burger or hamburger derived from a German's second largest city Hamburg, from which place many people emigrated to the United States. Here in the Philippines, burger became one of the most popular meryenda (snack) for children. It was brought here in our country by the Americans (perhaps soldiers) some time before or after World War II. I'm not sure with that.

    The most important part of a burger, so you can really call it a burger, is the Patty. It is a flattened, usually round, serving of ground meat or meat alternatives.[2] The patty can also be eaten not on a burger buns, just like the Salisbury steak, as a dish.

    Enough with the discussion. Let's have now the urban legend pertaining to this. Have you been to a restaurant or a fast-food restaurant, where they serve a vile burger patty? What I mean with that is, a burger with an unlikable patty you may not want to eat.



    The Bulate Burger



    One of my articles here in my blog talks about the cat used for making siopaos, and it really disgusted some of us, especially me. And now, here's another gross story for a popular food which I called a Bulate Burger.

    It's actually been rumored for many years about insects and worms mixed on patties, or, not just that but made of it as well. Fast-food restaurants (like McDonalds, KFC, and Jollibee) are the most rumored origin of this vile burger patty.

    By the way, Bulate is a Filipino word for 'earthworms'.

    This urban legend became famous during the midst of popularity (perhaps 1980's) of earthworms as a 'good source for protein'. Well, yes it's true. Earthworms are indeed a good source of protein. (As well as insects.)

    Because of this rumor, many Hamburger restaurants (namely Jollibee and McDonalds) were very much affected. Their burger patties were rumored to contain earthworms.



    The Banana Peel Burger



    This is actually not an unreal urban legend. There is really a Banana Peel Burger patty, and it's edible though I haven't tasted one. According to those people who had already tried eating it, the Banana peel burger tastes almost similar to a ground meat burger. Maybe because of the seasonings or flavorings used on a real meat burger which is also mixed in making a banana peel burger. This kind of burger is indeed made for vegetarians.

    According to a blog, the Musa sapientum banana peel was analysed for minerals, nutritional and anti-nutritional contents. The result of the analysis indicated the concentration of potassium, calcium, sodium, iron, manganese, bromine, rubidium, stronium, zirconium, and niobium to be 78.10, 19.20, 24.30, 0.61, 76.20, 0.04, 0.21, 0.03, 0.02 and 0.02, respectively.[3] Because of that, this banana peel is nutritious.

    Here's the ingredients: [3]
  • 5 to 10 pcs. Ripe Banana peel
  • 2 medium sized white onions
  • 1 medium sized Red Bell Pepper
  • 2 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoon of ground pepper
  • 6 egg yolk
  • 8 tablespoon of flour
  • Procedure:
  • 1. Chop the banana peel until minced. Then minced the white onions and red bell pepper.
  • 2. Mix the minced banana peel, white onions, red bell pepper with 6 pieces of egg yolk. Add 2 tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoon of ground pepper. Lastly add 8 tablespoon of flour.
  • 3. Mix everything well. Mold it on a plastic wrapper like a burger patty shape.
  • 4. Put it inside the fridge for 30 minutes so it will be in good shape.
  • 5. Heat the pan with cooking oil just enough for frying. Fry the banana peel patties until golden brown.



  • Afterword



    It seems these vile burgers are edible, though unlikable to eat. Actually, there are countries which use earthworms on their native delicacy. All Asian nations have their own exotic foods. Here in the Philippines, farm rats, bee larvae, and frogs are eaten, but they are not served in urban cities. The tradition of eating them can be found only in rural areas. Other Southeast Asian countries also eat them. So it is normal if you see people in Thailand, Cambodia, etc. buying, selling and eating insects and worms everywhere. It could be disgusting to Western people.

    I will not be surprised if I hear people using insects in burger patties. Insects are one of the main sources of high protein, making them a nutritious food. The earthworm burger patty became a rumored because people thought fast food restaurants use them as the base for patty not ground meat.
    Sources:
    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamburger
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patty
    [3] http://bananapeelpatty.blogspot.com

    Image Source:
    http://www.bubblews.com/assets/images/news/1481715318_1389906596.jpg

    The Little Thing Called Kisses


    There was this little, fragrant, colorful, plastic, bead-like shaped thing that I used to take care when I was still a kid. That time, children believed they have the ability to procreate. Usually, I put them in a matchbox with cotton wet with water. I was in my early elementary grade (perhaps grade 1 or 2) when my friends introduced it to me. Actually, when I was a child, I have no idea where my classmates get them. I think, some of you, especially those who were born in 1990s, have figured it out - the thing I am talking about. Well, for those who don't know it, we call it Kisses. I'm not referring to the delicious, chocolate, round-shaped pyramid kisses that the Hershey's Company produce.



    The Kisses



    Kisses (or Aroma Beads) are small translucent plastic beads that absorbs up to 30 to 40% of their weight in fragrance oil. Its smell can last up to 6 months, depending on the kind of fragrance used. It is typically used as fragrance in houses (in closet, drawer, luggage or bags, etc.), cars, and even alternative to candles. When you buy odorless, white aroma beads, you can customize their color and scent depending on your preference.[1]

    To make aroma beads, you need the following items.

    Ingredients needed:[1]

  • Unscented Aroma Beads - 1/2 to 1 lbs.
  • Fragrance Oil - 2 ounces
  • Liquid Candle Dye - 1 to 4 drops
  • Glass jar with lid (for mixing)
  • Packaging - jar bowl, organize bag, etc.


  • But you can also buy ready-to-use aroma beads in the market.



    The Urban Legend



    The story I'm about to present is not an urban legend, but based on a true-to-life story. Also, this story will be our basis for how some kids play with it.

    [Taken from Internet:[2]]

    These things grow and multiply!

    Or that's what we were made to believe way back when I was still in first grade. I remember my sister and I had a squabble over these fancy beads. She incubated a couple of kisses in a cotton ball soaked in alcohol and placed it inside OUR drawer. I had no idea that it was something sacred so I threw it away. She got furious when she found out about it. She said that she had kept it for two days and that I should never throw anything that's not mine (a soaked cotton ball, people!) and lastly she ordered me to search for it in the trash, I did find it. When she checked that the kisses didn't bear any child, she blamed me for it. And I was guilty for days.




    I would like to credit whoever the author of this. It made me laugh very much!

    Anyway, I can still remember how my girl classmates argued because of this tiny things, and even fight each other. I don't know what really happened why they got into it, but the main reason is the Kisses.

    My uncle, that time, questioned me also why I was taking care of them. He inspected it, and smelled each color I have. I told him, they reproduce. (Nanganganak sila.) Then, he just guffawed. I felt insulted, so I kicked his legs. Whenever I remember that scene in my memory, I really miss my innocence and my childhood.

    The reason why I create this article is to debunk my belief of it when I was a child. The real urban legend here is the ability of the kisses to reproduce. They compare it with gremlins - whenever it is drenched with water, it eventually multiplies, but kisses are not as dangerous as the gremlins.

    The Varying Belief



    There are many ways on how to make them multiply continuously. According to some children, and some adults who played it sometime in their childhood, these are the following things to do:
  • The kisses should be put in a cotton.
  • All or most of the children approved this requirement. They really believe it is needed. The reason? I don't know.

  • Their should be a baby powder in the cotton.

  • The cotton should be soaked with water or alcohol.

  • Some children believe it should be kept in a dark place.



  • Conclusion



    Many adults right now can still recognize this toy. Of course, this became popular in their childhood days, especially those born in 1990s and early 2000s. (One of them is me.) Actually, you can still see present kids right now playing it. (One of them is my cousin.) You can still buy it in some sari-sari stores and/or gift shops, but for wholesale, in the market.

    When we say reproduction, it is the ability of an organism to create a replica of themselves. Take note of that.

    The truth behind the belief of its reproduction ability can be traced to its ability to expand whenever it is put or got contact with any liquid. They absorb liquids like alcohol and water, thus they inflate. So if you put it in a transparent container with a line equal to the height of it inside, with water mix to them, you will notice after an hour ago that it increase.

    They really don't multiply. It just give some kind of illusion. Of course, you will not notice the truth if you have a hand full of them (like having grains of rice). That way, it could be impossible for you to count it one by one, except if you keep an inventory record. But if you have few of them (like 10 or less), like in my case when I was a kid, it became obvious to me. I started to be doubtful to what my classmates believe about it. I count them everyday so I found out it didn't reproduce. (But actually, what I believe that time of why it didn't increase in number is because I failed of taking care of them - that they died.)



    As an afterword, I would like everyone, especially the adults, to just put this truth in secret if the youngs ask you about it. Have you experienced telling many people a different view of something and they don't believe it, thus resulting to what they called bullying just because you are different and many people don't like your difference? What I mean is, if this kid tells his friends that they are telling a lie, then they will start to, somehow, hate him.

    What I want you to do is to just play with their imagination. Explain the truth later if you think they're in the right age, only if needed. As this kid becomes older, he will start to realize what is the reality, like some of you right now. You know, the Santa Clause Belief Effect - you believe now, you don't later.

    Sources:
    [1] http://www.cajuncandles.com/aroma-beads.htm
    [2] http://thatssonineties.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/aroma-beads-aka-kisses/

    Image Source:
    http://www.buzzle.com/img/articleImages/577342-4223-48.jpg