Monday, December 17, 2007

Old man from Siquijor

This story was related to me by a Filipino friend. Take it as an example of the type folklore that you will hear in the Philippines.

"I was in Siquijor on business for a few days. When I went to the pier to catch a Ferry back to Dumaguete, there was this ragged old man waiting on the dock. I gave it no thought at first, bought my ticket and boarded the ferry. I happened to know the First mate on the boat and we started to chat. I glanced down and the old man was having some talk with the boarding guards. I thought there looked like a problem so I decided to go investigate; perhaps the old man had some difficulty. As I approached it was clear the old man did not have the proper fare to make the trip. He explained that he wanted to visit his family in Dumaguete. I decided that the good thing to do was to pay his fare and help him get on the Ferry. My reasoning was that I hoped if I got to be that age, someone would take pity on me if I were ever to face the same situation.
I helped him on board and the Ferry began to move. The old man was very grateful and gave me a small branch from some sort of tree. It was small, was obviously a cutting, and very much alive. I took the seemingly insignificant gift as his only way of saying thank you. I told him I was happy to help him and thanked him. He then told me to keep the branch as a good luck charm, and never throw it away or bad luck would come my way. I took this as a tale from an old man and put the branch in my bag. When we arrived in Dumaguete, I briefly talked to my friend the first mate. When I turned around the old man had simply vanished. I asked my friend if he had seen him disembark and he said no. I scanned the dock area and there was no sign of him anywhere. I was surprised he disappeared so quickly because he could not walk well at all. When I got home I found the gift in my bag and for lack of something to do with it, hung it on my bedroom wall. To this day from 3 years ago, the branch is still very much green and alive. I cherish it and will keep it always."

To answer the obvious question, no I didn't see the living branch. It's existence isn't important nor is the literal truth of the story. Siquijor is well known for the black magic practiced there. Much of the “black magic” performed now is for the benefit of tourists, and I know of at least one tour that visitors can take that includes a show. Never the less the old tribal belief systems are very much alive. Just scratch the surface and the stories of curses, hexes, white ladies, and spirits come to life. Personally I think the term black magic is misleading. It might be more accurate to say, “Outside the Catholic Church”. The Philippines was after all not Catholic before 400 years ago, and had its own unique native belief system before that time. It is easy to understand that it still exists today in many parts of the Philippines.

I will post some more stories as time goes on. I have accumulated a number of them!

1 comment:

Gues? said...

Hello dear John and Adding

gues who is this??...hehehehe
Its great knowing you both..I'm glad to be one of your friends!!!!
gues..gues who I am!! muahhhhhhh
Merry christmas and happy new year!!
Love yr blogger site!!