Shrouded in secrecy and mystery, the anting-anting is a subject close to the Filipino’s heart. It holds promise of invincibility, of victory and of heroic deeds. Legends have been born and men have died because of the lure of the mysterious and powerful anting-anting.
The anting-anting made a resurgence into popularity in the early 70’s when the film Nardong Putik chronicling the life of the outlaw Leonardo Manecio made its debut. The hero of the film, a local Robin Hood, credited his ability to survive and escape numerous ambushes and gunfights to his anting-anting.
There is much dispute as to what his anting-anting really was. Some claim it was a smooth pebble of rare and mysterious material that Nardong Putik kept under his tongue. While others say it is a 66-day old fetus that he kept in a small crystal container. Whatever his anting-anting was, Nardong Putik’s ability to elude the law and his enemies made him a legend and a hero to many people.
Prescribed Ways of Acquiring An Anting-anting
Jikiri, the noted Muslim pirate, eluded the Philippine Constabulary and U. S. soldiers for over three years. Yet Jikiri boldly operated in broad daylight. The legendary source of his galing (gift) — an anting-anting, of course.
These stories and more contribute to the growing number of legends and belief in the efficacy of the anting-anting. Combined with the equally mysterious Orascion (a special verse or prayer), warriors can be psyched to become confident and daring to undertake suicidal missions.
There are many prescribed ways of acquiring an anting-anting. The easiest is to have an existing, sacred anting-anting bestowed to you as an inheritance or reward. This happens very rarely, for the agimat (amulet) is usually buried with its owner and master for continued protection against spirits from the nether world.
Stealing an anting-anting makes it lose its power and is therefore a useless alternative. An anting-anting loses its power when it leaves its master’s possession without his knowledge or blessing. Various types of anting-anting can be bought at holy places but these are patay (dead/blanks) with no power whatsoever. These blanks have to undergo sacred and secret rituals to become empowered and effective.
Different Kinds Of Anting-anting
There are many different methods to make an anting-anting sagrado (sacred). The most popular day for the anting-anting to have birtud (power) is on Good Friday. This, according to legend, is when God abandons His creation and the spirits roam freely and can be lured, captured, harnessed and enslaved by the brave and mighty. Another popular occasion is at midnight during a full moon with the ritual taking place at a cross road or a cemetery with a sacrificial black cat as a bait or offering.
Another kind of anting-anting, known as Mutya, comes from plants, such as a banana or a palm tree. This requires a lot of patience and diligence for one has to wait until the heart of the banana discharges its essence, a crystal clear solid drop that must not be allowed to touch the ground and must be swallowed immediately. With this captive prize, legends say that a successful and prosperous life is guaranteed.
Some types of anting-anting or orascion are meant as love charms. Most are for protection — against the forces of darkness, against one’s enemies, and even against sickness. Others are for special gifts, such as the mysterious and esoteric art of Hilot (massage and healing), Hula (fortune telling) and Kulam (spells and witchcraft).
However, every anting-anting and every orascion carries with it an immutable commitment. One must be prepared to perform the required rituals, the mandated daily devotion, the annual pilgrimage, to keep the birtud of the anting-anting.
Man will always be fascinated with this mysterious harbinger of success, victory and protection. Many, though not all, of the Philippine Grand Masters and Masters of martial arts believe in the power and protection of the anting-anting and orascion.
And everyone of these believers, without exception, recognize the value and worth of diligence, dedication and discipline in martial arts training. Like the anting-anting, the easiest way to learn a martial art is to find a good teacher, a worthy master. Someone who, like the anting-anting’s master, will pass on to you, the secret and power of his own knowledge and skills. Again, like the anting-anting, this knowledge and skill must be nurtured with diligent practice, with moral righteousness, discipline, devotion and dedication.
Reynaldo S. Galang