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Animism In The Philippines

  • Like many animistic peoples, the ancient Filipinos thought that virtually all objects had souls or were populated by this sort. Even apparently non-living objects such as lakes, mountains, rocks etc., and natural phenomena such as fire, thunder and wind were considered to be populated by specific souls, or to be controlled by specific gods. In fact, even in "organized" faiths such as Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism, Taoism and Hinduism these types of principles also exist. In India, rivers, mountains and also oceans are believed to be gods such as Saraswati (Saraswati River), Ganga (Ganges River) and Himavat (Himalayas). The perception of spirits such as the yakshas and devas inhabiting trees, that's found in Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism is also widely attested to in the Philippines. In medieval times, people from the Philippines made offerings to specific trees which were considered to be the habitation of sympathetic deities, or even specific ancestral spirits. Other trees were considered to accommodate malicious spirits, and care was adopted to desist sleeping below these trees.
  • Obviously, the Filipino perception in animism also backed common perception of totemism, by which human beings had particular kindred animal spirits. The snake was a major totem used generally as an emblem, as one of the Igorots, as also like a protector for specific sorts of clergyman such as the tauak of the Tagalogs. The crocodile as well as a number of omen birds such as the salaksak (Ilokano, Sambal), batala (Kapampangan), haya (Bikol), balatiti (Tagalog) etc., were also regarded as holy in some areas.
  • The powers of nature were frequently answered respectfully by using the term, Apo. For instance, the Ilokanos addressed the rain like Apo Pagay "Lord Palay (the rice plant)", Apo Init, "Lord Sun" and Apo Tudo 'Lord Rain”. Obviously, Apo was also used to talk about the final God, as one of the Kapampangan who use the Ilokano, Apo Langit "Lord Heaven" or Apo Guino "Lord God". As mentioned earlier, the final God was often linked to the heavens, whereas the Son of Heaven was represented by the Sun. In this particular sense, the Son of Heaven has a partner, because the Sun is generally considered to be the male partner of the female partner in Philippine spiritual perception. This cosmic couple was obviously extremely important in the religious beliefs of Filipinos all through the archipelago. The unification of these two heavenly systems at the New Moon, as well as their rivalry at the Full Moon had remarkable religious importance, plus it was out of this that the Filipinos based their principles of cosmic equilibrium.