Of ‘manununo ka!’ and other spooks


Around these parts a mound will appear almost suddenly as would a zit, and, when we were kids, old wives would admonish us to keep away from it as the thing is crawling with evil spirits.

The admonition would go as far as the spirits would get mad and you would contract high fever, and word of mouth has it that time was somebody’s balls bloated to a monstrous elephantiasis-like appendage for not saying “tabi-tabi po” when he peed somewhere he shouldn’t have been. So we were told to gingerly go about unfamiliar places, and bite our fingers when we unintentionally pointed at overgrown corners.

Our grandmother also told us the story of the late Kuya Pati, who had an encounter with an aswang in this once really remote area. Kuya Pati would secretly go about his nightly routine of walking in the dark naked because it was traditional knowledge that aswangs roam at night naked and, if they saw you naked, you would get away unharmed because the aswang would think you are, well, an “ally.”

But that was back in the day and we’re over believing everything old folks would tell us. Because if I were the aswang and I saw Kuya Pati naked in the dark, I wonder what I would’ve thought more likely, like “Nice ass” or something.

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