Anting-anting in Quaipo

The Evangelista Street side of Quiapo Church is teeming with vendors of amulets and talismans that allegedly have magical and supernatural powers.

However, vendors are vague about their powers, saying only that they are harbingers of success and provide protection to the bearer against bodily harm, illness, evil spirits, and witchcraft.

Locally referred to as anting-anting, they come in various forms. Professor Nenita Pambid explains that the anting-anting is an amulet, inscribed or engraved on a certain object. It could be an oracion or prayer written on a piece of paper, folded and kept in the wallet, or sewn in a small cloth pouch, or worn pinned on clothing.

The Tagalog-English Dictionary by Jose Garcia Panganiban suggests that the word anting-anting was derived from the Malaysian anting, which means dangling, and in Javanese, anting-anting means ear pendants.

In the many visits we had in Quiapo, we found anting-antings made of metal, wood, cloth, and sundry object sealed in glass bottles.

In the olden days, anting-antings are not commercially sold, instead those in need of a truly powerful talisman would have one made out of some magical substance such as a crocodile tooth or a piece of dried root shaped like a man, or even an aborted fetus kept in a glass vial!

Anting-antings would be sanctified in incantation rituals performed by either a babaylan (priestess) or a witchdoctor or the bearer himself on Good Friday in places like Mount Banahaw or Siquijor.

In one of our trips to Quiapo, we gave in to our acquisitive nature and brought home a handful of those bronze medallions with embossed religious symbols and Latin text. Whatever they’re used for, we think they are excellent pieces of folk religious art.


The following are the best documentation about the anting-anting. Both articles are by blogger Dennis Villegas:

The Social Psychology of the Anting-Anting | You Shall be Gods: the Culture of the Anting-anting 

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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Magkano ang trespico n ang likod ay tatlong persona

  2. Meron din po aqng sinukuan wood’..gnwa KO pong kwentas Madame pong nagsasabe na buhay ang sinukuan wood q..ask q lang po qng Pra San at anung mga positive at negative meron ang sinukuan wood q..tnx..

    • may extra sinukuan kpa bro?..bka pwede mabili..swerte daw yan sa kabuhayan..hanap kasi ako ng trabaho…

  3. hi , i am visual artist. how to contact you? thanks

  4. I have lots of this amulets and have proven them. They came from people who used them in their times. even the woods-called dignum or in tagalog mga kahoy na pinagpakuan ni Cristo. they all work

    • pls have some amulets and dugnum pls teach me to use it …. pls

      • its not dugnum.. its dignum. if it is a piece of wood color sold black feels heavy and solid but float in water.

    • I want to buy some. Where can I buy them?

      • i suggest dont buy it. most of the time its fake.. look for some who knows about anting anting and ask for it. but dont buy it. if you feel they need something in return give them something else. only if they ask for money, pay for it. just dont proactively offer them money.

  5. I haven’t been to Quiapo in a long time. I remember images of Quiapo as a noisy corridor at the other side of the tracks (LRT 1, there was only one then in the 1980s) when we hear Mass at Sta. Cruz Church. There’s even a colorful term for it—armpit of Manila!

    I like the photos. Vivid.

    nagpakita po ang medalyong sa kagubatan ng cavite.

    sandra dy

  7. my generation grew up on tales about the anting-anting and as a kid, it was a blast dreaming up gaining the power of invincibility from an amulet. do they work? i really have no idea. but i guess the real power emanate from the mind of the wearer.

  8. I guess anting-antings work in the mind of the believers until proven otherwise.

  9. Indeed, aside from the supposed magical abilities of these talismans, they are also interesting to collect because of their folksy art nature. You have a nice documentation here of many of their various forms.
    Thank you for the plug and I linked you as one of my “Allied Forces” in my blog.

  10. did you buy an anting anting? i thought all the little souvenirs i buy from any travels i take are anting anting regardless of whether they truly are.

    loving this closer look on quiapo and it’s surroundings.

    • Yes, we bought a handful ewok.

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