7+ Easy Tagalog Words For Superstitions

10+ Easy Tagalog Words For Superstitions

Greetings, curious knowledge-seekers! In this post, get ready for a wild journey through the enigmatic world of Filipino folklore and superstitions. We’ll break down the fascinating Tagalog words for superstitions that exist, adding that exciting touch to your cultural lexicon while flexing your knowledge muscles at the same time. Warning: Things are about to get spine-tingling!

For many Filipinos, religion isn’t just a Sunday morning affair – it’s an everyday commitment. The Philippines, primarily a Catholic country, has strong religious tendrils weaving throughout their daily lives. Churches brimming with devout followers, festive religious processions, and religious symbols infusing Filipino households are pretty much the norm here. Yet, tucked in the snug corners of this deep-rooted religious culture is a spicy array of supernatural beliefs – Filipinos also nurture a rich heritage of superstitions, or “Pamahiin” in Tagalog.

Curious? Let’s get to know more about it in the sections below!

What Is “Superstition” In Tagalog?

The direct translation of “superstition” in Tagalog is “Pamahiin.” That’s right, it’s one word with the power to summon a world of Filipino folklore in all its mystique. “Pamahiin” is a Tagalog term that refers to superstitions, which generally are beliefs or practices based on supernatural causality, irrationality, or ignorance.

Basically, superstitions in Filipino culture include a diverse array of customs and beliefs that aren’t rooted in reason or knowledge. One popular example of that is “Usog,” a spell believed to cause sickness in children when greeted by strangers, to more specific superstitions like avoiding sweeping the floor at night because it is believed to send blessings away. Another example is the belief that if you get wounded during Holy Week, the wound won’t heal because God is considered dead during that period. Pretty cool, right?

But we’re not stopping there—let’s hit the synonym jackpot with one more word that proves that two is indeed a charm!

Aside from “Pamahiin,” another word you may use is “Paniniwala,” which refers to “belief.” While it usually refers to cultural or religious beliefs, it can also encompass the supernatural world’s beguiling shades.

books for Popular Superstitions In The Philippines

Popular Superstitions In The Philippines

Pamahiin is an integral part of the fascinating culture, and let’s face it, there’s a strange allure in the unexplained. But remember, facts first, phantasm second! With that said, let’s now go over the most common superstitious beliefs in this section.

Serving Pancit At Celebrations

Did you know that there is a delightful superstition associated with Filipino cuisine? If you’ve ever visited a Filipino party, you might have noticed that the locals always serve some sort of pasta. You see, the noodle dish, Pancit, is often served at celebrations, particularly birthdays, because the locals believe that the long noodles symbolize longevity and are said to grant the birthday celebrant a long life.

Sweeping At Night Is Bad Luck

One superstition that is deeply ingrained in the Filipino culture is the idea of moving luck away from your home. According to the locals, this folklore dictates that one should not sweep the floor at night as it is believed to cause ‘malas’ or bad luck. The rationale behind this is that when you sweep the floor at night, you’re inadvertently sweeping away the good fortune or simply denying the fortunate that’s about to come to your house.

Blame Your Missing Things On Elves

In Filipino folklore, if you lose something and find it back at the same spot after a while, it’s customary to blame it on playful elves, known as ‘duwendes.’ Considered generally harmless, these mischievous little creatures, part of Philippine folklore, provide a unique alibi for missing objects.

Oro, Plata, Mata

While constructing or buying a home, Filipinos adhere to various traditions to bring about good luck. The number of staircase steps is one element that is given meticulous thought. The superstition claims that it shouldn’t be divisible by three. This belief is rooted in the chanting ritual “oro, plata, mata” (gold, silver, death), where you don’t want to end with “mata,” symbolizing death or misfortune.

Remember, these superstitions are a significant part of Filipino culture and tradition. While they might not have a scientific basis, they represent a rich cultural heritage and add a layer of charm to the customs and practices of Filipinos.

witchcraft in Tagalog

Tagalog Words For Superstitions

Want to impress the locals? Be sure to use the following terminologies!


‘Usog’ is a supernatural phenomenon believed in the Philippines. This superstition involves a simple greeting or compliment causing an unexplainable, immediate illness, typically in children. The solution? The greeter says, ‘Puwera usog,’ and licks their thumb to touch the forehead or abdomen of the ‘usog’ victim, supposedly counteracting the negative effects.


‘Bad luck,’ in Tagalog, says hello as ‘Malas.’ Certain actions like breaking a mirror, sweeping at night or, in some regions, cutting your nails on a Tuesday are thought to invite malas. Filipinos might often urge each other to avoid such actions with the phrase ‘Baka malasin.’


On the flipside, ‘Swerte’ translates to ‘luck’ or ‘good fortune,’ something everyone would like to have a dose of. Wearing polka dots for the New Year or finding a round stone on your way home are considered pampaswerte (luck-enhancers) that could potentially add a sprinkle of swerte to your life.


Lit up the candles and invoke the spirits, enter ‘Kulam!’ This Tagalog term refers to a type of spell-casting or witchcraft in the Philippines. Kulam involves inflicting curses or hexes upon a person, usually through rituals, incantations, or even the use of enchanted items. Often a misunderstood practice, Kulam showcases the Philippines’ rich and complex history of spirituality and occultism.


Expecting mothers, take note! ‘Lihi’ is a fascinating Filipino belief that ties a pregnant mother’s cravings to the physical traits a baby may inherit. For instance, if a mom-to-be craves something round, such as watermelons, her child may have a round face. Consequently, she might be advised by her elder family members to eat fruits of a certain shape to influence her baby’s appearance. Lihi — captivating or just quirky, you decide!


‘Bati’ is a Tagalog term that has dual meanings: greetings and a paradoxical gesture. ‘Bati sa may sakit’ is a superstition that encompasses both definitions. When visiting a friend who’s ill, it’s courteous to ask for their permission to ‘bati’ them. Essentially, this involves lightly running your fingers through their hair to extract their illness, thereby “greeting” their sickness and “keep it away from you.”


Mysterious crystals, anyone? ‘Tawas’ usually refers to blocks of alum that possess properties believed to cleanse energies and offer protection against negative influences. Filipinos may employ tawas for spiritual cleansing, healing, or as a powerful ward against those pesky spirit entities. Can’t find your sage or smudge stick? Tawas might just save the day!


Our next stop on this supernatural voyage presents us with ‘Aswang.’ These are shapeshifting creatures from Filipino folklore, often portrayed as ghoulish night-stalkers. Known to be a blend of vampire and witch, these beings bring a nail-biting intrigue to the dark and calm Philippine nights, especially in rural regions.


Ever wondered about the Tagalog version of mystical charm? Say hello to ‘Mutya.’ These are believed to be magical items that can bring good fortune or possess healing properties. Be it a rock, jewel, or even a pearl hidden within a wilted flower, Mutya adds a sprinkle of supernatural significance and mysticism to even the most ordinary items!

Learn The Tagalog Language With Ling

It’s a fascinating reality, isn’t it? By blending linguistic erudition with a pinch of supernatural intrigue, you now find yourself well-versed in not just plain Tagalog but the magical wonders that await beneath the language. As we wrap up this enlightening expedition, remember that language is not just about communication—it’s also about celebrating culture.

Intrigued by all these magical Tagalog terms and want to explore more?

Download the Ling app, your ultimate language ally! Brimming with exciting lessons, quizzes, and interactive strategies designed especially for the ever-curious and knowledge-hungry lot like you, Ling makes language learning simply enchanting.

Ready to decode the secrets of Tagalog? Ling is just one tap away! Available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Start your language journey with a fun twist today!

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