Thursday, June 30, 2011


          It is difficult to hold on to traditions over time. Change in cultural traditions is inevitable. However, because traditions define a people at a given time and place, learning about them is both interesting and necessary. Every culture cherishes its own marriage traditions and superstitions. Many are not understood but are still seriously followed because “it’s always been done that way”.

       Folk beliefs, otherwise known as "superstitious beliefs", form part of a people's value system and culture. They basically reflect the customs, traditions, and mores or customs of a group, which may be based on religious beliefs, opinions, old or popular practices. 

      They also tell of how a people view the unknown and the means to appease the gods that control the future. For us Filipinos, we have a number of beliefs and traditions about life, family, luck, wealth, etc.   The Tagalog terms for folk beliefs and superstitions are: paniniwala for beliefs, kasabihan ng mga matatanda for what the old people say and pamahiin for superstitions.


          There are no conclusive data about the origins of the Pangasinense.  One theory hints Java as a possible point of origin as the techniques of salt making in the northern coast of Java closely resemble those of the Pangasinense.  These techniques were to make Pangasinan the source of the finest salt in the Philippines (Cortes 1974: 24-25).
Other smilarities with Java are seen in the tools and methods of cultivation, such as the use of the bamboo harrow and the peculiarly shaped scythe for reaping rice.  The manner of venerating the dead finds parallels in Java.  The burial sites in Calatagan were evidently refurbished regularly.  In Java, a yearly festival is celebrated by the living to honor the dead; the day is passed in devotion on the burial grounds, which are strewn with flowers (Cortes 1974: 38).
There is no doubt that Pangasinan had contact with ancient travellers, most especially the Chinese, and it remains for some ancient manuscript to surface to describe the relationsPangasinan had with the peoples inabiting the shores lapped by the South China Sea.  In Agoo, now La Union but formerly Pangasinan, evidence of extensive commercial intercourse with the Chinese and the Japanese abound.
Pangasinan is one of the biggest provinces in the Philippines and accounts for more than half the populatio of the Ilocos region.  It is also one of the oldest and , during spanish times, ws called "Caboloan" which derives from bolo, a type of bamboo, and literally means "a place where bolo gorws."

Religious Beliefs and Practices 

           The ancient pangasinense had an animistic religion which hadAma-Gaoley as the chief deity.  Lesser spirits or anito were responsible for a host of phenomena relating to the weather, plant growth, and good health, as well as protection of rivers, trees, and other sites.  Illness was deemed as punishment for offending the anito.  This spirits were held in respect and deference.
There was extensive use of charms for varied purposes, from warding off evil sprits to bringing good luck.  Rituals were presided over by managanito, priestesses who invoke oracles and idols, interpreted dreams and omens, and divine propritious times for endeavors. 
Despite initial difficulties in evangelizing the pangasinense, the dominicans eventually secured a tool hold for catolicism in the province. Today, pangasinan is a bastion of catholocism in the country. Revolts against spanish authorities invariably spared the priests and other religious, proof of the religiousity of the pangasinense. Other sects such as the Philippine Indedependent church, the Iglesia ni Kristo, and the various protestant denominations have their adherence among residence of Ilokano descent, but rarely among those of Pangasinense descent.
An important Marian image is the Virgin Dolorosa of Mangatarem, which is housed in a private home. The virgin is believed to have protected the townspeople from the vicissitudes of war. The sash of the Virgin is also borrowed from time to time by pregnant women who wear it on their last week of pregnancy to ensure safe delivery.