Early Religious Belief and Practice

During the pre-colonial time there was already an indigenous spiritual traditions practiced by the people in the Philippines. Generally, for lack of better terminology prehistoric people are described to be animistic. Their practice was a collection of beliefs and cultural mores anchored in the idea that the world is inhabited by spirits and supernatural entities, both good and bad, and that respect be accorded to them through nature worship thus; they believed that their daily lives has a connection of such beliefs.

These spirits are said to be the anito or diwata that they believed to be good and bad. The good spirits were considered as there relatives and the bad were believed to be their enemies. Some worship specific deities like Bathala a supreme god for the Tagalog, Laon or Abba for the Visayan, Ikasi of Zambal, Gugurang for the people of Bicol and Kabunian of Ilocano and Ifugao. Aside from those supreme deities they also worship other gods like Idialao as god of farming, Lalaon of harvest, Balangay god of rainbow and Sidapa god of death.

Others also worship the moon, stars, caves, mountains, rivers, plants and trees. Some creatures are being worship too like the bird, crow, tortoise, crocodile and other things they believed has value and connected to their lives.

The variation of animistic practices occurs in different ethnic groups. Magic, chants and prayers are often key features. Its practitioners were highly respected (and some feared) in the community, as they were healers, midwife (hilot), shamans, witches and warlocks (mangkukulam), babaylans, tribal historians and wizened elders that provided the spiritual and traditional life of the community. In the Visayas region there is a belief of witchcraft (kulam) and mythical creatures like aswang, Nuno sa Punso and other mythical creature.

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