When I was young, one of the most effective ways an adult make little children follow rules is to scare them into discipline by conjuring up mythical creatures, scary ghosts and stories of “Not Like Ours”.
Before “He Who Must Not Be Named” became vogue, thanks to Harry Potter, our Filipino elders have been using similar words to refer to those which must not be name for fear of being heard by the very entity being talked about; with the assumption of course that the “Not Like Ours” doesn’t know English hehhe.
“Not Like Ours” in Cebuano means “Dili Ingon Nato”, it’s the literal translation 🙂
There were lots of rules when I was growing up:
• No more playing outside after 6pm, because “not like ours” will begin going out.
• If you pass by big trees with wide branches, be careful because creatures like agta, kapre are in residence, and you have to say “Tabi – Tabi po” as you pass the tree, to alert the not like ours that you mean them no harm and is respectfully asking permission to pass through.
• Never, ever, by joves I mean not on your life should you destroy, piss on, trample a Nuno sa Punso if you value your life. If you do, strange happenings and misfortunes will follow you.
• Don’t venture so far away from the house especially on vacant lots with lots of trees because not like ours like enkantado and enkantada (fairies) or a duwendeng itim or duwendeng puti might take a liking to you and bring you to their kingdom and you’ll never be allowed to go back home.
• If you encounter any not like ours, never eat any food they offer or you will be theirs for the keeping!
These and more rules and stories kept us kids in-line. And we were truly scared, then.
Brownouts and Ghost Stories
I love hearing ghost stories especially on nights when there is no electricity. Me and my cousins grew up expecting to have these ghost stories sessions whenever there’s brownouts. The lighted candles and mini torches scattered all throughout our Lola’s house lends an eerie atmosphere, enveloping the living room where we are all gathered. The adults, especially Lolo, will share mga kababalaghan kwento that happened to him / those around him, and the kids would listened intently. Whether those stories were real or not, did not really matter. We were all scared and it was fun-scared. It was that point in time when brownouts is equated to scary stories, screams, and yes, laughters too. 😉
I have my own “not like ours” experienced that I will probably not ever share here because the not like ours may have progress too and already surfing the net looking for easy victims heheheh
I miss those days when we say “tabi – tabi po” or in Bisaya ‘agi lang ko‘, when we asked permission for those who may dwell in the roads / trees / spaces will pass; when kids and adults alike really believed in dili ingon nato and not like ours, when there were more trees in our area and lesser houses, when there were many ways to scare little children with ghost stories.
I supposed kids now are more familiar with wizards, witches, vampires, and zombies. Not so much anymore about Filipino mythical creatures like kapre, diwata, agta, tikbalang, duwende and other enchanted creatures.
Oh well progress you know but maybe, just maybe, when you or the kids will face these not like ours for real, then you’d believe they still exist.
Happy Halloween everyone!
Did you grow up with more rules like above or scary story sessions at home when there is no electricity? Awooooo…. 🙂