1. Palm fronds consecrated by a priest are placed in the different corners of the house to prevent the entry of evil spirits. 2. In the Tagalog region, house plans in the shape of a cross are supposed to be a jinx. 3. The owner of a new house that has been superimposed on an old house will have a short life. 4. A sunken living room brings bad luck and sickness to the house. 5. Doors that face west will bring quarrels, diseases and death in the family. 6. A mirror placed on the wall facing the main door of a house will deflect good luck that enters the house. 7. The foundation of a post should be bathed with the blood of a pig or white chicken to appease the spirits presiding on the land on which the house was erected. This is based on an ancient Filipino pagan tradition. 8. To make a house typhoon-resistant, the posts should be turned clockwise before being permanently cemented and secured. 9. Allowing the shadow of a post to fall on you while erecting it is a bad omen. Shadows falling in the holes dug for securing the posts also bring bad luck. 10. Using posts with cracks will attract bad luck.
11. The ridge of the roof should face neither east nor west. 12. To bring good luck to a child, its first extracted milk tooth is hidden under the roof. 13. It is bad luck to sweep the floor at night. Aside from sweeping away the wealth in the house, it will also cause centipedes crawling on the ceiling to fall down. 14. Erecting a house in front of a dead-end street will bring bad luck to its occupants, whether it is the original owners or tenants. Although this superstition is locally attributed to the Pampangos of Central Luzon, it probably originated from the Chinese who believe that a house with such a location is bad feng sui and will bring financial misfortune or a death in the family. 15. Another popular house-building superstition is the cornerstone laying ritual of burying coins under the posts of a house being erected to attract prosperity and good luck. This practice originated from the Ilocanos of Northern Luzon. 16. Among the Tagalogs of Southern Luzon, the number of the stair-steps is crucial and must be counted in a series of threes called oro, plata and mata or gold, silver and death, respectively. The counting should start from the bottom rung and end on the topmost rung. If the topmost rung coincides with oro or plata, it will attract good. If, however, the aforementioned rung coincides with mata, it will bring bad luck. 17. For those living in concrete houses, an old coin must be imprinted on the cemented doorstep to ensure a steady flow of money. 18. It is imperative that a house faces east where the sun rises to guarantee prosperity. In contrast, a house that faces west where the sun sets is a jinx and will bring bad luck. This superstition was borrowed from the Ancient Chinese. 19. Doors should always be on the right side of the house and the stairs should always turn to the right to keep a married couple loyal to each other for life. Doors erected on the left side of the house and stairs that turn to the left will encourage infidelity. 20. Doors should not be built facing each other for it portends that money will come in easily but will also rush out quickly. As a stopgap measure, doors can be built parallel to walls so that money entering the house will stay in the house and be saved. 21. Septic tanks must not be constructed higher than the ground for it would demand a sacrifice in human life. Neither should septic tanks and toilets be built near the kitchen because it would contaminate the food in a psychic sense and will bring sickness to the family. 22. The owner must transfer to the new house not later than six in the morning during the new moon to attract good luck and prosperity, and the first things that must be brought inside the house are salt, rice and coins. 23. No part of the house should cover or hang over the stump of a newly cut tree. Neither should a new house overlap any portion of an old house. 24. A two-story building that is remodeled into a single story will shorten the lives of its occupants. 25. A snake that enters the house brings good luck as long as it doesn’t bite any of the occupants. This is probably based on the practice of Filipinos during the Spanish colonial times to keep pythons in the partition between the roof and the ceiling to reduce the rodent population the house. 26. While number 7 and 11 bring good luck, number 13 is never used as an address number or the number of a story in a building. 27. An injury to a construction worker while a house or building is being erected is an omen of bad luck that can be neutralized by killing a pig or a white chicken and sacrificing its blood to the spirits. 28. A balete tree is considered to be haunted and must not be cut down when building a house or else the spirits will attack the construction workers as well as the owner of a house.
A. Pagpapatayo ng Bahay (Constructing a House)
1. Kung magpapatayo ng bahay, laging magsimula sa kabilugan ng buwan. (If you are to build a house, always begin during a full moon.) 2. Ang pinakamainam na panahon sa pagpapatayo ng bahay ay sa mga buwan ng Marso, Hunyo, Hulyo, Agosto, Septyembre, at Nobyembre. (The best months to build a house is during the months of March, June, July, August, September, and November.) 3. Huwag na huwag magpapatayo ng bahay sa pinakadulo ng kalsadang walang lagusan. (Never build your house at the end of a cul de sac, or "dead end" road.) 4. Malas ang bahay na may labing-tatlong poste. (It is bad luck for a house to have thirteen posts.) 5. Kapag magpapatayo ng bahay, laging isipin na maglagay ng ilang bagay sa ilalim ng bawat haligi o poste ng bahay, gaya ng mga lumang barya at mga medalyang pangrelihiyoso. Ito ay magpapa-alis ng mga masasamang espiritu at mangangalaga ng prosperidad. Ang mga piyesa ng musika, medalya, at mga barya ay magngangalaga ng pagkakaisa at katahimikan sa loob ng bahay. (When building a house, always remember to place certain things under each structural post. Old coins and religious medals will drive away evil spirits and ensure prosperity. Musical score sheets, medals, coins ensure harmony as well.) 6. Ang bilang ng mga hakbang sa hagdanan ay hindi dapat napapangkat ng tatluhan. Bilangin ang mga hakbang mg oro (ginto), plata (pilak), at mata (kamatayan). Ang huling hakbang ay hindi dapat magtapos sa mata. (The number of steps ona stairase should not be in multiples of three. Count off the steps as oro (gold), plata (silver), and mata (death). The last step must not fall on mata.) 7. Laging lumipat sa bagong bahay sa araw ng Miyerkules o Sabado. (Always move into a new house on a Wednesday or Saturday.) 8. Kapag ikaw ay lumipat sa bagong bahay isang araw bago sumapit ang kadiliman ng buwan, ikaw ay hindi magugutom. (If you move to a new home one day before the new moon, you will never go hungry.) 9. Ang unang mga bagay na dapat ipasok sa loob ng bagong bahay sa araw ng paglipat ay bigas at asin. (The first things one should carry into a new home n moving day are rice and salt.) 10. Sa paglipat sa bagong bahay, isabog ang mga barya sa sala upang ang prosperidad ay maghari. (When moving into a new home, scatter coins in the living room so prosperity will reign.) 11. Ang bilang ng mga taong natutulog sa loob ng bagong bahay sa unang araw ng pagkalipat ay dapat pareho sa loob ng siyam na araw. Kung hindi, may mamamatay sa bahay na iyon. (The number of people sleeping in a new house the first night should be the same for nine consecutive days. Otherwise, death will occur in that house.) B. Mga Palatandaan at Pahiwatig (Signs and Omens)
1. Kapag nakakita ng mga bubuyog sa loob ng bahay, ito ay maghahatid ng kayamanan at swerte sa mga naninirahan. (Bees found inside the house will bring fortune and good luck to its occupants.) 2. Kapag ang mga kalapati ay lumisan mula sa isang bahay, ito ay tanda ng kawalan ng pagkakaisa at harmonya doon, dahil ang mga nakatira doon ay laging nag-aaway. (When doves and pigeons leave a house, it is a sign that there is no harmony there, because its owners quarrel all the time.) C. Mga Dapat at Di Dapat Gawin (Dos and Don'ts)
1. Kung nais mong maalisan ng mga surot sa iyong bahay, maglagay ka ng ilan sa isang papel at iwan mo ito sa bahay ng sinuman. Ang mga surot ay lilipat sa bahay na iyon. (If you want to rid your house of bedbugs (fleas), place some on a piece of paper and then leave them in someone else's house. The bedbugs will move to that house.) 2. Kung gusto mong umalis agad ang mga bisitang hindi kanais-nais sa iyong bahay, patago kang magsabog ng asin palibot sa iyong bahay at sila ay agad na aalis. (If you wish to rid your home of unwanted visitors, secretly sprinkle salt around the house and they will soon depart.) 3. Ang isang bisita ay hindi dapat umalis ng isang bahay habang ang pamilya doon ay kumakain pa, dahil ang pagbubukas ng pinto ay magiging sanhi ng pagkawala ng lahat ng magandang swerte ng pamilya. (A guest should not leave the house while the family is eating because opening the doors will let out all the family's good fortune.) 4. Ang lahat ng bintana sa bahay ay dapat bukas sa Araw ng Bagong Taon upang papasukin ang biyaya ng Diyos. (All windows in a house should be opened on New Year's Day to let God's grace in.)
FILIPINO BUILDING BELIEFS
The experienced Filipino architect is familiar with the common folk beliefs and usually follows them or applies these age-old guidelines in the planning of one's dream house. Many of these beliefs are based on sound planning practices that do not have to be overly emphasized. Like, for example, orienting the building to take in the healthful effects of the rays of the morning sun by having wide windows facing the rising sun to take in the cleansing rays of sunlight during daybreak as well as to admit the prevailing southeast breezes to cool your house. It is more advantageous if two faces of the house take in the morning sun. This can be achieved if a corner of the house take in the morning sun. This can be achieved if a corner of the house faces east. In fact, most educated Filipinos are of the belief that the more windows your residence has (or the larger they are), the better the chances of your house absorbing natural and spiritual graces.
In Bontoc, the front door of the house must face against the flow of a nearby river according to ancient folk beliefs. In Romblon, the roof of the house must slope following the direction of the incline of the nearby mountains. In the Cordilleras, it is different. The ridge of the roof is always positioned at right angles to the ridge of the mountain on which the house stands. Among the Ibalois, a Benguet ethnic group in the Cordilleras, it is customary to give ample space underneath their houses by elevating their floors to accommodate the future tomb of the owner to ensure perpetual guidance over the house the dead leaves behind.
If one is building a house within a family compound or between two relatives, make sure that the roof is not higher than theirs, otherwise, their lives will never progress or will always be worse. A sibling's house must not be built so close to that of his parents such that rainwater from the eaves of the main house pours onto the roof of the sibling. Posts
In Southern Tagalog, posts are erected following this procedure: posts are laid with their bottom ends at the footing on the ground and the top ends pointing towards the east. The post nearest the east is the first to be raised. The same procedure is followed for the other posts, one after the other in a clockwise direction as one reads the plan. This same clockwise manner of raising the posts is practiced on the island of Romblon and the belief is that it will make the house windproof. The Tausugs equate the building of a house to the development of a fetus. They believe that the first to appear in a woman's womb is the navel. Hence, the first post to be erected should be the main post within the interior of the house. In the Cagayan Valley, meanwhile, the first post to be raised is the one positioned nearest to the northeast. But this is done after the footings have been sprinkled with wine. The old folks of Bataan caution against having a solitary post in the middle of a room. It is said to bring misfortune to the family. This belief is also common in Tagalog areas and it is said that posts situated this way augur a "heavily laden" life (mabigat ang kabuhayan). The Yakans do not use crooked wooden posts especially the ones with knotholes in them because they are said to symbolize death. In the older communities of Bayambang, Pangasinan, it is commonly believed that termites (anay) will not enter the house if the bottoms of all wooden posts are first charred. Informed master carpenters, however, suggest that these bottoms not just be charred but tarred as well. Others swear by the potency of rock salt sprinkled generously in all footing excavations as preventive measures againstanay infestation. Old people also cautions against cutting old posts for reuse so as not to lose one's wealth. Stairs
An orientation towards the east is also required for stairs. Ilocanos position their stairs so that they rise with the morning sun. To them, if it were the other way around, meant turning one's back on fate. But builders in Pandi, Bulacan, just like many typical Filipinos, believe that a stairway facing east is considered bad luck because, they say, anything facing the early sun dries up ahead of all others, and in the same token, wealth taken into the house will dry up much faster. If there is no way one can make the stairs face east, at least make them face any nearby mountain. If one's lot abuts a river, position the stairs in a way that they are facing upstream. This is so in order that good luck from the house would never be washed away with the river's flow. In the same way, if the proposed house is beside the sea, or if one is building a beach house, plan the stairs in such a way that they run parallel with the shore. If the stairs are perpendicular to the shoreline, luck may flow in but also flow out with the tides. Also, it is not advised to place a large window in the wall directly facing the stairs so that good fortune will not easily go out that window. Most Western countries consider it bad luck to walk under a ladder. Actually, this can be taken more as a safety precaution than a superstition. Locally, one should not make a passageway any area under the stairs. Tagalogs never use the space beneath the stairs as a sleeping quarters. The underside of wooden stairs of Ilonggo houses are usually completed covered not because of peeping Toms but because the Old folks say so. For business establishments, especially the small ones, the cashier or the place where money is kept should not be located under the staircase. In homes, neither should rice be kept there because it translates to treading on the grace of God whenever one goes up or down the stairs. When planning a structure with two or more storeys, the stairway should not be positioned at the center of the structure so as not to divide the building into two equal parts. It is believed that the dried umbilical cord of a son or daughter of the house owner inserted in the staircase will strongly bind the stringer with its supporting girder. Oro, Plata, Mata
There are guidelines, too, governing the number of steps in one's stairs. Starting with the first landing, count the steps using the words oro (gold), plata (silver), and mata (death). The perfect last step should be oro. Ending upplata is not too bad either but, understandably, do not ever end up with mata. This ruling is strictly observed especially if it involves the first steps going into the house. If your home has a slight elevation, choose four steps but never three. This building belief is not limited to stairs alone. It also applies to walkways that are made of individual flagstones or the popular circular or square slabs of pebbled concrete or even an entire concrete walkway or ramp that is divided into sections by lines drawn onto the pavement itself, especially if they lead to the main entrance of the house. Doors
It is advised that doors should not face each other. The people in the north associates this with the easy passage of a coffin through two doors that directly face each other. Most regions in the country also avoid positioning the main gate of the lot opposite the main entrance of the house itself. In Sta. Maria and San Miguel, Bulacan, however, wide doors facing each other are considered lucky, especially if they lead to the terrace or garden. One's door also should not directly face one's neighbor's to avoid future conflicts with the said households and to avoid wrestling with each other for the possession of the luck that passes in front of both your houses. Living Rooms
Sunken rooms, like basements are looked at as pockets of caves where evil spirits can hide. It is balanced off only when an exit lower than the said room is provided. Some Ilocanos do not want basements altogether because of the belief that only coffins should be found under the ground. Old folks of Sta. Maria, Bulacan advise that the floors of the living and dining rooms must be of the same level. They say the imaginary "ball of fortune" must be able to freely roll across both floors. Overly ornate living and dining room ceilings, especially those with cornices, moldings, and other superficial decorations are avoided as it tends to make the ceiling look like a coffin. Even the "mansard" or flat type of roof invented at the turn of the century are avoided as it reminds people of a coffin. Beds and Bedrooms
It is advised that one must plan the doors of one's bedrooms in such a way that when it is opened, one would face neither the foot nor head of the bed. There should always be ample space between the door and the bed itself. Position the bed such that the headboard does not rest against a window opening. Neither should you put any bed under a cross beam, regardless of whether the beam is of wood or concrete, and position the bed so that the occupant will not be lying perpendicular to the beam. Overly strict homeowners do not have exposed beams at all even if these are veneered with different materials. For houses with second floors, it should be observed that no drainage pipe runs inside or under the floor where the bed is located. Drainage pipes contain unclean fluids associated with bad energies which may affect the good spirits of the people sleeping over these pipes. Do not place bedrooms in the basement portion of the house. It is always preferred (luck-wise) that the bedroom floor is higher than the living room. Non-sleeping rooms like library, den, foyer, storage, etc. can be at a lower level than that of the living room. Bright Dining Rooms
As anyone who knows Filipino cuisine, Pampangos love to cook (and eat), so most of their dining rooms are situated in the sunniest and brightest locations of the house. Ilocanos, on the other hand, prefer subdued lighting because they consider eating a solemn occasion.