Philippine Traditional Knowledge Digital Library on Health

Culture bound terms - Alabat Island









Panahon na tag-init (Illnesses are brought by hot weather, especially during  tagsangit [very hot weather]. The illnesses occur especially if heat is alternated with cold, as when being exposed to hot day then being exposed to sereno [cold in the evening])

Sipon at ubo (Cough and colds)

The illnesses occur during the hot season.

>Medicinal plants are used.

Panahon na tag-ulan. During the rainy season, there is change in the water because of things that are decaying (nabubulok).

Tae at suka (Diarrhea and vomiting)

The illnesses occur during the rainy season.

>Medicinal plants are used.

Singaw ng lupa


This occurs after a rain on a hot day.

>Buga  is applied, from betel or from lubigan.





Nanuno o nagalaw. There are two types of dwarves: white and black. The inagas (dwarf) lives in a spring with strong flow of water, such as those in Barangay Concepcion in Hondagua, Lopez. The rice fields are always wet because of the inagas who lives in the spring. The terms naapo o namatanda are also used.

Illnesses come in many forms: nawawala sa sarili, convulsions, fever, etc.

The patient may have recalled having urinated in some spot or having stepped over a mound.

>Suob using baletengdagat. Incense The nuno is afraid of the smoke from baletengdagat. The tree has black wood but the bark is white. The smoke from the suob is fragrant

>Bulong using Latin incantations may also be used.

Taratara. This aswang takes the form of a pig and makes the rounds in the evening . it sucks the kalaghara (phlegm) of those with cough. It does not cause any illness.




Nabalis. This is also known as usog and is caused by a person with strong energy.

*Sakit ng tiyan

*Suka’t tae


The person or mother would have recalled that a person had been encountered on the way; and suddenly symptoms are felt.

>The one who caused the balis must be sought for his laway (saliva) to be applied onto the patient’s belly, usually a child.

>Plants may be used. Kakawate or balimbing leaves are used as haplas (gentle application) to the forehead and joints

>Buga from betel chewing (nganga) may be applied onto the belly

Imbalance in heat/cold

Pasma sa pagod.

This is experienced after having been overworked (thus overheat) followed by cold. This could also be due to natuyuan ng pawis.

>Medicinal plants are used.


Pasma sa gutom.

This is due to not eating on time.

Pasma sa mura.

This is due to eating young coconut meat when the stomach is empty

Natural causes

Tuka ng ahas

Tibo ng isda

Kagat ng aso


>Medicinal plants are used.

Pinasok ng lamig. Lamig (cold) entered the body.


This manifests as *Ponsada. Migrating pain throughout the body


>Hilot (massage) shoulders, back , and chest.

>Medicinal plants are used.