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Filipino building beliefs

The number 13 is avoided on all apartment doors and house numbers.

Could your home be the reason for your fortunes and troubles in life? Though the Philippines is generally a religious country, many of us believe in superstition and luck.

When it comes to building our homes, we take extra measures to ensure our prosperity and safety in them. Besides relying on Chinese geomancy or feng shui, many Filipinos also prescribe to traditions that date back to pre-colonial times. From burying coins to counting the steps on our stairs, we have upheld these inherited practices throughout the centuries. Take a look at some of the more common superstitions that Filipinos continue to practice when it comes to building and selecting our homes.

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Selecting the lot

According to the Kapampangans, one should avoid buying a dead-end lot because it can cause financial misfortune or death in the family.

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Cut down aratilis trees that grow on your lot to prevent your daughters from getting pregnant out of wedlock in the future.

Be wary of houses or lots being sold for prices that are too good to be true. Chances are, these places have witnessed harrowing incidents in the past and can bring misfortune.

If you find a snake in your new yard or lot, consider it a sign of good luck in business or work. But eliminate or remove the animal quickly—bites are not lucky at all.

New houses should not be built over the ruins of old ones because new structures will have short life spans.

House posts with cracks bring bad luck.

Laying the foundation

Embed loose coins or religious medallions inside foundation posts for good luck.

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Though depressing to animal lovers, it is thought that the blood of a pig or chicken smeared on the house’s foundation prevents bad spirits from wreaking havoc on the home.

A house becomes resilient to typhoons if posts were turned clockwise before being fixed permanently in their positions.

Septic tanks should not be raised above floor level because such a design requires offering of a human life. Not to mention, it can cause sewage spill on your living spaces in the future.

Imprint an old coin on the doorstep of your home to encourage steady cash flow.

Orienting house elements

The house front should face east to encourage sunshine through the front door, which brings prosperity to the home.

The house should not face the west, as this can bring financial difficulties, quarrels, and death to its residents.

Avoid placing a mirror across the main door of a house to prevent deflecting good luck that enters your home.

The roof ridge should not face the east or west.

Designing the stairs

The number of steps on a staircase should not be a multiple of three. This follows the theory of the “oro, plata, mata” which literally translates to gold, silver and death. When climbing the steps, each word corresponds to a stair tread.

The topmost tread should not count as “mata” or death to ensure good fortune.

The stairs should always turn to the right, as this direction denotes the moral path. A stairs turning to the left might cause infidelity in a marriage.

Planning house details

Interior doors should not face parallel to doors facing outdoors to prevent easy flow of luck through the house.

Do not reduce a two-storey house into a single storey structure because it will cut short the lives of the house residents.

Never use 13 as a house number.

Transfer to your new home no later than six in the morning during the new moon to ensure fortune in your new home. The first things that must be brought inside the house are salt, rice and coins.

Whether you believe in superstitions or not, Filipino building beliefs remain a prevalent part of our culture. You might be surprised to know that most locally-trained architects design homes according to these customs by default.

Beyond technical know-how and techniques, design professionals also consider cultural beliefs in creating structures.

If you would like to adhere to these customs or would just like to know more about them, consider talking to an architect. While nothing in life guarantees prosperity, it wouldn’t hurt to follow these practices if only to honor Filipino traditions.

At the end of the day, your actions will still dictate your fortunes, but maybe a bit of sunshine from the east or a right-facing staircase can further push your luck forward.

Sources: positivelyfilipino.com; aboutphilippines.org; Photo Sources: Gerritt Tisdale, George Desipris, from Pexels; Image by blitzmaerker, bpn and gimono on Pixabay

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