As a child, I remember my school bus mates exchanging stories of seeing or hearing manananggals* and tik-tiks*. In fifth grade, I witnessed two classmates being possessed by those who claim to be spirits of rape/murder victims. In college, I remember one friend saying that she came from a lineage of witches, while another friend told me that his grandfather could shapeshift. There are also numerous stories of friends experiencing various forms of demonic presence and oppression – from feeling physical pressure when there’s nothing beside you, to shaking beds, and hearing voices of friends who were apparently not there.
One of the reasons why we Filipinos find it easier to believe in God is because in general, we believe in the existence of the spirit world. Sad to say, we are often plagued by a fear of these evil beings, to a point where God seems powerless to combat them.
On the other hand, born-again Christianity in the Philippines has been so westernized that we Christians tend to adapt a westernized world view of the typical occult practices here – that is, to diminish, if not deny the reality behind our rich history of occult practices and stories about various non-human intelligent lifeforms.
In Hiram Pangilinan’s book, “Hula, Multo, Faith Healing, ATBP” (Published by OMF Literature), he shares to us the realities of these practices and creatures – exposing the dangers behind seemingly everyday things for most Filipinos (Albularyos, Manghuhulas, Feng Shui, Horoscope, befriending dwarves, etc.), and declaring the power of Jesus Christ over all such things.
The contents of the book are mostly firsthand experiences on delivering people from the bondage of various occult practices. The book starts off with a story of how a person died while playing “spirit of the glass”. In succeeding chapters stories that seem to resemble those from movies are seen – a woman levitating, a girl who went missing for a year as she was transported to the kingdom of dwarves; a man that has the power to become invincible; a man who can turn into an aswang*; a man who can use astral projection, and so on.
In general, the author exposes how these things are all from the devil, and how these could destroy one’s life. Biblical references are made to establish how God detests such acts and practices, as well as to serve as guidelines for a sort of doctrine on occult and deliverance. There are parts, however, where the author suggests theories or speculations, usually in parts where the Bible is not specific (of course, there are no mentions of creatures like dwende, kapre, and tikbalang in the Bible).
Peculiarly, the book never fails to have at least one prayer per chapter. These are usually prayers that one should pray if he/she finds himself/herself involved in a certain occult practice described. Of course, it goes without saying that prayer for repentance and accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior is always the first step. After all, how can we be totally freed from the grasp of any occult influence if we remain as “children of the devil”, which all humans are, by default:
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me. I came from God, and now I am here. I have not come on my own. He sent me.
43 “Why aren’t my words clear to you? Because you can’t really hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil. You want to obey your father’s wishes.
“From the beginning, the devil was a murderer. He has never obeyed the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his natural language. He does this because he is a liar. He is the father of lies.
Upon finishing this book in less than 48 hours, I realized the following:
- That the mainstream evangelical church may be ill-equipped, in general, in dealing with such occult practices, and the ministry of deliverance
- Deliverance is a whole lot more than just exorcism. There must also be a separate time for dealing or bondage-breaking whenever an occult practitioner chooses to follow Christ.
- No matter how fantasy-like, uncanny, or unbelievable the powers of the devil are, we who are in Christ are rest assured to have the power over them, in our lives, and also in the lives of those who seek help
- People often turn to Jesus as a “last resort”, after first exhausting all alternatives.
* – names for various creatures in Philippine occult/folklore/mythology. Descriptions may vary but you can Google them