What is Kulam and Barang

The Philippines’ culture is very rich when it comes to mythology and folklore.  Majority of the population are superstitious even to this day where video games and the internet has become a household necessity next to electricity and water.  One of the more fascinating aspects of Philippine mythology is its version of witchcraft or sorcery called kulam.


Kulam traces its roots from Haiti and is pretty much similar to that of voodoo which is characterized by the use of dolls or by formulating potions to cast magic spells.  There have been several reported cases of kulam through the years especially along the provinces.  There has also been a popular belief that Siquijor, an island located at the southern part of the Philippines, is the center of witchcraft particularly those who practice kulam but this has been denied by local officials claiming that these are all just pure superstition.

 Kulam is supposedly used, more often than not, to inflict pain and suffering to a person who has wronged someone in a certain way.  The person who was violated supposedly goes to a mangkukulam – the term used to refer to a person who practices kulam - and brings an item or a strand of hair that belongs to the person who wronged him or her which the mangkukulam uses to cast a spells on.  The person usually gets sick through high fever and constant vomiting or in worst instances, they die.  These symptoms are allegedly incurable through medical means.  The only way to counter the spell is to seek the help of another mangkukulam or through quack doctors called herbularyo or albularyo in Filipino terms.

But if you think kulam is the worst that could happen to you, think again.  There’s a far more potent and evil form of kulam called barang.  Barang is similar to kulam in more ways than one.  The only difference is that barang uses insects like cockroaches, spiders, or flies to inflict pain to a person.  What the barang does is put these insects inside of a person’s body through evil spells.  The victims of barang do not only get sick through high fever and vomiting.  The insects mentioned above allegedly come out of their ears, nose, and anus or through wounds that began as swellings until it explodes and the insects come out.

So try to be nice to people around you.  You’ll never know, that person may just know a mangkukulam or mambabarang to get back at you.

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