Category Archives: Belief

Barilis Stall

Well-lighted tuna stall, with installed miniature altar for Santo Niño.

The Day Before Palm Sunday

Palm fronds for sale on the day before Palm Sunday.

Lei Maker

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Buddha’s Hand

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When this fruit caught my attention, I imagined how it tastes like. So I resolved to eat some before leaving Hanoi. But when I asked a local what kind of fruit is this, she answered phat tu or Buddha’s hands, and it’s not for eating but as an altar offering. Now I wonder why something deemed to be not edible is being offered along with edibles and beers.

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Phat tu, beers, and others as an offering at the Temple of Literature

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More beers for Confucius

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Yellow phat tu

Deity Clothed in Bibs

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Jizos at Naritasan Shinshoji Temple

Jizo is (also) a protector of children and its statues are usually carved from stone. Seeing the bibs on the Jizos presumably put on by parents gave me some sense of spirituality and connectedness to the realm of human life driven by beliefs and unaffected by science and technology.

Airborne Wishes

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Writing wishes on their lantern

There is one district in the outskirts of Taipei named Pingxi where tourists flock mainly to see and experience the flying lanterns on a railroad track.

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Readying the hot air lantern by putting fire on bunch of papers inside

To do the lantern experience, I’ve observed that first, you choose and buy a lantern from one of the many vendors in there, then write anything that you (and your companions if lantern sharing) hope or wish for, afterwards stand on the railroad tracks (when there’s no passing train of course), it is there that fire will be lit on a bunch of papers inside to generate hot air. Just before releasing, smile at the camera (100% of those I’ve observed have their photographs taken, and they were all smiling, the lantern must be expensive, I suppose), lastly let go of thy wishes into the air. Goodbye. I wonder where all those lanterns end up.

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Couple smiling at the camera with their lantern on the railroad tracks

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Released lantern

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Assortment of lanterns

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Bye bye lantern

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Trio lantern sharing

Kibla

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Kibla sign inside the desk drawer in guest room of Intercontinental Hotel in Makati

It is praiseworthy for this particular hotel in Makati to provide kibla sign in its rooms. Truly lives up to its “international” standards when it comes to religious sensitivity. I noticed the sign when I opened the right side drawer of the desk, whereas the left side drawer holds the Holy Bible. Kibla or qibla is the direction facing Mecca, so in a predominantly Catholic country, kibla signs are rare unlike in the guest houses or hotels in Malaysia or Indonesia.

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Kibla sign (kiblat in Malay) on the ceiling of a guest house in Kota Bharu

Frozen Transcends Religion & Culture

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A pink tudung with Elsa and Anna

‘No child can resist a Frozen movie star’ is the marketing idea behind this character tudung I suppose. Perhaps I’m the only one left who haven’t seen the movie yet.

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A purple tudung with Elsa and Anna

Cow Urine

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Used for spiritual healing

A bottle of cow urine found in a store that sells incenses, incense holders, cow’s milk, and other prayer paraphernalia in Little India, Melaka.

Placenta Tree

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The organic matter inside those plastic bags or bottles that are hanging in the mangrove are placentas. I suppose these are the placentas of the water village mothers as they cannot bury them (as what normally land people do).

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Prayer Requests Via Multicolored Candles

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Color coding one's prayer requests and wishes via candles

A Thousand Cranes

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Garlands of senbazuru (thousand cranes)

I’ve came upon garlands of one thousand folded cranes a few times in shrines suchlike the cattle shrine in this post, and also at the Yamashita shrine in Cavinti, Philippines. 

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Cattle deity at Ushijima Shrine in Tokyo

A garland of one thousand cranes is a symbolic offering in shrines, though I’m also aware about the traditional practice in Japan to give one to a sick person. It is a belief that the perseverance of folding a thousand cranes rewards one a wish, a wish of good health for instance.

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Origami crane on a tatami mat in my hotel (out of a flyer I got in the subway station). It is said that the mythological tsuru (crane) can live for a thousand years

Tsuru is a beautiful creature for it symbolizes a thousand years of life, a thousand years of happiness, and a thousand years of love.

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Origami crane as my office cubicle ornamentation. One day, a thousand of these to give...

Reflexology Path in a Shinto Shrine

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Stone path designed to walk on and put some pressure on the foot. There's even a feet map of reflex points

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Walk of health towards the shrine

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Reflexology and worshipping in one go

Religiously Clean

As a visitor, it is but natural to see, and acknowledge the structures a particular place is quite proud of because these have also become the collective identity of the place itself. In Brunei Darussalam, most of the visitors’ destinations (no matter what one’s religious affiliation is) are these two great mosques – Omar Ali Saifuddien and Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah.

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Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

As Christian, the idea of cleanliness in a place of worship of other religions such as Islam, is fascinating and admirable. So when I visited the said mosques in Brunei Darussalam, I took few snapshots of shoe racks and ablution facility as concrete Islamic examples of the phrase Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

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Shoes not allowed inside the mosque

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Faucets provided for washing ritual before prayers

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That outdoor corridor leading to the Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque is a space for leaving shoes

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Shoe racks in this outdoor corridor

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A closer look of shoe rack number 25

Carinderia Altar

Assimilation aids of Spaniards as noted in the present times.

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Motorist stop carinderia in Gumaca, Quezon

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Bulalohan in Sto Tomas, Batangas

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24/7 carinderia named 'Lolo Ompoh' in Calauag, Quezon

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Kapihan in Bacolod, Negros Occidental

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Goto/log-log/kinalas carinderia in Magarao, Camarines Sur

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