Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Bira i platu-mo yanggen guaha taotao gi lamasa na kahulo' ya må'pos.

Turn your plate if someone at table gets up and leaves.

This folk belief isn't held by everyone. In fact, from asking around, I'd say it is practiced by only a certain number of people. Most of the people I talked to don't practice it. Some have heard of the belief, and many haven't heard of it at all until I asked them. And these were older people.

The idea is that, by turning one's plate, the person leaving will make it safely to his or her destination. As soon as the person leaves the table, give your plate a rotation. A full one; 360 degrees. It will prevent the person leaving getting into an accident or meeting some other misfortune.

I suppose that turning the plate plays out, with action, the hope that the person leaving returns, re-turns, safe and sound. So, turn the plate! We act out in deed what we hope for.

The practice raised my suspicions and I inquired among my Filipino friends and, yes indeed, this belief is also found among them, though not all practice it.

They call it "ikot plato," the turning of a plate. They also do it for the same reason; the protection of the one leaving.

The majority of the older people I talked to had heard that some people do this, but they didn't. Nor had their parents and grandparents, so we're already going into the 1890s if we're talking about an 80-year-old's grandparents.

And, yet, there are some who say that their grandparents did practice this, and that takes us back to the 1890s as well.


  1. My father had us do this whenever someone leaves the house when we were eating.

  2. I grew up with this belief. Learned from my grandparents but never questioned why

  3. My parents practiced this and had us turn our plates whenever anyone had to leave the table early. My father was born in 1921 and my mother in 1924 (both are now deceased) so they were the older generation. I'm surprised that this is not a well-known practice.
    Eileen Benavente-Blas