The Curse of the Phillipinnes’ Anthills

Don’t stomp on that anthill!
antillPhoto: DG Jones

In Philippine folklore, the anthill is the home of the Nuno sa Punso or “Old Man of the Mound”.
anthillPhoto: jiihaa

We were warned to never disturb his home, for otherwise a curse will fall on you!
anthillPhoto: Echo9er

Listen carefully to this advice, and if you value your health and your sanity, leave the anthill alone.
anthillPhoto: oskarlin

The Nuno sa Punso has been seen and described by our ancestors who, from generation to generation, have passed down to us the warning that he is a very, very old and tiny man, with a very, very long beard, and has very, very little patience for those who wreak havoc upon his home. Spits and curses fly from his wrinkly old lips – just try to escape his wrath if you dare!
anthillPhoto: Mrs. Gemstone

Any unlucky soul who comes within close range when the Nuno sa Punso is seething with vengeance will be showered with cursed saliva that shall bring pain to the body part that has been unfortunately hit with the spit. It is best not to urinate on the anthill, then, for obvious reasons!
anthillPhoto: George

Adding to the swollen feet, coarse frizzy hair growing on your back, black ooze coming out of all orifices, and worse, blood, is the evil misfortune that will befall anyone who doesn’t take heed. A worse ordeal involves the afflicted being vexed with a dark spirit that will drive him or her beyond the edge of sanity!
anthillPhoto: Isfugl

Should you accidentally step on an anthill, immediately ask forgiveness from the Nuno, and offer gifts (anything nice will do), so that the old man will accept your clumsiness, you oaf!
anthillPhoto: phunkstarr

Ignore good manners and soon you will find yourself in pain and insane with an evil spirit inside you! Seriously now, who wants that?
anthillPhoto: joe0301b

Special precaution must be taught to children who chance upon an anthill; they ought to ask the old man’s permission to pass, by saying “Tabi tabi po” or “Excuse me, I will pass,” and they should neither play nor speak noisily within the area of the Nuno sa Punso’s home. A simple way to keep the peace isn’t it?
anthillPhoto: Guido Gerding

Perhaps you’ve seen one during your walk in the woods, given it a glance for a moment or two – and walked on.
anthillPhoto: Outsider Inside Estonia

Perhaps you should have stayed longer – or not; it depends on whether you are prepared to meet a Nuno sa Punso!
anthillPhoto: MS-R / Michael Sen-Roy

*Many Philippine folk tales give valuable lessons in being kind to nature. Sometimes we forget logic and trample on the anthill thinking it’s funny, and when and if the ants come crawling up our legs, biting us to bits, only then are we reminded of why we shouldn’t have done this in the first place! Stories like the Nuno sa Punso are a fun way to remind us to respect the homes of other creatures. I know I’ve kept this lore in mind whenever I see an anthill, thank goodness!
anthillPhoto: Benjamin Haines