Oro, Plata, Mata: Famous Superstitions in Filipino Homes

oro plata mata

Part of the Philippines’ rich culture and history is its numerous superstitious beliefs that many Filipinos still adhere today. Even in our modern era nowadays, Filipinos are still cautious in observing these beliefs especially in making decisions. That is why it is not anymore surprising to know that even in considering architectural designs, a good number of homeowners ensures that the design, including the interiors, attract positive spirits to bring huge fortunes. As such, Bria Homes will show you one of the most famous architectural superstitious beliefs that many still consider today, the Oro, Plata, Mata.

Meaning and Origin of Oro, Plata, Mata

The Oro, Plata, Mata superstition is one of the Filipino beliefs in home construction. This Spanish phrase literally means Gold, Silver, and Death. According to this superstitious belief, any home’s staircase should never have steps that are multiple of three and the words Oro, Plata, Mata are used to define every group of three steps. If it happens that your staircase ends with either Oro or Plata it is believed to bring great fortune. And on the other end, if your staircase ends with the Mata, it said that this attracts bad fortune to all residing in the house.

According to a renowned architect, Ar. Isabelle Ong Sitco, “You count the first step as oro, the second step as plata, the third step as mata, then go back to oro as fourth step, and so on,”. While many may dismiss the belief, per the architect, many homeowners would rather include this superstition in considering and finalizing the design of their dream homes.

Read Also: Types of Staircases You Need to Know

Where did it start? There are various speculations as to the origin of this well-accepted superstitious belief. For one, a similar belief is also present in several Feng Shui books suggesting that the origin of the popular superstition was Chinese. However, others dispute that view since in Chinese popular beliefs, it is not the number 3 that is viewed as bad, rather, number 4 is, because “four” almost sounds like “die” in their language.  Another speculation on its origin is that it was a result of the colonization of the Philippines by Spain for over three centuries. A palpable evidence to this claim is the fact that the phrase itself is in the Spanish language.

Read Also: Superstitious Beliefs that Influence Filipino Homes | 8 Chinese House Beliefs Adapted by Filipinos Through Time

In spite of the fact there are numerous Filipino beliefs in home construction in the Philippines, the Oro, Plata, Mata remains to be one of the widely observed beliefs across the archipelago. As a matter of fact, its influence even extended outside the facet of architecture as it became the basis of one of the award-winning films ever produced in the Philippines titled Oro, Plata, Mata.

The Movie Oro, Plata, Mata

This widely observed Filipino belief in home construction was further immortalized through the film with its namesake produced in 1982. Oro, Plata, Mata was a historical war drama centered in the  in the Philippine island of Negros during World War II, it tells the story of how two haciendero families cope with the changes brought about by the war.

The movie was segmented into three parts. The first part which depicts the Oro (gold) showed the luxurious and lavish lifestyle of the haciendero families prior to the advent of the second war. The second part, the Plata (silver), shows the era when Japanese forces started to invade the archipelago. The families, though were forced to seek refuge, remain to have a privileged lifestyle compared to the majority of the population. The last segment of the film, the Mata (death), despite having a privileged life before the war the characters were not able to avoid the havoc of the war as they themselves also experience torture and other brutalities. The war truly left a mark not just in our history but more importantly in the lives of those who experienced it and likewise the generation after them.

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The classic movie remains to be one of the most recognized Filipino films ever produced.  In fact, the film won 8 awards and was even nominated to Chicago International Film Festival in 1983. This is a clear manifestation of the influence of this Filipino belief in home construction in the psyche and culture of Filipinos.

Other Filipino Beliefs in Home Construction

Aside from the Oro, Plata, Mata superstitious belief, Filipinos have other beliefs that influence their decision in the construction of their dream homes.

The location of your affordable house and house surely matters according to Filipino popular beliefs. To ensure a smooth flow of good luck, your home should not be constructed in a dead-end lot because it can cause financial misfortune or death in the family.

Looking for a strategic location for your affordable house and lot? Bria Homes offers house and lot and condominium units that are strategically located near and in major cities and thoroughfares to ensure ease of mobility and comfort in your lifestyle.

If the homeowner wishes to attract prosperity for the family, another superstitious belief suggests that the home should be facing the east where the sun rises. Many ancient cultures associate the supreme being to the sun thus, if you want to be blessed with abundant fortunes, you should ask it from the most powerful.

Every home needs to have a strong foundation that could stand the tests of time. That is why it is interesting to know that Filipino popular beliefs provide various ways to ensure the sturdiness of the foundations. Others imbed loose coins or religious medallions inside foundation posts for good luck. While others use animal blood as sacrifice to appease the spirits and attract good luck.

Read Also: How to Ensure Your Property is Earthquake Proof? | What is a Pre-Cast and Cast-in-Place Concrete and Their Difference?

Salt surely makes your cooking delicious. Interestingly, there is a Filipino belief in home construction where after the construction, the owner will scatter salt in every room to drive bad spirits away and welcome good fortune. Aside from salt, another belief is related to rice. The tradition of bringing in a container full of rice before bringing anything else into the home represents the occupants never running out of food throughout their stay in the new house.

These Filipino beliefs in home construction are clear manifestations of how diverse the Philippines’ culture and vibrant history are. The Filipino saying of “Wala namang masama kung susundin ang mga pamahiin” is the common thinking among Filipinos that is why these popular beliefs continue to flourish and be observed.

Bria Homes not just provides strategically located affordable house and lot and condominium units. In addition, Bria Homes will closely collaborate with you to follow and observe popular beliefs that our clients want to be incorporated in the designs and interior of your dream home. Interested? Contact Bria Homes’ capable agents and brokers or visit our official website for more timely and valuable information.