Mention anting-anting (amulet) and surely older folks will remember the action films of Ramon Revilla Sr., the father and namesake of an incumbent Senator of the Republic. In the context of Revilla's filmography in the '70s and '80s, he typically portrays a man of the masses who got oppressed by powerful-but-corrupt people. All of a sudden, an old man (often portrayed by Pedro Faustino or Venchito Galvez) personifies the deux in machina who gives Revilla the anting-anting or agimat. (By the way, the word agimat also refers to anting-anting.) Our hero Ramon gets special powers to fight his adversaries.
Yours truly grew up watching TV re-runs of these movies, resulting in a childhood dream to get hold of an anting-anting and get special powers. Millions of other children then may have also wished for acquiring special powers through the anting-anting. Its popularity continues for many people, even in the age of social media. Renowned historian Ambeth Ocampo wrote in the February 26, 2014 issue of Philippine Daily Inquirer that the anting-anting or amulet may have gone out of fashion, but people still believe in luck and charms that are supposed to attract good fortune and repel the bad.
Ocampo said that anting-anting is like those sold outside Quiapo church. The anting-anting, however, is also available outside the Malolos Cathedral (and perhaps in other church grounds all over the Philippines). When I went there early this year, I chanced upon a stall that sells sacramentals, prayer books and anting-anting. It was a moment that I mentally shouted the words "Great success!" the way Borat does. Finally, a childhood dream going to be realized. Those shown below were purchased there earlier this year, each for fifty pesos. The vendor claimed that both amulets ward off evils spirits.