Folklore is profuse with beliefs of how illness are closely connected to the spirit world, that disruption or desecration of the world inhabited by spirits, fairies and elves, can bring about an awakening of their ire and wrath and consequent disease to the perpetrator. A common attributiion of illness is that caused by someone passing by or stepping on a termite mound - believed to be inhabited by elves or "nunos" - without asking permission or apology for the intrusion.
There are many ailments attributed to similar "encounters" with dwarfs, evil spirits, possessions, witches and spells: na-nuno, na-masaman, na-kulam, na-maligno, na-danyohan, na-sapian, na-duwende, na-engkanto.
Tabang is one such condition - an illness believed to be caused by stepping or urinating on a place where an abortus or fetus (patiyanak or tiyanak) has been buried. When the rural folk hear the wailing sounds of a child emanating from the vicinity of the burial place, they believe the area has been desecrated. The angered spirit can cause a wide variety of ailments, but more commonly, edema (swelling of the lower extremities) progressing to ascites (swelling of the abdomen). When the diagnosis is in doubt, consultation with the albularyo is done and tawas usually performed. When the diagnosis of "tabang" is made, some resign themselves to an inevitable fatal outcome. Others seek treatment from the albularyo or medico familiar with the use of modalities to counter such a spirit-induced malady, usually using bulongs and orasyons.
In some regions, natabang is an illness induced through sorcery, by practitioners referred to as "manugtabang." The paraphernalis is a varied bag of choices: fish bones, hair, rituals and prayer formulas.
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