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What is Kulam?

By Wanda Albano
Updated May 16, 2024
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Kulam is a kind of witchcraft practiced in the Philippines. Witches who use it are called mangkukulam and are often feared for their use of black magic. In modern times, however, there has been a move to revamp the image of this practice and present it under a more flattering light. A few locally published books, such as Tony Perez's Mga Panibagong Kulam (Modern Spells), hope to achieve this by bringing their case to a younger, more open-minded market.

Be that as it may, many people still hold the traditional view of kulam as a dark, evil form of sorcery. Superstitious Filipinos intimate that mangkukulam are often from the islands of Siquijor and Samar, and the province of Sorsogon. Even in this day and age, residents of these places are often regarded with suspicion by neighboring communities. Incidentally, these areas are also known for their many "faith healers."

This practice is heavily influenced by voodoo, and the foremost image of it in the public imagination involves practitioners using a rag doll to injure their intended victims. Something belonging to the victim must be obtained by the practitioner in order for the curse to work, and it's often said that the closer the object is to the intended victim, the stronger the spell will be. As a result, things like a strand of hair, spit, or drops of blood are highly recommended for maximum effect.

The mangkukulam starts the curse by tying a string around the body of a black rag doll. She then utters an incantation — often in Pig Latin — invoking various spirits and elementals. The string around the doll symbolizes the witch's power over the victim and, at this point, anything she does to the doll will be also be felt by the victim. She may prick his arms with a needle, submerge his head under water, set his limbs on fire, and so forth. Believers insist that the curse can only be lifted by two methods: removing the string tied around the doll or killing the witch herself.

Kulam, however, exists in a wider context, and is not simply about sticking needles into dolls. Most people see the mangkukulam as a kind of village witch, and often go to her for things such as love spells, spells to catch a cheating husband, etc. Sometimes, she will maintain a rivalry with a village arbularyo or medicine man. Other times, the mangkukulam herself doubles as the village's witch doctor, or faith healer, "curing" sicknesses inflicted upon them by the local versions of dwarves, wood nymphs, and other spirits.

Interestingly enough, Philippine witchcraft often co-exists harmoniously with Catholicism, especially in the country's rural areas. Good witches invoke the name of saints, whisper Latin prayers, and even wear scapulars to ward off the machinations of their evil counterparts. Black witches, on the other hand, are said to be in league with the devil.

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Discussion Comments
By anon992117 — On Aug 15, 2015

I was reading a lot of stuff, and I came across with this forum. I don't know what to say but when you're in a desperate situation, sometimes you think of the most serious way to do your revenge quickly.

Here's the thing. I married a foreigner, had a baby, then we got divorced after two years. He treated me like garbage here in his place. I can't go home because he won't sign a document allowing the baby to go home with me. I can't go home without the baby because I will loose the baby completely. Now, he wants to get another Filipina in the Philippines and bring her here.

I am so stuck, with all the physical and emotional trauma for two years and even until now. I am so mad. My heart is full of anger. It's like I'm a prisoner but I didn't do anything wrong.

I've kept on praying for years and years, but it seems like nothing is happening. I even thought of committing suicide but if I do, my ex and his new Filipina wife will get my baby.

I made all the sacrifices since the baby was born and he never did anything. I want him to feel how angry I am. I want him to learn a lesson. I'm thinking of giving him an ailment to teach him a lesson. If there's anyone here who can help me with my desperate situation, I really need your help. Thank you.

By anon991466 — On Jun 23, 2015

Does this work for love spells too? I have a strong belief in regards to someone I know here in the States being 'affected' by the black magic of the mangkukulam.

By anon989985 — On Mar 30, 2015

My mom has been a victim of kulam for several years. We keep on visiting different doctors -- general practitioner, internal medicine, endocrinologist, infectious disease, dermatologist, until our resources were drained.

One time my mom said, maybe an albularyo could help, so she tried, once, twice, and went to many different albularyo.

I accompanied her to one of her visits, because I don't believe in such, but when I saw how the albularyo would remove small pieces of broken crystal from her body with his bare hands, I got goosebumps, but still unconvinced, I asked the albularyo to let me do it by myself.

It was unbelievable that, after a continuous massage of my mom's back. I had a "sandy" feeling in my back and when I checked, I saw a lot of "bubog" in my mom's back. We kept on going back to that albularyo for almost a year, and my mom is totally cured.

By anon953923 — On May 29, 2014

Why do people even want to do such things to each other? Give the love around and back around it goes.

By amypollick — On Jul 15, 2013

@petmalu: I am not from the Philippines, so my knowledge of kulam is very limited, so there's no way I can give you any advice about that.

However, I can tell you that lupus is an odd disease. It is an autoimmune disease, which means the body attacks itself, and it can manifest in numerous ways, including convulsions. People can go for a long time without symptoms and suddenly, they have all sorts of odd things happen. These are called "flares."

Because your wife has been diagnosed with lupus, you both need to educate yourselves about the symptoms and treatments for it. There is a huge amount of information online, including online support groups.

I can see where your wife is wondering what's taken over her body. Many lupus sufferers say the same thing. However, in this case, it sounds like the lupus is asserting itself, not kulam. Good luck.

By Petmalu — On Jul 15, 2013

Please help. My wife is currently sick. She believes she is a victim of kulam. I really didn't believe it until it happened to my own brother when he used to date this girl, but ended up breaking up with her after few years of dating. He got sick and no one was able to cure him. The doctors did not know what caused him to get sick, and prayers and church did not really help either. He was dying and could not even get up off the bed. He was basically disabled and was soon to die, until one old guy came to our house and did some rituals. He and my brother had some words and vocal exchanges. Two days later, my brother was able to get up and the same week he was okay.

Now my wife is suffering from a disease called lupus, but she's having some weird symptoms. She believes that she is a victim of kulam by her old friend, who according to my wife's story, her friends used to tell them about having some friends like my wife because my wife used to give her plants and clothes. But something's happened to their friendship because my wife did not like the jokes her friends used to tell about our kids. So my wife started avoiding her little by little until she stopped talking to her completely. My wife used to put lots of our pictures on Facebook. I am a really good friend of this girl and her husband. Me and her husband were all best friends and all used to work together. Even though our wives have a misunderstanding, we still hang out and look out for each other.

But lately my wife has developed some rashes on her face and she went to the doctor to get seen. The doc gave her some medication which made it even worse and almost cost her life. She was rushed to the ER by our other friend.

I am in the military so I was out in deployment when it happened. I had to fly back in because she was admitted to ICU and had to be evaluated further until the doctor came up with this diagnosis called lupus. Two weeks after her diagnosis, she got better and the doctor decided to release her from the hospital.

Now earlier today something happened that really scared me and my kids. My wife had some type of convulsion or something like that and she got better after one minute. She started accusing her mom of doing some kulam potion on her. She chased her mom with a bottle of salt and literally showered her with it. We all thought that my wife had a knife so we got scared. I grabbed my wife and held her downtown the floor. I called 911 right after. The whole time she was talking about her mom doing kulam on her. But after being in the hospital for the whole day until now, she hardly remembers what happened. But she still think that she is a victim of kulam.

Can anyone please help me? We have three kids and they are still young. I haven't had a chance to talk to my brother because he is in Australia and I am stationed here in Japan. Does anyone have an idea of what's going on with her? Do you guys think this is kulam? Please advise. Thank you.

By anon317373 — On Feb 01, 2013

Those of you who don't understand had better not seek, for something out of your comprehension. Your ignorance can bring forth your own destruction.

By anon281736 — On Jul 25, 2012

People who find mangkukulam are just a victim maybe, like me. I made this decision because someone ruined my future. When I came back, nothing happened. I just want that person to pay and keep the promises he made. But I did not intend to end his life or make him suffer make him ill. I jut wanted him to remember me and that he needs to pay the debts I have because of the promises he made.

By anon281265 — On Jul 23, 2012

I also need a mangkukulam. Somebody stole my engagement ring. And to kulam victims, why did someone put a curse on you? Someone did evil to me, and she deserves to be cursed.

By anon278439 — On Jul 06, 2012

I do believe in them, but I don't understand most of the people who experienced kulam. Have you tried asking yourself why have they done that to you? There are lot of people who don't have any conscience when they are doing bad things to other people, so now why are they telling such things?

By angellye09 — On Apr 30, 2012

Life is hard. It is a test of faith. Just be strong and say this prayer: "God cover me with your holy blood. I will not fear anyone. Nobody would dare touch even my feet." Whatever curse you give will come back to you threefold.

By angellye09 — On Apr 30, 2012

Don't look for mangkukulam. You are just inviting bad spirits to enter your life. Please read the Bible.

By angellye09 — On Apr 30, 2012

I just want to share my knowledge, and maybe it can help you.

Get 37 pieces of anonas leaves, 37 atis leaves and 37 anonang leaves. Wash and boil them and put them in a container.

When you take a bath put two mugs of this water to a pail of water. It's bit dark but don't worry; it's clean. Have a bath in it for 12 days. You will see you will get better and all the bad and evil spirits will leave you.

By anon255943 — On Mar 20, 2012

why you are looking for mangkukulam? why not try to find spells/oracles that ward off witchcraft? It is the Oraccion that can remove the black spells. Good day!

By anon246549 — On Feb 09, 2012

I also looking for mangkukulam. I really need their help. Can anyone help me? Please post.

By anon243582 — On Jan 28, 2012

To all of you guys looking for mangkukulam, I advise you all not to look for them. Seriously! You don't want to mess your life up. Mangkukulam are not jokes that you can laugh about or just rent, borrow or temporarily use on someone. Once it's cast it's done. There's no going back. It's like a mirror; it will reflect back to or you relatives if the mangkukulam you find is not strong enough.

If the person you have kulam seek for has albularyo, and the albularyo is stronger than the mangkukuelam, everything will turn around, and the curse will be on you or you relatives, not only back to the mangkukulam. Foreigners or local filipino people can be affected by the spell. A strong mangkukulam doesn't need any of your hair strands or personal belongings. Once the person tells your full name to the mangkukulam and where you are, there's no escape.

Please be aware of this. Their spells can go through air or electricity. Anything is possible! So any of you wanting to kulam anyone, I advise you guys not to do so.

I was once in a Third eye association back in bicol when I was young, and I used to have a medallion or triangle necklace to protect me. I gave it to my niece to protect her because she was always being visited by bad spirits in her house before here in hong kong. The spirits stopped visiting her, but then she lost my medallion, and so now I don't have anything to protect me or my family.

I am experiencing kulam now at the moment, which is why I have to go back to philippines to see an albularyo. To protect yourself from mangkukulam, at least have a copper ring, a real diamond or buntot pagi (stingray's dried tail). The diamond doesn't have to be big as long as it's real, the buntot pagi, you order it from the market if they sell stingray. You just ask for the tail and dry them at home your self, or you can buy them in the Philippines.

Please be aware of this! For your own good, don't attempt to do such things.

By anon242684 — On Jan 24, 2012

What happens when a witch is revealed? Does anything happen to the witch after they are caught with witchery?

By anon205861 — On Aug 14, 2011

Can Kulam affect foreigners? I want one person to feel sick because of what they did to me. kulam or gayuma help me.

By anon205626 — On Aug 13, 2011

Kulam can indeed affect anyone with the proper things such as hair, blood, or even an article of clothing. It can be done any where in the world and can be performed by multiple people which is said to make the strength of the spell stronger. More and more times the spell is done the stronger the enchanting becomes.

By anon203265 — On Aug 05, 2011

A kulam or sorcerer is true. God condemns this kind of work of evil deeds. Two thousand years ago sorcerery, witchcraft or kulam existed in the time of moses. "Do not practice divination or sorcery" leviticus 19:26.. "Do not allow sorceress to live" exodus 22:18. God ordered us not to practice of such kind of evil deeds.

By anon187868 — On Jun 19, 2011

Can Kulam affect foreigners?

By anon177467 — On May 18, 2011

If you don't believe in "kulam" and you have stronger faith in God than kulam, then, there is no kulam. It's evil!

By anon175231 — On May 12, 2011

CCKIU was right. A prayer couldn't help a kulam's victim. Only the highest albularyo (healer) would perform their ritual to save them.

And always remember this: If you were attacked by a mangukulam, don't visit a doctor because most kulam's victims died after they went to see a doctor. The injection or the surgery would really harm a kulam's victim. My friend died because of this. -WC

By anon170847 — On Apr 27, 2011

I really can't understand why prayers couldn't help a kulam's patient. I'm a catholic. I always advised a few of my friends who were kulam's victim, to pray and have faith in God. But prayers won't help them.

One of my friends died because of kulam or barang. after that incident, they asked why our prayers don't have enough power to save a kulam's victim.

Her family can't find a best kulam's healer (albularyo) to save her daughter.

That is my question now. Why? - CCKIU

By anon167347 — On Apr 12, 2011

I was once attacked by kulam. My two legs were very reddish and had many small circles with it. I went to the doctor and after i put ointment on my two legs, they became more reddish and those small circles getting larger.

I don't know who i should ask help for. I went to the church and talked to the priest, but he can't help me regarding this matter. He advised me to have faith in God and pray. But this doesn't help.

Until I went to my friend's house crying and hopeless. I was so lucky that day. Her mother saw a lady making witchcraft to me on that white candle.

After that ritual, it took two weeks, and I'm getting better and she gave me a medallion to wear, to prevent witchcraft. cckb

By anon167029 — On Apr 11, 2011

How to fight kulam? Say this prayer "In nomine Patris, et fili, et spiritu sanctu. Amen. (make a sign of the cross with this latin.)

Then say, "Holy cross be my light and never should satan be my chief! Get behind me satan!. You are evil and evil is the drink you pour me. Drink your own poison." (Then make a sign of the cross again, with the latin words.)

By anon167027 — On Apr 11, 2011

I had read a few comments here. A few people were looking for a mankukulam. Please try not to deal with a mankukulam. Because, in the end. you also will commit a sin. Abigail C.

By anon163367 — On Mar 27, 2011

i was a victim of kulam called barang! thank god I'm still alive!with the help of a person who lives in davao.

By anon153999 — On Feb 19, 2011

i don't believe in kulam. i never see anyone who is a victim of kulam.

By erco — On Feb 17, 2011

i also need one. Where should i go and how much will I have to pay? Please, it's urgent.

By anon143091 — On Jan 15, 2011

i reckon my deranged cousin is involved in this blasphemy and has attacked myself and my mother recently. i hope she goes to hell.

in the meantime, my Lord Jesus Christ will protect us.

By anon133015 — On Dec 09, 2010

Don't even think about it to find mangkukulam. I am one victim of kulam, and until now i need somebody to help me. i had lots of experiences last month. I've been in hospital for almost two weeks. My doctors can't find the reason why I can't breathe. this is not a joke. I need someone to help me.

By brodnest — On Oct 14, 2010

Looking for kulam fighters just research divino third eye fellowship.

By anon108200 — On Sep 01, 2010

when kulam starts, it will be for the rest of your life, unless there is someone who will help to prevent it.

For those who are finding mangkukulam, you will be sorry later because this mangkukulam will play also to you. they want and need money. kulam cannot deal with small sickness or big sickness -- it is the same.

it is the power of how the witch will affect the person, depending how this mangkukulam has knowledge of this black art.

By anon94393 — On Jul 08, 2010

i live in the philippines province of negros occidental. my place is surrounded by sugarcane and old tall trees but i have no idea what to tell you about mangkukulam.

gerry

By blairwitch — On Jul 07, 2010

i just used a black rag doll, stuffed with his own personal items, along with some black candles and an incantation. i bound the doll with red and silver ribbon and pricked some pins in different parts and then i kept it in my closet for two days, and voila! The effect stayed for two months.

By blairwitch — On Jul 07, 2010

i don't know guys if you going to believe this one. I'm not a typical mangkukulam but i made my father sick during the time when he got involved with another woman, and it really works.

By anon91654 — On Jun 23, 2010

Don't be afraid if you are the target of mangkukulam because the mangkulam are one hundred percent sure that you will die sooner or later. the best way you should do is to thank him for his\her deeds because at last you are now on eternal life with god.

By anon84685 — On May 17, 2010

Please help! What will i do to prevent the curse or spell cast upon me for more than ten years now? How will i fight it or avoid it?

By anon76758 — On Apr 12, 2010

where can i find a real mangkukulam? i really need to find one -- the fastest way, the better.

By anon76375 — On Apr 10, 2010

i have found kulam myself. It's in digos city, davao city.

By anon74565 — On Apr 02, 2010

What is the best way to fight the mangkukulam?

By anon74116 — On Mar 31, 2010

Christians (who have invited the Lord Jesus Christ into their hearts) need not fear kulam or mangkukulam. The same Holy Spirit that created the universe and raised Jesus from the dead is available to us. We have power and authority to bind any curses in the mighty Name of Jesus.

Christians can say, “In the Name of Jesus Christ, my Lord, I bind you, foul spirit, and render you powerless. In Jesus’ Name, I break your assignment over me and command you to leave me alone.” Amen!

By anon70627 — On Mar 15, 2010

You can depend on kulam if you have "Haban Haban" or "Panaming" in our dialect.

By anon56990 — On Dec 18, 2009

this is the occult world. unseen forces cannot be seen by the naked eye like the oxygen we breathe. in layman's term it's called good and evil. in science only two forces exist in this universe: positive and negative.

the kulam in the philippines uses the negative force which can cause a lot of damage and is very fast and effective, but it will not last a long time and you have to pay the mangkukulam again for she will invoke again a negative spell to the victim.

the positive one is very slow and sometimes cannot be seen to be effective because it will take time, but can leave a curse up to the end of time. meaning forever and even in the next life. remember all these things have a boomerang effect. you may have won the battle by using kulam but in the end you lost the war.

there is still an occult law that protects this universe. it's like a chain with wires. if you touch the chain you get electrocuted. what must come up must go down. if you made a trap for others or have harmed others, be careful; you might fall in your own trap forever. the safest thing to do is to use the golden rule "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

By anon50205 — On Oct 26, 2009

a misconception. Mangkukulams are not specifically located in one creepy place or province. They are everywhere. They are director of schools, successful businessman working in military, govt, airports, They are everywhere. Why are you guys looking for one anyway? My family and I have spent more than 10 years now fighting for our lives and peace because of my aunties and uncle who won't stop till they get us all dead! My dad unfortunately died two years ago. And all we here left are still fighting for our lives. Mind you guys. Mangkukulams and those who pay for Kulam will surely go to hell.

By anon48888 — On Oct 15, 2009

can you tell me exactly where to find mangkukulam in the philippines that is the real deal? I have been trying to search on net but it is not the info i am looking for. Please could you help me find one?

By anon48126 — On Oct 09, 2009

There are several spell and ritual books available about mangkukulam online. this is the only place that i have been able to find out any information about authentic mangkukulam. They also sell the spiritual supplies to practice it - can you imagine that?

By anon47334 — On Oct 04, 2009

there are hardly any real ones left, even in the province -- much less in the city (like Manila. Here in the city people try to look for foreign new age stuff, like wicca). most who claim to be "mangkukulams" are probably frauds. you'll have to check in the provinces of the Visayan Islands, if there are any very well-known "mangkukulams." there are a few catches though. you might find it difficult to find someone who speaks english, and there are also rumors of witch villages that only appear when trying to lure outsiders. if you're looking for white magic/a counterspell, it's safer to look for an "albularyo" (witch-doctor). there are still frauds, though. be careful.

By anon40544 — On Aug 09, 2009

Does mangkukulam work far aways? how long will it take? Please tell me.

By anon39503 — On Aug 02, 2009

where can i find a mangkukulam here in california? I need one.

By anon36184 — On Jul 10, 2009

what will i do to prevent the curse or the spell cast upon me or how will i fight them to reverse the spell... or what is the best things to do to avoid such thing...

By anon35964 — On Jul 08, 2009

where can i find to learn how to fight a "kulam"

By paulo — On May 18, 2009

i have a book from mr. Tony Perez.

By caty252 — On May 15, 2009

where can i find that kulam? please find me one.

By panday — On Apr 12, 2009

Where can I find a mangkukulam here in Manila?

By samien — On Mar 01, 2009

where can i find a mangkukulam?

By shamp — On Oct 16, 2008

I also need a mangkukulam. Not too harsh, just minor. Same needs as bil45ohb and anon7380. Thanks.

By bil45ohb — On Jun 17, 2008

I need to find one who can do a spell to my sister-in-laws who are prejudiced. I do not want a mean one. I just want something so that they will say sorry to me.

By anon7380 — On Jan 25, 2008

Where should I go to find mangkukulam? I need one.

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