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Meeting Mt. Banahaw’s Amulet Makers

Anting-anting Makers of Mt. Banahaw

More crystal pendants

Mount Banahaw’s Anting-anting Artisans

Team Out of Town Blog Hub ( – Mountains are sacred spaces. Mt. Banahaw, located in Quezon, is considered by most to be the holiest of all. Some believe that this mountain is the new Jerusalem.

Mount Banahaw by Huegotpix via Wikimedia cc
Mount Banahaw By Huegotpix – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

At the foot of this mystical mountain lies the town of Dolores. Here you’ll find a flea market that sells farm produce, local culinary delights, and a collection of crystals, religious items, and anting-anting or amulets, known to ward off evil spirits, provide luck, promote one’s health, and attract a person.

Mr. Rodel Basilio explaining amulet-making to the group
Mr. Rodel Basilio explains amulet-making to the group

For those who believe in the powers of amulets, there are two reasons to visit Dolores. One is to charge their amulets, and the other is to buy one or have one made.

We met one of Dolores, Quezon’s amulet makers, during the recently organized #discoverCALABARZON tour organized by the Tourism Promotions Board and the Department of Tourism-CALABARZON.

Rodel Basilio is one of Dolores, Quezon’s most sought-after amulet makers. His workshop is located in his home, and he and his wife welcomed our group and gladly demonstrated their art to us.

More crystal pendants
More crystal pendants

Basilio used to be a mural artist. The chemicals he used for his paintings affected his eyesight, and he attributes his healing to the waters of Banahaw. Since then, he’s dedicated his arts and crafts to a higher purpose.

His amulets are made of brass, copper, and a sacred wood called dignum, also believed to be the same species used to make the cross of Jesus Christ. This potent material is several hundred years old, and one must perform a ritual to unearth it.

It contains images and mysterious letters, and phrases.

One design, Basilio explains, has the symbol of Diyos Amang Makapangyarihan sa Lahat or Almighty God on the top, and in His embrace are three figures, which are also all that He embodies – Diyos Ama (God the Father), Diyos Anak (God the Son), and Diyos Espiritu Santo (God the Holy Spirit). These are all contained in a sacred symbol called the Triangle.

Crystal pendants for sale
Crystal pendants for sale

He believes that we are now in the era of God the Holy Spirit after fulfilling God the Son’s role. This is represented by the wings, which signify a guardian.

At the back is the All-seeing Eye, symbolizing power and the beginning. Under it are four sacred letters, which Basilio believes are the same letters contained in the Ark of the Covenant.

Mr. Basilio adds that harnessing an amulet’s power does not end with buying one. One has to perform rituals to open its floodgate of powers. These include regular incantations as well.

Anting-anting Makers of Mt. Banahaw
Anting-anting Makers of Mt. Banahaw

Lax Mendoza, who represents the Tourism Office of Dolores, Quezon, explains that Dolores’ main tourist draw is the mystical Banahaw. Their office’s task is not just to promote them but to also make sure that traditions like amulet-making live on.

“When I took over in 2019, I made sure that I looked into all corners and angles of tourism. I gave importance to faith-based activities and traditions by assisting in their promotions, not just product selling but cultural preservation. We try to ensure that the tradition of amulet making is passed on to the following generations.”

Mr. Mendoza left the office last year, but he says that the office can arrange tours for groups or individuals who want to learn about this cultural heritage.

“But due to faith-based restrictions, we do not promote them unless they are asked for or requested,” he added.

He also added that Dolores is currently in the process of mapping amulet makers. He approximates that there are 80 to 100 amulet makers in Dolores.

One of the stalls selling amulets, crystals, delicacies, etc
One of the stalls selling amulets, crystals, delicacies, etc


Before we toured Dolores, we met with its mayor, Orlan A. Calayag, who explained that the municipality’s battle cry, UNLAD Dolores, means that God is at the center of their growth. Unlad, which translates to progress, means Unahin Lagi and Diyos or God first. It is a testament to the town’s deeply embedded faith and belief in greater powers.

Aside from meeting the amulet makers, the group also visited the National Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows and Bangkong Kahoy Valley. We also dropped by one of Mt. Banahaw’s holy sites, called Yapak, where it is believed that it is Jesus Christ’s footstep embedded in a rock.

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Written by Kelly Austria

Kelly Austria is a public relations professional. She is managing partner of RubyComm-K.Austria, a public relations firm. Traveling fills her free time. What fills her soul is helping the children who live in the mountains and other isolated areas by supplying aid to them. Kelly literally treks the talk on the advocacies for kids' education and voluntourism. She is currently affiliated with various mountaineering clubs and co-founded a volunteer-based group helping children who live in mountainous areas called TRails To Empower Kids or TREK. As a writer, Kelly has contributed works to some of the country's major publications. She also keeps her own travel blog, Damn Good Travels and an advocacy site, Voluntourism Philippines.

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