Mano Po

June 7, 2023

Due to my friendships and acquaintances with Muslim Malays for years, I have become familiar with some of their traditions. Through these traditions, you discover historical connections.

“Máno Po” is one of these practices (salam) that survived even after our country became Christianized.

“Mano” is Spanish for hand and is our adaptation of the ancient practice. It’s a sign of respect, whereby one takes the hand of another and places it on their forehead, then uttering “máno po”.

Spanish missionaries have observed and written about this pre-Philippine-Spanish tradition. This practice was not prohibited. Even today, young Filipinos pay their respect to Catholic priests and their elders with a “Máno”.

In Visaya, “Máno po” is called “Amin” (derived from ‘amen?).

Nowadays, many Filipino parents refer to it as “Bless” (i.e., “mag-bless ka muna kay Ninong!”), which makes sense, given that this is the intention behind the act—for the elder to bestow God’s blessings and peace on you. But I prefer the old Spanish term “Mano” since it is what I grew up hearing.

Can you still see people practising “Máno”? Is it something you encourage young people around you to do? – A

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