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Sunday, July 5, 2020

What Your Mole Tells About You According To Filipino Superstition


Divination and fortune-telling are popular in the Philippines. Unsurprisingly, many participate in the practice of moleosophy or moleomancy. Both practices interpret body marks (i.e. Nevus) to foretell fate and destiny. It originated from ancient Greece based on a manual called Peri Elaion tou Somatos (On the Olives of the Body) which was used to decode the meaning of a mole, as exemplified by Greek seer Melampus.

Filipino Superstition, Moles
Image: Youtube
Filipinos are charitable and hospitable people. However, perpetuated by beauty standards. Filipinos are also sensitive to how they are perceived. A typical Filipino household is fashioned by health and beauty regimes, an assortment of clothes, and hygienic materials. Seemingly, the body as a temple is an unspoken manifesto in their culture. That said, a discussion on what makes up beauty is decisive; mole (or in Filipino nunal) is among such topics.


Even Hippocrates, famous for the Hippocratic oath formulated a theory of medicine based on the astrology of bodily marks. In such times fake moles were applied to scars in the form of small and round leathers. The Romans, on the other hand, used this to segregate free people from the enslaved since the latter have prevalent scars. In Medieval Europe, moles are the brands of abnormality (devilish character) and used to brand a witch. In the early 1600s to late 1700s in Britain, moles are labels of sexism (a sign of immodest women) and political affiliation.

Filipino Superstition, Face Mapping
Image: Feng Shui Beginner
Moles are also key to face reading in Imperial China. Famous generals Mian Xiang and Chuo Kuo Liang took part in astrology while conducting military strategy. The latter even wrote books on face reading which moles are the subject. Chinese view moles as a stamp from a karmic deed in the previous life when read has either good or bad implications.


In present times, the location of moles in the human body reveals fortune, luck, and character. Astrologist used the concept of the lucky mole to predict these revelations:

1. A mole in the forehead denotes success attained by own merits
2. A mole in the median line of forehead means a settled life and traveling pursuit.
3. A person with a mole in an eyebrow is bestowed with luck, righteousness, and fortune.
- an earner (and a big spender)
4. A mole in the waist means wealth and prosperity, yet dissatisfaction.
5. A mole on either side of an eyeball is imbued with calmness, persuasiveness, and intelligence.
6. A mole on an ear denotes intelligence and decisiveness
- On both ears mean a comfortable life
- On the left ear means satisfaction in marriage
7. A mole on the edge of the eye has luck in wealth and friendships.
8. A mole below or near a nose wing or palm means no shortage of money.
9. A mole on a cheek means inspiration for others with lots of friends to cling into.
10. A mole on the upper lip denotes attractiveness and constant attention. On the lower lip denotes an industrious person that easily succeeds.
11. A mole on the neck or chest signifies patience and hard work. Their favor comes from planning.
12. A mole on the shoulder means a life of royalty and governance.
13. A mole on the chin has luck in wealth but unsociable.
14. The placement of a mole on the back may tell which is responsible (upper) or creative (lower).
15. A mole on an ear merits success at an early age.

These predictions are popular because they present a respite from the hardships in life. Although as the wise men and women of the past disclaimed, these should serve only as guidelines. The power to control destiny lies within each of us. In the same way, the ability to see beauty and to appreciate is inherent to humanity.

Regardless of one’s opinion, many cultures perceived moles as beauty marks. In western culture, a beauty mark on the face merited attraction akin to the late actress Marilyn Monroe and supermodel Cindy Crawford. These features are also well-regarded from actresses Angelina Jolie and Nathalie Portman. Locally, Ann Curtis glamorizes with her beauty marks. Its popularity garnered admirers that celebrate moles (natural or not). Artificial moles also became a thing with permanent tattoo [See: Dita Von Teese] or with makeup pens and eyeliners (kajal). A temporary Peel and Stick beauty mark also became in demand.


Both females and males embraced these beauty marks; from male artists such as Robert DeNiro and Ewan Mcgregor, to drag queens and Instagram models that made moles into brands. Its relevancy however is timeless. In the 18th century, men and women used velvet patches as moles to cover scars from smallpox which became a fad.

As demand increased, contradictory opinions became prevalent. Many choose to remove their beauty marks. A recent example is the renowned British actor, Tom Holland who took the role of the friendly neighborhood Spider-man in Captain America: Civil War (2016). A mole in his chin is hard to miss in his early films thus its removal came as a shocker. Tom Holland contributed to the 127% rise of UK folks that removed their moles in the year 2015 according to BBC News. The reason, of course, is beyond vanity issues.

To understand the reason for their depreciation, one must look at the Science behind it. Colloquially, these black smudges in the skin are called moles or nunal. In the Scientific community, these are formally named melanocytic naevi (Nevus) based on the pigment-producing cells in the human body known as melanocytes.

Filipino Superstition, Face Mapping
Image: Gostica
A person has an average of 30-40 moles in a lifetime, while some may have up to 600 moles–typical of the faired-skin. The presence of these moles fluctuates over time with gradual appearances in the span of 30 years. Puberty or hormonal changes contribute extensively to their number but diminishes in rate as a person becomes older. They come in various shapes and sizes too, some may appear smooth, flattened, hairy, bumpy, or even protruding. Typically, their width is a quarter inch. Their color is often discreet but is usually darker or browner than the rest of the skin. Some appear enclosed with a ring because of melanin loss or even dark blue because melanocytes are deeply embedded. These rare variations are called halo naevi and blue naevi, respectively.


Their appearance changes over time because of sun exposure, lifestyle choice, Genetics, and normal hormonal changes. Although some may have legitimate concerns. Dr. Lauren Kohen M.D. (a dermatologist from Henry Ford Health System) mentioned tips on how to validate health concerns especially with the more aggressive skin cancer, melanoma. She stated that a mole with multiple colors or one that changes into another merits a professional check. Spontaneous bleeding and crusty moles are also indicators. A mole that grows extensively upon adulthood is also a piece of evidence.

The advent of modern technology presented a more unconventional method to track (and prevent) cancerous moles which are also applicable to the prostate, lung, colon, and breast. This is an implant called artificial mole, which triggers melanin production and turns brown when the presence of a cancerous mole or tumor is detected. The medical application and the underlying vanity concern contributed to the rise of dermatological consultations and mole extraction.

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Written by Joshua Rodriguez, IFY Books

Greetings fellow book and pop-culture enthusiast! I am your average young adult that loves to read science fiction (SF), general fiction and occasionally, young adult novels and children’s literature. At my spare time you may find me watching Star Trek and Doctor Who or updating my library with the latest shows from streaming giants such as Netflix and Hulu. I devote most of my time in learning, critiquing, and researching. If you want to know more, go check out my reviews!

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