Tag Archives: polydactyly

Polydactyly – Philippines

A belief that was pretty popular in our Santo Domingo Illocos Sur township, and I am pretty sure that it was believed in other provinces in the Philippines…  But it doesn’t matter, because folklore is beliefs and superstitions and parables that fall under the same guise.  I was told this ever since I was a little girl about having extra fingers or extra toes. 

It has been said in our little town that any baby that is born with an extra or an extra toe is going to be very lucky in life, and most likely going to be very wealthy and successful. 

So, obviously, with my having the extra toe (that I got removed), I believed since I was a little girl that I was going to be very successful in life.  And I wonder if that is why I was always kind of started new projects without any fear of failure, without any doubt that I was going to do extremely well and you know, better than it was ever done before, so to speak.  So that is a belief that was obviously important for me.  I think everyone in the province as well was much more convinced about the accuracy of that belief because of Lola Maria [Lola Maria is my great-grandmother, who is currently 103] because she is the wealthiest woman in our township and she was also born with many extra digits.  The Filipinos are very superstitious,  so it is no surprise that everyone sees that as the reasoning behind Lola’s success.

This folk belief was instrumental in my mother’s self-identity.  She has always told that she had no fear of failure in the business world, and went very far very quickly because she had the utmost faith in her abilities.  I had no idea that this was why my mom had such a supreme work ethic.  And it’s no surprise that she looked at her grandmother as a perfect example of this folk belief, as she is the wealthiest woman in our township and basically runs the place.  Polydactyly, for some reason, has been passed in my family for generations.  My mom was never ashamed of her polydactyly, and in fact saw it as a blessing because it aided in her success.

I myself was born with an extra toe that was removed as an infant (no, my feet are not super deformed), and I grew up being extremely self conscious about that part of me.  Even though the only remnant is a thin scar on the side of my foot, I always felt like a freak growing up.  But now that I’m older, I’ve come to terms with  it, and this belief has helped me cope as well… I didn’t know this folk belief until this project.  If my mom can take it and make it into a positive, so can I.