Anting-anting is a Filipino vernacular name for amulet, talisman or charm . The factor obviously responsible for its concoction is the mysticism of the orient coupled with man’s instinct for self-preservation. Man, by nature, is obsessed with immortality. He does not want to die, if possible; he wants to live forever.
One of the theories regarding the origin of the word anting-anting was advanced by Lorna Revilla-Montilla: that it is derived from the word "anti," or against. Logical though this theory may appear, it is nevertheless disputed by the fact that the anting-anting dates much earlier than the Americans from whom supposedly the word comes from. The viewpoint that it is purely native word whose origin has been garbled and lost in the midst of time and circumstances is, therefore, the better and more logical inclination. It cannot be ascertained which of the native dialects is its real origin, whether Ilocano, Pangasinense, Tagalog, Bicolano, Cebuano, Waray-waray or what not. Anyway, its vernacular names include: ginam-mol or galing-galing in Ilocano: agimat or mutya in Tagalog; likit in Waray-waray; odom in Bicol; and adimat in Muslim. None of these give the real key to its origin.
The anting-anting is said to come in various forms - crocodile’s tooth, snake’s fang, whale’s spine, shark’s fin, odd stones, rooster’s spur, guinea bird’s horn, bizarre roots, weird herbs, or anything rare or strange or Siamese like a twin-tailed lizard or two-headed snake, or any freak of creation or monstrosity. At least, these are the things attested to as what constitutes the anting-anting.
But the fact that Filipinos cannot be definite about its real nature makes this something of an enigma. Yet perhaps this only serves to betray the secrecy of its presence or the mystery of its real nature. Its possessors do not seem to relish bandying their possession of it, and the only conceivable reason for this includes the protection of their person and preservation of their anting-anting’s potency since it is believed that when this is used for vanity or arrogance its power is relinquished.