Netizens share scary experiences after 'tao po' tweet goes viral

MANILA, Philippines – Did you know that the seemingly harmless practice of saying “tao po” everytime we knock on doors has a hair-raising origin?
Netizens share scary experiences after “tao po” tweet goes viral

Palanca award-winning writer Jerry Gracio’s explained the eerie origin of the phrase in a tweet that has quickly gone viral in several social media sites. Recounting his recent conversation with his partner, Gracio said that the phrase actually came from a superstition involving unwelcome visitors. “Tao po”, a phrase commonly uttered by Filipinos when knocking on doors, is said to indicate that a human and not a supernatural being wants to enter the house.

Kanina, he tells me: "Kagabi, may kumatok, madaling araw."

I had to tell him, "H'wag mo bubuksan ang pinto. Alam mo ba kung ba't pag kumakakatok nagsasabi ng 'tawo' or 'tao po'?"

"Bakit?" he asks.

"Para malaman ng nasa loob ng bahay na tao ang kumakatok at hindi engkanto."

Gracio’s anecdote is further supported by a 2018 entry of Philippine historian Ambeth Ocampo in his newspaper column “Looking Back”. According to Ocampo, the practice dates back to Spanish times.

Ocampo explained: “Doors then had no peekholes as we have today, so before opening the door to let the ‘knocker’ in, one had to make sure it was not a wild animal, which couldn’t speak and identify itself as ‘tao’ (human).”

“Our ancestors also believed that many dangers lurked outside the safety of their homes, so doors were not opened to ‘aswang,’ elementals and evil spirits that, like animals, could not say ‘Tao po!’ to trick the household into letting them in,” he added.

Although many were surprised, several netizens agreed with Gracio’s anecdote saying that the same belief has been passed down to them by their grandparents. Many even shared their personal scary experiences.

Here are some of them:

— Mini, The Summit Express


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  1. Ang turo sa akin ng matatanda ay tumao po o tawagin ang binibisita ng 3 beses. Baka malignong nangagaya ng boses.

  2. pag me kumatok wag mo buksan......baka Meralco,Maynilad o PLDT lng yan na naniningil na sayo

  3. Nakakatakot nman ang mga kwento d2

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