In Philippine folk culture, lihí is a condition of pregnancy food craving. A notable characteristic is that pregnant women usually desire food such as sour, unripe mango with bagoong. While it is a cultural concept restricted among Filipinos, analogous cultural phenomena of pregnancy food cravings have been observed in various cultures. It is still debatable whether lihí can be classified and established as either a biological or psychological condition or a purely social and cultural one.[1]


Lihí also broadly encompasses a folk belief that whatever a woman craves during pregnancy will imprint characteristics on the child. The period of the lihi is usually the first trimester of the pregnancy.[2] When a child resembles a manatee, for example, it is said that the mother enjoyed looking at that particular animal during the gestational period. The lihi period is also the time when the expectant mother is allegedly susceptible to supernatural creatures which might play pranks on her.[3] She might also develop a strong dislike for her husband.[4]

In other regions, lihí refers to the belief that any sensory stimuli imbibed by a pregnant woman influences her child development. Among some ethnic groups in the northern Philippines, it is taboo to mention anything about animals such as rats or pigs near a pregnant woman for fear that her child may acquire the features of the mentioned animals.

See also


  1. ^ Placek C (October 2017). "A test of four evolutionary hypotheses of pregnancy food cravings: evidence for the social bargaining model". Royal Society Open Science. 4 (10): 170243. Bibcode:2017RSOS....470243P. doi:10.1098/rsos.170243. PMC 5666241. PMID 29134058.
  2. ^ Abad, Peter James B.; Tan, Michael L.; Baluyot, Melissa Mae P.; Villa, Angela Q.; Talapian, Gay Luz; Reyes, Ma. Elouisa; Suarez, Riza Concordia; Sur, Aster Lynn D.; Aldemita, Vanessa Dyan R.; Padilla, Carmencita David; Laurino, Mercy Ygona (October 2014). "Cultural beliefs on disease causation in the Philippines: challenge and implications in genetic counseling" (PDF). Journal of Community Genetics. 5 (4): 399–407. doi:10.1007/s12687-014-0193-1. PMC 4159471. PMID 25026992. Retrieved 7 September 2021.[dead link]
  3. ^ Jocano, F. Landa (2003). Folk Medicine in a Philippine Municipality. PUNLAD Research House. p. 187. ISBN 978-971-622-015-5. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  4. ^ Jocano, F. Landa (1998). Filipino Social Organization: Traditional Kinship and Family Organization. Punlad Research House. p. 97. ISBN 978-971-622-003-2. Retrieved 7 September 2021.