A Bulusan Facebook group site reposted my blog A visit to a Folk healer recently. Reading the comments from the thread, I found out that it seemed to be that the ‘parabulong’ i.e. folk healers though deeply rooted in our local culture’s psyche are not seen in good light by some of my town mates.
For instance a facebook member commented that my ‘folk healer’ blog will put some people in a bad light by my referring to the nickname of the folk healer to a similar sounding name of another local resident. It was as if being a folk healer is something to be ashamed of, that it refers to a person of low stature – I bet that his view of the folk healer or parabulong is this: a local ignoramus practicing some indigenous rituals with herbs and incantations.
On the contrary, my view is this: that being a folk healer means that one carries an indigenous knowledge that can only be attained with patient apprentice and study passed on from one generation to the next.
A recently published book by Anvil has this to say about Filipino healers and this includes Bulusan’s ‘parabulong’ and ‘parahilot’:
HILOT, the Filipino healing tradition is an indigenous practice that has been handed down from generation to generation by the Filipino sages, or albularyos. Modern medicine has discouraged the use of the method because it has remained undocumented thus bereft of ‘scientific’ evidence and basis for its use and application.
The book also shows how the art is relevant to the 21stcentury thinking that stress affects a person’s general well-being. “HILOT healing has two aspects: the restoration of harmony of the three faculties of man, and, the attainment of balance in the four elements of the body.”
Fajardo writes, “HILOT encompasses a spiritual and medical tradition with breadth, scope and depth comparable, if not equal to, the medical systems of Traditional Chinese Medicine and India’s Ayurveda. HILOT is grounded on a holistic approach that treats man in his totality. In HILOT healing, the concept is to trigger change and to bring back man to his natural health order.” The book also offers the training process for healers and includes a directory of Hilot healing centers all over the country. “
Hilot: The Science of the Ancient Filipino Healing Arts written by medical researcher and healer Bibiano S. Fajardo and Ma. Aleli V. Pansacola is available in the Health and Medicine Section of National Book Store, Powerbooks and Bestsellers.
Photo: Alma P. Gamil
Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines