Commentary on PITAHC Competency Standards for Hilot

PITAHC or Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care which is an Attached Agency of Philippine Department of Health is the appropriate Government Agency that should regulate (if ever) the Practice of Hilot. This is due to the virtue of the Republic Act 8423 that is mandated on December 1997. Though the law was made on 1997, the Implementing Rules and regulation of this act was made not until December 7, 1999 which was Chaired by former DoH Secretary Alberto G. Romualdez Jr. MD.

The objectives of this law are the following:

  1. To encourage scientific research on and develop traditional and alternative health care systems that has a direct impact on public health care.
  2. To promote and advocate the use of traditional, alternative health care modalities that have been proven safe, effective, cost-effective and consistent with government standards on health care practice.
  3. To develop and coordinate skills training courses for various forms of traditional and alternative health care modalities.
  4. To formulate standards, guidelines and codes of ethical practice appropriate for the practice of traditional and alternative health care as well as in the manufacture, quality control and marketing of different traditional and alternative health care materials, natural and organic products, for approval and adoption by the appropriate government agencies.
  5. To formulate policies for the protection of indigenous and natural health resources and technology, natural products, by-products and derivatives from unwarranted exploitation, for approval and adoption by the appropriate government agencies.
  6. To formulate policies to strengthen the role of traditional and alternative health care delivery system; and
  7. To promote traditional and alternative health care in international and national conventions, seminars and meetings in coordination with the Department of Tourism, Duty Free Philippines Incorporated, Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation and other tourism related agencies as well as non-government organizations and local government units.

And by 2015, The Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care have issued PITAHC Circular 01 series of 2015 about the Guidelines on Implementing RA 8423 IRR on the National Certification of Hilot Practitioners and the Accreditation of Hilot Training Centers and Hilot Healing Center.

As a Practitioner of Hilot, I am commenting on the content of the Law that RA 8423 doesn’t mention about Hilot specially on its definition of terms except for the Definition of Traditional Medicine that states:

the sum total of knowledge, skills, and practice on health care, not necessarily explicable in the context of modern, scientific philosophical framework, but recognized by the people to help maintain and improve their health towards the wholeness of their being, the community and society, and their interrelations based on culture, history, heritage, and consciousness.

RA 8423 Article 2 Section 4.B

Whereas on its Implementing Rules and Regulation Issued in 1999, we can see that it Define Hilot as:

While on PITAHC Circular no. 01 series of 2015, the Definition of Hilot has been changed into this:

This changing definition of Hilot coming from our Government officials makes me think that they have lack knowledge in terms of our Practice in Hilot, but nevertheless as Citizen of this Country and part of the Industry, we are going to reach out to them and correct what was wrongly made specially in the statement of the definition of Hilot that states: “with the use of manipulations, bulong or oracion…” which endangers some spiritual practitioners or may be seen biased towards a certain Faith Tradition that uses Oracion as part of their Spiritual Practice. And besides it may infringed our constitutional rights stated on Article 3 Section 5 that states:

Though I see the Importance of Regulating Hilot as a Health Care Practice so as our very own Indigenous Ancestral Knowledge to avoid exploitation, but we must also consider the Spiritual Aspect of Hilot that the Government or any certain laws could take out from the practice of Hilot. Thus we are making a Review on the Competency Standards that have been formulated by PITAHC in the practice of Hilot. So let us check on What do PITAHC expects to be a Manghihilot.

So PITAHC have set 10 competency in order for an Individual to become a Qualified Manghihilot. Let us Dissect each one of the competency.


With this we can see that they have a flowchart so that a person could embody and articulate the Hilot Tradition.

  1. Demonstrate Commitment to Hilot Tradition
  2. Explain the Principles behind the Hilot Tradition to Client/Patient
  3. Identify and Describe the practices of Hilot as Filipino Traditional Medicine
  4. Advocate the Hilot Tradition to the Community
  5. Apply the principles of Hilot Tradition to the Client/Patient.
  6. Work within the Hilot Center Regulations and Guidelines.

With these 6 areas in embodying Hilot, I believe that instead Demonstrating Commitment, it should be Developing Commitment first because haw can you demonstrate if you have no skills, knowledge and abilities in performing and demonstrating Hilot Tradition. So if we are going to Develop Commitment towards the Hilot Tradition, we should know first what is Hilot and what does it do and how it works. And in the Developing Commitment clause, the principles of Hilot must be clearly taught and explained so as the practices of Hilot in terms of Diagnostic, Treatment and Prevention of Physical, Emotional and Mental Ailments or disease. As practitioner of Hilot, automatically we advocate Hilot Tradition as it supports us in Daily living, but who is needed to advocate Hilot is PITHAC in general by implementing the provision of the Rules and Regulation of RA 8423 in Rule 11 Section 2 that says:

But unfortunately, PITAHC does not advocate Hilot but instead supported other Traditional Medicine practices such as Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Naturopathy, Homeopathy, Ayurveda and so on. Hilot Practitioners need support from our Government in order to protect the people or General Public so as the practitioners it self. I remember in 2022, the Hilot Congress talks about Fly-by-Night practitioners who is using the Term Hilot to validate their practice but extort patients/client.

Now let us move to the second Competency that PITHAC implies to a Manghihilot which is:


Though these second area of competency has a broad interpretation specially if we talk about Traditional Spiritual Formation.

Since the History of the Philippines is not only covered during the Time that Magellan arrived in the Philippines so when we talk about Filipino Traditional Spirituality it may cover not only Catholicism but also Islam so as Hindu/Buddhist Spiritual practices.

So it is much better to have a clear definition of traditional spiritual formation or the term Grounding Techniques. In terms of Folkloric Hilot Tradition, which is the Medicine of the Common People, I never seen a Hilot Practitioner who will do an Asana or Meditation before providing Hilot.

Most likely, Folk healers would have a specific time to do the “pakain” or feeding of their abilities through Orasyon. And these Folk Healers would call that practice as “Pagpopondo” or in English as “Funding”. And on the time that they are going to touch a person in healing they will only utter the “susi” or Key Prayer to make their healing works.

Such as in Islamic Folk Healing Practices they do “Wudu” or Ritual Washing on 7 body parts to make them worthy of their Prayers and on the actual healing before they touch would Say the Words: ” Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Rahim! Allahu Akbar!” which means In the Name of Allah The most Gracious and the most Merciful! Allah is Most Great!”

While on the practice of the Folk Healing by the Indigenous People of the Philippines, it vary from different Tribe. So some healer may ground by making sound from either Gong or Drums and they sing and dance until they reach a Trance state then healing session will begin.

While on the practice of Luntiang Aghama in Healing our Grounding Method is based on the knowledge on the Practice of Hilot. A hilot practitioner will be well grounded if they know the Nature of the Illness that is why we have our Pagtatawas. And when we already know, we can formulate treatment plan that we could apply to the client/patient condition. In terms of Spiritual Formation, Tawas is our Tool to connect our Soul to the Soul of our client and to the Universal Soul which is the main source of Healing. And the Hilot Philosophy that we follow is that Every Individual has their own healing ability thus our work as Manghihilot is just a Channeler of that awareness to an Individual and to awaken their own healing abilities for them selves.


This one is too complex that it Requires PITAHC to make a Resolution. As Hilot Practitioner, we see our role as Primary Health Care practitioner providing Traditional Diagnostic, Preventive, Promotive, Treatment and Rehabilitative Function; and as Manghihilot, we envision that we could serve as an additional work force into the Public or Private Health Care Facilities and we are calling the attention of the Promotion, Advocacy and Training Division of Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care so as the Philippine Department of Health, Department of Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Commission on Higher Education, Philippine Council on Health Research and Development, so as the signatories of RA 8423 IRR such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and even Department of Science and Technology and even the National Commission on Culture and Arts so as the National Commission on Indigenous People to consider the work of Manghihilot as being essential to the Health Care Delivery System in the Philippines.


Since these competency aims to professionalize the practice of Hilot that is why it ask to get client information for data keeping. But traditionally, the work of Hilot is based on Trust and Faith. But in terms of assessing the client, this means that we should find out our Client’s need for Hilot. In TESDA Hilot Standards and Regulation, Client’s need may be expressed into the Client’s expectation requirements which was listed as the following:

  • Improved Relaxation
  • Improve Sense of Well being
  • Improve Skin Condition and
  • Stress Reduction

But for us in Hilot Academy as it was taught to us by our Manghihilot, what we deal with patients Illness are Pilay which can fall eitheir into Spiritual Nature or Physical Illness. That is why It is important that we conduct preliminary investigative procedure or Hilot Assesment and Evaluation before we end up on the treatment process. Such pilay can be categorized into the Following:

  • Pilay Ipit ( Earth)
  • Pilay Hangin (Air)
  • Pilay Bali (Fire)
  • Pilay Lamig (Water)
  • Pilay Usog (Spirit)


In this case for Hilot Academy of Binabaylan, we may call this as Hilot Treatment modality as Hilot is not just a Massage but the entirety of Hilot Treatment must follows the Principle of Healing that is:

  1. Diagnostic
  2. Cleansing
  3. Treatment
  4. Supplementation

These procedure must go together in any Hilot Treatment procedures so that we could assure the effectivity of the treatment to our Client.


Such as this, It is important that our Manghihilot has Basic knowledge on Philippine Medicinal Plants and the General Public must be educated on the proper use of herbal Medicine as there is also an adverse affect to it when not used properly such as over dosage. Like in the use of Synthetic Drugs, over use of Herbal Medicine may also have a bad effect towards our health. And most of the time that using herbal medicine would compare its safetiness on just eating foods or vegetable. Remember there is an Impatso or over eating. So it is better that our Manghihilot also has a coordination with Philippine Nutrition Council and Food and Drugs Authority so as on Department of Agriculture specially on the Bureau of Plant Industry in terms of Cultivating Herbal Plants. I just want to mention here that the City Government of Taguig has a Farm-to- Table Project which is the Urban Gardening.

It would be nice of PITAHC would coordinate with DILG to provide local employment of our Manghihilot as Urban Gardner which may integrate our practice into Barangay Health Services.


Like what I always tell the people that We are Manghihilot and not a Business person. But in our desire to upgrade our profession, we must comply to this skills requirement. This will also help us in seeing the progress of our work so as in the effectivity of the treatment we have applied. Acquiring Basic Office Management skills and House Keeping skills might be helpful and not bad addition to our skill level. Such as on the next 2 competencies.


On this Competency specially in the provision letter E about participating in local and international Traditional Medicine Conferences, PITAHC should be the one providing us an opportunity for that. But as Local Manghihilot, we could create event which all of us can learn from one another to the advancement of the Practice of Hilot in the Philippines. And as an Individual practitioner, I am seeking opportunity that our Hilot Practitioner will also have an International Recognition separate from Massage Therapy, Acupuncture, Chiropractic and other Traditional Medicine modality. I know we could make this happen to make Hilot be known by #HEALTHEWORLDWITHHILOT!


One thought on “Commentary on PITAHC Competency Standards for Hilot

  1. Reblogged this on Dambana ng Luntiang Aghama and commented:

    Though I see the Importance of Regulating Hilot as a Health Care Practice so as our very own Indigenous Ancestral Knowledge to avoid exploitation, but we must also consider the Spiritual Aspect of Hilot that the Government or any certain laws could take out from the practice of Hilot. Thus we are making a Review on the Competency Standards that have been formulated by PITAHC in the practice of Hilot. So let us check on What do PITAHC expects to be a Manghihilot.


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