Albularyo or herbolaryo: which is which?

When we hear the word Albularyo what the common Filipino see in their mind is Mang Kepweng. Check the video trailer below.

Mang Kepweng is an Albularyo or medicine man that he gained his power to heal through his Magic Bandana worn on his head. It was given to him as a reward for his good deeds. An Alburayo is an expert on medicinal herbs as well as use of words or orasyon to affect cure. In the movie Mang Kepweng, the healer is shown to have power over the spirit world on which he communicates with spiritual beings and entities that possibly attack humanity by inflicting illness.

Now-a-days, we are seeing some resolution being drafted to call the Albularyo as Herbolaryo which the original term was derived. In this post, I will share to you our stand about the resolution of changing of the name.

Indeed it was true that the term Albularyo derives from the word Herbolaryo which means to be a person who is knowledgeable in using herbs to affect cure. But during the pre colonial times this term was not known among the common people because the name Albularyo or Herbolario are a word that been used by Spaniards to describe the person who uses plants, roots, leaves and barks with medicinal properties to affect cure to a person who has illness. And our local people doesn’t call the practitioner as Albularyo but Mananambal instead.

What is the Difference between an Albularyo/ Herbularyo to a Mananambal?

Before we talk about the difference of both terms, I want to emphasize first its similarity. Both Albularyo and Mananambal works with Herbal Medicine. The Albularyo or Herbolaryo are the Herbalist who have studied herbs and their medicinal properties and the process on which they can apply herbs to affect cure on illness of a certain individual; whereas the Mananambal are herbalist too which they learn the medicinal and magical properties of the herbs taught to them by their elders, observation to nature, and guidance by the spirits.

We can see that the name Albularyo is a name given by the Spaniards. So technically the name albularyo is unknown to our ancestors prior to the colonization of Spain to our country. The name Mananambal is older than then name Albularyo and their knowledge on herbs are most sought by our ancestors because modern medicine arrived only when the Spaniards came. The first Hospital in the Philippines was in Cebu established by the Spaniards on 1565. At that time Hospitals were called as Pamulnganan which the locals knows as house of Medicine which is derived from the local word Bulung which originally means as Medicine.

We can see here that over time, the Pamulnganan term is now unknown to us in modern time as we already have been accustomed to the words we adopt to call the house of medicine as Ospital or Hospital. And the word Bulong has changed it’s meaning which originally means as medicine but now Bulong becomes a word to describe what in English is called as Whisper. This is why we also know that Albularyo is an expert in Bulong or now they call it as Orasyon as prayer or magic words that could provide cure. Our knowledge on the Ancestral Healing Arts became complicated as the changes that been implemented during the time of colonization intentionally erase our memories so that we could embrace what they are giving to us.

But Now, this is our Mission in Luntiang Aghama through Hilot Academy of Binabaylan- we will serve as a window to bring back the memories of the past in to the present not only through information but also we make that information to animate as we can experience it today and preserve it for the future generations to come.

To make it clear, Albularyo or Herbolaryo is a Spanish name that used to describe a person who uses herbs to affect cure. They are the Herbalist who took Herbology in studying the effects of medicinal herbs. It means that in studying plants they observe academic method in accordance to the modern standards and procedures implemented by an modern educational institute. Whereas the Mananambal are a traditional herbalist who learn herbs that been passed down to them by their elders, observing the behavior of plants in nature, communicates with them and as guidance by the spirits. Mananambal are not only a herbalist but they are also a spirit medium.

So in Hilot Binabaylan, we do not just treat the body of a person but we also treat the spirit. So in using herbs- we do not just use the herbs to treat the physical body of the person but also we communicate with the herbs in order to heal also the spirit of the person.

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Reading Signs and Symbols in Tawas

Today in our Hilot Online Training we have talked about signs and symbols in reading tawas. And as I look back to our memories posted at Facebook, here what i found.

Day is light; night for darkness; moon calls the tide; and clouds for the rain; smoke rise to signal a fire; and a flower bloom to signal a tree bearing fruit. Strong winds, thunder and lightning if there is a storm.

Mother nature provide us clear sign to know the time.

Years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds we have but still short for us to live.

Live life worthily in accordance to our purpose in order to enjoy wellness and doing not so will make us suffer to illness.

Suob Treatment becomes trending in Cebu City

From the start of this Pandemic of Covid 19, all medical and even the para medical community are working as one in finding cure to stop the spread of covid 19 all over the world. And different countries have their own local version of preventive medicine so that they will not catch the infection of Covid 19. Here in the Philippines as early as March 2020, there is a local Filipino Traditional Medicine that becomes trending on Social Media that been practiced by Filipino to counter act and protect them from the effect of Covid 19 and that is Suob.

Last week I receive a call from the production research team of Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho which is a TV show of GMA 7 asking me some information about the effectiveness of Suob. And the video that you will see below is the full segment that talks about the topic we are sharing now.

Though at the beginning of this video we can see a tragedy has been presented in performing suob as an infant has been accidentally burned by a boiling water in doing suob. Before we discuss here the efficacy and benefits of Suob as a Traditional Filipino Healing modality, i want to give you a heads up in practicing safety as well.

In this traditional method of affecting cure, we are invoking the element of fire to produce heat in our body. So like in how we treat fire, we should handle this element with care as it might burn us and be injured. When we work with Fire, we should observe safety distance to it as it may give benefit to us or the worst is that it can injure us. Fire produces light as well as heat. It can directly affect our sense of sight as well as our sense of touch. When it affect our sense of sight, it provides us light to see the colors and beauty of the world; and as it affect the sense of touch, we can feel its temperature and will give us also a clear sense of identifying what is rough, smooth, soft and hard as it can activates our nerve endings to determine those things.

In performing our Traditional Suob, i have to remind everyone that we have two types. The first one is the Dry Suob and the other one is the Wet Suob. These two types of Suob has its own prescription to it self. This mean that both type of suob has different healing effect depending on the illness that you have. This matter has been discussed when you take our Hilot ng Aghamang Binabaylan Training Course here at Hilot Academy.

So in doing suob, the safe distance that need to observe between the skin and the fire should be 1 meter or 3 feet away. Of course when i say Fire i don’t meant it to be a burning flame. What i only mean is just an ember flame such as putting a charcoal in fire but it is not flaming.

On using wood ember to create a fume or vapor, we put fresh pounded healing herbs on it. Putting dry leaves on the ember will create big fire as it fuels and this will be dangerous as it will burn you. The purpose of our Suob Palina is to employ the fume or vapor to do their job in healing and the burning coal and fire is only an agent so that we may extract the healing properties of herbs that we need in healing. It is not also advised to place on fire medicinal oil such as the one commercially produced as it use Mineral Oil which is highly flammable or even herbal healing oil that is made with natural organic nutritive oil. On stone ember, you sprinkle it with herbal infused water or tea to create vapor. Remember in doing this you have to observe 3 feet distance to the fire as it may burn you. The only thing that you need in this treatment is the vapor or fume and not the fire it self.

This is the same when you apply Wet suob. You boil water with incorporating healing herbs. Turn off the fire and place the cauldron of boiled herbs under the chair and sit down cover your self with a blanket as the vapor rise to your body and make you sweat. In doing steam inhalation, you place the basin of boiled healing herbs on a table, open an umbrella and place a blanket over it so that you may inhale safely the vapor. With this i will make a video on how to do this steam inhalation suob for proper guidance of the Public.

GCQ in Bulacan

The City government of San Jose Del Monte have announced on May 29. 2020 that the Whole Province of Bulacan will under go from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine to General Community Quarantine as per IATF- EID Resolution No. 40. This only means that still there will be no Face-to-face or in Person Classes for us here in Hilot Academy of Binabaylan.

For almost 3 months we have been affected by this Community Quarantine by staying at home and physical distancing, but the Good Thing with it is that we were able to find ways to make our Training Program more accessible for everyone.  In our Old System, our Training Program requires the student to show up to receive in person guidance in performing task to accomplish the Hilot Procedures, but now You can stay-at-home and still learn some Hilot Modalities that does not require Physical Contact to the Patient.

We Define our Worth

To be honest with everyone, we struggle a lot for the past 2 months with Anxiety and depression as we undergo the Community Quarantine. As Manghihilot, we communicate our mind to Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care that we could help the Essential Health Workers in serving the community to prevent and relieve the symptoms of Covid 19 while the experts are working to find cure and vaccine to end the spread of this deadly virus.

Though we stay at home and physical contact are forbidden, as Manghihilot we employ our non physical contact modality in providing our service to the community. As Human Being, our existence does not limit to our Physical Body alone as we also have our emotional, mental, social and spiritual body.

Our body may not touch one another as we are advised to maintain 2 meters distance apart when we are in public places, but our love and concern from one another will not be separated by this virus as it is more powerful enough than the virus it self.

Instead of protesting as the Government define the worth of Traditional Medicine practitioners such us, we continue to mold up our selves to be the Primary Health Care provider at home.

Yes! Our Home is the most sacred site in our life that we need to defend from the Enemy. We defend and protect our Home by making sure that Life Force will continually flow within and not spill out by having illness among members of our household.

We do that by constant communication, observing proper hygiene, modified diet and supplemental nutrition to boost our immunity and physical activity/ exercise.

Simple Cough, Cold and Fever can be relieved by Hilot. And these can be experienced by our Family members at home. And through the Knowledge of the Healing Arts and Sciences of our Ancestors, we can prevent it to be worst and with that the number of patients that our medical front liners are treating in the hospital will be lessened because we already have treated their conditions at home.

Healing with Plant Medicine: Makabuhay (Tinospora Crispa)

I start to cultivate Makabuhay Vine way back 2013 as i need it to make a charm to improve health and long life. Though this herb was commonly known to have an abortive properties, I still hold on to the meaning of it’s name which is makabuhay or the one that promotes life. As Manghihilot or Traditional Healer, we do not just work on manipulating the Physical Body of the person to treat them but we also make medicine that could restore and maintain good health. A person Health for us as we see it does not limit to the Physical Movement of the person but we see also his/her emotional, mental, social and spiritual health as a basis for Holistic Wellness. And the medicine we provide is not also limited on Physical Manipulation of the Body but also we do preparation of Medicine for internal consumption, topical application or to carry it in their person such as in the use of Amulets, Talismans or Charms.

On my personal practice and use of Makabuhay, i mix the dried herbs and vines to alcoholic drink such as rum in a tincture and add few drops to a glass of water before i sleep. The vines can also be added to make a docoction of coconut oil to be applied on the part of the body that is affected by rheumatism and arthritis.

Studies suggest that Makabuhay has cardiotonic, antioxidant, antidiarheal, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, antiproliferative, hypolipidemic, antimalarial, and antinociceptive properties. According to Medical Health Guide, the list are the Traditional Medicinal Uses of Makabuhay vine:

  • Makabuhay roots, stems and leaves are used as herbal treatment for fevers, malaria. Makabuhay leaves and roots are pounded then dissolved in cold water. Applied with a soft cloth over the nape, forehead, underarms and other body parts to bring down the body temperature.
  • Makabuhay poultice is used to treat gout, arthritis, and rheumatism by reducing pain and edema.
  • Makabuhay is used to treat skin diseases (athlete’s foot, scabies, etc.), promotes wound healing and alleviate skin itching. Makabuhay tonic is believed to promote overall good health and longevity, improves memory, improves skin tone and texture, and provides energy.
  • Makabuhay tonic is also used to treat fever and malaria. Makabuhay tonic is used to treat gastrointestinal and digestive problems, which includes diarrhea, hyperacidity, abdominal pains, gas pains (kabag), vomiting, dyspepsia, dysentery, colitis, constipation, loss of appetite and even worm infestation.
  • Makabuhay is also used in the treatment of diabetes, heart problems, hepatitis, anemia, impotence, tuberculosis, jaundice,

Healing with Plant Medicine: Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera or Sabila is my very first herb that i like most. It actually is my favorite and for me i called this as my personal sacred Plant. I grew it as a child and even filled the wall of our fence with it. I thought it was just an ornamental plant but when i grow up I learn it has a powerful medicine within it. I also have seen its flower. Yes! Through time it gives flower and it smells sweet. Though i rarely see it blooming in pots and i don’t know when it will give flower once again. I’m so sad that i was not able to capture it flowers through film because that time i don’t have camera nor mobile phone that has camera. Yeah! I’m very old school that only knows soil and its healing herbs.

Aloe Vera or Aloe Barbadensis Miller has been known for its medicinal and cosmetic purposes. I have read that this plant was used to embalm ancient Pharaohs of Egypt as well as Jesus Christ. The word Aloe has an arabic origin which means Shinning Bitter substance while Vera is a Latin word meaning True. In my old notes on healing herbs, i found that this herb can endure extreme stress such as i test it hanging on the air without soil and water for about a year but still it is alive and didn’t dried up. It taught me spiritually to become patient, tolerant and humble. As i work on it, i found its power to be amazing. I apply it to open wounds, burns and even on skin infection. Our Elders have taught that this plant is a good hair grower and can heal all kinds of skin disease. And later on i found out that we can scrape of the white gel on it and eat it directly.

In making Herbal Healing Oil i add 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel in distilling coconut oil with mix herbs and when i put my finger in it while boiling i didn’t get burn.

It is found out that Aloe Vera has many active potential constituents such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugar, lignin, saponins, salicylic acid and amino acids.

Vitamins: It contains vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E, which are antioxidants. It also contains vitamin B12, folic acid, and choline. Antioxidant neutralizes free radicals.

Enzymes: It contains 8 enzymes: aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase. Bradykinase helps to reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin topically, while others help in the breakdown of sugars and fats.

Minerals: It provides calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc. They are essential for the proper functioning of various enzyme systems in different metabolic pathways and few are antioxidants.

Sugars: It provides monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and polysaccharides: (glucomannans/polymannose). These are derived from the mucilage layer of the plant and are known as mucopolysaccharides. The most prominent monosaccharide is mannose-6-phosphate, and the most common polysaccharides are called glucomannans [beta-(1,4)-acetylated mannan]. Acemannan, a prominent glucomannan has also been found. Recently, a glycoprotein with antiallergic properties, called alprogen and novel anti-inflammatory compound, C-glucosyl chromone, has been isolated from Aloe vera gel.

Anthraquinones: It provides 12 anthraquinones, which are phenolic compounds traditionally known as laxatives. Aloin and emodin act as analgesics, antibacterials and antivirals.

Fatty acids: It provides 4 plant steroids; cholesterol, campesterol, β-sisosterol and lupeol. All these have anti-inflammatory action and lupeol also possesses antiseptic and analgesic properties.

Hormones: Auxins and gibberellins that help in wound healing and have anti-inflammatory action.

Others: It provides 20 of the 22 human required amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids. It also contains salicylic acid that possesses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Lignin, an inert substance, when included in topical preparations, enhances penetrative effect of the other ingredients into the skin. Saponins that are the soapy substances form about 3% of the gel and have cleansing and antiseptic properties.

National Center for Biotechnology Information

On basic uses of Aloe Vera, it is effective on wound or burn healing. I remember my nephew when he was 3 years old playing around my kitchen on our Canteen and he accidentally placed his whole hands on a boiling pot of soup. It was too hot because we boil it continually in low fire using fire wood for our Mami Soup and thankfully i have my aloe vera around and apply it directly, and amazingly no trace of burn can be found on my nephew.

Another testimony on the effectiveness of Aloe Vera is when my younger sister accidentally hammered her little finger. We brought her to the hospital and the doctor said she need to undergo surgery removal of her finger or stem cell treatment. We do not have enough money for the surgery so we just went back home and apply aloe vera on her finger. With patience and faith in God her finger was cured and no trace of being hammered can be seen.

Aloe Vera Gel can also be taken internally to treat stomach ulcer. It is also used to clean up our intestine and give us good bowel movement. It is said that Aloe Vera can also use to lower blood sugar and it has antioxidant to boost our immunity.

Plant aloe vera in your home it may be handy and helpful for you someday as it will heal you from your illness or it may be your living companion in your house that will listen to your prayers.

Healing with Plant Medicine: Mulberry Leaf

My Tita call this as Tahebo but when i conduct close study to this tree i learn that it is a Mulberry. I get this when it was still young at Cupang, Muntinlupa to the old place where Tita Edith lives. And now i see it bearing many berries.

I have utilized the leaves to make tea and have administered it to nanay to lower down her blood pressure as well as to relieve her constipation. Tatay made a joke that when nanay poop it will be like silk because Mulberry Leaf are used to feed the silk worm.

I use also the dried powdered leave of mulberry in making herbal tablet which i call as Amulaser.

Mulberry leaves are highly nutritious as it contains polyphenol anti oxidants, vitamins c, zinc, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.

There are study that says that Mulberry leaves can help lower blood sugar, cholesterol and inflammation. These attributes are useful in fighting heart disease and diabetes.

I believe that this leaf can do more when it comes to our health. As member of Luntiang Aghama that advocates Philippine Traditional Medicine through Hilot Academy, Mulberry Leaf can help improve our healthcare delivery by making it affordable and within easy reach.

The Power of Prayer to Heal

Even before the Christian Era, our ancestors already know how to pray. It is documented that since the late Neolithic or before 2000 BC. the Ancient Filipino already know how to pray. This is evidenced through the cave wall writing in Angono, Province of Rizal through the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyph.

The engravings are mostly symbolic representations and are associated with healing and sympathetic magic.

This natural monument in the Province of Rizal shows that we as Filipino believe that there is a Higher Power than us that could provide us healing when we are sick. And in search for that Higher power we have learned how to pray. And for us we believe that Prayer has an amazing power to heal us in time of illness.

But how can Prayer Heal?

People recognize that they are sick when they feel it as secondary reaction to the main disorder of their internal system. It is through our feelings that we describe our illness. When we assess people when they are sick, we ask them how they feel. We usually measure their pain as well as the limitations it gives when we are sick.

Prayer can help people get well and have healing since it works towards the mind and emotion. Prayer is a form of Divine Communication that we express our thoughts, and our thoughts describe through prayer what we feel; and our feelings/ emotions as a reaction to the stimulus that been made. Prayer is a form of voicing out what is within us such as in a distressful situation we call out for Help.

In praying for Healing, we recognize that we are in need; that something is not going right within us that make us ill. By recognizing that something that is not right, we are given counsel by our higher selves the thing we need to do so that we may feel better and restore wellness back into our life.

Lana at Liwanag, our Tools in moving prayer

Hilot is a form of Prayer in Action. Action is needed when we pray as we have taught it in the Shrine.

Prayer in Action

Every action that we do in Hilot, whether in Pulse Reading Analysis, Tawas Spiritual Diagnosis, Suob/ Palina Ritual, Kilubansa, Dagdagay, Bentusa and Masahe are all form of Prayer and communication of the manghihilot to the Divine Self of the Patient we are healing. Thus as Manghihilot, our Orasyon or Prayer is not useless but it has direct effect of healing to relieve the person from illness and dis Ease.

Attune to the Energies of your Home

The common problem of people living abroad (outside Philippines) as they learn Hilot Pahid from us they may opt out to perform Pagsasala when they go back to their home country because in their country there is no banana leaf available. But that should not be a problem.

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If there are no banana leaves, there are other alternative aside from Banana Tree. Traditionally when there is no banana leaf the Manghihilot use cellophane or paper to do pagsasala, but in Hilot Academy we refrain our practitioners in doing that but instead use different leaf that is similar to the texture of the Banana Leaf.

Pagsasala is a Pre Hilot Pahid procedure which prepare the body of the client for a deeper treatment session. It could also become a stand alone treatment due to its therapeutic nature of detoxification as well as in providing rich in oxygen nutrients to the skin. The pagsasala ritual acts as a cardio pulmonary resuscitation using the leaves.

So in using glass or plastic, instead of releasing oxygen it will only release carbon and other toxins inside the body through the pores. So better use banana leaf or any other green leaf that has smooth surface.

As Manghihilot you are encouraged to attuned to the energies of the place where you live. Take a walk along the neighborhood early in the morning. See if there are plants or trees nearby. Recognize each of them by breathing with them. Recognize their scent. Recognize their texture by touch. When there are no plant or trees nearby, find a garden shop and start cultivating plants in your home. Or better yet go to the supermarket and find Turmeric Rhizome or Ginger and plant it.

As manghihilot, we must refrain ourselves to be limited on the tools we use in Healing. We already have learned that all the things we need are already provided to us by the Universe. As much as possible we only use herbs that is endemic into our place and as we use it we also cultivate and propagate them so that they will continue to provide the medicine we use and need. You as Manghihilot has the responsibility not only to your life but also to the life of our Planet.

A day with Hilot Binabaylan

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Lakan Aku, Lakay Alsent, Kai Kai, Doc Kit and Apu Adman

It’s June 16, 2019- Sunday is a Busy day for Hilot Academy of Binabaylan at the Shrine of Luntiang Aghama. A night prior to this we had a Freedom Redemption ritual that was Participated by the Members of Luntiang Aghama who is at the same time our Hilot Binabaylan in the Academy and so as with our new student from Washington DC no other than Kai Kai. Last night was a great opportunity for Kai Kai to learn the ways of our Ancestors in Healing as she does Tawas and Pagpag. We also did a mini Psychism Workshop focusing in Alterative Abilities and Psycho Kinesis which went great.

64206201_402146547177320_5362602024397438976_nThis morning we have been greeted by Russel Lim of Quezon City as he come to remember the Art of Pulse Reading through a Workshop with Kai Kai his Kasama on this journey back to the Path of our Race.  We’ve done a lot this day. We do the western Pulse Reading like on a Vital Sign Check Up, the Oriental Hilot Pulse reading, we do also Tawas and the Kapwa Tarot Reading by Kai Kai.  It was like a baptism of Fire for Kai Kai as she practice what she have learned from us in the past days. Indeed i agree to what she always tell that she need to learn her Human Anatomy and Physiology as she willl work out with Hilot. Though most of our Hilot are Spiritually inspired but all the inspiration of the Spirit will come into matter as it is said that:

As above, so the Soul;

AS Within, so Without;

As the Spirit, So as the Soul!

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