Doing the talk is the most challenging part of being a Hilot Binabaylan, especially now that we are in the world of Commercialism where the demand of the public is what we provide. During our Training we emphasize that Hilot is not a massage where we can provide relaxation as most Hilot School will align the modality so that the learning upon completion of the required studies of the competencies will be hired on Spa then become a Massage Therapist.
It is nice to know that Hilot has Touch Manipulation that is almost similar to massage and its method can be modified into relaxation techniques but when you do it, that technique lose its sense already and transformed its potency, instead, it become a Simple Massage.
All Hilot Treatments follows the Hilot Healing Principles that state:
Every Human Being has the ability to heal themselves; and as Manghihilot, we are just the facilitator of that healing as we assist the individual to brought out that healing ability for themselves.We are not the healer but the DIVINE CREATOR is, who gave life to everyone!
Apu Adman, Punong Binabaylan of Luntiang Aghama
And those who seek Hilot just for relaxation, it is better that you go to Spa and hire a massage therapist to provide you what you need. Hilot is for treatment of illnesses and our ancestors does not come to a manghihilot when they want pampering but instead, they come to manghihilot when they are sick.
Yesterday-January 21, 2023 was our 6th day of Hilot Training at International Institute of Rural Reconstruction as a Venue and we did a Question and Answer Session regarding some health issues and discuss the possible Hilot Treatment procedures.
In starting the session, I gave each individual a 4a piece of paper and cut it into 8 pcs. So each participants will write 8 specific questions containing possible health issues that they may encounter in their practice of Hilot. As we finish writing our questions on the paper we fold it and place it inside a box. And will pick one and read it aloud to discuss the possible Hilot Treatment Plan we are going to employ,
The application of Hilot Treatment may vary as Traditional Filipino Illness may manifest into the Physical, Emotional, Mental, Social and even Spiritual aspect of the person. So the Hilot Treatment procedures are not only limited in giving Massage but may also require the applications of other Hilot Treatment Techniques such as Pagtatawas as Diagnostic, Pagpag/ Pauli Ritual, Pagbababad/ Banyos, Paghihilod, Pagbabalot, Pagtatapal, Pagsusuob,Paligo-Banlaw, Palina, Dagdagay, Pagsasala, Bentusa/ Tandok, Pagpupunas, Pahid, Haplos, Himas, Pindot, Hagod, Pisil, Piga and other Hilot Touch Manipulations technique such as kamot, kurot, yugyog, tulak, hila, dagan and kayod.
We also have talked about dissecting each Hilot Treatment methodologies and their origins. And as we look at each treatment methodologies employed in Hilot Treatment, we could say that all of it maybe an adoption of our ancestors from foreigners who come into our land out of the trade relations of the Philippines towards other countries that came to us such as the application of Bentusa which may come from the Greeks or Persia; Dagdagay as it employs reflexology; the Pagpapahid as it looks similar to Abyangha, and so on.
There was a point in time that I remember that Filipino were known before as imitators as whatever saw from the west that is trending, we mimic it and imitate. But this was not the case, as Human needs are the same specially in terms of maintain health and wellness. As I embrace harder the Art and Science of Hilot, what I learned is that the Healing Principles of Hilot does not comes from the Technique that we use, but through the Behavior that we observe in performing these modality.
Hilot is about the Quality of Care that we provide and not about the technique we employ; it is also through the emotions we share and not about being patriotic but it is about our connection to the land and it’s nature.
Being a Manhihilot in Diaspora does not mean that you have to grow all the plants that is endemic in the Philippines. That you as Manghihilot living in the United States or wherever country you are in the world needs to import all the Healing Herbs that you can find in the Philippines; but being a Manghihilot in Diaspora is about connecting with the plant medicine that grows in your own yard, in your neighborhood, in the country where you live right now.
It is a good idea that you being a person living in diaspora could support our local manghihilot by importing our products that will give us revenue. And that is only good for us, but it maybe harmful to our land as we tend to over harvest because of the international demands. And over harvesting is not Hilot, it is already about commerce and capitalism. Our Hilot is not about earning a lot of money, though we also need to earn, as we ourselves are in this world that is governed by money. We still have our bills that we need to pay, and this is what the energy exhange is for. You are paying us for the service you get from us to be a better person, and the money you give make us to be able to pay for the responsibilities we have on the technical services we obtain from electric company, water company, internet providers and so on.
For me, I dont have Children to send to schools. But we have charities to help in sending people to school. So this is the reason also that we exert effort in doing this work. As hilot is not only in making people feel better about their physical body but also in their lives.
Again, a mother and child have visited us in the Shrine. She asked me to do Tawas for her 7 years old daughter who was vomiting and had a Fever. As she suspects that the child has been played by unseen entity as she was playing with her elder sister. It is believed that these unseen entities were fond of playing, story time as well as merry making. It is the same with the souls of our dead loved ones who will manifest their presence every time that a member of the family will tell stories about them. These unseen entities or spirits easily victimize young Children as the souls of these kids were not yet complete. This is the reason why Children can be easily affected by Usog as the souls serve as our shield from these forces. The mother also has told us that the young girl was playing Hide and Seek with her Ate (Elder Sister) and when the Ate found her she was surprised and get nervous. And aside from this situation, the Child already have a Medical History of Broncho Pneumonia. She is about to bring her child to the Hospital, but a neighbor have told her to consult first with a Hilot.
I have no intention of intervening to the work of a medical professional, since they come first to us, I have no reason to drive them off and not provide the help that I could do. As I saw the child, i did not sense any presence of a playing Spirit or Maligno (which is a kind of Engkanto that always plays trick on mankind) but I sense that the child spirit is naturally weak due to the cold season as well as the mother confirms that she already had a medical condition. I still do Tawas, but this time it’s not Tawas sa Papel but rather I use Pagsasala Method using Avocado leaf. As I start passing the leaf to the flame of the candle, I see the body parts which I need to focus in Pagpapahid. The Tawas have shown me the back of the Body up to the Buttocks. I asked the mother if the child has excretion problem, and she confirms that the child is having a loose bowel movement and has no appetite. That is also one of her worries that she wants to resolve that she plans to see a doctor but was convinced to see me first.
As I do the pagsasala, I notice that the skin of the child is very dry and scaly that the kidney, bladder and spleen is weak. So as i notice that the child is lack of nutrition that I advised her to go to barangay health center and ask if they have free vitamins supplement for her daughter. I am glad that our Barangay Health Center are providing these for the indigent residents of our Barangay and I wish that Hilot can be Integrated within the Barangay Health Center and I believe that in order for this to happen PITAHC which is an attached agency of the Philippine Department of Health will issue a Memorandum Circular or an Administrative Order that Hilot can be integrated into our Health Care Delivery System. As a Practitioner of Hilot, we do not have the power to do this as Barangay Health Worker has different qualification to Hilot. So hopingly, our government will see our value as primary healthcare provider as well.
It’s already been 2 years that we are confining ourselves in solitude inside our Homes. Though we are healthy and Covid Free, our confinement have inflected our mind with Anxiety and Depression. Though it was just a mental and emotional frame set up, it can not be avoided that our Body will react to the World Wide Stimulus that have stirred up the people around the World.
Gratefully, I my self was not infected with the Virus but the Anxiety it brought have struck me to have a Transient Ischemic Attack or MiniStroke. This condition is just a brief interruption on the circulation of blood to my right frontal lobe of my brain that also affects my eyesight. I am grateful that We have Lakay with us that was very quick in responding to my Health Condition. I was rushed in the Hospital at that time and luckily I was not confined. So, I just secure medical prescription and integrate it with Hilot Treatment that Lakay is providing me. It was just a little time when I suffer the limitations that been brought by TIA, but after 3 months, I was able to perform again and do my Duties as Manghihilot.
I see here that confining our self in solitude may affect our Physical body either malevolently or benevolently. And keeping our emotions just to ourselves and stuck it up within ourselves may form a clusters of energy that when it grows up, it may explode and create another problem that will affect our Physical Body.
Voicing out the things that runs into our Mind so as in our Emotions are healthy. Whatever it may be, whether it is a rant or bad feelings we have from other people- we must let it out. But releasing the things that bothers our mind and emotions must be done carefully as it may create another problem. Such as stated in the Law of Actions that:
In every Action, there will be a Similar or Opposite Reaction!
And this is where a Manghihilot comes in which is to perform the Sacred Art of Releasing through the conduct of Healing Rituals. Sometimes, these clustered thoughts and emotions can be seen as tensions in the muscles, knots in the nerves and blood vessels, or lumping of the lymph nodes, etc.
Depending on the location of the blockages, the individual may suffer anxiety or depression that may affect their vitality so as peace and harmony among their relationships that might also affect their financial wellness. Giving an Individual a Hilot Ritual may relieve the person from that condition and obtain optimum health and wellness Holistically.
This year of 2023, Hilot Academy of Binabaylan will have a Collaboration with Hilot Philippines Development Center as we provide face-to-face training and in person treatment to all the people who will need Hilot. We will still offer here at Hilot Academy Online Webinars on Traditional Filipino Diagnostic which is Tawas and also soon we are going to announce our Online certification Course Offering.
We will still offer our Donation Based Hilot every Sunday at Luntiang Aghama Natural Divine Arts Shrine of Healing Inc. And kindly make an appointment first by calling or texting me at 09952467040 a day or week ahead before coming to us.
Yesterday December 16, 2022-We had launch successfully the Hilot Philippines Development Center in Partnership with International School of Sustainable Tourism in the vicinity of International Institute of Rural Reconstruction in Barangay Biga 2, Municipality of Silang in the Province of Cavite. After 2 years of conception, we have finally given birth to the Brain Child of Dr. Mina Gabor (former Department of Tourism Secretary-now the Chairman of International School of Sustainable Tourism). Actually this is her second Child among the many concepts she already have manifested in the past, but at ISST Hilot will be the partner of Farm Tourism which Dr. Gabor have championed.
As Cultural Worker myself, it seems that Launching Hilot at Silang, Cavite is like giving birth again to a nearly forgotten Culture of the Filipino People. I just relate it to the work of Hilot on assisting delivery of a pregnant mother and Birthing a New Child, here we did not give birth to a Physical Child but we have given a new life to Hilot as a Holistic Healing Modality that we can be proud of.
It was during at the height of pandemic when we started collaborating our minds in order for this legacy project will come into manifestation. There were many people who are willing to share their talents such as Ice Infante, Kara Barientos and Marjoria Soria but due to Pro Bono status of our preliminary work they need leave for the meantime and sustain their lives. So it was Me, Nora and Lakay have patiently endure and workout so that this project may manifest. And of course Dr. Gabor is with us so as her staff such as ms. Merlita, ms. Ferlyn, sir Lito so as ate Bebang who always care for us in preparing snacks when we are in a brain storming activity.
It was on November 17, 2020 when we first convene at Dr. Mina Gabor’s office at Pasay City and from there we have brought out all the contents of our Heart and our Mind so that we could give life again to the deviated modality of Hilot and realigned it to its original custom as our ancestors employ it to healing arts.
But before launching our new center at Cavite, me and Lakay had a conversation. I am thinking in establishing this center if the general public will benefit from it. I specifically think of Hilot Practitioners such as when a student enroll for example in Bachelors degree in Secondary Education at the end of their program and successfully passed the licensure examination for teachers, those students who will pass the exam have potentials to be employed in an Educational Institution. And for our students who will take take course in our Hilot Training Program, they will not just have the knowledge skills and attitude of a Hilot Provider but We are making sure that they could use it to earn a living.
I do not want to see our graduates to work in a Spa that has tendency to adulterate their Sacred Knowledge of Traditional Filipino Healing Arts and Science with Foreign healing Tradition but want to consecrate themselves in the Practice of Hilot. Such as to what happened in Thai Massage Centers here in the Philippines, it is just Thai Massage is popular but when you walk in and avail Thai Massage, the therapist within that Center would deceive their client by giving Swedish Massage and not Thai Massage.
I don’t want Hilot to suffer the same situation and this is what Hilot Philippines Development Center will provide to make sure that the treatment procedure we offer are based on the Philippine Ancestral Healing Tradition.
If our graduates will not work at Spa, where should they be employed?
Spa is categorized under the Hospitality Industry of the Department of Tourism. But I insist that Hilot should be under the Health Care Industry as we provide primary healthcare to the Public. Our History have identified the terminology of our Traditional Healing Center and it is known by our Ancestors as Pamulngagan and recently it has been confirmed by our Bicolano participant in the Webinar on Redefining Hilot as Burlungan. And aside from establishing Pamulngagan or Burlungan, our Graduates should have an opportunity to be employed in the Government Health Offices.
Since Philippine Institute of Traditional Alternative Health Care is an attached agency from the Philippine Department of Health and receiving funds from the Government allocations through Senate Hearings on Budget allocations, the said institute must coordinate with DoH in establishing Hilot Centers attached to the Provincial, Municipal, City, and Barangay Health Centers and work there.
The issue of mandating to have a License or National Certificate of Manghihilot deserves a clear opportunity of employment to our graduates. This issue already had happened to the Massage Industry where they are mandated to obtain Certificate of Registration as Massage Therapist and upon renewing they are require to upgrade their knowledge but in terms of employment that will just work at the Spa or either as Freelancer without secured income opportunity by being employed as Health Worker. I see this practice as extortion by the certifying committee to the practitioner and not giving them chance to enjoy the earnings from their hard work.
In Hilot, we are going to raise our standards and make sure that our Modality will not be adulterated and become a milking cow of any committee. As I remember the Slogan of Department of Health that the Power of Health in the Hands of the Filipino People and this will become true now through Hilot Philippines Development Center.
Even how much effort we exert on what Hilot is, if the people insist that the kind of Hilot they know is Massage, the Provider will give what the people know wants in exchange for the money they will earn. By giving in to what people demand, the more our Hilot Healing Tradition will be dressed up by the IGNORANCE of the People and in the future Generation, the real knowledge of Hilot will be lost and think of Hilot is just the Filipino Terminology of Massage.
I remember on 2017 to 2018 that i become an administrator of a Massage Therapist group at Facebook which is composed of Massage Therapist working at the Spa so as Freelancer who do Home Service Massage. One Massage Therapist have rant which is a licensed Massage Therapist at DoH have said that the Freelancers and Manghihilot are stealing their jobs from them.
Well, how come that Manghihilot were included in stealing the Jobs of Massage Therapist, whereas it is the Massage Therapist who steal the Job of Manghihilot. Not only the Massage Therapist but the entire Health Care System that have stripped off the Duties and Responsibilities of Manghihilot and leaving out the Identity of Being Filipino Masseur.
And out of the custom for the Licensed Massage Therapist to upgrade their knowledge in Massage that they are required to know other forms of massage that they have amalgamated the massage of Hilot into Massage Therapy and they call it themselves as Hilot. And this is wrong. It is an act of colonizing, such as to what had happened in our Ancient Filipino Spiritual beliefs.
Such as to what had happened to the precolonial culture in Obando, Bulacan which observed the Kasilinoan Fertility Dance which has been popularly known as Tatarin or the Summer Solstice Ritual that is once sacred to Dayang Masalanta, Lakapati and Bathala, whereas the Spanish colonized our Country, they have forcibly converted the Natives into Roman Catholicism and Changed our custom of dancing Kasilinoan into Fandanguan. Kasilinoan or now popularly known as Tatarin was a Pagan Fertility Dance on which married woman who is unable to conceive a Child would dance for 3 nights to a Phalus God named Lingga when the Summer Solstice arrived. When Christianity arrived it was changed into Fandanguan in honor of the patron saints of Obando, Bulacan named Sta. Clara of Assisi, San Pascual Baylon and the Imaculate Conception de Salambao which is named after the fish net that caught the image on the sea while fishing.
Many of those who work as Massage Provider are guilty of this crime in dressing up massage to be the modality of Hilot, such as one time I went to the mall to avail Thai Massage, when I went to book an appointment, the receptionist discourage me taking that services but instead pushed me to get Swedish massage instead, being out of time and need to have a massage- I take the offer. In my mind I see the problem that probably the massage provider are not proficient in giving the modality I seek. And another problem I notice is that when a Filipino Massage Therapist are working abroad, they are advertising Hilot even the modality the do is Swedish Massage. This is very wrong.
Hilot as we always say is not just a Massage. Though it have a massage treatment that could be performed quickly. Hilot is not a Spa Treatment that can be performed in One Hour or more. Rather Hilot is a Quick relief treatment when a person had Pilay. Though I am not certain when do the Spa Industry started but I am supposing that it Started on during the implementation of the Sanitation Code of the Philippines when it was mandated on December 23, 1975. There in Article 13 discuss about the Policy on Massage Therapy and Sauna Bath’s.
With the rising of Spa Industry, they make their services like a Restaurant, where a client will choose what kind of services they will avail. So as a result, many spa services provider must learn different forms of massage until they have developed Combination Massages as their promotional Offering.
As an Individual practitioner, there is a Pride that they should know all as they walk up to the pedestal of fame and glory. Knowing all means getting Money from the services they provide. And no one think that Hilot can provide all the Health Care needs of the Community. But since Hilot is not well accepted, certain individual still need other professional license in order to introduce Hilot to the public. And the end result of it is that Hilot has been covered up by other Traditional Medicine modality that it became end to the list such as to what happened in PITHAC.
There are still many people who does not know What Really Hilot is an just rely on the information provided online and the practice of authentic Manghihilot in rural and slum areas of the Philippines are being ignored as it is unscientific and covered much in mysticism.
But to tell you, Traditional Chinese Medicine too was once covered in mysticism such as the principles of Tao and the doctrines of Chi which is being observed not only in Traditional Medicine but as well as in Fung Sui.
If Colonial Mentality will stop and the Roman Catholic Church will not interfere in the Development of Hilot in the Philippines, the modalities of Hilot will have the Science it needed in order to explain its principles to the modern world and If Hilot will have its own center not associated in Spa or Wellness Center; the Hilot Treatment we provide will receive the recognition we deserve.
Have you remember that our parents have said that we should study hard so that we may land into a better paying job. Is this still true today?
In 2008 Technical Education Skills Development Authority have seen Hilot as employable skills that they created Hilot Training Standards and Regulation so that they may conduct National Assessment and Certification to manghihilot. With that they provide training to those who want to learn Hilot through schooling and for those who are unschooled but well skilled in Hilot they need to be assessed in order to be certified.
This year, we have participated in the talk between Philippine Institute of Traditional Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) and Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in terms of Certification of Hilot. But the current talk as of now revolves on the quality of services that a manghihilot provides. Well in terms of training it should be TESDA who will provide training just like in Commission on Higher Education they are the one who teach and Train the students and after they graduate they will apply license to Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC). The later was suggested by Dr. Isidro Sia former Director General of PITAHC. So let us let them who belongs to who but our main concern here is the future of our Manghihilot.
Let us be honest here, the skills of touching other people can be done by anyone such as in doing Massage. When I was a child I’ve been asked by parents to give the Hilot Massage either on head or legs. Everyone has a gift of touch when in times of emergency it is automatically activated. So as in our home, our parents have secret herbal formula that they use in times we are sick and out of budget going to the doctor. Having said this Regulating the Practice of Hilot by making its practitioners be Certified will give security towards public health but it will also give burden to our practitioners. But how is the manghihilot now-a-days even if they are certified? On what Industry will they fall if they received Standardized and Regulated Training? As I hear them out, these experts still think that a Manghihilot together with Massage Therapist work in a Spa which is a Hospitality Industry which is covered by the Department of Tourism.
Well it seems that our effort in telling that Hilot is part of Healthcare industry is wrong if all our graduates will fall into Spa Industry. But these must be properly addressed not only in terms of which industry should a graduate of Hilot must work? The issue here that i want to raise is to secure a Job for all manghihilot whether they are trained or recognized through assessment that upon compliance based on the Standards and Regulation, all manghihilot must have a descent job to work.
As of this moment, there are still many manghihilot who works at home in a donation basis system. Some who are schooled landed on a Spa where they do massage and other spa treatments. If they apply abroad their skills in Hilot is converted into massage so as if they apply in a cruise ship. These government agencies think of HIlot that is something to be proud of that they need to offer it to foreigners just to say that we have our own brand. Indeed we have but unfortunately we falsely advertise it by showing the wrong modality. As you browse on internet, you can always see articles telling Hilot as a Filipino Massage and there are some people in abroad call themselves as Hilot either because they are Filipino or have lived in the Philippines for a decade or two but what they make is Massage and not Hilot.
If a Manghihilot will be schooled at least at the end of schooling, they should land a better job which can give them security in their future. A schooled Manghihilot should have a Job that pays for their Social Security, Health Assurance and Pagibig Fund. Though some of our current practitioners have it by doing voluntary payment for their own SSS, Philhealth, and Pagibig.
If i have a right or authority, i do not want a manghihilot to work in a spa but instead they should be hired in Government Health Centers where people can avail the service of Hilot even that the people will not pay, PhilHealth insurance will cover it for the people.
The Work of Manghihilot
In reality, not all time people will need a manghihilot. Unlike Massage, Hilot can only be availed if you have a Pilay which is a condition that been treated with Hilot. Like what i’ve said, not everyday there are people who have pilay, so what other work can a manghihilot will do?
If our Government is really serious on uplifting the status of Hilot in the Philippines, aside from giving treatment, a Manghihilot can be a partner of PITAHC in conducting field research on Herbal Medicine. As field researcher they should be:
responsible in documenting herbs that is available in their respected barangay by going house to house and take pictures of the herbs that grow in their yard.
Take sample of the herbs and send it to PITAHC to further conduct research on the medicinal properties of the collected herbs.
Cultivate the sample herbs in the Barangay Botanical Garden.
Process the approved herbs into herbal medicine such as in making oils, soap, tea, capsules, syrup, etc. in PITAHC Laboratory.
becomes a sales partner of PITAHC in distributing approved herbs.
With that being said on the possible job that a manghihilot should perform, when schooled the manghihilot should be properly equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitude in performing the said job description.
So when a Manghihilot is properly Certified a secure jobs awaits them in the Philippines. And these will also grow as there are a lot more jobs that a manghihilot can do in the Field of Philippine Traditional and Indigenous Health Care.
The Philippines is probably has the cheapest Hilot services offered compared to other countries that i found where Hilot is being offered.
So 15,000 Japanese yen today is equivalent to Php 6, 119.16 in Philippine money and that is for 2 hours of Hilot Treatment.
I also saw a Treatment center that offers Hilot in Madrid, Spain and the name of the Center is Xiao Ying.
And the cost of their 60 minutes Hilot is 60.00€ which is equivalent to Philippine Peso as 3, 412.69 and their 2 hours session cost 110€ equivalent to Philippine peso as 6,256.60.
Another center that I found offering Hilot is located in Canada.
Their 60 minutes Hilot Massage cost already $120 in US Dollars while their 2 hours session will cost $230.00, if $120.00 converted into Philippine peso as of writing this, it will cost around Php 6,766.80 for one hour treatment and for 120 minutes or 2 hours treatment session cost Php 12,969.70.
This is an Eyebrow rising cost that i knew. Well I understand why the price is too much comparing the price of Hilot being offered here in the Philippines.
I saw some day spa who offered hilot posted in their facebook page, and the price of their hilot is this:
60 minutes of Hilot in the Philippines is only USD 5.00 and USD 10.00 for 120 minutes
Well Filipino Hilot Providers who offers authentic Philippine Traditional Medicine are not compensated well, and this is the reason why some of them are holding tight to the edge of the blade or what we say as “kapit sa patalim”.
The Filipino Culture of colonial mentality have buried deeply our dignity almost already into oblivion. This is the reason why Hilot Academy and Luntiang Aghama is working hard to raise the standard of Hilot in the Philippines so that our dignity may be elevated again. Providing our Manghihilot proper education will enable them to perform Hilot in a more professional level that will allow them to work in Public Health Care centers of even in Private Health clinics or hospital.
There are so much Job opportunity as i see for our Hilot Practitioners. Not only in Spa. Let us leave the Spa to our Massage Therapist siblings. We can establish our own Hilot Healing Center where it can be a coordinating center with the Philippine Health department, social work and development, agriculture so as the Environment and Natural Resources. We are more than a Therapist, but we are also the Steward of Mother Earth.