Rebirthing Hilot at Silang, Cavite

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.