Albularyo: Spirit and Diagnostic Ritual

1498 Words Mar 27th, 2011 6 Pages

An Introduction

If one is born and raised in a Filipino family and community, they will definitely recognize the term 'albularyo' (or 'arbularyo' which is a common mistake in spelling due to mispronunciation). Usually, Filipinos seek these 'albularyos' as an alternative for going to the hospital. By tradition and because of chronic economic constraints particularly in the rural areas, the albularyos are the general practitioners - the primary dispensers of health care. The word 'albularyo' came from the Spanish word 'herbolario,' meaning herbalist.

An albularyo is a traditional faith healer, an herbalist, and practitioner of white magic in the Philippines. Albularyos can be thought of as guides or liaisons between
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They are called in English as ‘bone-setters.’ Numerous techniques exist, varying by region and folkloric esoteria. Common in the practice of hilot in the rural areas is the practitioner's' attribution of the healing effect to God, that it is through His guidance that they are able to manipulate the spiritual and energy channels, hoping to expel evil spirits that may have invaded the patient's etheric space and may have caused the physical ailments. One ancient technique of massage utilizes symbolic patterns of the cross, crown of thorns, the rosary, and the nailed hands and feet. A few practitioners achieve an expertise in this healing modality, incorporating it with elements of "science" (meridians, trigger points, reflexology, basic anatomy and physiology), gaining knowledge through self-study, membership in a local group with shared interests or barangay workshops. The magpapaanak are more popularly referred to as "hilot," a designation confusingly shared with the 'chiropractic' manghihilot. Not uncommonly, the calling comes from a family-line of hilots, and the training usually gotten from a trained practitioner who was a relative, friend or neighbor. Some become a "hilot" because of a spiritual calling, or a message from a supernatural being that grants the hilot the needed power and skills.

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