Last 03 November 2018, Asst. Prof. Marie-Sol P. Hidalgo, a faculty member of the Faculty of Education, University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU FEd), and Ms. Louanne Mae L. Calipayan, a Master of Development Communication graduate from the UPOU, served as studio guests during the DZMM Healthy Sabado segment entitled “Usapang Hilot at Alternative Health Care”. Aside from being hilot practice researchers and advocates, both are working with the National Certification Committee for Hilot under the Philippine Institute for Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) of the Department of Health to create policy instruments for the recognition and certification of Hilot in the Philippines.
During the discussion, Asst. Prof. Hidalgo and Ms. Calipayan differentiated hilot from massage. According to them, hilot stems from the practice of traditional healing, while massage focuses on relaxation. Ms. Calipayan emphasized that what is seen by the eye is not significant in hilot, rather, what the hilot practitioner feels under the skin and muscles, as well as the body temperature, is more important. Asst. Prof. Hidalgo also added that the manner of doing hilot depends on correcting what is wrong in the body, since the practice is focused on healing patients. This is in contrast to massage, which uses sequenced strokes to relax the body.
Asst. Prof. Hidalgo and Ms. Calipayan mentioned that, with the support of herbs and lifestyle changes, hilot can cure muscle pains, pinched nerves, and even remove kidney stones, among others. However, they also advised listeners and viewers to avail of hilot during the early stages of illnesses, since it is when the practice is most effective in combatting sicknesses. They also reminded the audience that after a hilot session, it is normal for the body to enter a “healing crisis”, a duration in which the patient does not feel well for around half a day. This period justifies that there is something to be corrected in the body, and that after this phase, the person will feel better.
Both studio guests also recommended the use of coconut oil in doing hilot, since aside from being abundant in the country, using coconut oil can easily allow hilot practitioners to gauge the body temperatures of their patients.
Asst. Prof. Hidalgo stated that to learn if a hilot practitioner is skilled is to inquire about the matter from the people living in its community. “[T]alagang yung service orientation ng mga manghihilot ay napakalaking bagay din po sa pagkilala ng isang tunay na manghihilot (The service orientation of hilot practitioners is really a huge factor in identifying true hilot practitioners),” explained Asst. Prof. Hidalgo.
Asst Prof. Hidalgo and Ms. Calipayan also recognized that there are hilot practitioners who are gifted with the talent, while others, such as Asst. Prof. Hidalgo and Ms. Calipayan, undergo training to become experts in the field. Therefore, the National Certification for Hilot also has two types, with one recognizing well-known hilot practitioners and the other attesting the expertise of those who have recently received proper training.
Groups such as the Association of Traditional Health Aid Givers (ATHAG), founded by Dr. Bibiano “Boy” S. Fajardo, provide training on practicing Hilot as a healing modality. As part of the National Certification Committee for Hilot under PITAHC, Asst. Prof. Hidalgo and Ms. Calipayan are now crafting guidelines for the accreditation of hilot practitioners and training centers. The committee is also planning to push for the establishment of educational programs and curricula on the practice of hilot.
The average hilot session fee for home services in Metro Manila ranges from PHP 700–800. However, there are also other hilot practitioners who provide their services for free. Currently, ATHAG plans to lessen the price by instituting physical centers starting early 2019.
Moreover, PITAHC is arranging free healing missions, one of which will be held during the first Pista ng Paggagamutang Pilipino this 21 November 2018, 1:00–5:00 p.m., at the People’s Park, Davao City. During the event, at least 20 healers will be available to do free consultations and sessions. Following the healing mission is the Traditional and Alternative Health Congress on 22–23 November 2018 at the Apo View Hotel, Davao City. The congress targets to serve as a venue for dialogues among hilot practitioners of various modalities.
For more information, the group can be reached through its contact number at (+63) 933 810 0014. More details on traditional hilot healing can also be found on their website at https://hilothealing.com/.
Hosted by ABS-CBN correspondent Jing Castañeda every Saturday from 1:00–2:00 p.m., Healthy Sabado is a “health and wellness program which provides health news, facts and on-air consultation for Filipino families”. Healthy Sabado is aired live over DZMM Radyo Patrol 630 kHz on the AM Band, DZMM TeleRadyo channel 25 and 26 on Destiny Cable and Sky Cable respectively, online via dzmm.com.ph, and worldwide via The Filipino Channel.