A backdrop of myths coupled with a rural religiosity, has created a rich armamentarium of indigenous therapeutic approaches, often significantly infused with elements of prayer.
The rural landscape abounds in mythological creatures - the kapre high in the tree puffing on his cigar, the tikbalang in the bamboo grove waiting to cast confusion and spell, the lady dressed in white ethereal in the shadows of night, the tiyanak preying on pregnant women, the Ilocandia "batibat" that can make your bangungut death doubly unpleasant. Then there are the "duwendes" or "lamang lupa," tiny creatures, ubiquitous in the rural terrain, habitating mounds of earth, casting spells or illnesses whenever villagers or visitors intrude or tread without permission on their earthy domains. It is not uncommon for maladies to be attributed to accidental contact or disturbance of these spirits or creatures: na-nuno, na-duwende, na-danyohan, na-asuwang. Also, there is widespread belief in karma or that illnesses are brought about by sins and distant past deeds finding them out at the end. For these illnesses, rather than orthodox healers, greater reliance is placed on the village healer or albularyo, especially those known to possess special abilities in dispensing the other treatment modalities — bulong, orasyon, tapal, lunas, and counterspells - to help counteract these spirit-induced ailments.
Some conditions and treatment modalities require experience and expertise. Suob is a ritual of post-partum therapy ministered by the hilot-midwife and incorporates the use of multiple modalites of herbs, massage and heat/smoke believed to facilitate healing and drive away evil spirits. Kudlit is a fringe modality that utilizes superficial razor-blade cuts to release poisons of presumed rabid or poisonous bites. For certain more complicated or serious illnesses, It is not uncommon for the healers to make use of several treatment modalities.
Magasawang Gamot is self-prescribed and pharmacy-based; devoid of pharmaceutical rationale, it continues to have widespread use for a variety of viral and febrile conditions. The procedure of "Pagtutuli" is the rural Lenten ritual of circumcision.
Indeed, Philippine alternative medicine abounds with fringe and nontraditional treatment modalities that have withstood time and controversy. Constrained by chronic economic want, many of the rural ills, aches and pains rely on their indigenous therapies that have evolved or persisted from generations of use, some becoming established into the village rituals and beliefs on health and disease.
Often, amply dispensed with dosages of prayer, the treatments are also facilitated by the faith, hope and placebo, with adequate doses of tincture of time.
|Bulong and Orasyon