As folk healing is deeply rooted in faith and spiritual practice, it is important that tourists respect these practices of the locals, as it is also their livelihood. It is discouraged to avail of their services for demonstration purposes, as they’re devoted to solely healing those that seek help and are in need. By simply observing them in practice and conversing with them, especially during the Healing Festival, is already an effective way to immerse yourself in the spiritual experience, and will also be appreciated by the folk healers.
Due to Siquijor’s massive increase in tourists, this has encouraged certain foreigners looking to earn big money by acting as healers. Genuine folk healers may accept donations if the patient/client desires to give, but folk healers will never ask for payment in exchange for their service, as they believe that folk healing is a sacred gift. Genuine folk healers also do not vocally market themselves, going door-to-door offering their service, as local folk healers understand that their patients go to them at their homes, unless they’re requested to do so.
As folk healers usually live off donations and other side-businesses in their day-to-day lives, another good way of supporting them is buying their goods, like herbs and souvenir paraphernalia, in the annual Healing Festival, where all folk healers and different kinds of medicinal practitioners gather around to promote the Healing culture of Siquijor Island.
Every Holy Week or mid-April, is Siquijor’s peak season due to the annual Healing Festival held in Bandilaan Mountain View Park, where folk healers showcase the gist of their spiritual practice through herbal medicine rituals. Foreign and local tourists may avail the healing services of the folk healers, such as their famous bolo-bolo, or buy herbs found only on the Island and other similar healing medicines.
Siquijor’s mystic reputation has been gathering the attention of local and foreign tourists for a long time. In its earlier years however, the Island was more known for its sorcerers and witches or mangkukulam. Locals however work towards straying away from its reputation associated with witchcraft as there are no existing persons on the Island.
The education department of Siquijor Island, primarily Siquijor State College, continues to conduct series of research towards the practice of folk healers, specifically with proving the healing qualities in their used flora and fauna. It is through this effort that local researchers hope to falsify any negative outlook tourists may have with their practice as folk healers by providing research behind the concocted herbal medicines.
© Copyright 2019. Seeking Siquijor. Mikaehla Ditona. All Rights Reserved.