Meet the Mananambals

The mananambals ("folk healers") of Siquijor has been attracting tourists both local and foreign into visiting the Island. Folk healing has been a common practice and occupation in Siquijor Island for many decades. Best known for its folk healers, faith healers, quack doctors or mananambals, the Island has earned itself the reputation as the Mystic Island, the Healing Island, and even earlier on, the Island of Sorcerers.

Before you visit

Before you visit Siquijor,

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 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 healing paraphernalia (herbs, oils, etc) and other souvenirs such as handmade arts and crafts, in the annual Healing Festival, where all folk healers and different kinds of medicinal practitioners gather around to promote the folk healing culture of Siquijor Island.

Fun facts about Folk Healing in Siquijor Island

Aside from folk healing being described as the way of healing that acted as the first if not the oldest method of medicine through herbs and other natural materials, here are some facts you may not know about it, specifically in the Healing Island itself.

1. The Island is famous for its annual Healing Festival.

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. ​

Sales lady fixes healing paraphernalia merchandise after attending to tourists in Lazi Balete Tree souvenir shop.

2. Siquijor Island has been recognized as “the Island of Sorcerers”.​​

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.​

Healing paraphernalia on display at souvenir shop.

3. Folk healing practices are currently under study.

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.

Folk healers presents a concoction of incense and burned herbs used in healing rituals.
Sales lady fixes healing paraphernalia merchandise after attending to tourists in Lazi Balete Tree souvenir shop.
Healing paraphernalia on display at souvenir shop.
Folk healers presents a concoction of incense and burned herbs used in healing rituals.

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