How "Hilot" Works

November 9-15 Edition

Lift Up Your Hands
Saint Peter
Saint Anthony of Padua
Men In Black 3

I heard Basil Valdez's Lift Up Your Hands on a Sunday morning on August 18, 2013, and I suddenly realized how I've changed.

 I still like the song but now when I hear it, my mind goes to the almost-countless religious people I've come across.

They talk of doctrines but stab others in the back. They play gospel music but don't care if it's too loud.

 And they all call themselves Christians. 

That song playing now is coming from a neighbor's loud radio on the street below. I'm in my second-floor apartment in Lahug, the one with a balcony and a French-style window. The racket was blaring up along with the wafting smell of fried pork chorizo.

I used to have a friend, whom I'll call Long-Hair to protect his privacy. He's not my friend anymore because he broke my trust. But his son is my godson and always will be.

Long-Hair stole the salaries in a construction site in Montalban, Rizal where he was working as the timekeeper. He abandoned his family. The money eventually ran out. His brother-in-law saw him picking food from the garbage and living in the streets.

They took pity on him instead of killing him, which is more Christian than telling people that tragedy is "God's will." His wife had been forced to sell their house in Montalban to pay the victims. She rented a room in San Andres in Manila and found work as a coconut juice street vendor.

The last time I saw Long-Hair was in 1999, in San Andres, after he was found and taken in again. They had invited me for dinner. Later, we went outside, drinking Pepsi. I was smoking and he wasn't, and he told me that he had quit when became a Christian. He was thanking me for taking care of his family while he was gone, and promised he would reform.

There was a videoke outside the compound gate. He inserted a coin, took the mike and began to sing. It was Lift Up Your Hands.

A few days later, his wife told me the news: Long-Hair went away again, this time taking the money from the sale of their house.

One super intriguing phenomenon that I personally witnessed is "usog," a Filipino term which means when one can literally make another person sick by his mere presence.

Traditionally, if you brought usog to someone, you have to wipe your saliva to a part of his body, usually his navel or sole.

Hilot healer Efren Guazon, guest at the December 19, 2012 episode of Inner Mind, revealed the mystery: usog is essentially the loss of the chi, or life energy.

The saliva from the person who caused it helps restore the life energy.

 A practitioner of hilot, the ancient art of healing indigenous to the Bondoc and other northern tribes in the Philippines, has to develop his consciousness to move up the seven levels of training: from chiropractic-like massage therapy to being able to heal victims of witchcraft. 

The seven levels of training corresponds to the seven lundayan ng kusog (channels of energy). Hilot integrates the body's mulangkap (elements): fire, water, earth, air and the alangaan (etheric).

Efren is the president of the Alyansa ng Mga Manghihilot at Albularyo, a nation-wide organization of hilot healers. Inner Mind host Jimmy Licauco tells about the story of American musician Jeff Cohen, whose brother was in a car accident and Western doctors cannot help him. Efren knows him and also the healer in the mountains of Bondoc, Apo Pakukad, the only person in the world who brought back his brother to full recovery

(See the Huggybear stories on Jaime Licauco and Inner Mind in the November 4, 2010, February 2, 2012 and the November 17, 2012 episodes of 2Rivers)

I'll share two stories of saints: Peter and Anthony. I always illustrate the ideas in my magazine articles with anecdotes.

But some of the characters I featured on my story on Harry Emerson Fosdick for Manila Bulletin, like the psychics Eileen Garett and Ingo Swann, just might be too scandalous for a conservative publication.

Not to mention, of course, the Dutch sculptor Harry Stone, who channed Ra Ho Tep from the Fourth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, around 270 BCE. 

So that's why I tried to include stories of saints to give it a wholesome sheen. But there's no space anymore, so here they are.

Saint Peter faced Simon Magus, a Samarian magician and a key figure in ancient Masonic lore.

Simon summoned black hounds and Peter made the dogs go away with "holy bread," goes one legend.

In the famous version, Simon flew up and Peter defeated him by praying for him to fall.

"God, please kill him," he probably said.

Saint Anthony of Padua was preaching in Limoges in 1226.

Suddenly, he remembered that he has to be at another service miles away. He paused, knelt and put on his hood.

At that moment, he appeared before the congregation on the other church, read his appointed passage then vanished.

He then got up and continued his sermon.

I'm fascinated by Griffin, the character in Men In Black 3 who looks like James Taylor.

He's a clairvoyant alien, able to see all the possible futures. He says what could (not will) eventually happen depends on what is actually happening now, which, in turn, is the result of many factors, mostly random and incidental.

But they're all happening simultaneously.

It jibes exactly with a what I really believe to be true.

One of Griffin's vision is Kay dying in Cape Canaveral during the historic 1969 moon launch with Neil Armstrong, one of the greatest moments in the history of the human race. Jay (Will Smith) has traveled back in time to save Kay. He found his partner's younger version really different.

"What happened to you?" he asked, bemused and pleasantly surprised.

"What happened hasn't happened yet," replies Kay.

My favorite scene is about the pie: When things go wrong, just have some old-fashioned pie and let it work through you. It will give you the answers


“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

~Henri J.M. Nouwen
Some things that happened haven't happened yet, and some things that will happen already did.