Long before the introduction of modern medicine, the Philippines has its traditional medical practices that our ancestors have embraced and believed to be effective. And these have been passed to generation after generation.
And as modern medicine progresses to new heights, peoples of the world, on the other hand, have started recognizing the healing benefits of the ancient medical practices.
Despite the developments in western medicine, there is still a global movement towards the unfolding of the maximum potentials of the traditional and contemporary medicine (TCM). With this fact, different nations in Asia, which is home to many known TCMs have been actively in pursuit to influence more people to embrace the traditional way of healing once again.
To champion this cause, the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) together with Aralan ng Paggaamutang Pilipino, a group of advocates of traditional Filipino healers, at least 14 conventional healers from Luzon, Visayas and Mindano were gathered for the 1st Pista ng Paggamutang Pilipino 2018.
The 1st Pista ng Paggagamutang Pilipino 2018, held at the People’s Park in Davao City on Nov. 21, 2018, paved the way for traditional healers to share and showcase their skills.
Pista ng Paggagamutang Pilipino 2018 provided a venue towards raising public awareness on the variety, breadth and scope of Philippine traditional medicine. Through the past millennia, more than 180 ethnolinguistic groups belonging to 110 indigenous communities have become established in the country. Such long periods of interacting with place-specific geological, climatological, biological and cultural diversity have endowed each group and community with its unique health system.
PITAHC director-general Dr. Annabelle Pabiona-De Guzman said that this 1st Pista ng Paggagamutang Pilipino 2018 is a milestone in the country’s recognition of not just the Filipino culture but the individual skills of healers who have been the backbone of many indigenous communities’ healthcare system.
“The PITAHC is one with our traditional healers in cultivating their valuable skills and gifts, which have been passed to them by their great ancestors. We are pushing for the integration of traditional and contemporary medicine in our national healthcare system, thus, giving the Filipino people another healthcare option,” Pabiona-De Guzman stressed.
The Pista 2018 was a two-part event. The morning session was a small group presentation and consultation with 14 traditional and indigenous healers, invited and flown in from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, as well as local healers from Davao City and its environs.
This session was spearheaded by the PITAHC National Committee for the Certification for Hilot and with participation by the academics and organizations engaged in traditional medicine research.
The afternoon session was a fiesta, which was opened to the public, a large gathering of healers, clients, advocates, and well-wishers from the Philippines and abroad, where the public can ask the healers about their healing experiences, customs, practices, and rituals, and where the healers shared their healing knowledge to the people of Davao.
The PITAHC and Philippine traditional medicine advocates led by the Aralan, in holding this first gathering of Filipino healers hoped to create better awareness about the diversity of conventional medicine practices among the general public.
Through this event, networking activity for possible research collaborations among healers and participating researchers and academic institutions can be achieved, and lastly, utilize the function as an avenue for consultation for strategic inputs for a Roadmap of Philippine Traditional Medicine for the protection and development of traditional and indigenous healing and its integration to the National Health Care System.
For more information, log onto www.pitahc.gov.ph