Pinoy word of the day: Babaylan

14 Apr

Babaylan. Painted by Rosendo Aguilar, Negros Museum, Bacolod City

Babaylan* is a Filipino word that refers specifically to an individual or a group of healers, mostly women, who were acknowledged by friends and family as possessing extraordinary gifts… having a gift of vision; an ability to see through schemes or situations and later advise on future plans… or the gift for healing; a specific touch or intuited or passed-on knowledge to specific processes of ‘fixing’ and ‘putting’ people and things together. The first priority of all Babaylan [is] her community. — Carlos Villa

*Babaylan is a Visayan term. Other terms for this role around the Philippines
are arbularyo, hilot, mombaki, bailan/beliyan/bagyan, catalonan, dawac, or ma-aram

Just like the Babaylan, don’t Filipina migrants possess the same gifts of healing and an intuitive knowledge in (re)uniting people and things around them? Their priority is also the community- a trait that has helped keep together Filipino migrant communities all over the world. Kay S. Abaño


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