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Babaylan is a term identifying an indigenous Filipino religious leader, who functions as a healer, a shaman, a seer and a community "miracle-worker" (or a combination of any of those). Although the role and function of a babaylan is open to both sexes, most babaylans from the pre-Hispanic era are female.

"The babaylan in Filipino indigenous tradition is a person who is gifted to heal the spirit and the body; a woman who serves the community through her role as a folk therapist, wisdom-keeper and philosopher; a woman who provides stability to the community’s social structure; a woman who can access the spirit realm and other states of consciousness and traffic easily in and out of these worlds; a woman who has vast knowledge of healing therapies".[1] In addition to this, a babaylan is someone who "intercedes for the community and individuals" and is also someone who "serves." Any study of the babaylan must take into consideration the suppression of the babaylan's practices since the onset of European and American colonialism in the Philippines.

Prior to, during and after the Philippine Revolution of 1896-1898, the babaylans of Dios Buhawi and Papa Isio of Negros Occidental participated in the struggle to throw off the Spanish yoke. Their primary agenda was religious freedom and agrarian reform; most followers of the babaylan tradition were dispossessed land owners thrown off their property by the Spanish hacienderos and in some cases by Spanish friars bent on acquiring land.

See also

External links


  1. Leny Strobel

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