Faith Healing In The Philippines

Would you like to meet a real-life faith healer in the Philippines?

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I once experienced firsthand a faith healing session somewhere in Metro Manila. I was probably around 9 years old then, and had the opposite of pectus excavatum. In other words, I was pigeon-chested.

From what I remember, there were lots of people huddled around this man. He wrapped a thin rectangular piece of paper around someone's wrist, unfolded it, and then interpreted the lines that creased the paper. He then announced what the matter was with the bone structure of the patient, did a few manipulations, and the patient exclaimed that he no longer felt any wrist pain.

I was 9 years old. And I was skeptical.

Anyway, I was eventually presented to the faith healer. I thought: "Oh boy, I'm not going to get healed, because I have no faith in this guy."

He looks at my chest and places his right hand on it. He positions his left hand on my back. He tells the crowd: Panoorin nyo 'to... ("Watch this...")

He presses my chest towards my back. (Or is it my back towards my chest?)

I don't feel any pain. I don't feel any different. But my relatives (who accompanied me) are gawking and exclaiming that my pigeon-chest had disappeared.

Today, some faith healers call themselves alternative healers. There are no theatrical eyes-to-heaven prayers mumbled before an awed crowd. There is no physical therapy manipulation. Take, for instance, the case of Leticia "Na Letty" San Andres in San Pablo City. You'll find more info about her in

Here's an interview of Na Letty, conducted by Gerry Alanguilan:


So, are Filipino faith healers for real? Or are they just scamsters? Or is it just the power of the patient's faith that heals them?

I guess you'll never know, until it's your turn at the faith healing line.

[ First posted on 02/13/2008 by Manuel Viloria ]

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