Hilot, the Filipino healing arts, are the oldest and the most secret arts in the Philippines. Due of the secrecy of the arts, very rarely do Hilot Masters teach this art in the general public. Most Hilot in the Philippines are either learned from relatives, through hands on practice, or inherited from their forfeathers, passing the arts from one generation to the next. Anywhere you visit in the Philippines, most Filipinos are exposed to the curative value of Hilot. The art survives through family interation, relatives, and friends. Hilot apprenticeship is taken seriously by the young “hilot” to absorb as much of the knowledge as possible from his/her “Hilot Priestess.”
Hilot records date back to the first civilization of the Philippines (approximately 5th century). Due to the fact that there is no written history of this art, numerous new generation Hilot masters failed to document the origins, dates, facts, where the arts originated and who developed these effective and intriguing healing arts. There is no doubt that Hilot was practiced in the Philippines to varying degress or levels, nationwide, but now it is found in many parts of the world, carried by the Filipino Hilot.
Name of Hilot in the PhilippinesHilot is a word from the Tagalog dialect meaning massage rubbing or touch with caress. There are many words used to refer to the healer(or Hilot). From the Tagalog region there is “Hilot,” “Manghihilot,” “Hagod,” “Manghahagod,” “Haplos,” “Albolary,” and “Magagamot.” Also there is “Aplos” in Bontoc region, “Unar” in the Kalinga Apayao region, “Aptus” in the Ibatan region, “Ilot” or “Ilut” in the Ibanag, Isneg, Ilocano, Itawis, Zambal and Pampango region. Then there is “Ablon” in the Northern Ilocano region, “Kemkem” in Pangasinan region, “Elot” in the Ilonggo region, “Agud” or “Agod” in the Mindanao and Maranao region, and “Hagod” in Bukidnon region (This portion is courtesy of Virgil Apostol taken from his Articles of Hilot in Filipinas Magazines April 2001)