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Title Mananambal
Description Folk healer, Medicine man, Sorcerer, Witch
Gender Male / female
Region Philippines
Equivalent Shaman, Albularyo, Mambabarang

The Mananambal is a Filipino practitioner of traditional medicine;[1] a medicine man who is also capable of performing sorcery. The mananambal treats both natural and supernatural maladies.[2]


The appellation mananambal is a derivative of the term for the art of panambal or "traditional folk healing" in the Philippines,[3] a term used most especially in the islands of Siquijor and Bohol in the Visayas. The term is synonymous with the Tagalog word albularyo, a type of folk healer.


The mananambal uses a combination of traditional practice and Christian beliefs. The amalgamation of folk healing and Christian spiritism may have begun at the onset of the Spanish influence in the Philippines – when Magellan converted the Queen of Cebu to Catholicism. The mananambal observed the marked success in exorcism of the Spanish friars and wished for their part to be mediums of the high spirit (the Holy Spirit) that granted the Catholic friars such power.[4]

This link with the Catholic faith is evident in their yearly quest, called pangalap, for materials used as ingredients in the concoctions for their traditional practice. The pangalap begins seven Fridays after Ash Wednesday, prior to the Christian observance of Holy Week. It culminates on Good Friday and Black Saturday. The mananambal also uses orasyones or "magical prayers".


The mananambal's pharmacopoeia is made up of plants (80%), animals (10%) and minerals (10%).[3]


Some of the rituals observed by the mananambal include:

  • Pangalap - the aforementioned yearly search for concoction ingredients
  • Halad - ritual offering of food and drink to honor the spirits of the dead
  • Palínà - ritual fumigation; called tu-ob in the islands of Panay and Negros
  • Pangadlip - the chopping or slicing of pangalap ingredients
  • Pagpagong - burning or reducing the ingredients into charcoal or ashes
  • Making of Minasa - concoctions made from the pangalap ingredients
  • Rubbing with Lana - medicinal oil concocted from coconut


The powers of sorcery may be gained after a practitioner "learns methods of malign magic and establishes a relationship with a spirit that supports this magic".[5] Some forms of sorcery include:

  • Barang - the use of familiar spirit to inflict pain and sickness in a person
  • Haplit - using a doll to represent the victim; the Filipino sorcerer's equivalent of using a voodoo doll
  • Paktol - paktol means to "knock on the head"; the use of a skull or some other representation of the victim. Any insult done the representation, the victim feels the corresponding harm
  • Anyaw - the art of courting the favor of malign spirits with food containing no salt; the sorcerer then asks the spirit to bring harm on an intended victim
  • Là-gà - "to boil", the sorcerer boils objects belonging to the victim; the victim suffers from unease, sleeplessness, fatigue, malaise and later, death

These forms of sorcery equate with the Tagalog term, Kulam and are resistant to the ministrations of Western medicine. Only a mananambal can reverse the effects of such sorcery.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Maturan, E.G. "Folk medicine and health care in Bohol: the mananambal and the mananabang". Retrieved 2008-07-16. [dead link]
  2. ^ McClenon, James. "Island of the Sorcerers". Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  3. ^ a b Mascuñana, Rolando V.; Mascuñana, Evelyn F. (2004). The Folk Healers-Sorcerers of Siquijor. REX Book Store, Inc. ISBN 971-23-3543-7. 
  4. ^ "What is Christian Spiritism?". Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  5. ^ Lieban, R.W. (1967). Cebuano Sorcery: Malign Magic in the Philippines. University of California Press. pp. 20–21. ISBN 0-520-03420-1. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mananambal — Please support Wikipedia.
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