Over the years there has been much controversy about the so-called miracle healers of the Philippines. Their ability to open peoples bodies and perform operations without the use of any surgical equipment i.e their bare hands or with rusty hunting knives, in the absence of any anaesthetics and the skin of their patient re-seals without any noticeable marking or scars defies not only conventional medical knowledge but also flies in the face of what we consensually call reality. How can a human body open and close by touch? How can solid objects become permeable to allow a hand to move through it?
My encounter with Rogerilio in the Philippines demonstrated that reality is not so solid as we have been led to believe. My experience very much reminded me of Einstein’s quote “reality is an illusion albeit a persistent one!”
I met with Rogerilio at his place which was a simple street side café cum shop selling everything from shampoo sachets to the local boiled egg delicacy which children buy in their hundreds weekly. The waiting room is the café itself and his treatment room is a small curtained off room at the back.
I witnessed and was allowed to both video and photograph Rogerilio at work with his patients who are not only local people but also many who travel from Europe, and the USA come to see him with serious and some diagnosed as terminal illnesses.
Rogerilio works in simple even humble circumstances. There is no running water, no flushing toilet, or other modern facility. He struggles every month to make ends meet to feed and support his wife, 2 daughters, his adopted son, and other members of his family (10 in total). He does not charge patients any money but accepts their donations placed on his altar without any comment. A few times I saw sacks of rice being given in payment for operations which were normally well beyond the means of poor people to pay for as there is no ‘free’ health service either with doctors or hospitals. In fact in many of the outlying provinces and islands there are no doctors, and hospitals are only in the cities.
When I asked Rogerilio where does this healing ability come from, did he study with a maestro? Or where did he learn this? His response is very clear,” it is not me, I am only a tool like a hammer, the Holy Spirit does the work. Please do not consider that it is I doing the healing in anyway. I am not worthy, why me? I can not be enriched thru money by this work in any way, and I do not ask for money.” His wife Lourdes was nodding in acknowledgement to this and then she added, “ every time he stops this work the children get sick, and he becomes weak and ill”. Rogerilio said he has to walk a thin line and it’s not easy “of course” he says (with tongue slightly in cheek) “I would like to gamble, womanise, and drink alcohol, but I can not and do this work. In the absence of any other plausible hypothesis I had no choice but to accept Rogerilio’s explanation how the healing worked and the physical opening took place, after all not only had I seen this with my own eyes, I also had my hand inside people’s bodies.
I asked if there were any other healers in his family, he said no, and added that in fifteen generations he is the only one with this gift. I asked him how did he discover this gift. He said that as a young child he was often told that he would be ‘special’ as he was a breech delivery, but he never knew or was told exactly what this special attribute was. He discovered this ability when he was thirteen, a neighbouring boy of the same age had swallowed a fishbone and he became very ill, neck swollen, infected, unable to eat, after two weeks his condition was getting very serious and another neighbour brought Rogerilio to the boy and asked him to heal him. Rogerilio did not know what to do, so he just gently massaged the boy’s neck, when suddenly his fingers moved inside the boy’s throat and in shock he withdrew them and found that he was holding the fishbone in his hand. He was so shocked and frightened, he thought he had killed the boy so he run away and hid in the forest for three weeks.
A friend later found him and told him that the boy was well and had recovered from the illness. Rogerilio on returning to his village found that circumstances had become difficult as he was expelled from school for his absence and that many people had turned away from him including and very sadly his parents, so he had to leave home and travel for he had ‘become touched by the devil”, It was a lonely and difficult period in his life as he found himself denounced when people found out who he was so he had to move on. Rogerilio then lifted his shirt and showed me the whip scars on his back. He was hounded out and whipped with vines which had thorns attached. He indicated a vase in his room in which he still kept the very same vines as a reminder of these times.
He survived as young boy, grafting, selling cigarettes, cleaning shoes, and sleeping rough, living as an outcast. He earned enough money to go to High school, and started to work as a healer helping people in an ad-hoc manner in the community. He slowly and surely built up a reputation, and he was given an award by the Junior Chamber of Commerce as a ‘Model of Compassion’ working as a healer without asking for money.
Determined to understand the human body and what he was doing, he qualified for medical training and after 6 years of internship qualified as a medical analyst. This work meant studying tissue samples, assisting in surgical operations and so on. After 5 years of practice he left the profession greatly unhappy with what he witnessed in many of the surgical operational procedures. He focussed on his healing work developing an international reputation until the major 1990 earthquake in Baguio that devastated the city and where he lost everything. He moved to Manila and found work there and started to rebuild his life. About five years ago he returned to Baguio and resumed his healing practice in the local community.
To see a person’s body opening is one thing, but I felt enormous anxiety when Rogerilio instructed me to place my hand in the person’s body. As I placed my fingers inside a man’s groin, Rogerilio asked me if I could feel this lumpy tissue, I said yes, then “pull it out”, I withdrew my hand and was looking at a piece of dead nervous tissue which had come from his patient’s prostrate gland. The man lying down had felt no pain or discomfort, and the opening in the groin had sealed and there was no markings or scar to indicate that a few moments previously it was open.
Rogerilio said that the Spirit would protect both the patient and myself from any infection. He then demonstrated how it worked; grasping my hand he brought his hand above mine with his fingers extended above mine by a few inches. “See it is if my hand is the Spirit hand, the Spirit hand moves first making the opening, and my hand follows, the Spirit hand takes the diseased tissue and places it in my hand, and as I withdraw my hand the Spirit hand also withdraws and as this happens, the opening in the body closes”. “You see I told you that I am just the instrument and it is the Spirit which does all of the healing”.
During my visits to Rogerilio I have witnessed (photographed and videoed) the following;
• During trip in January 2001, Rogerilio cleared “growths” from around my prostate. He then left a Kleenex tissue inside my body overnight to prevent the seeping of blood back in the testicles (I could feel the tissue myself by pressing on the point where it was inserted).
• He removed a 12” long tumour (as thick as a sausage!) from a friend’s intestine. What was also extraordinary that half an hour later he was eating a normal meal. Under conventional surgical procedures he would have been on something akin to a ‘baby food’ diet for many months following the surgery.
• He removed cataracts from both eyes of another person
• He removed growths attached to the spine of one woman. This lady had had problems moving her head fully and suffered from chronic pains in her shoulders for many years. The instant improvement to the head was obvious and her shoulder pains have now completely disappeared. Months of physical therapy had previously had very little impact.
• He cleared the sinuses of 2 people
• He unblocked the descending colon of another person.
• Cleared a “goitre” from a man’s throat. This was full of thick yellow pus and clotted blood formed from many years of smoking.
One of the most difficult things I encountered (apart from the bashing of my safe and comfortable Newtonian reality) was his dealing with the victims of sorcery and black magic. What was clearly impressed on me was that whilst I had thought that Westerners had the advantage of not getting ‘caught’ up in sorcery being outside that culture they were less likely to be affected, however this assumption was certainly challenged by what I witnessed. Middle-aged Swiss German came to see Rogerilio. I was sitting with Rogerilio outside his café drinking water when Johan joined us and said that his whole left side of his body was becoming paralysed. He couldn’t move his left hand, his arm was weak and hanging loosely by his side, his left eye was closed, the mouth on the left hand side was also drooping looking similar to the after effects of a dentist’s numbing injection. He also said that his tongue again on the left hand side felt frozen, and he had difficulty in breathing and lacked any energy, was unable to concentrate or even carry out what were relatively simple tasks such as buttoning his trousers up. As I studied him, it truly appeared that the left hand side of his body was shrivelled, and the fingers of his left hand were visibly smaller than those on his right hand.
Rogerilio looked at him, and then started to tell him about an island in the Philippines archipelago called Sekihor (this island has a fearsome reputation amongst ordinary Filipinos as this was the place where the practitioners of sorcery and black magic lived). Rogerilio explained that these sorcerers were paid by people who had grudges and animosities against others. As he was saying this I was thinking what is going on here? Why is he talking about this? What is going on! Very soon it became clear as he started to describe the circumstances surrounding Johan and the nature of this problem and it’s cause. Rogerilio than told Johan that a woman who held a deep grudge against him and wanted to ‘destroy’ him had paid a sorcerer to place a curse on him which was the cause of his difficult circumstances.
We went to the treatment room at the back of the shop, and for the next four days Rogerilio started to operate on him. He removed obnoxious lumps of tissue that resembled a squashed octopus from various places on the left hand side of the body.
After the first day Rogerilio told us that it was important to identify the perpetrator so the dark force could be sent back to it’s source. He described the ritual and said that we would do this in five days time. In the interim Johan had to make a list of all the women he had met in the past 12 months. Rogerilio showed and explained to us the herbs and outlined the procedure that we would use. Rogerilio asked me to look after Johan, which was a pleasant task as he was a friendly and affable individual.
By Friday Johan had prepared the list of names 65 in total, and we went in the taxi to Rogerilio’s place. When we arrived Rogerilio asked Johan to buy an egg, which he did for 3 pesos from a local store and returned to the café. We entered Rogerilio’s treatment room, where a large metal tray had been set up on his healing altar. On the tray was an empty bottle, candle, plugs of tobacco and locally growing herbs. Rogerilio asked Johan to tear the list into individual strips, fold them and place them in the bottle. I helped Johan do this; Rogerilio was by the way standing at the other end of the room and could not see any of the written names. When this was completed Rogerilio came over to the altar and made his prayers and blessings, he then asked Johan to take the egg that he had just bought and hold it over the open necked bottle. Rogerilio than poured a bottle of gin (that was the only bottle of spirits that he had). Johan was then told to break open the egg in a bowl and look for the name. Johan did this and gently poked in the bowl and there inside the yolk was a small folded piece of paper!
Johan carefully teased the yolky piece of paper open, and there was a name in his own handwriting. Johan was really taken aback “so it’s her!” He then told us that he had genuinely written all the woman he had met in the past 12 months on the list, including those that loved him, and good friends. The person on the paper was the only one who had caused him worry. He had a brief relationship with her, but she had become unbalanced and very possessive during this period. He was frightened by her behaviour and when Johan said that he was ending it, she became very cold and told him “that if she couldn’t have him, no one would!” Johan was very angry, and sad that another person could do an act like this. For myself it certainly knocked out some of my naivety about this. This ritual caused the sorcery to be sent back to the instigator thereby releasing Johan from its effects. It gave me cause for reflection on instant karma, and Shakespeare’s verse, the one about ‘the evil that men do!” I also shivered with the thought that this would have been the perfect murder and speculated of how many other people became ill and died of ‘mysterious’ and unexplainable circumstances. The main thing that after this Johan was a new man, and his body had vastly improved since the beginning of the week thanks to Rogerilio (and the holy spirit’s) work.
Some of the conclusions I have drawn from observation and participation in Rogerilio’s work have had a profound effect on my worldview, the first is that many of the debilitating diseases and decline in physical health that we associate with old age are not inevitable. They are the cumulative effects of decades of eating the wrong food, typically too much animal fat, red meat, and lack of fibre in the food.
Another conclusion is that tumours have a consciousness of some description. It is if they possess some form of survival’ instinct. They grow in places that are the most difficult to detect and only when developed do they emerge and become detectable. This ‘survival’ intelligence is also aware if it is disturbed and may respond to this by accelerating their growth and expansion in the body.
Howard G. Charing, is an accomplished international workshop leader on shamanism. He has worked some of the most respected and extraordinary shamans & healers in the Andes, the Amazon Rainforest, and the Philippines. He organises specialist retreats to the Amazon Rainforest He is the author of Plant Spirit Shamanism (Destiny Books USA) Click For information about Eagle’s Wing Ayahuasca Retreats and Philippines Journeys