The third part of the ‘bare hand’ or ‘psychic’ surgeons of the Philippines. This has been one of the most enduring enigmas of modern times. These articles explore this practice which challenges conventional scientific and medical knowledge. Now an encounter with one of the most famous healers, Placido Palitayan.
A healer and psychic surgeon working in Baguio is Placido Palitayan. He is an extremely confident and skilled psychic surgeon. It was again a privilege to meet, interview, make videos, and work with him. I have a full interview on video with Placido, and this is the transcription following some healing sessions where Placido operated on three people (including me):
Howard: Can you tell me more about the healing and psychic surgery that you have just done which we have just videoed?
Placido: I am not a medical doctor, so it is difficult to provide a medical description or explanation. In the healing process, when I heal, I heal with my total being, my mind, my heart, and my soul is praying that god will help you.
The mystery here is the power, or energy, or what we call god. Our bodies are complex, often having problems caused by emotions. Everybody has that; no one is perfect in health. But our mind in connection (he points upwards) to him, is doing miracles, moment to moment in our life.
Howard: When you start your healing as I have just seen, you say your prayers and you meditate, and this external power enters you, and then you start to make the openings in the person’s body. Is that how you see this?
Placido: Yes it is something like that. I am doing the healing, I am not thinking about myself, or about anything. I just serve, so that the divine power will work through me, the patient just has to relax, and open their mind, not thinking about any problems, so that the divine energy works through and through the whole body system.
Howard: I understand. This is consistent with what I have heard from other psychic surgeons.
Placido: This is how the healing works.
Howard: I was feeling very relaxed with you, feeling very open, and now I am feeling a lot better, much clearer.
Placido: I know.
Howard: I would like to ask you some questions. As we have discussed, I bring groups of Westerners to the Philippines, and they would like to know more about the healer, their background and so on. So can you tell me how you started your healing work?
Placido: I think that it is a divine plan, and beyond my knowledge. I was very young when I broke my fingers. It was after my studies at school, and I was with my friends. I had to leave my friends as it was twilight time, as I wouldn’t be able to see my way home in the dark. The place I used to go was downhill, and I ran home as it was getting dark, I fell and tumbled down, and struck my finger on a big rock. My fingers went completely backwards (he demonstrates this). In my mind, because I was very young, only nine, I had thought that I had destroyed my hand. I only had one thing to do, and that was to pray. It wasn’t what I had learned in church, or what others had taught me. I prayed very deeply in my soul, a very short prayer, I can’t remember what I said even now, but it was from my soul. Suddenly after my prayer, I rubbed my hand, and shook it, and it was perfectly restored.
I went home, I could not, I could not talk, and I was so amazed at what had happened. I did not think that god did it. The next day when I went to school, the teacher asked “Placido, will you answer the question?” I could hear her, but could not speak. I was maybe in what they call a in a trance. A trance which nobody knew where it came from. The teacher came close up to me, and slowly waved her hands a few inches from my face. I knew that she was doing this, but I could still not respond. Only when she touched me, could I reply “yes maa’m”, only then was I aware.
Since that time, I couldn’t go to school anymore, as they said I was crazy! So after that I went in the mountains in solitude. In the mountains there is nobody, only sugarcane. So all I was doing was drinking was the sugarcane, and just thinking. I knew that I must be crazy; I said to myself “what am I doing here, I’m only eating sugarcane”. I could not even urinate as I had drunk too much sugar from the sugarcane. So I knew that I had to drink otherwise I would destroy my health. And that was the beginning of what they now call ‘spiritual awareness’. So after that, when ever I saw people, I was able to tell if they were ill, sick, or unhappy. I also found that I could talk to them in ways that put them at ease or made them feel happy. They said to me “you are not crazy, because you know how to answer our problems”. I said that I didn’t know how, but being young, and having nothing to lose, I said just what I saw, and they started to believe me.
When the Missionaries came, and talked about god, I felt magnetised by their words, and I became close to them. I asked if I could go with them, and when they visited other communities, I would touch people and they would get better. I realised that what the bible was saying about healing was happening to me. Later the missionaries became jealous of me, as when I talked to people they liked me, and would gather by me and not the missionaries.
The missionaries didn’t want me to be with them, and I became alone again, I felt as if no one liked me. Anyway I had to work, as here in the Philippines you have to so you can eat. My work was very hard, digging, breaking rocks, hard work like that. It’s a long story, but then along came the great psychic healer Eleuterio Terte (he was the first psychic surgeon), then Tony Agpoa, Ricardo Gonzales, and they all wanted me to work with them. I said that I couldn’t divide myself into three. Anyhow I decided to work with Gonzales (he made a better offer!). I was still very young and didn’t yet speak English. I travelled with Gonzales to Australia in August 1958. After that I was able to complete my education,
Howard: May I ask how old you are?
Howard: Listening to your story, it is obvious that your healing has developed over the years, and you perform your work with great confidence. Did you start with ‘magnetic’ and psychic healing?
Placido: At the beginning of my studies with Gonzales, I went to a tribal community of head-hunters. One of them had a big tumour, and I started to manipulate (magnetic massage) the area, and suddenly the body opened and blood spurted up and flowed out. I didn’t know why or how this had happened, as I was only manipulating the body. Then I looked behind me, and the Chief had raised his arm and holding a large bone, he wanted to kill me. He must of thought that when the blood spurted out, that I had stabbed the patient. The Chief wanted to cut off my head (they are head-hunters!), but the bone broke in half, and his arm couldn’t move. Then he saw that there was no more blood and that the wound had healed. The patient was starting to get up and was laughing too. The Chief smiled, and said that I should stay here, be with his family. I said “no thanks, I do not belong here, I belong to all people who need my help”.
Howard: Well at least you made some good friends there. As they say, it’s good to be on friendly terms with the head-hunters!
Placido: Yes, he wanted to kill me, and then he became my very close friend. After that I came to Baguio, and I joined with the healers. I didn’t do any psychic surgery, as I thought that this happened to me just once. In Baguio, I met with Tony Agpoa who was working with hundreds of people. He said “Placido, I am so tired, it is already 5 ‘o clock and I still have many people to heal! I said that I will help, and in 30 minutes, I helped all the people with psychic surgery. I was very organised, I made sure that everybody was prepared, and I just did it. He was very surprised, “how did you do it?” He asked, “All those people in such a short time”.
There are many stories to tell, but all I want is peace. I give spiritual advice, I talk not about religion, as to me religion is man made, ‘Him’ (pointing upwards) in his work is the most important thing for me. I need to train my son to do this work and help me.
Howard: Listening to what you have been saying, it really seems that the most important thing is this ‘feeling’, as a young boy you gad no thoughts about what was happening, but you had a feeling. Well I really want to thank you for your time, and I appreciate you sharing your story and adventures with us, many thanks for that.
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).