Nov 20, 2017

Healing through hilot, a special kind of local massage therapy, is deeply rooted in the Philippines’ spiritual culture. What is often associated with albularyos and mystical healers is now regarded as a form of art and science centuries later. Hilot, a Filipino term used to describe a healer, combines many alternative medical techniques like herbal medication, acupressure, and chiropractic.

Although hilot is a deep-tissue massage, the touch is gentle. The manghihilot scans the body through touching, diagnosing areas which are energetically imbalanced. The client will be asked to describe his or her urine output and stool regularities/irregularities, among other things that are also needed for assessment (pulse, temperature, lumps, etc.).

According to the book Hilot: The Science of the Ancient Filipino Healing Arts by Dr. Bibiano Fajardo and Ma. Aleli Panascola, many people are still seeking the aid of traditional healers for different health concerns like post-pregnancy recovery, fractures, childhood illnesses, and general malaise.

With that said, we gathered a few traditional spas you can try this weekend:

Balay Hilom Spa
G/F FBR Arcade Building
Loyola Heights, Quezon City
0927 5358380

Balay Hilom specializes in traditional massages originating from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. For first-timers, you can try the Linggop Aligayon, a mixture of the soothing rhythmic strokes of traditional hilot and the kneading ritual of dagdagay (acupressure). Personally, after going for one session, most of my muscle pains were relieved.


Shui Express Hilot
4/F Heroes Hotel
Manila, Philippines
0949 9906110

Shui Express Hilot is an affiliate of Shui Wellness co-founded by Dr. Gerry Sy, a doctor of Naturopathy. They specialize in hilot massages only—which focus on removing ‘lamig’ (myofascial trigger points).


Mont Albo Spa
G/F High Pointe Building, Pasong Tamo St. cor. Yakal St.
San Antonio Village, Makati City

A post shared by Mont Albo Spas (@montalbospas) on

Perhaps the oldest one on this list, Mont Albo offers basic services like hilot, bentosa (also called ventosa), and different body scrubs that are all affordable. If you can’t decide on what to get, their website has a feature that will match your preferences with a massage service.


Photos courtesy of Mont Albo’s website

Read more:

Ten spas you deserve after a long day at work
How to beat anxiety if you don’t have time to meditate
Ten healthy groceries in Manila

TAGS: Filipino massage health & wellness hilot nolisoliph traditional massage