Siquijor to celebrate healing festival this Holy Week
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol — The island-province of Siquijor will celebrate on April 5 to 8 the “Pahi-uli 2023: Siquijor Healing Festival” at Mt. Bandilaan National Park.
The “Healing Festival” started in 2010.
Siquijor, which used to be known as “Isla del Fuego” (Island of Fire), is enveloped by mystic traditions, which the growing tourism industry is capitalizing on, being the “healing island.”
In a Facebook post, the Siquijor Tourism Office said traditional healers, known as “mananambal” do “Pahiuli,” a process of restoration or rejuvenation; of putting things or certain conditions back to how well, fit, or functional they were or should be. The healing practices were necessary to help ailing people in ancient times since hospitals and medications were not yet available.
At present, even with advances in medical technology, many Siquijodnons and people from outside the province still patronize and believe in the powers of the island’s traditional healers.
The provincial government said they were doing their best not to go against the Lenten Season practice of the church, which is to make solemn and revere the commemoration of the passion of Jesus Christ.
New rules and guidelines are instituted to make the celebration as solemn as possible by prohibiting the drinking of liquor, smoking, and merriment, like discos and live bands especially at night, which was practiced before.
On Holy Wednesday, the Pahi-uli will open the celebration with a Eucharistic Celebration. There will be an hourly Way of the Cross on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday at Mt Bandilaan National Park in Siquijor town.
“The Healing Festival showcases our unique culture and heritage, which have captured the attention of people around the world and has brought numerous tourists to our spectacular island giving livelihood and employment to our local tourism stakeholders and have become our prime economic driver, ” the tourism office said.
In 2020, the provincial government of Siquijor had cancelled the Healing Festival due to the pandemic.
Siquijor boasts not only its “healing powers” but its natural and historical wonders such as the Cambugahay Falls, Salgadoong Beach, Paliton Beach, Lazi Convent and Church, and the Old Enchanted Balete Tree.
Tthe smallest province in Central Visayas and the third smallest in the country, it has only six towns—the capital Siquijor, Larena, Enrique Villanueva, Maria, Lazi, and San Juan.
The Department of Tourism recorded 143,286 same-day arrivals and 37,651 overnight visitors in 2020.
Since there will be no more restrictions, an additional sea trip was added to accommodate tourists, who are expected to visit the island-province this Holy Week.
On Tuesday dawn (April 4), M/V Esperanza Star had its maiden voyage at the Port of Lazi.
Passengers, mostly visitors on a summer holiday, disembarked from the vessel, on her maiden voyage, along with Governor Jake Vincent Villa.