A Traditional Massage Called Hilot

Massage or in our native language refers to hilot. Here in Batangas, when a person wants to have a refreshing massage, the appropriate word is hilot.

However, the word hilot does not only refer to a nice refreshing massage. It could also refer to a Komadrona, an individual who is an authority in postnatal massage. It could also be a person who treats or sets fractures, broken or dislocated bones.

But, the thing I want you to experience and try is the hilot massage.

My first experience with a hilot, was when I accidentally flipped my foot a long time ago, at the aqua farm I use to oversee. Mang Liloy who is known in the neighborhood as one of the best, treated my sprained foot. The only thing I remembered then was he massaged the part that swelled, which really hurt and applied some coconut oil. But, I have to give credit to the old man, in a number of days; my foot was back in shape and without pain.

Mang Liloy, an ordinary farmer, with no education or training impressed me. According to him, he learned the art of hilot thru his grandfather, which was passed on to him. One attribute I find with the old man was that, he does not charge you for his services. He just accepts donations of any kind.

The second incident that I called Mang Liloy for relief was when I had pain in different parts of my body, especially my back, arms and legs. He told me that the cause was stress and proper blood circulation. He immediately gave me a massage, which they also called hilot. His only tools if I may call it, were a banana leaf, an herb plant and coconut oil. After almost an hour of hilot my aching body felt renewed.

I will never forget the very refreshing massage I had that day. It felt so nice, that you feel new and very light. And when I left the farm, I surely missed the hilot of Mang Liloy, which makes your body feels so good.

According to Elizabeth Nelle, of the Department of Tourism, “Hilot is a highly intuitive massage wherein the therapist identifies areas of energy imbalance in the body through touch diagnosis.”

However, the hilot massage is gradually finding its way in the latest spas and wellness center here in the Philippines. Local and foreign tourist alike can now experience the comforting powers of hilot. Most of the upscale resorts in Batangas offer the hilot massage to their guests.

My first experience of hilot massage in a resort is at San Juan when I visited a resort, which offers the said massage. The massage is done just beside the shoreline of the resort. The massage I had was really relaxing and felt the same way as the massage given to me by the old man from Lemery, Mang Liloy. But, the old man’s touch was still better.

But the best one is in Nasugbu, which both my wife and I really enjoyed. The hilot massage has a menu on which of the different herbs and oil you wish to apply on your body. A body scrub using kapeng barako (Batangas coffee) or even carabao’s milk is used.

There is another place in Lipa which I heard also does a good and soothing massage. And based on what I have heard, the place is under the supervision of Swedish spa consultant and has adopted the traditional massage of hilot.

So if by chance, you are out there in any resorts around Batangas that offers a hilot massage, do try to have one. And experience a whole new feeling of a light and energized body.

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