HomeLiceo Journal of Higher Education Researchvol. 6 no. 1 (2009)

The Power to Influence and to Protect: Interconnectedness of the Human Bodies among the Visayans and the Indigenous People

Lilian C. De La Peña

Discipline: Medicine, Cultural and Ethnic Studies



This paper presents interviews with Visayans found on Central Philippines and its indigenous people, the Ati, in order to discuss beliefs surrounding the human body. The belief on the energy (dungan among the Karay-a) of the human body to inflict sickness or pain to another body is dominant throughout the interviews, as well as religious rites officiated by specialists to heal and protect the ailing body from the debilitating effect of this energy. Urbanization fails to completely erode such traditional belief. This paper analyzes the role of a marginal indigenous people, the Ati, as provider of essential medicines to protect the human body from harm. This role cannot be undermined especially when one tries to make sense of how lowland Visayans practice animism simultaneous to their Catholic faith.