Faith-healing priest Ramon Manalo of Batangas attempts to heal a parishioner with a throat ailment (photo: Mateo Mendoza)
Faith healers are descendants of a people from a legendary civilization that lived in the Ilocos region thousands of years ago, according to an expert on the paranormal. Jaime T. Licauco, a parapsychologist, claims that the province of Pangasinan and the central Luzon area were once the center of a fabled land called Lemuria. The Lemurians were believed to have had highly developed spirituality and telepathic powers. "This might explain why there are so many psychics and faith healers in the region,” he says. “The Filipinos’ spirituality and their strong telepathy are a remnant of our Lemurian ancestry." Licauco, the author of books The Truth Behind Faith Healing in the Philippines and Jun Labo: A Philippine Healing Phenomenon has been studying the subject since the 1970s. “The faith healers in Pangasinan are still actively but silently practising their craft,” he says, “healing people without medicines and even operating on patients with bare hands, which amazes me.” He believes that “the spread of Christianity has not curtailed their activities. In fact it has even absorbed some of them, as is evident in fiesta celebrations and religious rites in towns and cities now.” He has volunteered to take part in an ongoing project to rewrite Pangasinan history, to ensure that historical accounts of faith healing and paranormal activities are not overlooked. “Although there is no historical or physical evidence of the existence of Lemuria, it remains a fascinating legend, like Atlantis,” he says. “Atlantis supposedly occupied almost half the known world at that time, including huge tracts of land surrounding the Pacific Ocean.” By the same token, in one of his writings, Licauco contends that the whole of Asia was at one time part of Lemuria. Licauco, a former Catholic catechist, says the Pope believes in what his group is doing and the Church subtly recognizes paranormal science and parapsychology, although he does not deny that Western medicine does not acknowledge the validity of faith healing.