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LOOK: Local, foreign tourists join Siquijor’s Pahi-uli festival 2023

Siquijor holds Pahi-uli Festival. Local and foreign guests visit the different booths at the Pahi-uli Festival in Siquijor province.

Local and foreign guests visit the different booths at the Pahi-uli Festival in Siquijor province. | Photo from Siquijor Tourism Office

MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — The provincial government of Siquijor showcased its “mananambal” or traditional healers during its “Pahi-uli” Festival 2023 held from April 6 to 8.

This year’s festival, which was attended by local and foreign guests, was held in Mount Bandilaan, a 212-hectare forest reserve and the biggest watershed on the island, which is home to numerous flora and fauna.

Mt. Bandilaan is also the source of various medicinal trees and plants that are being used by the island’s traditional healers.

Siquijor holds Pahi-uli Festival. In photo is a local healer at work.| Photo from the Siquijor Tourism Office

A local healer at work | Photo from the Siquijor Tourism Office

Start of festival in Siquijor

In an advisory, the Provincial Tourism Office said that the province’s healing festival started in 2010 and had been celebrated every Holy Week since.

The Provincial Tourism Office said this “evolved thru time from Katugasan, Isla Del Fuego and Mystic Island.”

“The Healing Festival showcases our unique culture and heritage which have captured the attention of people around the world, and (it) has brought numerous tourists to our spectacular island giving livelihood and employment to our local tourism stakeholders,” read part of the office’s advisory.

It also said that the festival had become the province’s prime economic driver

It added that traditional healers, known as “mananambal” do “paha-uli” or healing practices in order to “help ailing people during the ancient times since hospitals and medications were not yet available [then].”

The practice was continued to date and despite the medical and technological advancements.

Healer Annie Ponce demonstrates “Pag-adlip” or the chopping of the “sangkap pahi-uli” or the barks, roots, twigs, and branches of medicinal plants and trees that are cut into tiny pieces ready for “Pag-uling” (charcoaling). | Photo from Siquijor Tourism Office

Rules in celebrating festival

“Many Siquijodnons and people from outside the province still patronize and believe in the healing powers of the island’s traditional healers,” Siquijor’s Tourism Office said.

While the celebration is held during the Holy Week, it said that the Provincial government was doing its best not to go against the Lenten Season practices of the Roman Catholic Church as they also celebrated their festival.

“As such new rules and guidelines are instituted to make the celebration as solemn as possible by prohibiting drinking of liquor, smoking, and conduct of merriment like discos and live bands especially at night time which was practiced before and have misguided Siquijodnons especially the youth the significance of the Holy Week Celebration,” it said.

This is one of the booths at the Pahi-uli Festival. | Photo from Siquijor Tourism Office

This year’s festival was opened with a Eucharistic Celebration on Holy Wednesday.  Stations of the Cross were also scheduled on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.


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TAGS: 2023, Cebu Daily News, festival, Holy Week, Siquijor, tourists
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