05 April 2021
In Negros and the surrounding areas, there are a number of folktales not unlike those found in Western comic books: Antman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman—stories of extraordinary humans with unique powers who people an alternate world.
Unlike its Western counterpart, however, this alternate world bleeds into Negros’ everyday life. I still remember that when I was little, my carer Yaya Teresit brought me to the Sorohano (our local word for Babaylan) to cure some unexplained sores on my leg.
Like my Yaya, many a Negrense believes supermen walk amongst us. These supermen include the Busalians, Dalagangans, Balaylans, and Anting-antingans.
Busalians are individuals born with powers to influence the course of natural events. The most powerful amongst them are still able to summon inclement weather on an otherwise calm and sunny day. Through psychokinesis, even the weaker ones can move inanimate objects at will.
Dalagangans possess unusual physical strength and extraordinary fearlessness in their fight against the dark forces. Previously invincible in combat, their amazing skills give them the ability to be great leaders and protectors of their community. They are said to hold strong integrity, which points them to the right direction in ambiguous situations.
Babaylans or Sorohanos are the shamans and the healers of old. Historically, they had the important role of summoning animistic spirits to end drought or to ask for abundant harvest. Now-a-days, their social roles have been diminished, but through their mastery of various ritualistic ceremonies, coupled with their extensive knowledge of the properties of different plants, they still retain the powers of healing and clairvoyance. /1/