Bibiano S. Fajardo, Ph.D. (A.M.) is the founding president of the Association of Traditional Health Aid Givers, Inc. (ATHAG). As a practicing albularyo with a degree in Chemical Engineering and 47 years of experience in healing with, and teaching Hilot, he has been actively spearheading the movement for the recognition of Hilot as a scientific, mainstream healing modality. The framework that he developed to demystify Hilot and illustrate how it works is explained in the book, Hilot: The Science of the Ancient Filipino Healing Arts, which he authored with Ma. Aleli Pansacola.
Before going full-time in teaching and promoting Hilot, Dr. Fajardo tirelessly balanced his Hilot advocacy with his earlier career as an entrepreneur-builder. Even as he oversaw business operations, he devoted time to healing, continuous learning, and pushing for the recognition of Hilot. He immersed himself with healers from different parts of the country to learn traditional healing techniques from various regions, and in so doing, he was able to get a good picture of healing practices from across the Philippines.
Dr. Fajardo was one of the founding Board of Trustees of the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC). He assisted in the drafting of Republic Act 8423, or the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act and its Implementing Rules and Regulations. He was also the Director of the Committee for Alternative Health of the Philippine Institute for Alternative Futures (PIAF), and served as Director of the Buod-Buhay Foundation, which was engaged in research on indigenous approaches to healing.
With the emergence of the spa industry, Dr. Fajardo and ATHAG were tapped by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to be part of the group that would come up with a standard Hilot curriculum for the spa. However, ATHAG was the only organization actually practising Hilot; the other members were engaged in massage and other modalities. The resulting curriculum–an amalgamation of inputs from all the members of the panel–reflected this markedly heavy slant toward massage. While it incorporated the Hilot philosophy and principles shared by Dr. Fajardo, the rest of the curriculum basically promoted Hilot as a massage technique. Dr. Fajardo strongly protested the inclusion of practices inconsistent with the principles of traditional Hilot, resulting in his being a controversial figure when it comes to these issues.
Undeterred, Dr. Fajardo continued his advocacy with ATHAG, teaching traditional Filipino Hilot and herbal treatment to communities using the Hilot curriculum that he developed. He also trained spa therapists on the Hilot Wellness Sequence, a one-hour program designed to identify and correct imbalances in the body following the principles of traditional Hilot. In this respect, Dr. Fajardo worked with the Department of Tourism to train members of spa associations on Hilot, and represented the Philippines in the International Spa Convention in Singapore. He also explored collaborations with organizations in Germany, Japan, and the United States to bring Hilot to these countries.
Dr. Fajardo’s contribution to the preservation and promotion of Hilot has been recognized by the International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP), an organization under the United Nations, which chose him as one of the recipients of the Award for Excellence in Traditional Health in 2008. Dr. Fajardo also received the Board of Chemical Engineering Award for his work in Alternative Medicine.
To this day, Dr. Fajardo is actively engaged in Hilot healing and training, and welcomes opportunities to spread the word about the scientific basis and healing benefits of Hilot to various audiences. He is currently on the faculty of the De La Salle Zobel-Family Life and Wellness Institute (DLZ-FLWI), where Hilot is being offered as a course for medical practitioners and individuals who want to learn this traditional Filipino healing modality, as well as other alternative healing methods.