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The 3rd International Babaylan Conference 

Makasaysayang Pagtatagpo

(Historic Encounters)

Filipino and Indigenous Turtle Islanders Revitalizing Ancestral Traditions Together

Held in Vancouver, Coast Salish. on Aug 8, 2016 The Centre for Babaylan Studies (“CfBS”) co-created with Kathara Pilipino Indigenous Arts Collective Society the Third International Babaylan Conference on September 23-25, 2016 at the YMCA Camp Elphinstone, Squamish Territory on the unceded Coast Salish Territories of British Columbia, Canada. 

While focusing on concepts and practices of Filipino indigenous knowledge and healing traditions during the first and second Conferences, the Coast Salish gathering expanded to include our relationships with indigenous peoples of Turtle Island or North America.  The Conference highlighted the collective resilience of colonized societies in the Philippines and in North America, and on how a persistent return to indigenous practices can bring about healing. Makasaysayang Pagtatagpo or Historic Encounters between Filipinos and Turtle Islanders: Revitalizing Ancestral Traditions Together intended to build mutual respect for experiences and worldviews we hold in common, our historical differences, and our diversity. 

Read the Witness Report by Jana Lynne Umipig Here:

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The 2nd International Babaylan Conference 

Katutubong Binhi / Native Seeds: Myths and Stories that Feed our Indigenous Soul

The Center for Babaylan Studies (CfBS) Second International Babaylan Conference/Gathering was held September 27, 28, and 29, 2013, at Westminster Woods near Occidental, Sonoma County, Northern California.

At this second gathering, we focued on sharing knowledge about our Filipino Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSP), in order to deepen our experience and practice as culture-bearers in the diaspora. We sought to further clarify our understanding of what it means to be Indigenous when we are not land-based as our ancestors were, or as our Katutubo/Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines still remain. Since indigenous belief systems emerge out of a people’s relationship with the Land and the cosmos, we believe it is important to learn how to access the power of our myths and stories even when colonization has erased most of these from our memory. We believe that the fragments that we remember can clue us in on how the stories are still embedded in our bodies and in our unconscious, and thus can be reclaimed and re-imagined. Our invited keynote speakers and presenters addressed this theme through the telling of Filipino indigenous myths and the cosmic stories which they convey, along with the ceremonies and rituals that embody their meanings. Additionally, our presenters will be talking about the ways in which these indigenous practices can be part of our lives in the diaspora, in the context of deep respect and reverence for the communities in the homeland, which are the sources of these myths.


The 1st International Babaylan Conference 

Reclaiming the Now: The Babaylan is Us

Center for Babaylan Studies (CfBS) hosted the First International Babaylan Conference on April 17 and 18 at Sonoma State University. Key speakers Grace Nono, Katrin de Guia, and Virgil Apostol will present aspects of the Filipino indigenous culture seldom taught outside the Philippines.

The Babaylan in Filipino culture represents the figure of the indigenous healer. This sacred gathering of healers, artists, scholars, activists, performers, and other culture-bearers will share Babaylan-inspired work through ritual, ceremony, dance, poetry, film, academic panels, conversations, and workshops. Leny Strobel believes it is timely and relevant. “There is a growing realization
in mainstream society,” Strobel explains, “that indigenous knowledge and practices carry the ancient wisdom that enabled people to survive the genocide and holocausts brought by modern civilizations.” 
Stories of physical, spiritual, and emotional healing by a babaylan run strong in Filipino and Filipino American families and communities. Also known as an arbularyo, hilot, mombaki, bailan/beliyan/babaylan, catalonan, dawac, or ma-aram, these women and men received knowledge passed down by ancestors about healing herbs and massage techniques, while
others were respected for their ability to speak with spirits and ask for the release of the soul of a loved one.


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