Healing by faith

BAGUIO CITY—Jessie “Kosako” P. Nobida has helped countless patients on the road to recovery, and has vowed to continue his uncle’s legacy of healing for the rest of his life.

Twenty-nine-year-old Kosako, as everyone calls him in Baguio City, started healing 8 years ago when his uncle, Reverend Placido Palitayan, the famous yet controversial Filipino faith healer known for his bare hand surgeries here and abroad, needed his help in attending to the growing number of patients who believe in Palitayan’s ability to locate the source of their distress and cure it in a matter of minutes. Most illnesses brought to their attention are those that learned medical practitioners but cannot cure despite being armed with modern medical facilities.

The power of healing runs through his veins, which he inherited from his uncle. He also had his share of psychic surgeries. Psychic surgery is performed through the mind and spirit of the healer. The healer uses the mind to concentrate spiritual power through the hands into the body of the patient. The hands are being guided by the spirit in locating the parts of the body in which the disease is developing and injects spiritual energy into those parts. At some point, the hands of the healer penetrate the body of the patient to take out blood or tissue, without leaving a wound or scar.

Young healer

“With God’s grace, I was able to cure many of my patients. Without Him guiding me and giving me the power to heal, I could not have accomplished anything. Prayer is my ultimate weapon,” Kosako shares.

His power to heal however is channeled to a different kind of alternative healing. As a young healer, he considers himself as a master in reflexology and other forms of hand massage.

Reflexology, massage, acupressure, magnetic therapy is his expertise.

Bare hand surgery is just one of the alternative ways of healing performed by faith healers. For his part, Kosako explains that diseases are treated in various ways. Body disorders such as hypertension, sclerosis and stress-related problems call for a different way of healing, that is, through energy healing which includes massage, reflexology, acupressure and magnetic therapy. Kosako claims to be an expert in these fields. These alternative ways of healing require the laying of hands and prayers.

His first successful stint in this field took place in Alilem, La Union province where he was faced with the task of bringing a 60-year-old man back to his feet. The patient was bedridden for a long time due to an aching back, a common sign of old age. As Kosako was performing the ritual, starting with a prayer followed by the placing of his hands on the patient’s body, he didn’t really have an idea on how to cure the old man. He just felt his hand being guided by a supreme power, which he believes is from God. Before long, the man was able to stand again without any trace of what had made him suffer.

Hearing the news, residents from the barrio came to him to be healed of their illnesses. With some of his companions, he entertained all of them until they were exhausted. Most of the patients were farmers who complained of common body aches acquired from days of hard work tilling the fields.

Kosako had also treated a 1-year-old patient who had poor body resistance. He said that the laying of his hands on the patient, coupled with a prayer from within made the patient recover from the ailment.

“I am just an instrument of God. Everything comes from Him. I may continue doing this as long as He still finds me a useful instrument for healing people,” he said.

Kosako had also traveled as part of his mission. The opportunity was given to him when foreign tourists from European countries heard of his successful healing during their stay in the Philippines, and asked him to conduct his mission in their respective countries.

The strict laws in some countries like Poland did not stop him from fulfilling this mission. Here, he and his group was asked to secure a working permit from the government for their “supposed work.” They were informed that in Poland, faith healers are required to pay taxes, despite the nature of their business.

Kosako reveals that he attends to an average of 50 patients a day, and maybe more. “It’s tiresome too. We’re just humans anyway. When too many people come to us, sometimes our energy is not enough to meet them all,” he says.

And when he gets drained, he has his own way of recharging. “I meditate. This is good in cleansing the spirit and renewing the energy to keep going. And of course, the belief that many people come to us for our help motivates us further,” he added.

Critics have expressed doubts over his healing practices, saying that it is a clever way of milking patients for their money. But Kosako maintains that he does not ask money for the services he renders. In fact, he does healing for free, although some patients voluntarily give money. In his experience, some patients, mostly foreigners, would give as much as two hundred dollars to augment expenses incurred through the healing process. When in missions abroad, donations would be used to shoulder their plane tickets back home. The rest would be spent while carrying out their mission.

‘They come to us’

Since the number of faith healers flourished during the early eighties, people from around the world came to the Philippines to be healed. Reports stated that many performances were successful, but controversial. Patients testify about being cured, but the treatment made on them became the subject of criticism from skeptical medical practitioners who disapproved of faith healing. They said faith healing is a fraud and only makes people think it’s effective when it’s not.

Kosako does not keep track of all the patients he cured but he believes that the majority of the treatments he performed were successful. If it were a failure, he would know when the patient comes back to him. Most of them do.

“But these cases happen only when the patient previously underwent an operation before coming to us, and they did not tell us about it. One time we discovered that one of our patients had a piece of metal in his body that was not taken out after he had surgery in a hospital. This just aggravated his condition,” Kosako explained.

He said that if he were a fraud, people would not come to him. In fact, patients seek his treatment because of previous patients who tell stories about the successful treatments made on them, Kosako explains.

Fast facts about alternative healing


This form of alternative healing seeks to remedy illness through the application of deep finger pressure at points located along an invisible system of energy channels called meridians. Shiatsu is the Japanese version of acupressure. Tuina is a Chinese variation that involves more massage-like kneading motions.

Acupressure may be performed on a floor mat or massage table, and the person receiving the treatment usually wears light, loose clothing. Practitioners may administer pressure to various points using elbows and feet as well as thumbs and fingertips.


Unlike massage, which involves a generalized rubbing motion, reflexologists use their hands to apply pressure to specific points of your foot. Typically, you remain fully clothed, sitting with your legs raised or lying on a treatment table. The reflexologist may powder your foot or use lotion to make mani­pulating it easier.

After gently massaging your foot, the reflexologist will begin applying pressure to the reflex points thought to correspond to your health problems. He will treat first one foot, and then the other; some believe it is more effective to start with the left foot. No instruments are required, but some practitioners use devices such as rubber balls to apply some of the pressure. If you have foot problems, such as severe calluses or corns, the therapist may refer you to a podiatrist for treatment. Although most reflexologists work only with the feet (a few work with the hands), they do not treat foot disorders.


• Acupressure: Removes blocks in the meridian system. Often helpful for improving the immune system and well-being.

• Alexander Technique: Teaches other ways of moving. This really isn’t a massage—but is often listed into the same section of various healing directories. This work teaches one how to sit, stand and walk in a way that works with the bodies muscles. It is often recommended after other types of body work to help keep the changes. It also helps dancers, singers and athletes to perform their best.

• Chi Nei Tsang: Removes blockages in the abdominal area. This is internal organ massage. It feels weird at first but is very healing for digestive ailments. Also good for improving the immune system.

• Cranio-Sacral: Loosens neck muscles. Great for relieving neck pain.

• Deep Tissue: Loosens muscles. This massages often hurts—but it has its advocates.

• Feldenkrais: Helps with sports injuries, snoring, general tension and often gets people out of comas. It is a clothes-on massage that teaches the body alternative ways to move.

• Jin Shin Jyutsu: Helps reduce tension, stress and other problems. It is fairly similar to acupressure.

• Reflexology: Adjusts meridian energy. It helps remove blockages through the feet.

• Reiki: Adjusts energy in the body. As the person channels energy through the body, be certain that you are in-tune with the person doing this work.

• Rolfing: Adjusts the muscles sheaths to be at their full extension.

• Rosen Method: focuses on the emotional body. More effective in releasing emotional trauma than traditional therapy.

• Shiatsu: Focuses on releasing blocked energy.

• Swedish: Focuses on relaxation. It is the most common type of massage.

• Trager Approach: Helps with joint movement. This massage works on loosening all joints.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Manila Times, Philippines
Sep. 6, 2003
Hannah Lacsamana

Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday September 6, 2003.
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