The Androgynous Baglan: Interruption, Withdrawal, and Reclaiming

Aurelio Solver Agcaoili: Saint Louis University

Published Date: Mar 22, 2023 | Accepted Date: Mar 22, 2023 | Submitted Date: Mar 22, 2023


The pursuit of decolonization is a first act in the manifold acts of real, because substantive, liberation of a colonized country like the Philippines. The reason is clear: every colonizer not only colonizes a country but invades and occupies the mind of the people of that country, puts a claim to their bodies, and replaces their language and cultural practices with his own to complete his violent act of “discovering” the Other. Even with independence granted to a colonized people, the intellectual residues in a colonized consciousness that has coopted with the colonizer if only to survive continue to haunt, the ghost of the exiled communal healer like the Ilokano baglan and similar other indigenous healers remaining a perennial spectral presence in the health life of a people. Unquestioned decolonization is not sufficient. There is a need to unpack its inherent contradictions to account for the “empire from within,” the hegemonic center, and the “internal colonizer.” In the surfacing of the baglan as a prototype of the androgynous healer, and thus, the androgynous tao, the person remains at the core of any act of decolonialization, or more so, post-decolonialization. Decolonialization that merely valorizes the language of the center of power and reduces those other languages of the country only results in peripheralization and erasure. A corrective paradigm, post-decolonialization, is thus a must.


androgyny, baglan, critical hermeneutics, health and healing, post-decolonialization

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