Ang mga isturya sang una...  

Reprinted from the Philippine Free Press

June 21, 1947 issue.

Boy Herbolario

By L. Muzar, Iloilo City

THE barrio of Likwon (Jelicuon) in Cabatuan, Iloilo has become a shrine to which sick people trek every day to seek the cure of their ailments from nine-year-old Mansueto Boreva.

This "wonder boy" has attracted so much attention that people from towns in Iloilo, Capiz, Antique and even Negros go to him to avail themselves of his supposed medical powers.

Nine-year-old Mansueto dictates his prescription to his grandfather. (From the Philippine Free Press)

Four months after Mansueto was first discovered to possess this unusual ability, the practically unknown barrio of Likwon has become a lively community.

Jeeps, jeepneys, trucks and automobiles are parked on both sides of the narrow barrio road. There are already carinderias, refreshment parlors and fruit stands and gambling is conducted in the shade of bamboo clumps. People bring their provisions as it takes more than a day for the name of the patient to be called for "diagnosis."

The whole place is filled with a milling crowd of men, women and children, of practically every conceivable ailment -- from mildew on the thumb to laryngeal tuberculosis. The house of the boy "herbolario" is a small, bamboo-and-nipa affair with solid bamboo gratings on the windows.

The crowd inside and outside the hut is so thick a puppy can hardly squeeze through. After maneuvering for about 30 minutes, the writer was able to get a glimpse of the boy, Mansueto.

He was seated on a wooden bench facing a small table on which an image of the Virgin decorated with artificial flowers was placed. He was flanked by his mother, Victoriana Pillo, and his grandfather, Evaristo Pillo, who jotted down on a piece of paper the names of medicinal plants and herbs to be used by the patient.

When interviewed, Victoriana and Evaristo revealed that Mansueto began making cures early in March this year (1947), first among his playmates. He has now treated (so to speak) about a thousand patients.

There are those who are loud in their acclaim of the wonderful powers of this boy, who, according to them restored the sight of a man who was blind for years. Other informants also tell of a patient who got well from an almost hopeless case of tuberculosis. No verification could be made however.

It is said that the boy got his gift from a shabby old man whom he treated kindly. That old man who mysteriously disappeared, it is believed, was a saint.

The young herbolario does not charge any fee for his services. However, his patients, most of whom are country folks, give him what little they can afford. This is perhaps another reason why he is being sought by patients from remote places.