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.
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.