Why oh why among all the nations of the world have we Filipinos been cruelly selected to suffer this medically incomprehensible condition? Piang clearly does not refer to a full bone fracture or a strained muscle. Otherwise, the poor victim would be unable to manage even the faintest glimmer of the famed Filipino jollity in the worst of adversities. I have been repeatedly told though that if a piang is left untreated by a manghihilot (quack doctor + masseuse of sorts?) the afflicted individual will suffer from innumerable aches and pains for the rest of his miserable existence, whereby he will wonder if he had been chosen by a gang of invisible magical dwarves to play tricks on.
My parents must have been from an alternate dimension where the Philippines is the dominant world power and where Filipinos sit in garden cafes drinking tea, discussing Plato’s Republic and plotting total world domination. They don’t believe in piang and the manghihilot. By virtue of association, neither do I. But my in-laws do and dinner conversations occasionally take a bad turn whenever my daughter is ill for unknown reasons.
* There’s no question about it. She has piang.
** [staring down at my MSG laced dish; no comment]
* We must bring her immediately to the manghihilot.
** [if my eyes had laser beams, there’d be a hole on my plate]
Of course, I do acknowledge that modern medicine cannot comprehend or solve everything. In a few hundred years when much will be understood, our current methods of healing by cutting, stitching and chemical bombardment will be met with no small measure of shock by the people of the future. While little is understood today, the traditions of old must be referred to for additional wisdom. There must be some truth to piang and hilot but I just wish there was at least some sort of explanation for them. Even the most obscure of eastern medical methods hazard some explanation behind their curative claims no matter how improbably mystical. No one however has ever explained what piang is.
I’m going to go crazy if I have to bear another dinner conversation about this unknown condition that the old ones say plagues my daughter every time she has fever or an upset stomach. Somebody save me.
*Photo Credit: Webweaver