These definitions are taken from the Center for Babaylan Studies.
babaylan – Philippine indigenous communities recognize a woman (or man) as a Babaylan, someone who has the ability to mediate with the spirit world, has her own spirit guides, and is given gifts of healing, foretelling, and insight. She may also have knowledge of healing therapies such as hilot, arbularyo. She is a ritualist, a chanter, diviner. She has the gift of traveling to the spirit world or non-ordinary states of reality in order to mediate with the spirits. Babaylans are called by other names in the other languages of Philippine indigenous communities: Mombaki, Dawac, Balyan or Balian, Katalonan, Ma-Aram, Mangngallag, Mumbaki, Mambunong.
In contemporary contexts, whether in urban Philippines or in Filipino diasporic communities, the Babaylan name is used by those who are inspired by the spirit in which the primary Babaylans carried out their work: the spirit of revolution against colonization, their belief in Sacred Wholeness, their love of mother country, the desire to serve their communities in achieving justice and peace.
If we were to take a non-Filipino word to describe the various healers/spiritual practitioners, a “shaman” would be the closest. Some of our members, in their writings for a Western/Westernized audience, sometimes interchange shaman, “shaman-priest,” or “priestess” but our members also strive to use the local term when referring to a specific person, region, or ethnolinguistic group. Otherwise, it IS indeed a challenge to use English terms to describe or explain our Philippine traditions.
Bahala Na – Filipino attitude, in which, he/she is determined to do his/her best and in the face of uncertainty takes courage and thus action. The common Filipino phrase “bahala na” essentially means “I will do my best and trust God to take care of the outcome.”
Kapwa – shared identity. inner Self/Spirit/Self. In SP, Kapwa has two categories, Ibang Tao (other people) and Hindi Ibang Tao (not other people). Togetherness. It is “unity of the one-of-us-and-the-other.” Also see Pakikipagkapwa.
Pakikipagkapwa – togetherness. sacred interconnection of people and all of Creation. Also see Kapwa.
Pakikisama – Smooth Interpersonal Relationship/s and maintenance thereof. Being united with another, a group, or a community.
Talinghaga – a process of reflection, contemplation… it is thinking and seeing in metaphors, and it entails a matter of inner sight; a part of Filipino holistic thinking. De Guia writes in Kapwa (see CFBS books list) that its “a wholistic lifestyle that was anchored in prayer and devotion.” Talinghaga is quite significant in trying to understand how Filipinos think naturally and how our westernized thinking may not include acknowledgement of the validity of such an ability; anyone can be quite capable of thinking intuitively and logically, and creating a balance between the two types of thinking.