The Chabacano Suruhano

I was checking my Facebook account when the post above appeared in my news-feed. I was so intrigued by the word suruhano because it is a word which I have never heard of in my life. Unfortunately, the term suruhano is not found in any of my Chabacano dictionaries. I asked my friend what it meant because he knows all the hondo Chabacano words; he told me that a suruhano is sort of a quack doctor. He gave a scenario wherein a person suddenly acquires the ability to jump amazing heights which is a symptom of someone turning into a supernatural being (e.g. werewolf, vampire, etc) and the suruhano would prescribe the first egg of a hen to this person as cure.

I asked another friend and she also said that suruhano is a quack doctor. But she quickly backtracked and explained that a suruhano is someone who conducts exorcisms.

Suruhano may have come from the Spanish word zurujano which is an archaic variant of the word cirujano. The Spanish cirujano means surgeon.

In the text above, the word suruhano is spelled using the Filipino alphabet. The word would have been spelled as surujano using the Spanish alphabet.

The term suruhano is also found in this Chabacano bible where it is spelled as surujano.
Tiene maga Judio surujano ta travesa gayot na maga donde donde lugar para icha afuera el maga demonio na cuerpo del maga gente, y tiene de esos amo el siete hijo di Esceva. Tiene vez ta precura sila usa el nombre del Señor Jesucristo para hace ese. Ta habla sila con el maga demonio, “Ta ordena came cañino sale na nombre di Jesucristo acerca di quien si Pablo ta predica.”
Despues aquel gente quien tiene demonio na cuerpo ta ataca gayot con el maga surujano y ya gana canila. Ya sopla gayot bueno bueno, y el resulta de ese ya sale sila na casa corriendo, herido, y desnudo.  
Mucho del maga gente quien ya queda creyente ya confesa na publico que sila estaba ta sigui secretamente el trabajo de surujano. Tiene tamen de esos que estaba ta practica el trabajo de surujano, ya lleva el di ila maga libro acerca del di ila trabajo y ya quema ese maga libro na publico.
I have compared the Chabacano verses above to its English equivalent and it looks like the term surujano refers to exorcists.

I also found this article which talks about the first doctor in Buenos Aires. According to the article, the first doctor in Buenos Aires wasn't really a doctor but a "surujano".

I think the closest comparable experience I've had was an old woman who did a sajuma. The experience involved the old woman praying over me and blowing a lot of smoke into my face. The whole experience ends with the old woman crushing an alum which is believed to now house the bad spirit that made you ill. Very fascinating, huh? The word sajuma is a verb and it may have come from the Spanish word sahumar.

What about you, have you ever encountered a suruhano?


  1. Hey, che, it's good to see you posting again here. I would say that this refers to mysticism. This is the best explanation that come from my head to sum up this curious word, hehe.

    Keep posting more things here, amigo.

  2. Surujano; ya oí yo se na un Historia Acerca De Jesucristo na Libro de Lucas en Chavacano. Allá mucho también maga palabras Chavacano que correcto el maga terminologías ya acaba usá.