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message thread year 2001
It's a story of Ina Poonbato.
The remote regions of the Zambales mountains in Bolotan, Zambales, Philippines were once the tribal lands of the aboriginal hunters, the Negritos. Djadig their leader, was a special man revered for his unmatched skills in hunting with bow and arrow. No one in all the tribes could run as fast as he, and it was known that even without arrows Djadig could capture the fleetest deer. Among the Negrito people he was the acknowledged leader of leaders.
It was during a hunting expedition with his three sons that he first experienced a miracle. The hunting party had stopped to rest at the bank of the Pastac River when an ethereal voice filled the air, commanding, "Get up, Djadig. Look for me. Come and take me home with you."
The voice had come from the top of a towering rock where Djadig, alone, saw a beautiful lady shining like the sun and dressed in shimmering gold. Her hair was like the sunlight, her eyes dark and filled with compassion. He was drawn to the spot instinctively, like metal to a magnet, all the time his eyes entranced by the vision. As he drew closer his vision dematerialized and the beautiful Lady remained only an image carved on shining gold wood.
"Take me home with you," the ethereal voice commanded again, and Djadig instinctively obeyed.
When he reached home, his wife was unwilling to believe his mysterious tale. Angry that he had neglected his duties as a hunter, she seized the wooden image and cast it indignantly into their fire pit. Flames shot up instantly, burning the walls and ceiling, and before help could arrive, Djadig's hut was reduced to ashes. "Wait Look!" exclaimed the children, who were poking the glowing embers with a bamboo pole, "The shinning image is not burned." It was true. The image was intact and still shining like gold. With due honors, the Negritos reverently enshrined the image on the selfsame rock where Djadig had discovered it.
Many years later the first Europeans landed on Philippine soil. As they colonized the islands, the culture which preceded them was vanquished. Christianity was introduced to the new civilization, and when an image of the Virgin Mary was presented to the Negrito people, they were delighted to see that it was a replica of their own patroness, "Ina Poonbato".
When the shining image discovered by Djadig was revealed to the Spanish missionaries they were forced to believe that their own Reverend Mother had preceded them. The Negritos explained that "Ina Poonbato" was the source of many miracles to them. She was their patroness and the bringer of rains, filling the mountains with deer and an abundance of food.
Ina Poonbato has long been recognized in the Philippines for the many miracles accredited to her, but only as recently as 1985 was she carried to Rome and officially sanctioned by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II.
Kieljoy@a......08/08 2:55 PM
Again, thank you in sharing the story.
Italiano (Ita + Ilocano )
Johnnie A Reyes
Poonbato was buried by the lahar & ashes of Mount Pinatubo. The Ina Poonbato shrine is now in Loob Bunga... a sitio in Botolan.
I've been there last January 24 on the feast day of the Lady of Peace & Good Voyage... the Ina Poonbato. I've seen both the Catholic & the Aglipayan images of our Lady... as well as their dresses, which are donations from various people with panata. A lot of people are still going there especially now that it's more accessible. Though i also miss the fun and excitement of going to the original shrine... leaving as early as 4am; riding in jeepneys; crossing several "kabatuhan" where some are even washing clothes, taking a bath or having a picnic.
Some things are still the same though like lining up to touch & kiss the image of the Ina Poonbato; lighting candles; and attending the hourly masses.
The pulot, ube, native orchids, pana and other stuff are still being sold near the shrines. Parking is now a problem since most people have their own cars/services. But there are also those devouts who walk from their homes to the shrine. I've also been told not to promise to attend the feast of Poonbato and then end up not fulfilling it. To play safe, I don't make promises:)
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