Did Mama Mary Appear in the Philippines? - A Closer Look

The Finding of Nuestra Señora de Caysasay of Batangas

Disclaimer: The intention of this blogpost is to present data of different reported Marian apparitions that took place in our country from the Spanish era up to the modern times based from the reports gathered by the blogger. The blogger does not have any intention to incite belief in these reported events, especially those that do not have formal approval in accordance to the ruling of Pope Urban VIII regarding reported supernatural phenomena (anticipation of a formal approval or disapproval of such events without the official ruling of the Church). Therefore, the blogger  submits himself to the judgement of the Holy See, together with every interpretation or theory contained in this blog special.

Introduction

"Did Mama Mary appear in the Philippines?" a question that many Filipino Marian devotees would sometimes wonder given that we are known as the "Pueblo Amante de Maria" for our love for the Mother of God is so intense that it is clearly evident in our history as a nation. Yet, we can't help but wonder on why we do not have a Marian apparition like those in France, Portugal, Spain and other Catholic countries who are privileged to be visited by the Virgin in an extraordinary manner.

At times, this lingering question seems to be simple yet as we discuss on this matter, we would discover that this question is not that really easy to answer for numerous factors are at play to come up with a definite answer to this centuries old nagging question. Now, for this blogpost, this blogger will attempt to provide an answer to this nagging question based from the reported Marian apparitions that took place in the Philippines from the Spanish colonial era up to the present and to discover these reported events on how it shaped the the way we think about these supernatural events and to at least have a thought on why this question is still left unanswered, or otherwise.

The first apparition of Our Lady of the Miraculous
Medal to St. Catherine Laboure in Rue de Bac
in Paris, France
What is a Marian Apparition?

In order for us to understand this topic, let us define what a Marian apparition is. A Marian apparition is a reported supernatural appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary or a series of related such appearances over a period of time. In order to be classified as a Marian apparition, the person or persons who claim to see Mary (known as the "visionary" or "seer") must claim that they see her visually located in their environment as a three dimensional person.

If the person claims to hear Mary but not see her, this is known as an interior locution, not an apparition. Also excluded from the category of apparitions are dreams, visions experienced in the imagination, the claimed perception of Mary in ordinarily-explainable natural phenomena, and miracles associated with Marian artwork, such as weeping statues.

The faithful consider such apparitions to be real and objective interventions of divine power, rather than subjective experiences generated by the perceiving individuals, even in cases where the apparition is reportedly seen by only some, not all, of the people present at the event's location.

Marian apparitions are considered expressions of the Virgin's ongoing motherly care for the Church. The understood purpose of each apparition is to draw attention to some aspect of the Christian message, given the needs of a particular time and place. Apparitions are often accompanied by other alleged supernatural phenomena, such as medical cures. However, such miraculous events are not considered the purpose of Marian apparitions, but exist primarily to validate and draw attention to the message.

Apparitions are classified as Private revelations and do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation (known as Public revelation), but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church. The faith cannot accept ‘revelations’ that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment. Public revelation ceased in the apostolic age and the writing of the Bible. 

The apparition/bilocation of Our Lady of the Pillar
to St. James the Great
The earliest known apparition claim was from St. James the Greater who saw the Virgin Mary while he was in preaching on the banks of the Ebro River in Saragossa, Spain in 40 A.D. Today, apparition reports occur more frequently. Some scholars estimate the total number of apparition claims throughout history to be approximately 2,500 (with about 500 of those coming in the 20th century alone). Throughout history 308 apparitions are attributed to Saints or Blesseds or associated to a venerated images of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are generally unofficially recognized by Church authorities (or at least the orders and congregations that they have founded or belonged to). Only 7 Popes throughout history have witnessed Marian apparitions. It was only during the Council of Trent (1545-63) that the manner of investigation and approval of apparitions became systematic.

The Catholic Church has been very cautious to approve purported miraculous events. In fact, in the 20th Century, of the hundreds of public claims, there have been only 12 with episcopal approval (4 of those with Vatican recognition) and a handful of others that have not received official approval but have been approved for faith expression at the site

On investigation and Approval of the apparition and its cultus

The Bishops are the ones who evaluate evidence of an apparition in their local diocese according to these guidelines:
  1. The facts in the case are free of error.
  2. The person(s) receiving the messages is/are psychologically balanced, honest, moral, sincere and respectful of church authority.
  3. Doctrinal errors are not attributed to God, Our Lady or to a saint.
  4. Theological and spiritual doctrines presented are free of error.
  5. Moneymaking is not a motive involved in the events.
  6. Healthy religious devotion and spiritual fruits result, with no evidence of collective hysteria.
Judgment can find that an apparition shows all signs of being an authentic or a truly miraculous intervention from heaven, that it is clearly not miraculous or there are not sufficient signs manifesting it to be be so, or that it's not evident whether or not the alleged apparition is authentic.

The apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes
to St. Bernadette Soubirous
Pope Benedict XVI commented on private revelation in his 2010 apostolic exhortation Verbum Domini (“The Word of the Lord”). “Ecclesiastical approval of a private revelation essentially means that its message contains nothing contrary to faith and morals. it is licit to make it public and the faithful are authorized to give to it their prudent adhesion. A private revelation can introduce new emphases, give rise to new forms of piety, or deepen older ones,” Pope Benedict continued. “It can have a certain prophetic character and can be a valuable aid for better understanding and living the Gospel at a certain time; consequently it should not be treated lightly. It is a help which is proffered, but its use is not obligatory.”

As the bishops are entrusted with the responsibilities of discerning and ruling on apparitions as stemming from the nature of their office, so there are fundamental responsibilities on the part of the members of the diocese. First, they are to obey their bishops when the latter act as Christ's representatives (canon 212), that is, when they teach formally or establish binding discipline as pastors of a particular church. This obedience owed to the bishops in their capacity as leaders of particular churches is intended to promote the common good. Canon 753 also speaks of the "religious assent" owed to the bishops' teaching authority, which means a special quality of respect and gratitude, along with critical awareness and good will. Hence, there should be intelligent obedience to ecclesiastical authority in the matter of alleged apparitions.

Official Church statements regarding the authenticity of apparition claims are placed into three categories:
  • Not Worthy of Belief 
    • The statements to declare a private revelation false are given according to the Latin phrase: "Constat de non supernaturalitate" (It is established that there is nothing supernatural here) . It has been determined that there are no characteristics that show it to be from God thereby attributing it to fraud or another spirit.
  • Nothing Contrary to the Faith
    • When locally it is decided or suggested that the reported apparition might or might not be of supernatural origin, the apparition is assigned to the category of "Non constat de supernaturalitate" ( It is not established that something supernatural is here). Apparitions in this category do not enjoy approval of their supernatural character but are determined to contain nothing that is contrary to faith and morals.
  • Approved
    • The supernatural chracter of the apparition is declared worthy of belief ("Constat de supernaturalitate") and contains nothing that is contrary to faith and morals. But belief in the apparition (even the true one) is not necessary for salvation.
The apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to the
three shepherd children
As established in the Council of Trent (1545-63), the local bishop is the first and main authority in the judgement of the authenticity of apparition claims. Vatican approval is not required for an apparition to be considered authentic. After an episcopal approval, the Vatican may do nothing but it may release an official statement or after some time give non-written forms of approval such as a papal visit with the crowning of the associated icon or a gift such as a golden rose, the approval of the construction of (or elevation of an existing shrine to) a basilica, the establishment of a feast day, or the canonization of the associated visionary.

Positive judgments by the local bishop (but not yet by the Vatican) theoretically are able to be reversed by a subsequent bishop - but this has never happened in the history of the Church. Negative judgments (Constat de non supernaturalitate) and rulings of no evidence of supernaturality (Non constat de supernaturalitate) have later been changed to positive judgments on a few rare occasions with the ruling of a subsequent bishop.

If a Marian apparition is recognized by the bishop, it means that the message is not contrary to faith and morals, that Mary can be venerated in a special way at the site and that the faithful can believe with confidence in the supernaturality of the event. But, because belief in a private revelation is not required by the church, Catholics are at liberty to decide how much personal spiritual emphasis (if any) to place on apparitions and the messages they deliver.

A Rundown of reported apparitions in the Philippines

The love affair of the Filipinos with the Blessed Virgin Mary began with arrival of the Spaniards in 1521 when Ferdinand Magellan discovered the country on his quest for the Spice Islands. He gifted three images to the Hara Humamay, later baptized as Reina Juana, three religious images, that of Señor Santo Niño de Cebu, El Ecce Homo and the now missing (or lost) Virgen de los Remedios. Yet it was in 1565 when a soldier of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi found the image of Nuestra Señora de Guia worshiped as a pagan idol by the natives that formally started the spread of the Marian cult in the Philippines.

For those who are following this blog for years, one may notice in the history of the devotion to some venerated Marian images in the Philippines, especially those from the Spanish colonization period that part of their narratives are the reported appearances of the Virgin that further triggered the devotional fervor of the people to a certain image of the Virgin. It wasn't until the Postwar period up to the present that we hear or read reported apparitions that are becoming similar to the character or format of the apparitions of the 18th to the 19th century like those in La Salette, Lourdes, Fatima, Beauraing, Banneaux, Kibeho among others.

So without further ado, here are the reported Marian apparitions in the Philippines based from the records and reports gathered from the Spanish regime up to the present time. Some of the reported events presented here have no definitive decision on these events and the blogger does not in a way anticipate the official judgement of the Church whether the events are accepted as miraculous or otherwise unless the Church declares such in accordance to the ruling of Pope Urban VIII regarding reported apparitions and other supernatural phenomena.

Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Morong
The Morong Apparition
Title/Image: Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Morong
Dates:  1607
Location: Morong, Bataan
Visionaries:  2 Moro pirates
Description: The beautiful lady, dressed in queenly robes
Church Decision: The associated image was Canonically Crowned on October 10, 2018.

The devotion to Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Morong, Bataan began with the establishment of the parish in 1607. It is said that the devotion to Our Lady of the Pillar in Morong, Bataan began when two captured Moro pirates relayed to the people, the civil and religious authorities of Morong that as they are about to attack Morong, they saw a an army of soldiers in the area headed by a beautiful lady, dressed in queenly robes protecting the area.

While the Church was on construction, a Spanish priest showed to the two Moro captives different images of Our Lady and the Saints to identify the woman they saw in the vision. When the image of Nuestra Señora del Pilar was shown to them, they quickly identified that this was the lady that they saw in the vision. Since then, the church in the seaside of Morong was dedicated to the Virgin of the Pillar to commemorate this unusual event and the devotion to the Virgin of the Pillar grew and strengthen over the centuries. The image received the honor of Canonical Coronation on October 10, 2018.


The apparition of Our Lady of Manaoag
The Manaoag Apparition
Title/Image: Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario de Manaoag
Dates/Year: 1610
Location: Manaoag, Pangasinan
Visionaries: an unidentified farmer
Description: The Virgin is holding the Child Jesus and the Rosary
Church Decision: The associated image was Canonically Crowned on April 21, 1926 and the shrine was elevated to Minor Basilica status on February 17, 2015.

Documents dating back to 1610 attest that a middle-aged farmer walking home heard a mysterious female voice. He looked around and saw on a cloud-veiled treetop an apparition of the Virgin Mary, holding a rosary in her right hand and the Child Jesus in her left arm, all amidst a heavenly glow. Mary told the farmer where she wanted her church to be built, and a chapel was built on the hilltop site of the apparition, forming the nucleus of the present town. This venerable tradition holds how the town of Manaoag got its name derived from the Pangasinense verb mantaoag, which means "to call" (from the root taoag, "call"). The statue of the Virgin of Manaoag was brought by Fr. Juan de San Jacinto, a Dominican friar, from Mexico. Numerous miracles were reported over the centuries up to the present that she received her Canonical Crown on April 21, 1926 and decades later her shrine became a Minor Basilica on February 17, 2015.


Nuestra Señora de Caysasay
The Caysasay Apparitions
Title/Image: Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepcion de Caysasay
Dates/Year: 1611
Location: Barrio Caysasay, Taal, Batangas
Visionaries: Catalina Talain and Juana Tangui (separate occasions)
Description: Two different descriptions
Church Decision: The associated image was Canonically Crowned on December 8, 1954 and the shrine was granted a Spiritual Bond of Affinity with the Major Basilica of Sancta Maria Maggiore in 2009.

The image of Nuestra Senora de Caysasay was a foot tall image that was fished out in Pasinipit River by Juan Maningcad in 1603. In 1611, A series of apparitions by the Blessed Virgin Mary were first reported at the rocky hillside of Caysasay in Taal, Batangas. According to a church inquiry, a vision appeared to a native servant girl, Catalina Talain, who had gone up the hillside with a companion to gather firewood and fetch some water. The unexpected vision of something small in stature but radiating extraordinary brilliance from a hollow in the rocky landscape so bewildered the girl that she ran to tell her companion, and both fled terrified back to the town of Taal, by the shore of the lake. From the cave near the spring was found the image of the Blessed Virgin—the same image that was fished out of the river almost a decade earlier and mysteriously disappeared.

Historian José M. Cruz, S.J. reviewed original microfilm documents of the inquiry into the apparitions, which he dated to 1619. He reported that Church officials interrogated Talain, but she told them she could not clearly identify what she saw. The sparseness of her report, however, convinced Cruz that Talain was not fabricating the story; he noted in his study on the events that in 17th-century Philippines, a servant girl like Talain had much to gain from associating herself with God or the saints.

Another reported apparition of the Lady of Caysasay to Juana Tangui was a more documented report. Fr. Casimiro Díaz, a representative of the Mexican vicar, in his 18th century Conquista de las Islas Filipinas, gave a detailed account where in 1611, the natives saw a bright light in rocky cave and river and hear sweet and harmonious music made by very pleasant instruments.

Juana Tangui, a servant of a prominent family in Taal, was one of the curious folks who saw the apparition for the first time yet she flee out of fear. She later returned accompanied by her mistress to the mysterious cave and saw a very bright light and the image of our Lady, almost two palm measurements in height, dressed in white, with a crown on her head and a cross on her forehead. The image seemed to be alive, as it was moving and blinking. When the native woman moved closer to her, the image spoke to her, thanking her for remembering her and coming back to see her. Juana declared that the apparition told her: "You have been kindhearted to me, but unless you wear the belt of the Cofradía de la Nuestra Senora de la Consolacion y Correa, do not come back to see me, until you are a member of the Confraternity, and you wear it."

The Santa Lucia Well where the image was found by two women which
flows a miraculous spring
The native woman returned to the town, and did not tell anyone about what had happened until she had spoken with Fr. Juan Bautista Montoya, the prior of the Taal Convent. She asked him reverentially for the belt of the Confraternity. After spending eight days in confession, the prior gave the customary belt to her. She returned to the place where the Blessed Virgin had spoken to her. In addition to herself, she brought with her eight or nine people, among them the wife of her master, Doña Juliana Dimoyaguín and other prominent residents, whose declarations appear in the accounts published about the event. They returned to the same place where the girl who had accompanied her the first time had knelt down. She moved forward to the same spot where she had been a few days before, and she saw once more, clearly and distinctly, the Blessed Virgin. After making a deep bow, Juana knelt in her presence.

The Virgin told her that she was much more pleased with her than before, because she was wearing the belt of the Confraternity. The devout native asked the Virgin directly what sign she should carry so that people would believe that she had spoken to and been in the company of the Virgin. The Virgin responded by asking for Juana's rosary and belt, telling her that it was a sufficient sign for her to touch them. Juana gave the Queen of Heaven her belt and her rosary, together with the rosaries that her companions had taken care to bring with them. The Virgin accepted them and then returned them to the said Juana Tangui. The women who received the rosaries declared that the fragrance that emanated from them elevated their souls. Moreover, Juana's eyes were healed, her eyesight restored.

Due to the miracles attributed to the Virgin's intercession, the image of Our Lady of Caysasay was canonically crowned at the Basilica of San Martin de Tours in Taal, Batangas on December 8, 1954  by Spanish Cardinal Fernando Quiroga, representing Pope Pius XII. The Caysasay Shrine was later granted a Spiritual Bond of Affinity with the Major Basilica of Sancta Maria Maggiore in 2009.


The apparition of the Virgin in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental
The Cagayan de Oro Apparition
Title/Image: Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario de Cagayan de Oro (Birhen sa Kota)
Dates: 1626
Location: Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental
Visionaries: Moro pirates
Description: The Virgin was wearing a blinding white garment
Church Decision: No formal decision. The devotion continued and permitted

When the Augustinian Recollects took over the Cagayan de Oro Mission in 1622, they introduced the devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary. In 1626, a wooden fortification was constructed around the new settlement. A wooden statue of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary was carved and installed in a church inside the fortification and later placed in the walls of the Fort San Jose for the people believed that the Virgin will protect them They called this Marian image “Birhen sa Kota”. It was in this enclosure along the riverbanks where the Cagayanons hid from the invading Moros who came to carry off people into slavery.The early Cagayanons believed that the image of “Birhen sa Kota” protected them from the Muslim invaders.


Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario
de Cagayan de Oro
According to the accounts, the villagers sighted the coming of about 2,000 Moros in their vintas. To their great surprise,e the Cagayanons saw the Moro invaders suddenly retreated in fear and disappeared. It was later reported that the invaders saw a woman clothed in blinding white garment atop the fort’s walls and whose mein was fearsome and saying “Why are you harming my people.?” The Lady ordered them to desist from their assault and commanded respect. Mystified they retreated in fear. This apparition took palce while the people inside the fort were praying for the intercession of the Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. After the reported apparition, Datu Salngsang and his wife were convinced and later were converted along with their people to the faith.

The devotion to the Virgin of the Rosary developed and strengthened in the past centuries. Saturday devotions are held in her honor with the blessing of the sick took place with the rite of of placing the statue over the heads and cures were reported over the years. This practice is somehow similar to that in Iloilo with their own "Palapak" rites.At present, the image associated to this reported apparition is enshrined at Saint Augustine Cathedral in Cagayan de Oro City.



The apparition of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Porta Vaga
The Porta Vaga Apparition
Title/Image: Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Porta Vaga
Dates: 1667 - 1692 (approximate)
Location: Porta Vaga, Cavite Puerto
Visionaries: an unidentified soldier
Description: The Virgin wears a black long mantle and white robes and her hands are clasped
Church Decision: The associated image was Canonically Crowned on November 18, 2018.

One stormy night, a Spanish sentinel was at his post when he saw a bright, shifting light. A dazzling apparition rose from the currents of Cañacao Bay and startling the sentry, who surmised that the light came from pirates out to raid the port. The frightened sentinel seized the bright light and asked to be halted, but a beautiful and gentle voice replied to the sentinel saying:  "Little Soldier, why halt me on a night so cold? Give me passage. You do not recognise Mary?" The awestruck and confused sentinel humbly repented.

The following morning, some fisherman and workers at the Cavite Royal Arsenal passed through the Porta Vaga and found a framed image of the Virgin on the beach along Cañacao Bay, near the place of her apparition the night before. They brought the painting to the parish priest, who temporarily installed it in the parish church. Eventually, the Ermita de Porta Vaga was built along the port's walls, and for three centuries served as the shrine of icon.

Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de
Porta Vaga
An inscription was found at the back of the painting, “A doze de Abril 1692 años Juan de Oliba puso esta Stsma. Ymagen Haqui.”  This inscription says that “this sacred image was placed here on April 12, 1692 by Juan Oliva” but it does not clearly tells us the exact date of the Virgin’s arrival.  It is possible that it is the date when the Virgin was enthroned at the altar of the Ermita de Porta Vaga in the 17th century.  In the past, numerous Caviteño writers attempted to give a definite date of Her arrival.  Some said that it must be during the second half of the seventeenth century.  Others would give a more definite year – 1667.

Since then, several miracles were reported once the image was enshrined. The image was later moved to her current shrine in San Roque Parish since the old Ermita de Porta Vaga was heavily damaged during the Second World War. The painting was Canonically Crowned on November 18, 2018 along with the elevation of San Roque Parish as the Diocesan shrine of Nuestra Senora de la Soledad de Porta Vaga and the formal declartion of the Virgin of Solitude as the Queen of Cavite Province. A few days later, the image and it's intangible properties (I.e. the devotion, historical significance, traditions, etc.) were declared as National Cultural Treasure by the National Historical Commission on November 24, 2018.


An artistic depiction of the Lubang event
The Lubang Island event
Title: No title was given/recorded
Dates/Year: 1711
Location: Lubang Island, Occidental Mindoro
Visionaries: three unidentified boys
Description: No description was given on the existing reports
Church Decision: Negative verdict given on September 29, 1712

In 1711, three boys reported to have seen the Blssed Virgin Mary in Barrio Santa Rosa in Lubang Island, Occidental Mindoro in a ruined chapel in the area and asked them to tell the people to have it rebuild. The boys immediately reported this to Rev. Fr. Juan Chrisostomo, a Filipino priest. Fr. Juan was moved by this message that he complied to the supposed request of the Virgin to have the chapel rebuilt with the help of Don Francisco Boo - a prominent personality in the island. A well was later dug up near the ruined chapel which cures were reported because of it. When the chapel was completed and the well was prepared, five maidens who would later live like beatas were assigned to attend the chapel.

The boys were later sent to Manila for investigation and provide their testimony before the Archbishop of Manila. The boys got intimidated with the Archbishop that they later recanted their claims. On September 29, 1712, the decree of the commission was issued stating that the supposed apparitions were false and it projects as "superstitious, idolatrous, smacking of the pagan rite of mag -aanito" and work of the devil. The Archbishop sent his representative in Lubang Island for the demolition of the chapel, sealing the well and sending the ladies back to their families. Fr. Chrisostomo and Don Francisco were sent to ecclesiastical jail and was later released after Fr. Chrisostomo's sister who lives in a cloister (probably that of Monasterio de Santa Clara or one of the Beaterios of Manila) pleaded for clemency stating that "he omitted the error in hi devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and later reinstated in the island for his pastoral work.



Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zamboanga
The Zamboanga Apparition
Title: Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zamboanga
Dates: December 6, 1734; September 21, 1897
Location: Fort Pilar, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur
Visionaries: Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Zamboanga
Description: an unidentified soldier (1734); Zamboanga townsfolk (1897)
Church Decision:  The associated image was Canonically Crowned on October 12, 1960.

The miraculous bas relief image of Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Zamboanga City enjoys much veneration both by Catholics and Muslims in the area. The Fort Pilar was constructed sometime in the 16th century and later rebuilt in 1718.

When the relief of Our Lady of the Pillar was placed above the wall of the fort in 1734, many reported miraculous events took place. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to a soldier on December 6, 1734, at the gate of the city. The soldier tried to halt her entrance but later realized that it was the Blessed Virgin, he went down on his knees and ask for pardon. The Virgin disappeared and when he looked at the wall image, he realized that its the same woman that he saw. On September 21, 1897 at 1:14 PM in the afternoon, a strong earthquake struck the western region of Mindanao. The Virgin Mary made an apparition, and according to the people who witnessed it, they saw the virgin standing mid-air over the Basilan Strait. She had her right hand raised to signal the onrushing waves to stop, saving the city from a tsunami.

The Fort was later converted to a Shrine and numerous miracles were reproted through her intercession. The Virgin on the facade was Canonically Crowned on October 12, 1960.


Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Pagsanjan
The Pagsanjan Miracle
Title/Image: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Pagsanjan
Date/Year: December 8, 1877
Location: Pagsanjan, Laguna
Visionaries: Bandits
Description: The Virgin of Guadalupe
Church Decision: The parish was elevated as a Diocesan Shrine in 2012 and the image was honored with Episcopal Coronation that same year

On midnight of December 8, 1877, a group of bandits led by Tangkad who already plundered the nearby town of Majayjay is nearly approaching the western entrance of Pagsanjan. When the bandits are approaching the town, a beautiful lady dressed in white and holding a shining sword appeared to them. Using her sword, she drew a line and proclaimed that the town is under her protection. The bandits experienced fear and immediately went to the mountains.

Mang Juan, a sabungero who lives near the western entrance saw the whole event because of his insomnia that night. He told the event to the Parish priest who later told it to the government authorities. All of them do not believe the story of Mang Juan until they went to the exact site and saw the mark of the Virgin's sword. To express their gratitude to their patroness, the Virgin of Guadalupe, they built a stone gate on the exact site where they saw the mark of the Virgin's sword. This stone gate would later be known as the Pagsanjan Arch that built from 1878 to 1880 under the supervision of Fray Cipriano Bac. The arch was built by the people of Pagsanjan to express gratitude to their beloved patroness from protecting the town from bandits.

Due to the strong and persistent devotion of the people of Pagsanjan and nearby towns to the Virgin of Guadalupe of Pagsanjan, the Diocese of San Pablo declared Pagsanjan Church as the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in December 12, 2012. During the Elevation rites, the processional image of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Pagsanjan received Episcopal Coronation to highlight the special occasion.


Nuestra Señora de las Nieves de Cavinti
The Cavinti Miracle
Title/Image: Nuestra Señora de Las Nieves de Cavinti
Dates/Year: 1895
Location: Cavinti, Laguna
Visionaries: townsfolk
Description: The Virgin as Our Lady of the Snows
Church Decision: The Virgin was named as the Secondary Patroness of Cavinti, Laguna

Nuestra Señora de las Nieves became the Secondary Patroness of the Cavinti due to numerous miracles that were attributed to her intercession. In the parish records, there was a particular event that further strengthen the cultus of the Virgin  - miraculous snow falls.

The miraculous snow fall occurred first in 1885 and in 1895. On the second recorded snow miracle, it is testified that they saw a strange cotton plant which is unheard of in the town and it has glistening white material on it, but when they examine the material, it was not cotton but snow and suddenly the Virgin made an appearance near the parish vicinity. From then on, the Blessed Mother as Nuestra Señora de las Nieves was made the secondary Patroness of the town up to the present.

The devotion to Nuestra Señora de las Nieves of Cavinti, Laguna continues to flourish up to the present. The feast of the Virgin is observed every August 5, the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Sancta Maria Maggiore which also coincidentally the eve of the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord.


Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados de Bacacay
The Bacacay Apparition
Title/Image: Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados de Bacacay
Dates/Year: 1901
Location: Bacacay, Albay
Visionaries: Aetas
Description: The Blessed Virgin holding the holy Infant in her left arm and beckoning to her with her right hand several Aetas
Church Decision: No definitive decision yet public veneration to the Virgin under this sobriquet and pilgrimages to the apparition site are permitted by Bishop Lucilo Quiambao in 2007

In 1901, the Aetas at that time were hunting and scavenging for food for their daily needs when suddenly a radiant light right in their midst illuminated the whole Aeta camp that struck them. They tried to find out what that light might expose to view, but there was nothing in it that could be discerned and they were very frightened at this sight. The radiant light appeared to the poor Aetas for two more nights. Each time the fell upon their faces and were very much afraid. The whole Tribe was bothered with the phenomenon that could be attributed to a great spirit. The captain tried to calm down his people then suggested "Let us pause and pray". However, for three nights, the whole tribe are having trouble to sleep due to this apparition. The described the apparition of a Lady covered with bright light and holding an infant to her arms.

The council of the elders urged Capitan Domingo to see the Cura Parroco at the Poblacion. With a small escort of elders he went forth to Bacacay down the hills. Upon arriving in town, the capitan and his escort went direct to the convento where they were to see the parish priest of the area Padre Mariano B. Bañez, to report bout the visions. Setting aside whatever doubts and scruples he entertained at the moment, the priest thought that there might be some spiritual value in the phenomenon that should not be rejected because it can make the soul desire for virtue, that us, arouse in the believer a love of God and His Blessed Mother that may lead to self-sanctification. He then discerned that it might be an apparition of the Blessed Mother indicating her pity on the Aetas living in such misery and abandon in the hills of Bonga.

Padre Bañez reported everything he had heard from Capitan Domingo to his uncle, Padre Mariano B. Bersola and later contacted a local painter, Quirino Sanchez to paint an image based from the reported events.  When Capitan Domingo went to the convento in April 1901, Padre Bañez happened to be there again and had the pleasure of showing him the painting of Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados (Ina nin Napapabayaan). Of a sudden, face glowing with wonder and delight, the capitan and the priests knelt before the image in deep respect and veneration. It was later decided that a Chapel will be built on the apparition site and for the meantime, her image stays in the church. Padre Bersola has already reserved the side altar to the left of the church, where it will be installed for everybody's veneration after blessing.

Since the enthronement of the image of the Virgin of Bacacay, numerous miracles were reported through her intercession and the apparition site became on of the most cherished sites in Bicolandia where the Mother of God graced her presence to the Aetas of the region.

In 1957, Bishop Flaviano B. Ariola decreed that the Original Image of Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados be permanently enshrined in the Bonga Chapel. As of this writing, public veneration to the Virgin under this sobriquet and pilgrimages to the apparition site is permitted and it is said that the events were given a positive sanction and allowing public devotion and veneration of the Virgin under this title by Bishop Lucilo Quiambao in 2007. Her feast day is celebrated every August 31.


The Lady as seen from the visions of Elizabeth Masuda
The San Narciso Event
Title: No title was given
Dates: 1943, 1948 and 1953
Location: San Narciso, Zambales
Visionaries: Elizabeth Masaue Masuda Almazan
Description: The Lady dressed in white robes and a long mantle showing a little hair, her arms outstretched downwards with her hands emanating rays of light, wears a blue sash with two ends are separated from each other
Church Decision: No definitive decision

Elizabeth Masaue Masuda was a Japanese woman who lived in the country before the Second World War who married a Filipino named Vicente Almazan who was later killed during the War. Elizabeth, later known as Masay was still a Buddhist when she saw a vision of a Lady on top of old San Narciso Church in Zambales. She described the Lady who was drressed in white robes and a long mantle showing a little hair, her arms outstretched downwards with her hands emanating rays of light, wears a blue sash with two ends are separated from each other. She also described the Lady was surrounded by light "as bright as a thousand light bulbs".

The following year, Masay saw a big Cross in the sky and a week later, General Douglas McArthur landed in Leyte to prepare for the liberation of the Philippines from oppressive Japanese forces. Masay was later baptized to the Catholic faith in 1948 and soon afterwards, she saw the Lady once again with a man beside her. In December of 1953, she saw the Lady for the third time and spoke to her for the first time saying: "Don't be afraid. All your sins are forgiven. You will join us soon" The Lady also requested for s statue of the Virgin commissioned based from the what she saw and she later gave to her family after her death and can still be seen up to this day.

As of this writing, there was no formal investigation that took regarding to these events yet there is an ongoing movement for push for a cause of beatification and canonization of Mrs. Masaue Masuda Almazan due to her reputation of holiness.

Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace
The Lipa Events 
Title: Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace
Dates: September 12, 1948 - November 21, 1948
Location: Discalced Carmelite Monastery, Lipa, Batangas
Visionary: Teresita Castillo
Description: The Lady dressed in white, with white belt on her waist, sports a long hair covered with white long mantle and the arms are outstretched in a manner of beckoning while holding a rosary on her right hand.
Church Decision: Negative verdict was given in 1951 and was confirmed in 2016 and classified as Non constat de supernaturalitate. Public veneration of the Virgin under this title is still permitted

The famed controversial events took place on September 12, 1948 in the Disclaced Carmelite Monastery in Lipa, Batangas. While in the monastery garden, Sis. Teresing Castillo saw the vine shook and saw the Blessed Virgin Mary and requested her to kiss the earth and she should come to the place for 15 consecutive days, rain or shine and as she will give her messages to the world. In those 15 days, Our Lady emphasized the importance of the Rosary as a weapon against the enemies of God, importance of  prayer for priests and nuns, the First Saturday devotion to the Immaculate Heart, and even predicted some events in Philippine History from Martial Law, numerous bloodshed in the country, persecutions from other so-called Christian sects, and China's ambition to conquer the world. On this apparition, the Virgin identified herself: "I am Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace".

Then a few days later, the famous shower of roses took place within and outside the convent, even on windy and rainy seasons and it always fell in the convent grounds. Images were later seen in the petals and cures are attributed to them. An investigation took place and declared it as not supernatural in 1951. A few decades later, after further studies, it turns out that the investigation was a rushed and insufficient that some speculated that the reason for it is the disbelief of then Papal Nuncio, Egidio Vagnozzi who did not believed the events and forced the Bishops to made the negative verdict unless they will be excommunicated and reportedly shouted to the visionary and called her "devil". Interestingly, the bishops who signed the verdict all recanted on their deathbeds and confessed what really happened. The commission ordered the destruction of pamphlets, prayer cards, petals, the statue and the diaries of Sister Teresing and her Prioress Mother Cecilia of Jesus, OCD. The sisters could not bear to destroy the statue that they kept the it  inside the cloisters and devised means to disguise the image.

Sister Teresing later left the monastery upon the recommendation of the Mother Foundress of the Community due to incomplete residency requirements for her novitiate because of the investigations at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila yet she is allowed to return. However she wasn't able to return due to her failing health and lived a quiet life without giving any statements regarding the controversial events, except for the official report of the events that were submitted to the Archdiocese of Lipa investigation committee in the 1990's that was later published. She later served at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and assisted Rev. Fr. Leo English, CSSR on developing English - Tagalog dictionaries.

The rose petals with images that are kept
in the Carmeltte Monastery in Lipa, Batangas
Years later in the late 1980's, several lay devotees and members of the clergy clamored for a re-investigation. Upon the dying request of Sister Alphonse of Mary one of the last of the nuns who lived during the reported events, Archbishop Mariano Gaviola ordered the public exposition of the statue and pilgrims once again flock the monastery. In the early 90's, the late June Keithly Castro, a veteran broadcaster, televised a two part documentary on the apparitions in Lipa that gain more public attention and lead to the re-opening of the case. In 1992, the late Bishop Gaviola declared that he personally believed the authenticity of the events after witnessing the miracle of the dancing sun and a shower of petals once again occurred. Since the declaration, more people flocked the Carmelite monastery and more reported miracles took place from cures from different diseases, conversions, and showers of rose petals within and outside the convent and other phenomena.

In 2009, then Archbishop of Lipa, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles declared that all bans "written and unwritten" on the devtion to the Mediatrix was lifted and confirmed Bishop Gaviola's declaration. this lead to more pilgrims to visit the site. Veneration of Mary permitted under the title "Mediatrix of All Grace"but the 1951 ruling of "Established as Not Supernatural" was affirmed by the Vatican in 2010. Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles released a statement on Spetember 12, 2015 approving the apparitions as supernatural, but the CDF nullified this document. On July 9, 2016 The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issues Pastoral Guidelines for Bishops on Private Devotions to Our Blessed Mother Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces which states that the belief in and private devotion to our Mother Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces is centuries old and should bbs fostered as a private devotion. But it must not to be based on the alleged Lipa apparitions that two Popes have already judged as inauthentic.

On Nov 16, 2017, Sr. Teresita Castillo died after a lengthy illness at the age of 89. She was buried on November 18, 2016 outside the enclosure grounds of the Carmelite monastery.


Our Lady of Cabra
The Cabra Events 
Title: Immaculate Conception
Dates/Year: December 6, 1966 - March 25, 1972
Location: Cabra, Lubang, Occidental Mindoro
Visionaries: Belinda Villas (the main seer), Mercilita Cajayon, Dalisay Tameta, Edna Villas, Matilda Somintac, Mindadelia Tulaylay, Erlinda Villas and Gloria Tulaylay
Description: A beautiful lady wearing a white robe and a blue sash around her waist.
Church Decision: No definitive decision. The Cabra events are being reconsidered for re-opening its investigation

The supposed visions were first reported by a sixth grader, Belinda Villas, and her seven friends from the same grade level at Cabra Elementary School took place on December 6, 1966. The children described the figure in the alleged apparitions as a "beautiful lady wearing a white robe and a blue sash around her waist". Their school’s principal, Juana V. Torreliza, then urged the children from the beginning to jot down the details of their encounters. One recorded vision has the lady smiling and with a sweet, reassuring voice, telling them in Tagalog: “Ako ang Inmaculada Concepción.” (“I am the Immaculate Conception.”) One of the alleged requests of the Blessed Mother to the principal seer Belinda Villas  was “to have a church built” on the apparition hill “30 meters wide.” When asked about the purpose of her earthly visitation, the vision had said: “Ang mundo ay nasa kasalanan at ibig ko na ang mga tao ay magbalik sa kabanalan (the world is in sin and I want the people to return to the path of holiness).” . It is said that the Virgin allegedly prophesied the harrowing events of Martial Law when the one of the seers noticed that the Lady was sad while giving them the message:"Huwag kayong mag away away." (Do not fight each other).

The apparitions lasted until March 25, 1972. The visionaries by then were living separate lives—some, like Belinda and Mercilita, found jobs in Manila; others chose to remain in Cabra. As the country plunged into a political turmoil, the public lost interest in the Cabra apparitions.

The children’s accounts led to a growing number of pilgrims from Manila and other islands. While a small chapel has since been erected on the hilltop where the supposed apparitions occurred, the incident has not been formally approved by the Philippine Church or the Holy See. The purported apparitions eventually inspired the 1982 Ishmael Bernal drama film Himala, starring Nora Aunor and with screenplay by Ricky Lee. The Cabra events are being reconsidered for re-opening its investigation


Our Lady of Matinloc
The Matinloc Events
Title: Our Lady of Matinloc
Dates/Year: October 8, 1982 - December 1985
Location: Matinloc, Palawan
Visionaries: an unidentified nurse-housewife
Description: The Lady with a robe and a cloak, presenting her Immaculate Heart and her right hand in a gesture of blessing

Church Decision: No definitive decision

The alleged apparitions of  the Lady of Matinloc began on October 8, 1982 to a nurse-housewife where the Lady supposedly shown to her t heart-shaped island and told her to " Look for the Heart of my Son." It took some years until in 1984 that the seer heeded the request to search for the heart-shaped island that the Lady instructed them to go to Puerto Princesa in Palawan to search. On July 14. 1984, they found the heart shaped island called Matinloc, located in Bacuit Bay, El Nido, Palawan and a few months later, a Mass was held in the island on December 2, 1984.  During the remaining years from 1984 - 1985, the seer continued to have a series of visions and locutions where the messages are concerning for the salvation of mankind: "Work for your own salvation and the salvation of all mankind.", "I need you my children. You are my hands, my feet, mylips, my eyes. For through you, I shall speak, heal and gather all my children from all the four corners of the world." Soon afterwards, the Movement of Mary was formed who is also responsible for the constructin of a Marian shrine/grotto in C-5 in Taguig City and numerous mysterious events also took place on that place, including the unexplained delays on demolition of the shrine which the developers later decided to keep the shrine intact.

In December 1985, the movement along with other Marian devotees, including a French businessman, went back to Matinloc for a pilgrimage. While there, the French businessman reported that he saw the heavens were opened  with a ring of rainbow and witnessed a beautiful monument descended o the open space a few meters from where he stood. He later heard an interior voice which says that; "My Son, The monument that you saw is the shrine of the New Jerusalem. One day, you will build it."and it was indeed built in 1993 and it was inaugurated on My 31, 1993 and it is now called the Immaculate Heart of Mary Prayer Center.

Matinloc became a pilgrim site in Palawan and numerous bishops came to the island to hold retreats, offer masses among others. Pilgrims reportedly experienced miraculous cures and other phenomena on the site. The chapel/center was blessed by Bishop Pedro Arigo, DD, then the Apostolic Vicar of Palawan on May 31, 1997. As of this writing, there wasn't an official investigation regarding the events yet pilgrims and tourist would still visit the site.


Our Lady of the Bible
The Lady of the Bible 
Title: Our Lady of the Bible
Date/Year: 1983
Location: Aringay, La Union
Visionaries:
Description: In the vision, the Lady was seen with six jars, when the image was commissioned the Bible and the Holy Spirit  was added.
Church Decision: No definitive decision. The devotion to Our Lady of the Bible was permitted.

The devotion and image of Our Lady of the Bible began with an apparition to a laywoman Mrs. Aida Manongdo, a leader of Quezon City Charismatic Secretariat, in July of 1983. Having been requested by a friend, Mrs. Letty Co, also a leader of the Charismatic group, to determine the use ofa vast tract of land in Barangay San Gregorio, Aringay, La Union. Aida agreed. Aida then saw two visions on the sites, first is a vision of a Cross resting on top of a mountain which servedlikea background to the land where it was strategically located. The second vision is that of the Virgin with twelve stars over her head and six jars below her feet. Not knowing exactly what the vision meant, Aida took notice of the peculiar elements of the vision, particularly the jars, then she recalled the Gospel account on the Miracle of the Wedding at Cana. Aida and Letty felt the urgency of the vision that they went to Rev. Fr. Efren Rivera, OP, supervisor of the Catholic Baible Ministry School, at the University of Santo Tomas to relay what took place in Aringay and also to ask permission if a statue can be made based from the vision which Fr. Rivera agreed for he  believed that it wasn't contrary to the Catholic teachings.

The image of Our Lady of the Bible was later commissioned by Letty where she lent her old image of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal whose hands were seriously damaged. Instead of outstretched arms, Aida instructed the artist to lift the left hand of the Virgin and place an open Bible while the right hand is positioned as through the fingers were opening its pages and added the Holy Spirit on her left shoulder. The image was later enthroned in Aringay to a big palay mill turned chapel and designated August 27 as the anniversary of the completion of the image of Our Lady of the Bible. At least there were two reported miracles attributed to the Lady of the Bible, a woman who was cured from cancer and an immediate cure of a man suffering from tetanus.

Although there is no formal investigation related to the apparition of the Virgin in Aringay, the devotion and image of Our Lady of the Bible was given formal episcopal recognition from Bishop Salvador Lazo, then Bishop of La Union in 1993.

The appearance of Mary, Queen of Peace

The EDSA Miracle 
Title/Image: Our Lady of EDSA, Queen of Peace
Dates: February 23, 1986
Location: Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, San Juan City
Visionaries: Soldiers
Description:  A beautiful woman encased in immense bright light and dressed like "a nun"
Church Decision: No definitive decision. The Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace of EDSA was established on December 15, 1989.

On February 23, 1986,  the National Pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima emerged from the crowds that was being carried by Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, later a Senator, and Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, who would became President of the Fourth Republic as they addressed the crowd on EDSA following their defection from the Marcos regime. As the soldiers tried to advance, they saw up in the sky what appeared to be a cross-like figure, but this did not hinder them from pursuing their goal, and they continued to press on toward the crowd. The Rosary was recited continuously; the melody of Ave Maria sounded after each decade.

What would happen next will left a deep impression to the soldiers that will lead to a change in their hearts. While preparing for an assault, all of a sudden, the soldiers were awestruck, stopping dead in their tracks. The soldiers saw a “beautiful woman encased in immense bright light and dressed as a nun” became clearly visible, standing in front of the tanks. The light was dazzling as the crowds saw her appear. According to these soldiers, the beautiful lady dressed in blue with heavenly eyes appeared in front of them, extended her arms outward and spoke in a voice that was clearly audible to everyone: “Dear soldiers, stop! Do not proceed. Do not harm my children. I am the queen of this land.”

The soldiers then dropped their weapons, withdrew from pressing forward and joined the throngs of people to turn and fight with them against the Marcos regime. The soldiers claimed that the woman who appeared to them was the Virgin Mary. A television station was covering the event which prompted thousands of residents of the Philippines to run out of their homes in celebration: “Mother Mary is with us!”

In his recollections, Cardinal Sin vouches for the veracity of the apparition and said: “Yes, my heart was telling me that this was indeed Mary. And since they obeyed this woman who appeared to them – and did not follow orders to fire upon the people, then President Marcos had nobody to give him any power or support. This is when he fled from the Philippines. That was the end of him.” The Cardinal added that he did not know the soldiers – but that they came in tears to him, awestruck by the “beautiful heavenly lady.” The Cardinal also revealed that he met with Sister Lucia, then the only living visionary from Fatima, just before he was about to travel to the United States to first tell of the Virgin’s visit at a press conference. Although Sister Lucia had no access to newspapers, radio, television, or magazines, he was amazed that she knew and recounted every detail to him of what had happened. The Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace of EDSA was established on December 15, 1989.


Our Lady of Rosales in Pangasinan
The Rosales Events
Title: Our Lady of Rosales - The Immaculate Conception
Dates/Year: 1987 - 1997
Location: Rosales, Pangasinan
Visionaries: Rowel Darang
Description: The Lady wears a white robe,  a veil with a crown of flowers, a rosary on her arm and blue sash on her waist.

Church Decision: No definitive decision

The Rosales apparitions began as a series of daily appearances before Rowel Darang, a student then aged 25, on the evening of Sept. 3, 1987. The public appearances started 10 days thereafter, on Sept. 13, 1987. The alleged messages from the Lady would center about love, reconciliation, conversion, dire predictions of world disaster and the usual themes turned platitudes associated with the Virgin. One of the most striking messages of the apparitions concerns on a coming One World government which the Philippines should resist. In her messages there is an appeal that those who believe in Jesus should resist the coming imposition of the One World Government.” She then continues: “Somehow there seemed to be a direct relationship between heeding the prophecies and urging government not to succumb to the One World Government which would be led by the anti-Christ.”

Over the next years, the supposed apparitions became public in full view of expectant crowds, reportedly numbering in the thousands, who had been advised beforehand of the time and place where the apparitions would take place. The number of crowds would go from 4,000. to 7,000. It is reported that the crowds saw “a million stars fall" around them even as they saw the Virgin while other wouls testify that they saw the Virgin as the Lady of Fatima while members of her family saw the Virgin as the Madonna and Child. The last apparition took place in 1997, allegedly attended by a crowd estimated at between 4,000 to 5,000. As of this writing, there is no formal investigation conducted regarding the Rosales events and pilgrims up to his day visit the grotto of the alleged apparitions.


Immaculate Queen of Heaven and Earth
The Agoo Events 
Title: Immaculate Queen of Heaven and Earth
Dates/Year: 1987 - 1993 
Location: Agoo, La Union
Visionary: Judiel Nieva
Description: A lady dressed in white, wears a chord with a three knotted lop in the middle, wears a crown and doce estrellas and an atocha on her forehead, wears a long veil covering her hair, arms outstretched holding a rosary and scapular, standing on a rose decked cloud on top of a guava tree
Church Decision: Negative decision given in 1993 as  Constat de Non Supernaturalitate and it was affirmed in 1995.

The controversial events happened when Judiel Nieva, alleges fifty-three apparitions of the Virgin with the Child Jesus, wearing a white robe, feet resting on a cloud, wearing a crown surrounded by a halo of lightwith twelve stars. Nieva claimed to have begun seeing visions of the Virgin Mary in 1987 when she was only 10 years old.

On March 31, 1989, she reported that the first of several public apparitions, in which she claimed to have seen a bright light, then heard voices and the sounds of trumpets while angels descended from heaven towards him singing “Allelulia” and “Salve Regina”. The Holy Family next appeared on a cloud, St. Joseph holding a shepherd’s staff and the Virgin Mary sitting on a rock holding the baby Jesus on her lap. Here are some of the messages of the supposed apparition of the Virign given to the seer: “Tell the people especially those with families that the family that prays together stays together and there will be peace in their families and in the whole world. Pray, pray, pray” (1992) “If the world does not change, I will send the warning. The earth will shake the sun will spin with a big explosion and the moon will appear in the morning and the sun at night. The miraculous phenomenon will be visible all over the earth and all will happen within half an hour. Big storms, floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and changing weather conditions are already on their way” (1992)

The reported "weeping" of the image of
Immaculate Queen of Heaven and Earth
Other "miraculous" events associated with Nieva included a Host turning into actual flesh and blood, messages reportedly coming from the Virgin Mary, images of the Virgin Mary "weeping" tears of blood and a "dancing" sun.  On January 30, 1993, the faithful see the sun turn in a circle and throwing colored rays and on March 6, 1993, during a "manifestation" on "Apparition Hill", an estimated one million people gathered to witness a "visitation" from the Virgin Mary. Numerous government officials, media personalities and even Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin attested to the veracity of these events.

In 1993, a theological commission was established by Bishop Salvador Lazo that condemned the events as Constat de Non Supernaturalitate (clearly evident to be not supernatural). Accounts reported in the news media regarding the financial corruption of the discredited seer's family and her own transsexualism were seen as proof of this finding. In 1995 a second commission was established. Spiritual fruits were noted. But said in 1995 that the report submitted by the commission shows that the protagonists have tried to abuse the credulity of the faithful and found out that the transformation of the Sacred host to a piece of flesh was simulated and that there was a mechanism in the statue of the Virgin to flow pig's blood. The prelate asked that the report results are read in the parishes of the diocese and affirmed the reports in 1996.

The seer, Judiel Nieva is now a transgender woman now uses a screen name "Angel dela Vega"and  starred in a film entitled "Siklo". Nieva claims that he still sees the Virgin and receives locutions from her. The supposed apparition site on the other hand became an empty space and remnants of the events can still be seen from  the altar, status, the spring where the Child Jesus supposedly played and the steps leading to the hill. The controversial statue was sold to private collector yet it was bought back by a remaining believer and holds private vigils. 


Mother of Eucharist and Grace
The Bulacan events
Title: Mother of Eucharist and Grace
Dates/Year: August 15, 1991- present
Location: Brgy. San Vicente, Santa Maria, Bulacan
Visionary: Carmelo Cortez
Description: The Lady dressed in white, with white belt on her waist, sports a long hair covered with white long mantle and the arms are outstretched in a manner of beckoning, exposes her Immaculate Heart and a Sacred Host is on top of the heart. Holds a rosary on her right hand while a brown scapular on her left.
Church Decision: No definitive decision. The Chapel of Mary, Mother of Eucharist and Grace was declared a Diocesan Shrine on December 12, 2006.

It was on August 15, 1991 where a reported apparition of the Virgin to Carmelo Cortez in Brgy. San Vicente, Santa Maria, Bulacan. The seer's description of the Virgin: "she was very beautiful, between 15 to 18 years of age. Her Immaculate heart was visible and on top of it was a Eucharist. Her dress was immaculate white. She was holding a rosary on her right hand and a scapular on the left." The Virgin allegedly told the visionary that the Eucharist on top of her heart is a sign that it was from her that the body and blood of her Son Jesus Christ came. She then identified herself as the "Mother of the Eucharist and Grace".

On June 12, 1991, he heard a beautiful music coming from the living room. Worried that it might wake up his 5-day old daughter, he went down to turn it off when he noticed that the music came from the picture that his friend Atty. Pedrosa gave him. The picture became three-dimensional and he saw Our Lady shedding tears of blood and the Baby Jesus trying to catch the tears with His little hand. He later called his friend Fr. Virgilio Bartolome and he immediately come several hours later and saw that the blood was still fresh.


A rose petal from the events related to the reported
appearances of Mother of Eucharist and Grace
Two days later, he was awakened again by a beautiful music and through a locution, the Lady asked him to get a notebook and pen and write down Her message: "Pray the rosary everyday. Go to Confession. Go to Mass and receive Holy Communion" and also reportedly told the seer that he will heal the sick. In the succeeding years, more messages were communicated to Carmelo Cortez from a beatification of a Filipino nun, the importance of the rosary, prayers for priests among others.

Other extraordinary phenomenon also took place during the course of the reported apparitions from roses with sacred images impressed on the petals, escarchas, rose petals turning to Sacred Hosts and numerous miraculous cures were reported among others. Soon afterwards, the Mother of Eucharist and Grace Prayer Group was established to propagate the devotion to the Virgin under this particular title and it became one of the most widely known prayer groups in the country.

The present chapel of Mary, Mother of Eucharist and Grace was established after Carmelo and other devotees followed the dancing sun until it reached its current location and the chapel was later donated to the Diocese of Malolos. Although there is no definitive decision on the veracity of the events as of this writing, the Chapel of Mary, Mother of Eucharist and Grace was declared a Diocesan Shrine on December 12, 2006.



Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary and
Good Salvation
The Cubao Events
Title: Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary and of Good Salvation
Dates: September 8, 1993 - March 25, 1998
Location: Murphy, Cubao, Quezon City
Visionary: Allan Rudio
Description: A lady dressed in white, wears a chord with a three knotted lop in the middle, wears an atocha on her forehead, wears a long veil covering her hair, arms outstretched holding a rosary and scapular, standing on a rose decked cloud on top of a guava tree
Church Decision: No definitive decision

Allan Rudio's alleged apparitions started on September 8, 1993. Allan receives two Public Apparitions every month. These two days are on the first Friday and first Saturday of each month. The exact time of an apparition is given in advance. The time the apparitions start vary from 9 - 12 P.M. and lasts approximately 1 to 1 - 1/2 hours each. During the course of the reported apparitions, then 17 year old Rudio experiences the stigmata and a miraculous well was also found in the site.

The messages that were relayed from this alleged apparition are on prayer, sacrifices, penance, like most apparitions (approved and otherwise) would often give to the seer. Interestingly, the Virgin supposedly aired her disappointment on the condemned reported events in Agoo, La Union because of the demeanor of its seer, Judiel Nieva and the people surrounding him. She also expressed to refrain from asking about when the chastisements will happen because she did not came "to calculate the fulfillment of the messages". The Lady also allegedly asked for the formation of the Apostolate of Our Lady of the Brown Race and the edal of Good Salvation.

The supposed apparitions continued until March 25, 1998. There wasn't a formal investigation that took place regarding this matter yet the enthusiasm on these reported events died down as time passed by.



Mother of Love, Peace and Joy
The Events at the Mountain of Salvation 
Title: Mother of Love, Peace and Joy
Dates: 1993 (Canada), 2007 - present (Philippines)
Location: Numerous mountains in Batangas and Cebu
Visionary: Emma de Guzman
Description: The Virgin wears a full white tunic and has a yellow golden sash and a golden-bordered veil surrounded by light
Church Decision: No definitive decision

The alleged mystical events to Emma de Guzman, an Overseas Filipina Worker in Canada began in 1993 when she claimed to see the Virgin and taught her how to pray the rosary and also of Jesus Christ in an old chapel in New York. According to de Guzman, the Virgin wears a full white tunic and has a yellow golden sash and a golden-bordered veil surrounded by light and introduced herself as "Mother of Love, Peace and Joy". A statue specific to Guzman's description was made for Marian veneration.

According to Emma de Guzman, the Blessed Virgin Mary has only chosen to appear to her annually on two specific dates, the Nativity of Mary (September 8) and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) which also coincides with Emma's birthday. An exception occurred in December 2009, when Emma refused to broadcast the message she had allegedly received to the public. She also notes that the Virgin Mary does not arrive immediately, but is first introduced by singing angels.

A photograph of the first alleged appearance of  Mother of Love,
Peace and Joy in the Philippines in 2007
Numerous reported mystical phenomena were reported and witnessed throughout these events from manifestation of facial golden dust (escarchas), bodily removal of roses, writings in ancient Koine Greek, stigmata, prophecy, and encounters with the saints and the holy souls in purgatory. Soon afterwards, the followers of Emma established the La Pieta Prayer Group to help spread the message of the Virgin and her apostolate all over the world.

The first apparition of Mother of Love, Peace and Joy in the Philippines took place in Mt. Batulao in Batangas on December 8, 2007. Members of the La Pieta Group asked the Archbishop of Batangas Ramon Arguelles permission to pray at the mountains, and requested a Holy Mass, both of which were authorized by the then Archbishop. The mountainous site of the apparition was later referred as "The Mountain of Salvation" by de Guzman. Two locations were chosen by de Guzman, Cebu and Batangas, which were land donations from her benefactors. The group also has non-Filipino members, especially among American, Canadian, Polish, and Dutch devotees who travel to the shrine to witness the alleged Marian apparition.

The apparition, stigmata, and miraculous events has no definitive decision as of this writing though a pending investigation is now being conducted by the Holy See. The La Pieta group is openly tolerated and endorsed by various leading international bishops, including the former Apostolic Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Antonio Franco, Cardinal Francis Eugene George and Archbishop Emeritus Ramon Arguelles, then Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Lipa.

Our Lady of the End Times
The Bacolod Events
Title: Our Lady of the End Times
Dates: July 28, 2013 - present
Location: Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
Visionary: Niño Emmanuel "Edsol" Tapuela
Description: A lady standing on a globe and crushing a serpent. The Lady is dressed in pink robe, blue mantle and belt, white veil, holds a rosary and a brown scapular on her right hand while her left hand is extended downwards emanating rays of light from her fingers and her Immaculate Heart is exposed.
Church Decision: No formal investigation was initiated

The Bacolod events took place in a simple home of Niño Emmanuel "Edsol" Tapuela first as a series of dreams since July 28, 2013. From the period of August 17- 21, 2018 where the Virgin allegedly asked him to paint an image based from her appearance: The Lady is dressed in pink robe, blue mantle and belt, white veil, holds a rosary and a brown scapular on her right hand while her left hand is extended downwards emanating rays of light from her fingers and her Immaculate Heart is exposed.. Edsol ignored this request for some time until a young lad asked him why the painting wasn't done yet and it was painted and finished on October 5, 2018.  Since the completion of the painting, a series of apparitions took place and other supposed supernatural phenomena took place from the weeping of tears from the painting and his image of Our Lady of Fatima, escarchas, among others. The alleged messages of the Virgin concerns on the seriousness of the praying the rosary, on how some so-called Christian sects are attacking her, and even predicted the COVID-19 pandemic in a vision on September 1, 2018 with the words "diseases that shut the world as a chastisement because no one heeded the call of conversion".

On March 25, 2019, Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, Bishop of San Carlos Diocese gave and imprimatur to the prayer and messages on Our Lady of the End Times. A few weeks later, on May 27, 2019, Bishop Alminza gave a copy of the painting to Pope Francis in an audience. As of this writing, no formal investigation was initiated regarding the events and devotees would visit the oratory in Bacolod.

Analysis

We can see in this presentation that there is a certain trend in these reported apparitions in the country since the dawn of Christianity in the Philippines. We can see here that the Virgin manifest herself in way that she is best be received. Taking on this statement, we see her that these reported visits, approved or otherwise, the characteristics of these visits adapted the tides, culture and social atmosphere of a certain time period. At first, we noticed that in almost every reported apparition in the country, the seers came from the middle and lower class society's which is pretty distinct to those famed reported apparitions in Europe.

Now, if we look on the events reported and duly recorded during the Spanish era, these reported apparitions are mostly associated to certain venerated images in the country like those in Morong, Bataan; Manaoag, Pangasinan; Taal, Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Cavite Puerto, Pagsanjan, Laguna among others either as a starting point for development of a cultus or a miracle that was performed in certain situations and its cultus was sanctioned and endorsed by the Church hierarchy at that time and often than not, these images would later receive the honor of Canonical or Episcopal Coronation and its apparition site would be elevated to shrinehood or as a Minor Basilica - in the case of Our Lady of Manaoag.

Stained glass window art at Carmelite Monastery in Lipa, Batangas
depicting Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace
On the events from the Pre-War up to the Post War period, we see a shift on thse reported events like those in Bacacay, San Narciso, and Lipa where it took the elements of those famed apparitions of the "Age of Marian Apparitions" like those in Lourdes and Fatima and the Church also noted that it was during this time period that the reported apparitions multiplied. It is also during this time that the Church, most especially during the Post War period, resorted to clamp down on these events became the norm, like in the case of Lipa, to prevent the tendency of illuminism  - the illusions of subjectivity in order to protect the Doctrines of the Church in the name of prevention of heresies.

Interestingly, with the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, the Church have changed its attitude on reported apparitios with the abolition of canon law that prevents publications on future supernatural phenomena which showed the Church's openess on these events. Cannon Rene Laurentin states that such attitude came to being because "we cannot put the action of God in a square, but to see where God is doing something and it is also the Church's way." This became evident in the cases of Cabra, EDSA, Aringay and the rest of the reported apparitions of the 20th - 21st centuries, sans the infamous Agoo apparitions, where although no official judgement was given, the cultus surrounding it were tolerated by the Church by giving imprimatur of the messages and devotions related to these events.

It is also interesting to note that the reported appearance during the 1980's up to the present are taking a more extreme approach with numerous supposed public manifestations became more dramatic from escarchas, lachrymation of images, photographic "miracles" and other phenomena which somehow gives an impression that reality of the divine is still relevant in the face of modernity and developments in science and society.

Veneration of the statue of Mother of Love,
Peace and Joy
Some thoughts

Given with these accounts, circumstances of their time periods, it seems that there is a void in the collective Filipino consciousness regarding these supernatural events, approved or otherwise, that leads us to the question "Did Mama Mary appeared in the Philippines?". Again, as I stated in my introduction, the question might look simple yet the answer is pretty complex considering the situation on each time period these reported events took place. It can be this reason that most of us overlooked these events, especially the early ones maybe because of our society's so called "historical amnesia" or simply we expect something grand

The aforementioned circumstances have left us a subconscious longing to have at least a grand supernatural event, in this case, Marian apparitions, that we can call our own, which is lenient to the so-called "Pinoy Pride" (we see how this mentality led to the waning popularity of the cultus of the two Filipino saints that I expounded on a previous blog entry). I have seen this kind of attitude in the followers of numerous reported appearances of the Virgin from the Post-War period up to the present.

Our saints however cautioned us on this tendency, most specifically St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. In the writings of the two Doctors of the Church, they forewarned the faithful to don't ask for any supernatural gifts for it shows as sense of pride that can harm the soul. If there is indeed such gift given to a chosen soul, we should accept it with genuine humility and always seek guidance to a competent priest regarding such matters.

It is also important to exercise prudence if one will come in contact with information regarding these events and to ask for God's help to discern if a supernatural phenomenon was from him or from the adversary. Lastly, it is also important to be obedient to the official ruling of the Church regarding to these matters because the Church as a Mother cares for her children and one of its acts is to make sure that the faithful guided to the faith and sound teaching of Our Lord since messages from apparitions should be treated as an aid to understand his life saving teachings.

Conclusion

So now we arrived in our conclusion to the question: "Did Mama Mary appear in the Philippines?":the answer to this is Yes - but not in a way that most people would expect citing the reported accounts that are associated to some venerated images during the Spanish regime. Although this answer can be contested with future studies on this matter, we cannot deny the records that presented these facts and how it affected, or in this case, contributed to the strength of Marian devotion in the Philippines. Let us once again keep in mind that the Virgin manifests herself in way that she is best be received and with this, we should not put the acts of the Divine in a square based on our standards because the action and will of the Divine is always in contrary to our frail human nature.

We cannot deny the fact that belief in the supernatural is one of the best known distinction to us Filipinos, but if we exercise prudence and caution, this would help us understand what Our Lord and Our Lady truly wants for us for the salvation of our souls.

References:


Albano, T. Jofransyden O. The Apparitions of Cabra Islet, Philippines. Alver Tied Charities and Cultural Circle, 1979.
Apparition of Our Mother of Love, Peace and Joy at the Mountain of Salvation, Philippines to Emma C. de Guzman, Retrieved from http://www.lapietainternationalprayergroup.org/testimonial-view/apparition-of-our-mother-of-love-peace-joy-at-the-mt-of-salvation-philippines-to-emma-c-de-guzman-3/ on July 31, 2020.
Aviado, Lutgarda, Madonnas of the Philippines, Manlapaz Press, Quezon City. 1972.
Barcelona, Mary Anne, Ynang Maria: a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Philippines. Ed. Consuelo B. Estampa, P.D. Pasig City, Anvil Publishing Inc., 2004.
Castro, June Keithley, Lipa with the original account of th events at Lipa Carmel in 1948 by Mother Cecilia of Jesus, OCD, Cacho Publishing House, Mandaluyong City, 1992.
Delos Reyes, Michael P., Salve Regina: On Crowning image of the Virgin Mary, Diliman,  Quezon  City, Claret Communications Foundation Inc., 2015.
Declaration of the Diocesan Shrine and Solemn Pontifical Coronation of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Porta Vaga Souvenir Program, San Roque Parish - Diocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Porta Vaga, 2018.
Fiesta 2012, Parish Fiesta Souvenir Program, Transfiguration of the Lord Parish, Cavinti, Laguna, 2012.
Guiuan, Gerardo, Celebrating Mary in Church Doctrine and Fiipino Devotion, Paulines Publishing House, Pasay City, 2011.
Huerta, Felix de (1865). Estado geográfico, topográfico, estadístico, histórico-religioso. Binondo: Imprenta de M. Sanchez y Ca.
"Kasaysayan ng Mahal na Patrona – Nuestra Sra. Del Pilar ng Morong, Bataan", Retrieved from http://www.morong.gov.ph/index.php/news/80-kasaysayan-ng-mahal-na-patrona-nuestra-sra-del-pilar-ng-morong-bataan on October 16, 2019.
"Masay: A Woman of Selfless Love", (Brochure), 2009.
Saenz Mendoza, Virgilio, La Virgen de la Soledad de Porta Vaga: Reina de Cavite, La Excelsa Patrona y La Celestial Guardiana y Protectora de la Provincia y la Ciudad de Cavite. Diocese of Imus, Imus, Cavite., 2017.
Sanchez, Francisco, La Virgen Maria Venerada en sus Imagenes Filipinas, Manila: Imp. De Santos y  Bernal, 1904.
Santiago, Luciano P.R. The Hidden Light: The First Filipino Priests, New Day Publications, Quezon City, 1987.
"The Story of Matinloc" (Brochure), 2000.
Zaide, Gregorio, "Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Bandits". Pagsanjan in History and Legend. Social Studies Publications, 1975.

Photos:

Inocencio, Glenn
Silva, Lance
Numerous photographs from the official website and Facebook accounts of numerous prayer groups connected to numerous reported apparitions in the country.

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