An old wooden image of a dead Jesus Christ lying in repose continues to draw thousands of pilgrims in search of a miracle in Barangay (village)Santa Salud, Calabanga town in Camarines Sur as Catholics observe the Lenten season.
At least half a million pilgrims are expected to make the 13-kilometer trek to Calabanga from Naga City from Maundy Thursday to Good Friday, Mayor Evelyn Yu said. This is a way of paying homage to the life-sized image known in Calabanga as “Amang Hinulid,” which loosely means “Father laid to rest.”
The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have sent personnel to help maintain peace and order in the vicinity of the village chapel where the glass-encased image is enshrined, Yu said.
Arcela Fariñas, 28, one of the thousands of Amang’s devotees seeking divine intervention for good health and good luck, came all the way from Malilipot town in Albay, more than a hundred kilometers away from Calabanga, to pay her respects to Amang.
She came to wipe her handkerchief on Amang’s feet, hand, face and body draped with a velvet blanket.
Julio Tandog Hilario, 56, caretaker of Amang, said the image, which dates back to the 1800s, was owned by the clan’s great grandmother Doña Bartola Repolito.
Hilario said Repolito bought the statue for 400 pesetas from the Spaniards and he was told it originated from Spain and was sculptured some time in 1600.
He said, however, that when they tried to trace its origins they found no records in the national archives.
Hilario said last year a fisherman whose boat sank during a storm credited a miracle to Amang Hinulid when a log suddenly popped out from nowhere in the vast sea to serve as his lifeline.
Once safe ashore, the fisherman who was kept afloat by the log, said he saw a figure of Amang Hinulid waving at him from afar.
Hilario said countless tales of miracles have been credited to Amang Hinulid by people who kept coming back to the private chapel in Santa Salud every Holy Week.
He said on Holy Wednesday they bathe the statue and dress it up with a new garment donated by a devotee with the water used for bathing given away to devotees. “Devotees use the water as they would ointment or lotions and apply it on aching parts of the body.”