Black Nazarene devotees make annual pilgrimage to Bohol Calvary
GARCIA HERNANDEZ, Bohol – Monique Bag-o lives north of this town, but she made a vow to travel to Barangay Malinao to climb Bohol Calvary during the annual feast of the Black Nazarene here.
That pledge, made to the Black Nazarene, was in honor that she begot a son whom she brought along with her on Wednesday’s fiesta.
She attributes many of her life’s miracles to the iconic Nazarene image, which she said were all granted because of her deep faith and devotion.
Bag-o, 50, said she asked for a son since she had already three daughters now aged 27, 25 and 22. At 43, she gave birth to Kurt Daniel in 2011.
Another devotee Leonola Baguhin, 68, hiked with her son, Leonard, who had a stroke last year. He wanted to be healed for his ailment.
Bag-o and Baguhin joined hundreds of pilgrims in the yearly feast. Many people started the trek about 7 a.m. at Barangay Malinao — which is about 3 kilometers from the village proper.
A Holy Mass was held at 10 a.m. inside a small chapel officiated by Rev. Fr. Mario Renca, assistant parish priest of the Saint John the Baptist Parish Church. Others had to stay outside the chapel to hear the Mass.
At least 1,000 people attended the fiesta, said Barangay Malinao chieftain Honorio Jaminal.
“There are more people coming here if we compared to last year’s 600,” he said.
For many of the pilgrims, the climb up the mountain is about carrying the faith on the Lord Jesus. Wednesday’s celebration was a huge gathering of people whose faith in the Black Nazarene is similar.
It was on May 29, 2011 when Marina Reblinca, a visionary and healer, brought the image of the Black Nazarene from Palawan to Bohol Calvary (originally named Mount Kalagan) in Barangay Malinao, Garcia Hernandez town.
She established a small chapel funded by devotees.
Reblinca, 65, said while she was in Palawan, the Nazarene told her he wanted to be in Bohol Calvary.
“I just followed the Senior’s order,” said Reblinca.
“Then, people from all over Bohol came here,” she added.
She said people were healed because of their strong faith in the Black Nazarene. They believed that touching or rubbing the statue with a towel would heal them physically and spiritually.
“Yung iba hahawak lang sa pisi o sa lubid, gumagaling na sila kung talagang ang paniniwala ay galing sa puso. Pero hahawak ka lang wala sa puso hindi ka talaga gagaling kahit anong gagawin mo,” she said.
She also said that the Black Nazarene protected the place during the strong earthquake in 2013 and some strong typhoons.
Since then, devotees consider the mountain, with its serene silence, holy.
During the feast, devotees were treated to a free lunch.
Jaminal said six pigs were butchered for the fiesta, while two lechons were donated by some devotees.
“Everybody in the community has been helping a lot,” Jaminal said. “Many gave donations for the foods and drinks and flowers.”
After the lunch, devotees waited for the “patunob,” wherein the image of the Black Nazarene was placed on the parts of the body for healing.
When Reblinca placed the little statue of the Black Nazarene at the devotees’ heads, shoulders and hands, the devotees prayed and kissed the image asking for healing and miracles.
Others would wait for the flowers she blessed for healing and success in business.
Rosalinda Huertas and her sister Calpia said their family has ties to the holy mountain, and they’ve both hiked up the mountain for the Black Nazarene.
“It’s very spiritual,” Huertas said. “I’m Catholic and I believe in the Black Nazarene, so it’s very meaningful to have the strength to make it up the mountain.”
Mae Janice Galon, 34, left her job as an internet cafe attendant at B&J Computers in Jagna town to attend the fiesta. She considered her journey to the mountain packed with spiritual significance.
“For me, the significance of the Holy Mountain in my life is very helpful. Once I stepped there I felt the peace, the light of life even though I have so much struggles knowing the fact about a life of a single mother,” she told Inquirer.
“The every single step I did is worth sacrificing that is to lessen my sins and the obligation I have in my shoulder. Every time I am there I forgot every worry I have and focus the possibilities in life for me and for the future of my kids. I am empty if I cannot go there. I am not complete if I cannot go there,” she added.
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