I first heard of Our Lady of Casaysay from a journalist friend, Monica, who was commissioned to write about the history of the devotion during its jubilee year. I had always wanted to see the place but never had a chance till last Sunday, when a planned Tagaytay trip to bring around a balikbayan guest Ruben, tuned into an unexpected pilgrimage to Taal.
The church is a few minutes away from the main Basilica of Taal, the Basilica of St. Martin de Tours. Not everyone knows the place as there is also an altar dedicated to Our Lady of Casaysay inside the basilica.
It has some similarity to the antique church of San Miguel in Manila before it was renovated.
Some of the children selling sampaguitas kept asking us if we wanted to see the ‘milagrosang balon’ (miraculous spring) and I said yes of course. We were led to the back of the church, across a stony path, climbed a rugged rock to get to a grotto, where we prayed and finally to an old arch under which lies the two miraculous springs.
The one on the right is for the head, and the other one is for the body.
They said however that it would be better to get them from the faucet where it is filtered and you can find this just at the back of the chapel.
We tried asking for the story behind the miraculous image but we got some piece meal tales of how the statue of our lady was fished out from the river by Juan Maningcad.
Finally I was able to find something on the internet from Balita part of which I am quoting below.
The story of the image began four centuries ago after a fisherman namedJuan Maningcad, found the statue in the Pansipit River in Barrio Casaysay in the year 1603.
But Taal folks said strange phenomenon had occurred when the image”disappeared” from time to time but comes back again the next day.This puzzled the people, including the parish priest.
this painting is found inside the chapel
and is a depiction of the discovery of
Our Lady’s statue
It was said that during its disappearances, the statue goes back to the river where it was originally located. The image was then brought to the church of the barrio, but the same incident occurred.
Many years ago when the image was under the care of Ms. Maria del Espiritu Santo, strange things had happened. Ms. Espiritu had a special urn where the image was placed. But according to the townsfolk of Taal, Ms Espiritu found the urn empty one day. But the next morning the image was back in the urn.
This strange happening was repeated a number of times prompting, Ms.Espiritu to report the matter to the parish priest.To investigate the mysterious coming and going of the image, the priest decided to have volunteers keep a vigil beside the urn.They sat and prayed, painstakingly waiting for the moment to happen. Then suddenly they saw with their eyes the glorious image going out from the urn and coming back again. The priest decided that the villagers should light candles and follow the image the next time it left from the urn.
When the phenomenon again occurred the image led the faithful to Caysasay,the place it was originally found..The villagers concluded that it was the Lady’s wish to stay in the river of Pansipit. They built a chapel in honor of the image.The first miracle of the image happened in 1611 when a native girl wascured from blindness.
An arch was soon built over the wells of the statue,and is now known as “Banal na Pook”.The chapel was torn down and replaced by the coral stone structure in 1639.
Recent miracles: Leony Martinez, a PIA employee, experienced an excruciating abdominal painthat when she urinated, blood came out.A devotee of the Our Lady of Casaysay, she took the miracle water ofCaysasay and wiped it on her abdomen.
The blood stopped and the pain wasgone immediately. Cedee Buenafe, also an employee, took a picture of the image, thinking itwould make a pretty wall for her mobile phone. To her big surprise, thephoto that she took had two angels on both sides of Our Lady. She used itas a screen saver but two days later, the photo was deleted from hercellular phone.
But the most bizarre was that of Girlie Duldulao, a PIA employee, who was ran over by speeding Pajero and another car.As the traffic stopped, people nearby had to carry the Pajero to get Duldulao out from the bottom of the vehicle.
Those who saw the accident thought Duldulao was crushed to death, but she survived with only minor bruises, including a marking of the wheel on herlegs. Duldulao said later that the only thing she could recall was that all the while she was thinking of the Virgin of Caysasay, while calling for Jesus as she utters “Lord, Oh Lord, Mama Mary!” seconds before the accident.
The image of Our Lady of Casaysay was crowned at the Taal Basilica by Cardinal Quiroga, representing Pope Pius XII on December 8, 1954.Until now miracles and healings by the image continue to take place.By tradition the image of the Our Lady of Casaysay visits homes, parishes,government offices as well as institutions to provide guidance andprotection for the people.