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Man finds ‘gold’ Niño image buried in sand

CEBU, Philippines - Residents in Barangay Ermita, Cebu City were stirred recently when a Sto. Niño image, believed to be made of authentic gold, was found buried in the sand near the South Road Properties shoreline.

Carpenter Nicolas Paca, 45, a resident of the barangay, claimed he found the “golden statue” on the shore around 6 a.m. of January 5, lying just below the SRP bridge.

“Padung man unta ko maligo sa dagat, unya naa koy nakit-an nga gaburot sa balas. Pagpunit nako, hugaw kaayo iyang sudlanan (a red purse),” Paca recounted.

He then picked up the red purse and ran to the sea to wash it. He said when he untied the purse, it was full of mud.

“Natingala ko kay paglili nako sa sulod, nagtuo ko nga alahas iyang sulod kay nigimaw man iyang korona nga murag gold ang kolor,” said Paca while holding the statue.

When he realized that it was actually a statue of Sto. Niño, Paca said he felt goosebumps and was frightened. He also thought the statue was made of gold.

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When other people knew about what he saw, the incident created a buzz all over the barangay. He said the incident also roused social networking site like Facebook.

“Sugod sa buntag niadtong pagkakita nako sa Sto. Niño hangtod karon, bisan kinsa ra moanhi sa amo aron motan-aw,” he said, noting that he and his wife, Angelita, have received support from other people after the incident.

Angelita’s sister housed the miniature of the Holy Child on an altar and placed two red lights beside it.

Paca said some unknown people who visited their house brought with them an offering, such as flowers or money.

“Naay mga katiguwangan nga ni-anhi sa amo maka-ingon nga naa kuno’y murag ‘aura’ ang imahen,” Paca said.

Other people, he said, have also warned him not to sell or give away the miniature, believing that it may cost him a life of a loved one.

Selling or giving away the image of Sto. Niño did not, however, come across his mind, according to Paca.

“Uban gud makakita maka-ingon man nga mokantidad daw ni ngadto sa P300,000 pero wala koy interes nga ipanghatag ni kay para nako ako’y gitugahan ani unya talagsaon ra gud ni nga panghitabo,” Paca said.

He recounted that days before he found the miniature, he dreamed of himself having a tattoo of the image of the Holy Child near his shoulder.

Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo Rupinta clarified that the image was merely “gold-plated” and not made of pure gold as was initially thought.

“Paghiling sa alahasero, niingon siya nga gold-plated man diay, dili gyud siya gold,” Rupinta said.

But Rupinta said whether it is made or gold or not, the image should still be treasured.

“Bililhon siya dili lang tungod sa estatuwa kundi tungod kay mismo ang Sto. Niño ang nagpakita. Silbi ang bili niya wala sa estatuwa kundi naa sa atong pagtuo nga nagmalig-on tungod sa iyang presensya,” Rupinta said.

Fr. Roderick Deguit, OAR, parish priest of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish Recoletos, reminded residents not to focus on the occurrence of the statue itself, as it may have been simply used as instrument to strengthen faith.

“Sa nagsingabot nga selebrasyon sa Sinulog, makaingon ta nga adunay mga ekstraordinaryo nga mga panghitabo. Kini makapahagit sa mga tawo sa ilang pagtuo sa Senyor ilabi na sa mga problema nga ilang giatubang sa adlaw-adlaw, maong mas modangup gyud sila ngadto Niya,” he said.

Fr. Deguit hopes that this occurrence will lead the people closer to Sto. Niño.

“Kinahanglan natong ipasabot sa mga tawo nga dili lang ta mo-focus sa rebulto, kini sila mga instrumento lamang. Posible nga gituyo sa Ginoo nga mahitabo kini aron mas masentro nato ang paghatag og importansya sa atong pagtuo ngadto Kaniya.”? — (FREEMAN)

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