The 13th century 21-karat Golden Tara, considered as one of the most important archeological discoveries in the Philippines, is now displayed at the Chicago Fields Museum in the US. It weighs 1.79 kilograms.
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Manobo woman’s kin want Golden Tara returned
Ben Serrano (The Philippine Star) - August 13, 2018 - 12:00am

BUTUAN CITY, Philippines — As the United States government plans to return the historic Balangiga bells to the Philippines, relatives of the Manobo woman who found the Golden Tara in 1917 along Agusan River want the relic returned too.

The 13th century 21-karat Golden Tara, considered as one of the most important archeological discoveries in the Philippines, is now displayed at the Chicago Fields Museum in the US. It weighs 1.79 kilograms.

In an exclusive interview yesterday, Constancia Guiral and Danilo Isid, great grandchildren of Belay Campos—the woman who found the relic in 1918 along the Agusan River in Esperanza town, Agusan del Sur, said they want to have the artifact returned to the country and preferably kept and safeguarded at the National Museum in Manila or at the regional museum here “so the Filipino people can see it and will know.”

Guiral, now 66, said their family also wants a “finder’s fee” for the Golden Tara, an image of a Hindu goddess believed to be proof that Hinduism was existent in the Philippines before Ferdinand Magellan arrived.

Her great grandmother Belay, she added, found the image underneath an acacia tree along Agusan River after a storm in 1918.

“She and her sisters thought at first that it was a shining doll. Later, the siblings and their parents started worshipping the Tara, and placed it on an altar,” Guiral recalled.

Guiral claimed that the image was stolen twice from them.

“Because all of them were unschooled, they did not know what to do. All they did was just remember that once the Golden Tara belonged to them,” she added.
A group calling itself Golden Tara Community of Agusan organized by Filipino Lama Yeshe Lhundrup, a practitioner and devout Tibetan Buddhist, is planning a centennial celebration this year to commemorate the 100th year of discovery of the relic, which the Field Museum of Chicago renamed as Agusan gold image.

The group has elected historians Potenciano Malvar and Greg Hontiveros as its top officers.

Lhundrup told The STAR that the Golden Tara is not just an ordinary golden relic but has spiritual value that includes spiritual awakening and cleansing.

“Once back in the Philippines, it may signal or spark some spiritual renewal, enlightenment of many Filipinos based on Hindu beliefs, an awakening of the Filipino nation long fallen asleep,” Lhundrup said.

GOLDEN TARA MANOBO
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