Our Lady of Poon Bato

                     Seņora Poon Bato in Botolan, Zambales

 

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The origin of this image is traced to one of the aboriginal Negrito tribes which inhabited the Philippine Islands.

 

The chief of this particular tribe was widely respected because of his great hunting and running skills.  One day, while he and his three sons were resting at the bank of the Pastac River during a hunt, they heard the lovely voice of a lady coming from the top of a high rock.  She was saying, "Get up.  Look for me.  Come and take me home with you."  The lady shone with the light of the sun and her gown was made of gold.  As the chief drew nearer, the vision disappeared but he found in its place the image of the lady carved in wood.  He forgot all about his hunt and quickly returned home with the image.  His wife however, did not share in his enthusiasm when she found he had not brought home any food, and in anger threw it in their fire pit.  Immediately, flames leapt up and burned down their hut before help could arrive.

 

When his sons began looking through the ashes, they discovered the image was preserved and untouched by the flames.  Everyone in the tribe became convinced of its special powers and reverently housed it at the same rock where it was first found.

 

Many years later, when Spanish missionaries introduced the image of the Virgin Mary in the country, the natives were delighted to see that she was the very same as the one they venerated for years under the title "Ina Poon Bato."  They held deep respect for her because she had cared for them, worked miracles to help them, and gave them good crops.

 

 

 

More recently, the eruption of the Mt. Pinatubo volcano completely destroyed the barrio of Poon Bato, but the image of the Virgin Mary was saved and is now venerated in Danac Bunga, Botolan, Zambales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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