The annual fiesta of Jaro, Iloilo City, is said to be one of the biggest religious celebrations in the Philippines as it delivers solemnity, splendor, and mystery. Other than the traditional religious ceremonies being performed, agro-industrial fairs, beauty pageants, luncheons and dinners, none can ever be more immaculate than pondering about the famous icon of the Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria.
Travelers Today interviewed Aning, 76, who said that she believes that icon was once just a foot high and grew over the centuries until Pope John Paul II blessed and crowned the image. Another firm believer was Lucille, 82, who told the site that the icon protects her family from typhoons and earthquakes all over the years.
It is said that the statue was discovered by a lone fisherman along the banks of the river when he was fishing. Other curious individuals peered at the icon and tried to lift it up, but to no avail. They said at least ten men attempted to remove the image altogether, but they failed. It was just the fishermen who could carry the statue as he gave it to the church.
According to Project Iloilo, "in the old days, the Lady had a habit of disappearing early in the mornings. A thick mist would surround her niche at the pediment of the Cathedral, and around that time, a beautiful lady with long hair could be seen bathing her child at an artesian well in the plaza, facing the old Jaro Rural Health Building."
After going pitch black, the icon would grow much larger than it was. A healthy, thick vine was also recounted by parishioners to have grown within the abode. Words spread quickly that almost the whole nation focused itself on the miracle.
It kept growing until Pope John Paul II blessed the icon in 1982, as told by Aning. There are plenty of tales surrounding the mystery of the figure which includes thunderstorms and lightning.
Feb. 2 is her feast day, and it is the best time of the year where foreign and domestic tourists took a peek at the lady in her abode by the cathedral. They would find that the Lady has now grown and looked over the district of Jaro.