Certainly, the visit is a life-changing one as one is guided from one cave or spring to another depending on what the soul is searching in its lifetime on earth. The old timers; hermits and missionary guides of all sorts would tell you of apparitions made by saints and spirit entities of yore. They would even question why Filipinos still revere foreign canonized saints when they claim that Filipino saints of lore find the place their haven. For instance, they would speak of San Isidrong Filipino ( The Philippine or Filipino St. Isidore ) who is kayumanggi ( brown- skinned ) and not Caucasian like the Spanish farmer saint or another virgin-martyr who is already in Heaven but appear tanned brown when they appear in the groves and grottoes of Tierra Santa.
A sense of patriotism, perhaps one would say but, yes, but it has the touch of the revolutionary spirit fanned into flames during the revolution against Spanish colonizers. Agapito Lontok, a rebel Katipunero leader whose former lair in Arayat made him spiritually familiar with Mariang Sinukuan and her other elemental friends came here because of a unique calling. In fact, the Encantos of Pampanga, because they were advanced in their technology, have brought him, as a special Unidentified Flying Vehicle to Banahaw summoned by the santong boses (holy voices) and relocate to Banahaw which was then a part of Tayabas. Thus, Agapito Lontok , the Katipunero transferred to the mountainous area near the town of Dolores.
In Dolores and the nearby Tierra Santa, he and the other Katipuneros found a new life of Peace and spirituality even when the Americans, the new colonizers came. Free to express their new faith because of the remoteness of Banahaw during those times, the followers of Lontok became themselves leaders of a new spirituality which adopted what was good in the Spanish Catholic religion and renounced those which they considered abusive as applied by the friars and formed their unique body of knowledge which was augmented by the elementals of the range. This was called the Colorum movement which, in accordance with my research, came from the popular Latin prayer which says “saecula saecolorum”. As their religious sects proliferated, for not just one was created, they no longer joined mainstream Christianity like Catholicism are and were therefore referred to as colorumistas or the colorum movement.
Sad to recall, however, that one patriotic movement was not even part of this but was historically, part of mainstream Catholicism. I am referring to the Cofradia de San Jose which by all intents begun as loyal Catholic endeavor by one Hermano Pule whose mistake was to start a religious brotherhood, not even necessarily involving the holy orders but one that enkindles Catholic religion. Unfortunately, this endeavor was scorned by the Spanish religious as an ambitious Indio enterprise unworthy of existence because the Apolinario de la Cruz as a lay brother is only an orderly in the San Juan de Dios Hospital and did not even have a single year of education in any religious seminary. Thus, thoroughly humiliated rather than guided, and condemned rather than being corrected, Hermano Pule had to save face because he already had an avid following of fervent souls. Not having the humility of Saint Francis of Assissi, he suddenly realized the only way to be recognized is to be a rebel. And since, religious freedom is most evident in Banahaw he brought his following there, and the brotherly endeavor which he began became cultic as it now revolved on his personality. The element of monetized faith sank in and became now the reason for the friars to renounce the brotherhood further. It has therefore ended transformed and ended tragically as a rebel group which was neutralized in Tayabas.
This tragedy of spiritual oppression was perhaps the reason why God, in His omniscience gave Tierra Santa so many graces that almost every plant which grew there had a curative and even the waters which spring from its sides prove beneficial to all known sickness. For God is the Real Proponent of the Law of opposites and not just a philosopher like Plato. As it was, Banahaw, the haunt of demons, had been sanctified by God’s omnipotence. For was it not that Viaticannus, the hill of divining, became Vatican, the hallowed ground for the Church Christ has established? God’s Ocean of Mercy has given the spiritually-thirsting Filipino his own holy mountain in accordance with local seers of antiquity in the manner that the Magi left their own kingdoms to find their souls refreshed in God’s Holy Spirit.
However, it would still be too assuming if the people planning a huge resort to cater to foreigners and rich locals if the enterprise would be called as it is being circulated around the periphery of Barangay Santa Lucia. In the research I made decades ago as incognito soul searcher, I have never heard anything of the sort. I believe that people revere the Blessed Virgin so much, so as to declare that she had been having apparitions in Banahaw. It would sure be a bit of an embarrassment if we declare something uncanonical and too mystical if the name Our Lady of Mount Banahaw will be pursued. In fact, as a psychic researcher unmasking false trances and apparitions decades ago, what I have established making appearances in Banahaw are fairies Mariang Sinukuan and Mariang Banahaw. I even find it suspicious that said elemental princesses which are similar in fame to Maring Makiling and Maraing Makulot, from their respective mountain abodes would always be using the name Maria. Are they honoring her or are they misleading the faithful. In fact, I feel that our national hero had at least made at least one of them his consort which is why many Banahaw sects are considered Rizalistas, or those that consider Jose Rizal their deity.
I have even been told that foreigners are involved in this enterprise which is meant to earn much as a return of investment. Again, is this proof that multinationals are bent on spending investments even those that misrepresent God and His saints? If this is the case, the Church should help the BIR confound the masterminds to this shameful plot which I believe as a Filipino Catholic is an insult to our faith and cultural heritage. It is in these ventures that the Church should be stricter in its investigation as it is in the expression of the faithful who believe in the Lipa apparitions.
FRMG Macario “Cari” del Sol
LPU-Cavite Graduation, PICC