one million people gathered in a small Philippine town north of
Manila on 6 March to witness a visitation of the Virgin Mary. Many
people in the crowd, including top Philippine government officials,
journalists, and the local Catholic bishop - acting as a representative
of the Pope - attested to seeing a silhouette resembling the Virgin
Mary appear above a guava tree for approximately five seconds. This
was followed several minutes later by flashes of red, yellow and
blue lights moving towards a "dancing sun".
The events took place at Apparition Hill in the small town of Agoo,
in La Union province. A visionary boy, 16-year-old Judiel Nieva,
says that the Virgin Mary has been appearing to him, and giving
him messages, on the first Saturday of every month and on special
religious feasts since 1989. The pilgrims gathered in Agoo on 6
March because the boy said the Virgin would appear at that particular
place and time.
About a month earlier, a statue of the Virgin Mary owned by Judial
Nieva's family began regularly weeping tears of blood. The phenomenon
was witnessed by thousands during a noontime mass in February. An
assistant to the nationās President said that the statue was brought
before his critically ill wife on two occasions, and both times
she unexpectedly recovered. There are also reports that Communion
wafers turn to flesh and blood in Nievaās mouth. Another resident
of the area said that his statue of the Virgin was also "shedding
tears, which later turn blood red."
On the day before the Virgin's visitation in Agoo, thousands of
Marian devotees in the area witnessed the phenomenon of the "dancing
sun". A Manila Bulletin reporter who was covering these events
said he personally witnessed a "spinning and dancing of the sun
for about 15 minutes." During an overnight vigil preceding the Agoo
visitation, witnesses said that three bright stars appeared to be
facing each other just below the Big Dipper constellation in the
east. At dawn that day, the sun again "moved or danced" for a few
seconds, witnesses said.
On 6 March, with the huge crowd in attendance, Father Roger Cortez
conducted a noontime mass at Apparition Hill. After Cortez appealed
for silence from the crowd, and called for them to feel the presence
of Christ in their hearts, a silhouette of the Virgin Mary appeared
for a few seconds above a guava tree. Approximately 10 minutes later,
when Judiel Nieva was reading a message that he had received from
the Virgin Mary, "lights of different colours came from various
directions and moved toward the sun," according to the Manila
Bulletin. The young seer said that the Virgin Mary in her message
asked Catholics to pray for the children of famine-wracked Somalia.
Nieva said the next apparition would be on 8 September, and then
"the Blessed Mother will disappear for ever."
Top Philippine government officials, including the Speaker of the
House and the Senate President Pro Tempore, attested to the manifestation
in Agoo. A radio reporter, Mon Francisco, said over Manila radio
station DZXL that he saw a silhouette of a woman wearing a dark
waistband. Francisco said he had not expected to see the apparition,
and that he "was not hallucinating." Bishop Salvador Lazo, the province's
Catholic bishop, also experienced the phenomenon and created a commission
to investigate, gather evidence and testimonies, and report to the
Vatican on the event. Scores of miraculous cures have been attributed
to the water spring at the apparition site. The occurrences in Agoo
have received major publicity throughout the Philippines, and have
also been reported on the Associated Press wire services.
( Sources: Manila Bulletin; Associated Press; reported in Share
International, May 1993 ).