Trivia about the Virgin of Caysasay

THE VIRGIN OF CAYSASAY

In 1603, a fisherman by the name of Juan Maningcad caught a little statue of the Blessed Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, about 10 1/2 inches tall, in his net while fishing along the Pansipit River in Barrio Caysasay of the town of Taal, Batangas. On seeing this marvel, Juan did not know what to say or do. He prostrated himself before the image and began to pray. The news spread and when it reached the town, the parish priest and judge went to Juan’s house. Upon seeing the beautiful image of the Mother of God, they knelt down to venerate it and decided to take the statue to Taal, where a grand fiesta was celebrated and to this day continues to be celebrated on December 8 in honor of the Virgin.

With the celebration over, the priest entrusted the image to Maria Espiritu, widow of the town’s Justice of the Peace, for safekeeping. She had the image enthroned in a precious urn, which she guarded religiously. She noted the image’s mysterious disappearances from and equally mysterious re-appearances in its niche. Told of these usual excursions, Fray Juan Bautista de Montoya decided to have the image transferred to the church. Even in the church, this strange “goings-on” persisted until the image disappeared completely one day. A meticulous search proved fruitless.

Several days later, two women created a stir with the claim that they knew where the image was to be found. They were gathering firewood when they felt thirsty and stopped to drink from a well. They were surprised by the reflection of the image on the clear water and looking upward, their gaze~ were met by the image on a branch of a sampaga tree. There were lighted candles on each side while a casaycasay bird stood on guard. Hence, the allusion thereon to the image as the Virgin of Caysasay. Skeptical, the priest finally went to the place with the two women. And there was the image, which everybody had given up for good! It was then interpreted as the desire of the Virgin to remain at Caysasay. An improvised chapel was built at the site to provide sanctuary for the Virgin. And ‘subsequently a church of coral stone and marble was erected. The spot where the well which reflected the image once stood is marked by a coral stone arch with a bas relief of the Virgin on its facade.

The deeply rooted faith of the Taalenos in the miraculous power of the Virgin of Caysasay is supported by numerous legends. And the history of Taal itself recorded unusual happenings attributed to the Virgin.

To this day, four hundred years after a fisherman found the image in the river, the church of coral stone and marble where the Virgin of Caysasay is enshrined stood as a living proof of the Taaleno’s fervent devotion to their miraculous Virgin.

Stamps featuring the Virgin of Caysasay

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