What was once a quiet fishing village in the southern Philippines has turned into a “pilgrimage site” overnight after an image of what looks like a bearded man appeared on a sewer.
Melissa Garrido was walking home one evening in December when he noticed the image of what he described as “Jesus” on a concrete structure, or collar, of a sewer.
“I feel like somebody was pushing me to pass the structure that was facing the sea,” she said, adding that she usually walks on the other side of the wall.
“As I glanced on the wall, an image of the face Jesus Christ appeared,” said Melissa. “Lord, if you have a message to us, please just say it in my dreams,” she recalled praying.
Since the “discovery” of the image, people from nearby provinces and towns started coming to the coastal village to pray and offer candles, flowers, and even food.
They touch the wall and then on to bodies of children, the elderly, and the sick.
Many come late in the afternoon and pray the rosary. “It feels like ‘fiesta’ here every night since this image was discovered,” said a villager.
Father Dave Felizardo of St. Francis Xavier parish refused to comment on the incident, saying that he has not investigated nor visited the site.
“It’s up to the people how they look at it as long as their faith in God remains,” said the priest.
For some villagers, the appearance of the image was a sign from God following the series of strong earthquakes and typhoons that hit the region in recent weeks.
Authorities said at least 47 people were already dead after Typhoon Phanfone hit the country on Christmas Day.
At least 1.76 million people were affected by the typhoon with about 106,000 still in temporary shelters.
The typhoon caused damage to infrastructure and agriculture worth an estimated 1 billion pesos across the affected regions where hundreds of school buildings, health facilities and public structures, and more than 304,000 houses were either totally or partially damaged.
“Maybe God is sending us a message. Maybe this means something. Maybe God wants to remind us to keep our faith stronger,” said a resident.