From the sea to Ilocanos’ hearts: The discovery of ‘Apo Badoc’

From the sea to Ilocanos’ hearts: The discovery of ‘Apo Badoc’

The image of “La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc” will be pontifically crowned on May 31, 2018 with Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, as crowning prelate.

LAOAG, Ilocos Norte – The image of the Virgin was described to be delicately hand-painted holding the Holy Child and the Crucified Christ she was found with was made of dark wood. Today, the “La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc,” which was “discovered” in the 15th century is recognized as the “patroness of Ilocos.”

According to Fr. Ericson Josue, historian and archivist of the Diocese of Laoag, the image of “La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc” was retrieved from the sea by fishermen of Badoc and Sinait in 1620. It was found in a box together with the revered image of “Santo Cristo Milagroso de Sinait.”

Accounts say the fisherfolk of Badoc wanted the Crucified Christ brought to their chapel in the “Visita” (peripheral mission) of Badoc while the ones from Sinait wanted the image of the Lady for the Sinait Church. When the Badoc fishermen took hold of the image of Christ, recounted the priest, they could not carry it. The same with the Sinait men, who could not lift the image of the Madonna. They eventually exchanged images. Surprisingly, the men from Sinait were able to lift the dark Crucified Christ easily and same with the Badoc men with the Madonna.

For them, this indicated that the Crucified Christ wanted to be enshrined in Sinait while the Lady preferred the chapel of the “Visita” of Badoc. Since the discovery, numerous miracles were attributed to both, including the end of an epidemic in the capital town of Vigan when the images were brought there for devotion.

There was an attempt by pirates to burn the Madonna sometime in the 18th century, but the image could not be set on fire, recounted Josue. Hundreds of years later, numerous people continue to flock to Badoc to invoke the maternal protection and intercession of “La Virgen Milagrosa.”

It is presumed that these religious images came from the persecuted Christians of Japan. Fr. Danny Laeda, known as the “Historian of the North,” echoes in a Facebook post that the “discovery” happened around the same time as the martyrdom of Lorenzo Ruíz, Paul Miki, and their companions. He said: “To avoid incriminating evidences, Christians jettisoned their religious articles into the sea. By stroke of luck and Divine Providence, these articles found their way to our shores.”

The earliest extant chronicle on the origin and discovery of the sacred artifacts is the 1764 Chronicle of Fray Pedro de Vivar, OSA which is kept in the Augustinian archives in Valladolid, Spain.

Following the issuance of decree on Dec. 6, 2017 by the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Robert Sarah, its Prefect, granted “La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc,” patroness of Ilocos Norte, the privilege of being crowned as mandated by papal authority.

The pontifical coronation, as announced in a Jan. 13 pastoral letter by Laoag Bishop Renato P. Mayugba, will be on May 31, Feast of the Visitation. He noted the significance of the date as the “…moment when John the Baptist (“in utero”) LEAPED FOR JOY!” The Parish of Badoc is under the patronage of St. John the Baptist and the Lady of Badoc is also known as “Cause of our Joy.” CBCPNews