Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Two of the most important religious images from Ilocoslandia are the Virgen Milagrosa of Badoc and the miraculous Apo Lakay, the black crucified Christ of Sinait, two of the oldest towns of Ilocos Region. Their stories are intertwined, in that they arrived in the Philippines together in a box, on the 3rd of May in 1620—coinciding with the date of finding of the True Cross by Empress Helena.

It is believed that they came from Nagasaki, Japan where missionaries brought images for evangelization purposes. It is supposed to have been found on Ilocos shores at about the same time that a persecution was being waged against the Christian in Japan.

 Like the biblical story of Moses, the boxes containing the images was found adrift in the sea by fisherfolks in Dadalaquiten, Sinait. An argument ensued between the Sinait and Badoc fishermen who found the boxes, but they matter was soon settled peacefully:  The Virgen Milagrosa was sent to Badoc, but the crucified black Christ was too heavy to be transported so it remained in Sinait.

The cross is about three meters long and two meters wide, and the Christ is about the size of an average Filipino. It is enthroned in the sanctuary of the church which has become one of the most popular pilgrim sites of Ilocoslandia. The crucifix is credited with stopping the 1656 epidemic in the Ilocos and for helping repel the attacks of Moro pirates.

 Apo Lakay also attracts devotees looking for healing, from all parts of the country, most especially during theHoly Week and during Apo Lakay’s feast day, May 3.

On the other hand, the image of the Blessed Virgin is revered in Badoc for her countless miracles that she had been heaping on her people. Proclaimed as La Virgen Milagrosa during the 1980 Eucharistic Celebration on 20, May 1980, she is considered the Patroness of Ilocos Norte. That same year, she was canonically crowned in December.

Photos: Dr. Raymund Feliciano

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