An image of the Virgin Mary which allegedly appeared in corn recently made rounds on social media, catching the eyes of experts and church officials alike.
According to a viral social media post, devotees from different areas visit the corn in Iligan City as it could allegedly perform miraculous signs.
The image, which was allegedly discovered by a certain Catalina Barita on August 1, 2001, is now on display in a chapel in Barangay Digkilaan.
Catalina Barita, more commonly known to the residents as Nanay Barita, reportedly passed away in 2012. Her remains were buried near the altar built by the new caretakers of the image.
Church staff Virginia Ancho, the current caretaker of the image, said that a lot of devotees visit so the image believing it can heal their illnesses.
“Dito sa Barangay Digkilaan, lahat sila pumupunta rito. Lahat lahat hinihingi nila, na mga [paggaling] para sa mga sakit. Napagdesisyunan naming lahat, pati pamilya nila, pagawaan diyan ng altar,” Ancho said.
(Here in Barangay Digkilaan, they all go here. They ask for everything that can heal illness. So we all decided to make an altar for the image.)
Meanwhile, a believer named Eden Barita said that some people who have selfish motives even tried to steal the image from the village.
“Nanghihingi sila dito kay nanay ng mga butil ng mais at sinasama nila ito sa kanilang mga binhi. Sa mga magsasaka, ang kanilang mga ani ay maganda talaga ang tubo at malalaki ang mga produktong napo-produce at naha-harvest ng mga magsasaka,” another believer Michelle Malasado said.
(They ask my mother for the corn’s seeds and they plant these along with their crops. For the farmers, their harvests are really bountiful.)
However, a science crop expert named Dr. Lolita Beato believes that the image is a possible result of human manipulation, adding that there is no corn variety containing an image of the Virgin Mary.
“Posible na ang nangyari diyan sa corn na meron kayo diyan ay it is being manipulated by human factors,” Beato said.
(It’s possible that what happened to the corn is being manipulated by human factors.)
The Catholic Church also expressed its reactions to the alleged miraculous corn saying that it still needs to be investigated by experts.
“Ang mag-iimbestiga niyan hindi lamang mga pari, kundi mga expert rin sa siyensya at medisina,” according to Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on committee on public affairs.
(Experts in science and medicine also will investigate it and not just priests.)
Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.
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