Legend of the miraculous cross

Four hundred years ago, villagers unearthed a wooden cross in Brgy. Sta Cruz, district of Arevalo, believing that Spanish missionaries left it when villagers attacked them for whatever reason we do not know.
They noticed that the cross grew bigger every day and sap continued to come out of it.
Since the villagers believed the cross is miraculous, it has become the centrepiece in their yearly Santacruzan, a must-watch pomp celebration every May.
The “cruz” of Brgy. Sta. Cruz. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

This can be explained by another legend, according to the book “Mga Ginto ng Iloilo”.
Old folks narrated that when the village held a procession without a Reyna Elena or Constantine, the cross fell down even it was firmly nailed on its carriage.
The cross stood firmly when the presentation became complete the next day.
At one time when the celebration had no king and princesses, a fire took place in houses where the procession passed.
At another time when the village decided to cancel the celebration, thunder and lightning hit the area.
Men and women who were invited to take part in the procession cannot refuse for fear that something will happen to them.
Old folks said women who refused to become the Reyna Elena, either became blind, went crazy or had an accident.
Now, the cross is enshrined at the Sta. Cruz Chapel and has become a landmark in Arevalo, the district which is also known for the third oldest Sto. Nino in the country.
The Sto. Nino was found in 1581 and was believed brought by Augustinian friars.
The first oldest Sto. Nino is in Cebu, found in 1565 by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and now the centrepiece of the city’s Sinulog Festival. The second oldest image is in Tondo, found in 1571.
In Arevalo, the wooden image of the Child Jesus has been credited for countless miracles
like healing from life-threatening illnesses, luck and protection.
“During the Spanish occupation’s period, Muslims approached the beaches of Sta. Cruz but they saw a child telling them to leave. At another time, Japanese soldiers were also stopped by a child from entering. Also, there was a woman who needed money, so he placed his lottery ticket at the foot of the icon and prayed, she won Php 30,000.00 the next day with her number came out in the result,” according to Mario Jiz, member of Hublag 1581.
The image is now housed at the house of parish priest Ret. Msgr. Amadeo Escañan after they found that it bore scratches made by people who wanted to get a little part of the Sto. Nino. “Some fishermen use it for anting-anting,” said Jiz.
Meanwhile, Hublag 1581 is comprised of Arevalo’s residents who want to make the village a shrine of the Sto. Nino.
The group was founded last year by Dr. Jobal Abellar, Marietta Yunsay and Elvira Villavicencio.
This advocacy was mobilized under the guidance of Rev. Fr. Jerry Locsin, former parish priest; followed by Rev. Fr. Jesusimo Candado and now Ret. Msgr. Amadeo Escañan, parish priest of Arevalo Church.
Now, it has 30 members and with Atty. Ruby Teruel as the president and Mario G. Jiz as Vice President.
“We talked to Archbishop Angel Lagdameo about this plan and he advised that we have to prove the origins of the Sto. Nino image and Sta. Cruz “Cruz” and to encourage more devotees before making Sto. Niño image of Arevalo and Sta. Cruz, “Cruz” a shrine,” Jiz said.
Thus, the Hublag 1581 sponsors a novena every second Friday of the month.
“We also want to encourage devotion not only in the village and in Arevalo but also in the rest of Iloilo,” Jiz said.
Jiz said Hublag 1581 plans to highlight the miraculous Sto. Nino in the promotion of the village as a devotee’s destination in Arevalo.
“Add to that is the fact that Arevalo was center of the shipping industry in Iloilo. That’s why it was attractive to Muslim, British and Dutch pirates,” he said.
Thus, it’s apt as location of the oldest maritime school in the region – the John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation, now called the John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University.
“That is why the town used to be called as La Villa Rica de Arevalo or the rich village of Arevalo,” Jiz said.
With Sta. Cruz’s religious background and Arevalo’s cultural history, the dream of making this quaint village as the Shrine of Sto. Nino is not far-fetched.* (Kathy Villalon, The News Today, July 23, 2012)

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