The Legend of the Miraculous Holy Crosses of Alitagtag and Bauan
In this article, we shall be featuring the legend of the finding of the Holy Cross in Batangas, as written by the Rev. Father Juan S. Coronel. The legend was included in a 1953 compilation1 prepared by Department of Education District of Alitagtag for submission to the Division of Batangas.
The Holy Cross is the patron of the Batangas municipalities of Alitagtag and Bauan. It was supposedly found in 1595 in Alitagtag2 which at one time was part of Bauan and called Bauan Sur (Bauan South)1.
This may sound odd in the present day because modern-day Bauan is actually to the south of Alitagtag. However, 15th century Bauan was founded close to Bombon (Taal Lake) at the foot of Mt. Maculot, which in the present day is part of Cuenca and, therefore, north of Alitagtag.
At any rate, here is Fr. Coronel’s version of the legend, cited almost in its entirety verbatim but edited in parts where necessary and broken into paragraphs for easier reading:
“During the early years of the Spanish regime, on a hill northwest of what is now the poblacion, an apparition was beheld by a gambler’s wife who was on her way to fetch water from the distant Taal Lake. It is said that on this hill, which is now called Labak3, a strange blinding light that turned the vicinity into midday was beheld by the woman.
“Thereupon, the lady knelt before the cross of the anubing4 tree from whence the light came. She prayed, and a voluminous flow of water came from the trunk of the cross which filled her water jar in no time. She thanked God and proceeded home, thereafter keeping to herself alone the marvelous incident that took place.
“But, as designed by the Almighty, the miracle did not escape the knowledge of the people. For, while the woman was keeping it a secret, the light coming from the cross was also seen by the people in the neighborhood. The news spread to neighboring towns until the priests of Batangas, Bauan and Taal were also informed of the phenomenon.
“They went to the scene and each one of them tried to move and excavate the cross. The priests from Taal and Batangas failed. When the chance of the priest of Bauan came, he pulled the cross very easily off the ground. It was brought to Bauan and confirmed as its patron saint.
“When Alitagtag became a town5, the consensus of opinion was to have the cross divided into two so that Alitagtag might have a share of the cross. The proposition having been peacefully agreed upon, one half of the cross was given to Alitagtag and was made its patron saint as well.
“In honor of the Holy Cross, a small chapel was erected at the very spot where the cross was found (now called Labak) and a mass is said every third of May simultaneously with the town fiesta of Bauan.”
Notes and references:1 “History and Cultural Life of the Town (Alitagtag),” compiled by teachers of the District of Alitagtag for submission to the Division of Batangas, c. 1953.
2 “Bauan Church,” Wikipedia.
3 In the present day, there is a barangay or village called Labac but which is, however, part of Cuenca.
4 The anubing is the artocarpus lacucha Buchanan-Hamilton ex D.Don or the monkey jackfruit. Online at the Philippine Alternative Medicine.
5 “Alitagtag,” online at the DILG web site.