Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bagtingon: That realm of mystery.

Road to Tina's house

Who amongst us has a clear idea of those underground realms and golden cities that our ancestors in their days, freely talked about? How could we know if they really existed or still exist today in our Planet Earth? Fact, however, is that almost anywhere else in the world there are a huge number of people who believe in the existence of a world unseen and beings who have the capacity to make themselves manifest from thin air, before the very eyes of any mortal they might choose.

They are not unlike the engkanto kings, queens, princes and princesses who dwell in that other world that glistens with gold, so they say. Since we do not know enough about that intriguing world, we’re just left seeing in our own minds the enigmatic stories detailed by those imaginative visionaries in our midst. Not knowing much about that strange world, how could we then dismiss those stories entirely?

In the mid 90s I remember there was Lady Lacion of Bagtingon. She who tirelessly attended to jeeploads and jeeploads of people who came for treatment daily, or to seek advice on how the desires of their heart could be had, or to just plainly listen to details of her fabulous encounters. For unknown reasons Lacion disappeared into the big city, far away from her original underground empires that stretched from this quiet valleys of Bagtingon to the top of Malindig mountain and beyond.

But that shining other world is apparently back, at one’s reach again. (On second thought, it really has always been here quietly lived by many old folks who’ve lived there all their lives). The immortal spirits apparently have found Tina this time. She, her husband and children live on the side of a mountain you’d pass by when going to Bulusukan Falls, about thirty more minutes of walk away. It was Julio, a common friend, who introduced me to Tina as a 'researcher'. But she had been warned, she said, by her main spirit guide because the temptation to be famous must be resisted, and fame, she said, is the last thing on her mind.

Tina claims this is an illustration of the colossal palace many storeys high right where Malindig mountain is nestled

Tina, nevertheless, shared with us the coveted world she now enters into – at will, every single day. The world of kings and queens, princes and princesses in all their regalia, living in a palace many storeys high, with a thousand or so rooms and hallways you’d simply lose your way if you didn’t know how to utter the magic word - a world of flying carpets, golden caruajes and golden ships, a world of tropical forests with golden deer grazing undisturbed, fanciful birds singing, an inner world existing just yonder, vast as ours, coexisting wherever all unknowing mortals do their thing. There, various religious prophets move about, alongside saints, alongside people who have passed away mysteriously to take on special missions there.

Flowers that bloom in her garden

It is a marvelous dreamworld and, it seems, it would not be possible to piece together the many spellbinding bits and fragments you hear about and make sense of them by using one’s plain, normal reasoning, But maybe if one is a serious seeker ready to spend a whole lifetime seeking after some esoteric knowledge, he or she might arrive at something. But that’s just a thought.

Sometimes Tina returns home, she says, with small souvenirs from her fantastic trips such as a stone that sweats non-stop it could fill a jar with liquid, some pictures, illustrations and writings on small pieces of paper to remind her of her encounters and for further study, reliquaries (like a softly fragrant Rosary and miniature photo sent from Padre Pio).

Tina is a devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mother whose image she takes care of. So devout she is, like the old mysterious woman, her principal spirit guide, who visits her every three years with a new gift of power and knowledge for Tina each time. It was that saintly old woman - whom many departed Marinduque souls considered blessed when she once walked with mortals on this island - who, according to Tina, introduced her to this inexplicable realm of mystery, mysticism or maybe just magic and melancholic mayhem.

Even after drinking a cup of coffee she graciously served us late in the afternoon, I could hardly keep my eyes open and was lost in momentary sleep when she ended her story. Almost ended her story, anyway, because she started talking anew about brief episodes in the many unfamiliar places she had to find to practice her gift of healing upon orders from ‘them’. To places far away as Nueva Ecija in Central Luzon. Who pays for her transport then? “They do”, with thousand peso notes materializing from thin air, she says. A longer story really.

Unmindful carabaos near her home

Tina's bird, "Verde"