A lowly resident of barangay Bay-ang, Ubay town who is now a landscaper in his own right,Â brokeÂ his silence regarding receiving messages from the Blessed Virgen Mary, since he was still 19 years old or some 10 years ago.
The 29-year old Ruel Atuel had five “personal encounters” with the Blessed Mother, usually at 3 o’clock dawn inside his room.Â The most recent happened last January this year when he knelt to the ground and asked for an apology for not heeding to her request to bring people to Batongay Hill, inÂ secluded interior barangay of Sto. Tomas in Trinidad town.Â
Since that first “appearance,” Atuel kept theÂ messages just to himself not until the last when the Blessed Mother was specific on the time and place where people should converge as she wants her presence to be felt. In fact, he was asked on why he was ashamed to inform people of what she requested of converging them on top of the hill.
It was at this juncture that Atuel decided to blast through text messages the invitation to be at the Batongay Hill last May 10 at Â (10 in the morning) which was three days before the feast Our Lady of Fatima.
Atuel, one day, decided to narrate Mama Mary’s series of appearances to Rev. Fr, Julian Lupot who took time to document the the supposedly “personal encounters” between the visionary and the Blessed Mother.
Fr. Lupot after conducting a detailed interview with Atuel decided not just to join the people up the hill last May 10, but officiated a Holy Mass at the foot of the Blessed Mother’s statue placed in a well appointed elevated portion in a rocky portion of the hill. Fr Lupot informed Rev. Fr. Joe Marie Gabas, parish priest of barangay Sto, Tomas, Trinidad town about the clear and consistent message that she wants people to gather at Batongay Hill last May 10. The mass was attended by about 200 barangay residents together with a few friends of the visionary including Trinidad Mayor Baby Cajes and former Rep. Roberto Cajes who prepared the place for the Holy Mass
Batongay Hill, during the past two years , has been visited by pilgrims who wish to do their Stations of the Cross during Good Fridays. Trinidad Mayor Cajes has developed the place into a prayer garden. A concreted pathway with some 300 steps brought the devotees to the top of the hill where the Blessed Mother’s statue is prominently placed , adorned with flowers and ferns.Â The place where the mass was officiated is overlooking the town with a nice view of the horizon of the mountains and the Cebu sea a little further.
The first appearance of the Blessed Mother to the visionary wayback in 2005 brought no message except that he saw her floating in a snowy clouds. He described Mama Mary as “beautiful, beyond compare.”
The second instance happened still at 3 o’clock dawn. This time, Mama Mary had “something” given to the visionary but he was not able to get it because of the distance between them.
Few years later, the visionary became a landscaper. In Buenavista town where he landscaped the town hall, while segregating the bermuda grass, he saw a rosary bead, filled with mud. He then recalled that it was the thing which the Blessed Mother gave him. Since the time he got hold of the rosary beads, the visionary encountered several trials and tribulations in his life. According to Atuel, he survived all the trials because of his constant praying of the Rosary.
The third instance happened a year before the 7.2 magnitude quake in 2013 while he was sleeping in a rented house inÂ barangay San isidro, this city. Still at 3Â o’clock dawn, he saw the Blessed Virgen Mary who asked him to “pray more and more as three major calamities are forthcoming, namely, a strong earthquake, a powerful typhoon and warned that a place will be experiencing fires falling from the skies.”
In that instance, Mama Mary requested to hold 10 nights of praying the rosary throughout the barangay in Ubay.Â He fulfilled the holding of the Holy Rosary for 10 successive nights with the help of his neighbors in barangay Bay-ang, Ubay town.
The fourth instance happened on July 14, 2014Â where the Blessed Mother requested him to go to Batongay Cave on May 10, 2015 and bring people to that place because “she will be there.” He asked why it should be in that abandoned project which he used to landscape years before.
The visionary asked the Blessed Mother how could he convince people to go to Batongay . Likewise, he asked the Blessed Mother that if indeed it was her talking, she should appear again later at daybreak when he is no longer asleep. And indeed, the visionary saw the Blessed Mother at 6 in the morning that same day.Â And the same message was uttered “she will be in BatongayÂ on MayÂ 10, 2015, 10:00am.”Â After saying the message to request people to go to the hill, the Blessed Mother disappeared.
The fifth instance was early January this year when the Blessed Mother reminded Atuel to inform the people of that May 10 invitation. The visionary, this time, asked for an apology for not spreading the May 10 invitation of the Blessed Mother.
The presence of the Blessed Mother was felt much by many who attended the Holy Mass at Batongay Hill last May 10 under the scorching heat of the sun.
In his homily, Fr. Lupot explained why he obligated himself to officiate that first mass at Batongay Hill, the exact place where the Blessed Mother wanted people to gather. He said in the message through the visionary, it was very clear that she will be at Batongay Hill on May 10, 10am.
Two points raised in Fr. Lupot’s homily: that it was the Blessed Mother who invited the attendees to gather in the hill that sunny Sunday morning and that the presence of the Blessed Mother was intensely felt as there were divine gestures manifested during the mass. After the mass, he was told by some attendees that they could not understand as tears kept on flowing from their eyes and they felt much joy and the graces of forgiveness for one’s sinfulness.
Fr LupotÂ exhorted the devotees to know the three kinds of “divine presence,” namely the spiritual presence, sacramental presence and the locomotive presence (apparitions) . During the mass. he blessed the place while confirming that there was spiritual and sacramental presence of the Blessed Mother at the site.
“Batongay Hill is now a holy place,” Fr. Lupot said while telling the devotees present that (unofficially) the place is a shrine of Mama Mary,.
The messages receivedÂ by the visionary during the mass: (1) Mama Mary wants her crown to be pure gold, meaning the Blessed Mother wants the place to given dignity as a holy place for prayer and (2) Queenship of the Blessed Mother wanting that her son, Jesus ChristÂ should rule in the province and in each of the Boholano families.
PARALLEL TO APPARITIONS
Fr. Lupot said the elements have parallelism to other apparitions with the visionary (Atuel) as the human agent . He described the visionary asÂ very ordinary and religious person. There was the message to pray the rosary and make a certain place “holy”Â for the Blessed Mother. The time when the visionary talks to the Blessed Mother at 3 o’clock dawn is the usual time for those given the grace to encounter her presence.
Fr. Lupot ventured on to say that Batongan Hill might be the “Simala of Bohol”
The place and the narrations of the visionary needs ecclesiastical guidance and approval thus the parish priest has to know the details of the turn of events and informed the bishop of the Diocese of Talibon.Â The place needs to be developed and perhaps make it a shrine of the Blessed Mother.
The basic ecclesiastical principle is anchored on the saying that “If it is from God, it will prosper in time, if not, it will end a natural death.”