(TWO DAYS BEFORE we enplaned last Friday for Bohol , we had a business meeting with a former associate (Ding Mangubat) at an investment bank we used to work for in Ayala, Makati in the mid-70’s.
After the meeting, he earnestly asked for a favor. This was to have the narrative of his first cousin – a returning OFW who (used to work at ARAMCO)- printed in any publication I had access to . I said we will look at the article.
Here under is the said article. We knew it had a message for us. – Editor)
A MYSTERIOUS STRANGER– That I Met
More than a year has passed today yet the memory of a mysterious stranger still lingers vividly on my mind…..
After having retired from my overseas job of around 2 decades –and in order to keep myself active– I took it upon myself to personally handle my family’s grocery purchases almost on a daily basis at the public markets of either Batangas City or Bauan, about 7 kms apart. Well, it is quite convenient for me though to go either way as I live exactly at the center of both municipalities, that is, in Brgy. Sta. Rita. However not distant, the constant heavy traffic day-in day-out at the main highway has made every trip excruciatingly agonizing.
In one of my daily morning grinds to Bauan aboard a jeepney amidst the heavy traffic in April last year, my attention was caught by a slim man walking on the side of the road. He was about 5’9” in height, haggard faced, sun-burnt skinned, clad in a white-striped polo shirt and dark pants, and with a native hat on his top. He walked along the roadside in an invariable pace on his old flip-flops with his head and frail shoulders stooping low to distinctly mirror a lonely aura. Yet he was unmindful of the vehicles that passed him by, particularly those motorcycles that blow dusts on the stony sidewalk. He seemed to be uncaring at all as he trod his way on a straight path.
One time my son, Cocoy, drove me to Batangas City and I saw this man again walking on the same side of the street with his familiar pathetic get up and long strides. As I gazed at his sad face amidst the traffic, several thoughts popped into my mind – like where he lives, who takes care of his meals, and all those sorts. With deep concern towards this strange man, I thought of buying him a piece of bread and a bottle of water –something which I have done a countless times to the needy in the public markets.
Much as I wanted to act like a Good Samaritan, it was extremely difficult at that time as there was nowhere to park our car along the highway. Failing to do my intention, I felt a sense of guilt and regret. But I just consoled myself and thought that perhaps the next time I saw this man again I’d probably be able to give him something to eat.
Days passed and there was a need for me to bring my wife to a medical center in QC for her periodic eye check up. As it would take several days to complete her treatment session we had to stay at her sister’s place in QC, which we always normally do each time we visit her ophthalmologist for her monthly eye treatment.
When we returned to Batangas City in early May, we went to a nearby commercial center to buy some stuff. It was nearly six o’clock in the evening. As we were about to park our car, I suddenly saw a familiar figure walking fast with that familiar stoop towards the exit gate of the parking area. I hurriedly grabbed my coins from my pocket and strode fast to chase him. Upon catching up with him, I gently tapped his right arm and uttered “Manong!” But before I could give my coins, he turned to me and extended his left palm, and replied “Pahingi naman” followed by “Salamat” as I spontaneously placed the coins on his open hand.
As I glanced at him and saw his facial features up close, there was a glint of familiarity of him, although I could not seem to recall at that moment. Then he stared at me and smiled. His eyes mirrored love and sadness which left a lasting imprint in my mind. But what really astounded me and instantly froze me was the wonderful voice that I heard. His words pahingi naman” and “salamat” which kept echoing in my ears sounded like they reverberated from a long tunnel, depicting deep clear voice –fittingly matching his radiating soulful eyes that seemed to have muffled the noise of the traffic around us.
Upon clutching the coins from my hand, he walked away.As I looked in the direction where he went, I touched my pocket and realized that I still have a twenty peso bill. But it was too late for me to give it. In my remorse, I asked myself why I did not it. Guilt and regret beset on me again, encompassing my wholeness, sense and feeling. But my only consolation was the thought and wish that someday,our paths will cross again.
That night, my deep sleep was awakened by a very wonderful dream for I had dreamed about our “LORD JESUS CHRIST”. This was the picture of my dream: In the midst of white clouds in the sky, there suddenly appeared “JESUS CHRIST” before me. He was sitting on a golden throne inside a circle of rainbow colors, with bright orange, yellow green and white lights. His left hand was half-raised while looking and smiling at me, as if making a gesture to me — “I am here”. I was looking up at him so closely. Lord Jesus was happily smiling at me. Intense joy filled me –and like an innocent child , I pointed my finger to him and cried out “Jesus! Jesus!”…. Then, I noticed (my departed) “Tatay” at a short distance from my right side. He was at the window of our ancestral house looking silently. I felt it was so real, and in front of me on my left side, there stood six youngsters dressed up in white robe. I did not see their faces, as they are in front of me also looking up . . . Then, I suddenly woke up and checked my table clock. It was 2:30 AM of May 05, 2016, Thursday. I told myself I will put this dream in a canvas painting.
As days went on, I became more deeply devoted to our “Divine Mercy” prayers though It has already been our practice to cite its prayer every 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Our devotion became more intense when we found out that EWTN channel is showing Divine Mercy prayers and songs at seven in the morning and at nine in the evening. Of course we have an altar on top of our headboard.
One afternoon after praying I noticed that the Crucifix of Lord Jesus Christ-hanging in the altar overhead-was already faded and dusty. The bronze image of Jesus has darkened, and it badly needed cleaning. I quickly took a ball of cotton and carefully cleaned our Crucifix, applying scented oil. Then to my great astonishment, I noticed the Holy Face of Jesus Christ, which has turned very clear now, strikingly resembledthe face of the lonely man I had seen on the street. I stared closely at the Holy Face Of Lord Jesus Christ. His cheek bones, chin, shape of the face, and all that, I strongly reckoned vividly mirror the smiling face and feature of the lonely man. Suddenly, I was overfilled with emotion! My eyes became misty. I felt so silently joyful as I uttered my Prayer, “I love you Jesus, for me it was a blessing, that I have noticed this lonely man and I have seen you in my dream, you are smiling at me, you make a signal to me. Thank you Lord Jesus Christ, for all the blessing you had given me and my family. Thank you Lord, for you had created me, like this. Help me overcome my human weakness, now your name is buried In my heart, as my shield, my Lord Jesus. I trust in you, please Protect me from all evil and Bless my family who always loves you, Amen”.
Per my note it was the fourth of May 2016 when I met this lonely man face-to-face. But since then I never saw him again. How I wish I could hear again his wonderful voice and gaze at his soulful eyes. But it seemed he has totally vanished, or maybe I thought, he is now walking on some other part of this planet.
For you who had read my narration I am sharing this to you. I know you have also mercy and compassion in your heart. Lord Jesus will Bless You. Thank you God. Glory be to you in the HIGHEST.
- Francisco M. Magbuhat
(Our dearly departed Founder-Publisher of this paper (Jun Dejaresco) was a major mover of the Chapel of the Divine Mercy in Dampas district of this city. The past three years, kind souls had contributed to the expansion of the chapel and structuring a parking area for vehicles of devotees.
Considerable progress has been done but it’s not finished. We are not a saintly prophet but our discernment of this strange coincidence gave us a message: “Pahingi Naman” and “Salamat” may have been a message for us for us to shoulder together and finish the chapel.
If our readers feel we are on the same page, contribute what you can to DIVINE MERCY CHAPLAINCY-DAMPAS DISTRICT- UCPB TAGBILARAN DOLLAR ACCOUNT NUMBER 113050000964 and UCPB TAGBILARAN PESO ACCOUNT NUMBER 203050006049.
May God Bless You a Hundredfold! Glory to Him on High!