Q.  What is Ina Poonbato?

A.  Our Lady of Ina Poonbato (Botolan, Zambala, Philippines) became popular after the explosion of Mt.Pinatubo in June 1991 when it was half buried in lava.  The image of Ina Poonbato is said to be of miraculous character.

The statue was found by the Aeta chief Djadig over four hundred years ago.  He brought the beautiful lady carved in shining wood to this home.  His wife threw the statue--without recognizing its meaning--into the fire.  The fire burned the house down but left the statue unscathed.  It soon became an object of veneration among the Aetas.  The first missionaries to the Zambalas region (1608, Recoletos) recognized the statue as that of Our Lady and transferred it to their church.  During the Philippine revolution, patriots-rebels took the image to their church, the Philippine Independent Church.  A replica, made by Maximo Vicente, sculptor, in 1976, became a traveling Madonna.  Beginning in 1981 the Ina Poonbato has been to nearly all dioceses in the Philippines.  In Rome, it was blessed by John Paul II.

Two things may be remembered especially.  When Djadig discovered the "lady carved in shining wood," he heard a voice telling him, "Djadig, Djadig, take me home with you."  The call of Mary goes to the heart of all of us: "Take me home with you."  The Recoleto missionaries first thought they had to deal with anito worship.  But when they saw the image, they knew better.  They were convinced, "She must have paved the way for our coming."

For more information call 63-917-621-2332 or write to Rosellyn Magsaysay, Ina Poonbato Foundation, 33 Marikit Street, West Triangle Homes, QC, Philippines.
 


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