A Story for the Feast of St. Bartholomew

The Legend of the Lost Statue of St. Bartholomew

This is an old story about Baao’s patron saint, which I calculate, based on the generations that have heard it, to be more than a hundred years old. The story was told to me by an 80-year old neighbor who as a child, heard it from one of my great grandmothers who also narrates that she heard it from her own grandmother. In my childhood, I’ve heard parts of the story told to me by my parents. It’s been a while since I received a tip from a relative that in Nagcarlan, Laguna, there is indeed a statue of St. Bartholomew containing an inscription of “San Bartolome, Baao, Camarines”. I still do not have the time and resources to verify the truth on this. The following is the story as I heard it from my neighbor who has since passed away.
Paulix Robosa

There is a legend that has been preserved unto this day which is of small significance to our town. Whether this is true or not, I can only say one thing for sure, that nobody has ever exerted effort to prove it.
There was a time during the Spanish period when thunderstorms were very frequent. On one occasion, lightning struck the steeple of the town church which was then entirely built of wood and immediately caught fire. As the thunderstorm was at its worst, no one dared came out and come near the church. The small wooden church would be quickly consumed by the fire were it not for an astonishing but timely intervention by our Patron saint. It is said that as the fire raged, people could see, amidst the flames, our Patron Saint locked in battle with the fire. Soon as the fire subsided, it was found that the church was only partly burned and the statue of the saint only showed slight burns from the fire.
Despite the slight damage suffered by the church, the Parish Priest decided to build a new church in its stead. After completion of this new church it was also decided to replace the old singed statue of St. Bartholomew. So the day came when a perfectly new statue was placed in the altar, to everyone surprise the next day, this new statue showed the burnt marks found on the old image. An even bigger surprise came when the people found out that the old statue is nowhere to be found. The statue seemed to have disappeared angered it was thought, by being abandon by the people.
News later came that a statue of St. Bartholomew was found floating in waters somewhere in the Tagalog provinces and that the inhabitants who found it had difficulty pulling it out of the water because of its great weight. Now the statue they say can be found in one of the churches in one of the towns of this region.
Very few people now know of this story but this is very old and was told to generations within the town of Baao.

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