We motored in the direction of the catholic cemetery in Barangay Tawid, Anda on a hot afternoon. After getting permission at the caretaker’s house at the crossing to the cemetery, we continued till we arrived at the entrance. A short walk inside is a chapel where the remains of Inday Potenciana is buried.
I’ve gotten curious with the lady, said to be a local and very religious. Because of her religiosity and piety, her body has remained intact and uncorrupted despite having died in 1953.
In fact, people, or properly, her devotees come here to pay their respects as well as to buy oil and candles. They offer prayers and ask favors which many attest to have been granted.
Potenciana Saranza was born in Anda on 19 May 1927. After getting her teacher’s degree, she was teaching in one of the elementary schools in Misamis Oriental. One day, while hitching a ride on a logging truck due to the shortage of transportation, the truck had an accident and caused her death when she hit a coconut tree from the impact.
Nine years after having been buried in Gingoog City, his family and relatives had dreams wherein Potenciana was asking them to have her body brought to Anda. While at first they dismissed this, it was during a family event that her family and relatives were able to talk about it and found that they had similar dreams.
A motorized outrigger brought the coffin to Anda and was buried near Quinale Beach. Because of the said public hazard, it was exhumed and was to be transferred to the municipal cemetery. What they discovered when the coffin was opened was that the body was still intact and seemed to have just been buried a few days ago.
We climbed up the stairs and into the chapel which many call a shrine. The place is clean and well maintained. There’s decor, flower and images of saints lined up at the two sides of the far end. A hand painted photo of the family at the far left near the entrance.
A centerpiece made from gold foil decorate the shrine with a framed photo of Inday Potenciana with a wooden rosary around it. Below is the glassed topped tomb of the saintly lady with a donation box. By this time, a family entered the chapel and came nearer the tomb.
I took a peek. But instead of the uncorrupted body, a dressed but blackened corpse of Inday Potenciana was there. It was now in a sad state. Locals blamed a previous attempt wherein acid was poured over the flesh.
It is said that the devotion, more like the cult of Inday Potenciana first started in Mindanao and then spread in Bohol. With many favors and prayers granted, faith keeps the devotion alive.
As we went down the chapel, a wooden structure caught my attention. It was boat shaped, had portholes but it was just amazing work!
Though still unfinished, the Birhen sa Regla Chapel (Our Lady of Remedies) it was started in 1994 by Virginia Cavales who dreamt about it.
Bohol is known for pious and people of faith and it is this faith that makes the island province interesting to visit: from centuries old churches, age old rituals and devotion to their own beliefs.
My great thanx to Mayor Angelina Simacio for hosting me in Anda, Bohol and to Kathy Pitlo for guiding me around the municipality.