Story of the White Church Bell
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During the early Spanish settlement in Bohol, the Jesuit priests built churches in thickly populated areas such as Loboc, Baclayon, Panglao, Viga and Tubigon. They easily gained favor in these areas by giving away presents to the leaders or datus.
Viga, in Antequera, is the kingdom of Tamblot who was both a datu and the highest priest whose rank is equal that of the present Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. To win his favor and of the natives, the Jesuit priest gave Tamblot a silver church bell and entrusted the whole church of Viga to him. The bell, otherwise known as “Lingganayng Ugis”, can be heard clearly even 50 kilometers away when rung.
Eventually, the Jesuit priest befriended another native by the name of Malabago who was settling in the upland territory of the present day Cortes. Having built a church there, the priest decided to get the white bell from Tamblot, which the later greatly resented. The feud between Tamblot and the Spaniards started.
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The priest challenged Tamblot to a contest with the agreement that whoever wins gets the bell. The contest was called “Lumba sa Abilidad”, a power showdown. The priest challenged Tamblot to light a cigar without any matchsticks, friction sticks, or the sun. The priest won. It was Tamblot’s turn. He challenged the priest that whoever could show something inside the chambered stem of a bamboo would win. At every cut of the bamboo, Tamblot was able to get water, rice, some berries as well as other items. But the priest could not even get water from the bamboo. Not accepting defeat, the priest declared to get the bell by all means.
One day, Tamblot removed the bell from where it was installed and with extraordinary strength threw the bell into the deepest part of the river of Bahian, a Sitio of Viga, after declaring to the people below him that “To be fair, no one should own the bell but the waters of this land. If anyone tries to get the bell out of the river, I will have this place flooded”.
Nowadays, people believe that all happenings is a myth. But inspite of what others think, local folks can testify that in the early 1900’s, when the bell was still visible and many efforts were exerted to get the bell out, a flash flood occurs and the river get muddy every time they do so. Since then, nobody dares to get the bell out of the river and it is not visible anymore for it is buried deep under silt and sand.
Thus, of all the towns mentioned above (Loboc, Baclayon, Panglao, Viga, and Tubigon), only Viga does not have a massive church to attribute to the Spaniards.
Traces of Eskaya writings were found some 400 meters inside the Inambacan Cave of Villa Aurora in Antequera. Some of the writings were already covered with stalagmites measuring about 13 inches high. Geological studies prove that stalagmites grow an inch in one hundred years so it means that the writings were there for 1300 years and that would refer to the period in the late 600 A.D. Engr. Jes B. Tirol of the University of Bohol found these writings inside the cave. The rocky remains of the Viga church still exist today and look like a crudely made temple.
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