The Agoo Apparition is the alleged apparition of the Virgin Mary at the town of Agoo in La Union in 1993. Judiel Nieva, the then 16-year old seer, claimed that the Virgin Mary had been appearing to him and giving him messages every first Saturday of the month and on special religious feasts since 1989.
A month before the apparition, it was reported that the statue of the Virgin Mary owned by the Nieva family shed tears of blood, a phenomenon which was seen by thousands of people during the noontime mass, and that the communion host was said to have turned into flesh and blood in Nieva’s mouth. In addition, another resident claimed that his statue of the Virgin Mary also shed tears which later turned into blood.
Pilgrims flocked to the apparition hill on the 6th of March 1993 in the belief that the Virgin Mary would once again appear at that exact day and place as announced by Judiel Nieva. Marian devotees alleged that they witnessed a phenomenon called the “Dancing Sun,” an event where the sun moved around in a circular motion and changed its colors. As mentioned by Nieva, the silhouette of the Virgin Mary was believed to have appeared above the guava tree and approximately 10 minutes after Nieva read the message that he said was given to him by the Virgin Mary, lights of different colors came from various directions and moved toward the sun. According to Nieva, the Virgin Mary wanted the people to pray for the children of Somalia who are suffering from famine.
Nieva announced that another apparition would take place on the 8th of September and after that the Virgin Mary would disappear forever.
Attesting to the Apparition
Several individuals confirmed that the Agoo apparition was indeed true. The Speaker of the House, the Senate President Pro Tempore, Mon Francisco, a radio reporter for DZXL, all claimed to have seen a silhouette of a woman wearing a dark waistband. The bishop of the province, Bishop Salvador Lazaro, claimed to have seen the vision as well. Because of this event, Bishop Lazaro formed a commission whose goal was to investigate, gather testimonies from the people that were present on the event and to report directly to Vatican as to whether or not the Catholic Church would recognize the Agoo apparition.
Questioning the Apparition
Along with the devotees who traveled all the way to the apparition hill were two close-minded skeptics who were prepared to ask questions about the event. These skeptics then asked two ladies at the site about what they saw. The ladies then told about the formation of the clouds that as they said took the figure of the Virgin Mary with arms outstretched. But by the time when the two ladies were asked as to where they saw this cloud formation, the two pointed at different directions.
Another notable fact is that previous apparitions such as the Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe and Medjugorje had one thing in common; the seer or seers that were chosen were young, simple and impressionable. Judiel Nieva conforms to this profile but he was suspected precisely because his attitude was perceived to be too consistent with those of other adolescents who claimed to have “seen” things or “heard” voices.
The Agoo apparition drew much attention from the local and international media, to the point that Jaime Cardinal Sin conducted Mass on the Apparition site.
Nonetheless, it was said that the Nieva family including Judiel himself gave in to the temptation of the money that came from donations that were supposedly designated for building a church at the apparition site and used the money for their personal expenses.
The church publicly condemned the Agoo apparition for the reason that the messages that dating from 1993 seemed to be duplicates of messages given to other seers.
After the Apparition
Today, Judiel Nieva, who was a young boy when the apparition took place, has transformed into a woman and an actress who goes by the name of Angel Dela Vega. It was reported by Ethel Valiente, a reporter of Women’s Journal, that Judiel still continues to claim that he is receiving messages from the Virgin Mary.
“Apparitions, Faith and Cock-a-doodle-doo”. The Skeptic. Volume 13, No. 3 (Spring 1993), 44-45
“Background Information”. Messages of Jesus and Mary to Allan Rudio-Philippines. n.d. http://members.tripod.com/allan_rudio/background.html (Accessed August 9, 2007)
“No luxury of time on charter change” Manila Standard Today. n.d. http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=emilJurado_aug27_2003 (Accessed August 9, 2007)
“Virgin Mary Appears in the Philippines” Weeping Statues and Icon. n.d. http://www.visionsofjesuschrist.com/weeping15.htm (Accessed August 9, 2007)