THE AUTHOR AND INAY CANDI. Rens Tuzon presents the cover of the book Inay Candi: Bearer of Light. The book is set to be launched this September in time for the Paracale Patroness’ canonical coronation. - Photo courtesy of Bicol Mail
By SHIENA M BARRAMEDA
DAET, CamNorte: “[It] proves that life is really important that even the heavens want to defend and sacrifice anything for the lives of the masses. That [the] Most Merciful Virgin later [on] became the Paracaleños’ benevolent defender that saves and protects the masses of believers and received a great deal of attention [among] the Catholics and hailed as their patron Nuestra Señora de Candelaria, Our Lady of Candles, and accepted purely as Inay Candi, the bearer of the Light and the defender of the Paracaleños’ Catholic faith,” says an excerpt from the book ‘Inay Candi: Bearer of the Light’ by freelance writer, photographer, artist and former broadcast journalist Rens Tuzon.
The book, which is set to be launched on September 8, will feature the 400-year-old devotion of the Paracaleños to the Patroness of CamNorte’s goldtown.
Tuzon, who is not a native of Paracale, said that what truly motivated him to write the book was the combined hope of Rev Fr Joselito Chavez, former parish priest of Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Candelaria in Paracale, CamNorte, and Totale Image Asia Meth Paliza to come up with a coffee table book that would do justice to all the miracles that were associated with the Virgin of Paracale.
“The great story behind Nuestra Señora de Candelaria, or Inay Candi, to the commoners (which involves eye-witness accounts of the Virgin’s involvement in a war with the Moros and other narrations which always depict Inay Candi as a defender of the masses wielding her sword) motivated me to create the book,” Tuzon said.
“According to the tales, the Patroness lost her finger while defending the townspeople from the Moro looters way back in August 29, 1809.”
He also said that he is quite fascinated with the fact that the image in Paracale is the only image of the Blessed Virgin Mary bearing a golden sword instead of the traditional image of young Jesus Christ.
“Primarily, it was my being curious, and keen interest on the project, that I decided to lay my writings and thought of coming up with this. I believe this (the book’s launching) is a historical event since the book will be the very first to be published in more than 400 years which is dedicated to Inay Candi,” he added.
“This is my humble way of honoring the title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the known Our Lady of Candles – the Nuestra Señora de Candelaria. Furthermore, I’m honored and so grateful, that of all the persons, I believe Inay Candi tapped me to do her book before her Canonical Coronation this September.”
With the help of photographers from Paracale headed by Rio Paliza, Rosemarie and Leslie Patingo, Chito Agliones and Jose Baluyot, Jr, “Inay Candi’ will be a vivid depiction in pictures and words of various accounts of miracles attributed to her and the origin of the devotion that unites Paracaleños as one people.
“To be honest with you, I’m not a religious person, but, I do believe the first coffee table book of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria would play a great impact on Paracaleños’ faith and devotion to the town’s once defender of the people.
“I also do believe everyone will be reminded of what her miraculous deeds and it’s about time the Paracaleños should be reminded of the past of what really Inay Candi wants for her townspeople – the prosperity with kindness and respect for everyone, a love with so much of sharing to each and everyone, and lastly caring for the environment which Inay Candi is defending until now for her beloved children of Paracale,” Tuzon said.
He said that although the devotion to Inay Candi is relatively older than the devotion to Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia, the recognized Patroness of Bicolandia, he certainly does not think of comparing the miraculous deeds of the two Patronesses.
“I believe that what other saints and patrons have in mind is to defend the faith of everyone and to shower more love and blessings through the intercession we considered as the Light of the World, our dear Lord Jesus Christ.”
Regarding his personal relationship with the Paracale Patroness, he professed that Inay Candi touched his personal life in miraculous ways after he came here from Quezon City and after several stints in broadcast media both here and abroad.
“First, she taught me how to be more compassionate and loving not only to other people but also to the environment. Secondly, Inay Candi made my faith stronger and educated me more about Christian faith and devotion and personally, I do believe that Inay Candi always protects me as She had protected Her people.” – Bicol Mail
The home of Inay Candi - the parish church of Paracale. - MWBuzzpic by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ