IF THERE are Ninja Turtles in the US, in Cebu City, there is the “Niño Turtle.”
The Niño Turtle is an eight-year-old pet owned by a widow in Barangay Suba. Its shell has what appears to be the likeness of the image of the Sto. Niño.
Fe Mangubat, 58, told Sun. Star Cebu that she and a neighbor made the discovery while cleaning “Niño” last Monday.
Mangubat’s neighbor found the image on top of the turtle’s shell.
It looks like the Sto. Niño with his hands up in both sides.
Mangubat initially thought it was a joke. She admitted having mixed feelings, of both shock and joy, when she first saw it.
“The hair on my flesh stood up. I ended up making the sign of the cross,” she said in Cebuano.
Her youngest daughter Mae Fatima took a photo of the markings and posted it on Facebook.
Since then, their house on Magsaysay St. has been receiving a lot of visitors, including pilgrims who hopes their ailments will be healed by the markings on the turtle’s shell.
Some of the visitors have even asked to bring home samples of the water from the turtle’s cage.
“I just give it to them so I can replace the water in my pet’s bathing pool,” Mangubat said in Cebuano.
One of Mangubat’s neighbors claimed that the water has miraculous powers.
“Naayo gud ang akong arthritis sa dihang gipahid nako ang tubig sa akong kamot (The pain in my hand disappeared when I rubbed the water on it),” said the neighbor, who refused to be named.
Free bath water
Mangubat said the turtle was given to her eight years ago after its owner left the country.
She and her family decided to keep it as a companion to their 16-year-old turtle.
Both turtles are kept in a white plastic tub.
Aside from the turtles, the Mangubats also have two dogs and two Flowerhorn fishes.
Mangubat said that with her turtle’s new-found fame, some neighbors urged her to sell the turtle’s bathing water as a holy item.
But Mangubat said that she refused.
“I didn’t charge for the water. The Sto. Niño appeared to us. It’s a big blessing that the turtle is in our house and I don’t want to lose that,” she said in Cebuano.
In a separate interview, Msgr. Esteban Binghay of the Archdiocese of Cebu urged the faithful not to immediately believe what they see.
Binghay, one of the Archdiocese’s episcopal vicars, told Sun. Star Cebu there had been many instances when “markings” of holy images were found on common items.
He cited the alleged image of the Sto. Niño that appeared in a public comfort room in Danao City.
Binghay said the faithful should not depend on images to prove their faith to God.
“Only God can heal. Pray to God, not to the turtle,” he said in Cebuano.