The Goddess Ma-Cho
In the Chinese hierarchy of fold deities, Ma-Cho (Ma-Tzu) is the powerful Queen of Heavens and Protectress of the sea. She is the patron saint of fishermen and overseas Chinese.
Legend says she was born a mortal named Lin Mo-Liang (silent girl) sometime during the Northern Sung dynasty (960-1127 A.D.) near Meizhou Bay in Fujian Province, China.
During her lifetime of only 28 years she was said to be exceptionally pure of spirit and compassionate. It is said that she had supernatural powers and performed miracles, subduing evil spirits and averting disasters at sea. She sacrified her life while trying to save seafarers endangered by rough seas.
After her death, people began to pray to her for succor and good fortune. She has a huge following in mainland coastal areas. In Taiwan, where many Fujian folk migrated, she is worshipped by almost two-thirds of the population. March is the height of “Ma-Cho mania” in Taiwan, when her birthday is celebrated in over 500 Ma-Cho temples. The most famous of these ceremonies is the Ma-Cho procession or journey, known as Chin Hsiang (“carrying the incense”).
The image in Ma-Cho Temple was a gift of Taiwanese fishermen to San Fernando folk in 1972, in appreciation of the hospitality extended to them when their boat was driven off course by a powerful typhoon and they had to seek shelter by the shores of San Fernando Bay.
Our Lady of Caysasay
The image of Our Lady of Caysasay was retrieved from the Pansipit River in Old Taal by Juan Maningkad in 1603 and has since manifested miracles after miracles to the people of Taal and her devotees. Our Lady of Caysasay, enshrined in the Sanctuary of Caysasay, Labac, Taal, Batangas is known as Ma-Cho in Taoism
Today, the Filipino-Chinese Communities of Northern Luzon based in San Fernando City, La Union, come to visit her on yearly pilgrimage at her “Mother” shrine in Taal, bringing along the image of Mama Ma-Cho of the Ma-Cho Temple. Read more…
The Unique Relationship
Many devotees, both Taoist and Catholic, believe that Ma-Cho and our Lady of Caysasay are ONE AND THE SAME: a unique relationship that is found only in the Philippines. The belief is that Ma-Cho is a Goddess of the Sea and has special affection for seafarers and for people residing by the sea. Both shared close affinity to “Water”.
Every year, during the 5th day of the 8th month of the Lunar Calendar, the image of Ma-Cho in San Fernando City, La Union goes to Taal, Batangas for a pilgrimage and a special mass is said in the Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay in Labac, Taal, Batangas. The image of Ma-Cho returns the following day to San Fernando, La Union to start the 5 days festivities.