As early as 7 a.m. in the morning, throngs of people would come to the Ubay Public Market to gather there.
They are not there to witness an auction of goods nor to buy farm produce. The people are there to see one child.
Her name was Cherry Mae.
For the hundreds of people who lined up there to see her, she was their source of healing.
But what sort of healing does she offer?
Elmer, 48, a resident of Barangay BongBong in Ubay town is suffering from rheumatism.
At night, he barely gets to sleep since he constantly wails in pain. Due to this, he spends most of his time at home since he could not walk.
After Elmer heard of the Cherry Mae, he decided to seek remedies from the faith healer child inside the unfinished Ubay Public Market.
The 12-year-old Cherry Mae, according to those who have met her, started her ‘healing’ activities on July 23.
Elmer, who decided to see the child, saw a multitude of people already gathered at the market.
Elmer was given a priority number. He was number 250. The number called at that time was 120. But he wanted to wait in order to see if he could be cured.
When it was his turn, the faith healer Cherry Mae, just touched the aching part and much to Elmer’s surprise, the pain was gone and he could walk again.
After this, he was approached by teenagers who asked to buy “haplas” (liniment) from them for a fee of P100.
People swelled to the public market until July 27.
Even those admitted at the Don Emilio Valle Memorial Hospital voluntarily discharged to be healed by the child healer.
“Daghan na og nakasuway ug magpamatikod nga epektibo iyang panambal (A lot of people have tried and can attest that her healing is effective),” said Elmer.
Even with the advent of the digital age and the establishment of modern medical facilities, traditional healing continues to thrive in the countryside.
Traditional healers, called faith healers or folk massage therapists, have their way of treating people who are suffering from illnesses. Their method is complicated.
Magdalena, a resident of Barangay Mandawa in Bien Unido town, who was suffering from high blood and diabetes also came to see the child.
She learned that Cherry Mae and her company came from Larena, Siquijor. They arrived in Ubay on July 23 on board two luxury vehicles (Ford Everest).
Cherry Mae was accompanied by an elder man who looked like his guardian, another man who holds the megaphone, and two teenagers who sold the “haplas”. There were about five men in the group.
Police Master Sergeant Rey Mendez of the Ubay Police Station said at least 300 to 500 persons came to see Cherry Mae starting July 23 until July 27.
He said most of them came from other towns.
The child starts her healing session at 7 a.m. and ended it at 5 p.m.
However, police were asked by some residents and local officials to get the identity of Cherry Mae, a minor, and her company.
Last Saturday, July 27, Mendez said police approached the group after their healing session and told them if they could be invited at the police station for some questions at their convenient time.
The guardian with many pieces of jewelry told police they would go the following day. However, they suddenly disappeared on Saturday night.
There was no trace of the group in Ubay and in neighboring towns of Trinidad, Bien Unido and Talibon.
Mendez said the station didn’t receive any complaint from the patients.
“Walay nagreklamo maskin usa (No one filed a complaint)” he said.
He also clarified police didn’t force them to leave.
Police just wanted to get their identities since they were not residents of the town.
Until Tuesday, July 30, people are still coming to Ubay Market to look for the faith healer including Elmer and Magdalena.
Elmer said he is experiencing pain caused by his rheumatism again.
“Kinahanglan lang og follow-up nga tambal sa bata (Maybe I need a follow-up healing session),” he said.
Magdalena, however, changed her mind when she learned the group suddenly disappeared.
She said she suspected that they were ‘con-healers’.
She narrated how she remembered a man who arrived in a wheelchair and suddenly walked when the child healer touched him.
But no one from the crowd identified the man who claimed he was from Ubay.
“Kung wala silay gitaguan o gikahadlukan dili unta sila mawala kalit kay wala man sila unsaa sa pulis gipangutana raman,” said Magdalena who said she was suffering again from her ailments. //