by VON ZYRON P. ALIMORONG
HE WOKE up last Monday and saw that someone left an apple beside his styrofoam cup. It was a mystery to him who would have had the heart to leave him something to eat.
“Baka si Diyos Ama?” he says. “Birheng Maria. Kaso ‘di ko naman hinawakan rebulto niya.”
On a Good Friday, inside the Santo Ignacio Parish in Pasay, Regalato was praying for another apple. Amid his praying, he began to feel sweaty. Hellish flames began eating the church’s walls. He could not move—his limbs would not cooperate. He could feel his heart hammering his ribs. While in a state of panic, he saw standing at one of the tables a young lady with doll-like features and curly hair, dressed in religious garments, and holding a staff in her hand.
“Iha, baba ka riyan!”
The lady did not flinch.
In a desperate move, he braved the flames, took the lady by the waist, and carried her out to safety.
“Diyos Ama, mansanas lang hinihingi ko.”
By the time they got out, he kept asking the lady if she was okay. Her eyes were wide and crying blood. She was not breathing. Regalato cursed God and the heavens, saying how God had cheated him by letting the woman die just to cheap out on him for one apple.
It was three in the afternoon. Devotees entering the church looked at him, wondering why a man in a hospital gown was cradling a religious figure amidst the heat of the sun. F