Santo Niño of Valencia
SANTO NIÑO OF VALENCIA
In the beginning, Valencia was part of Dimiao. The establishment of the parish of Valencia came a year after Panangatan, Canmanico and Cutcutan, all eastern barrios of the old town of Dimiao were constituted into a separate and independent town named Valencia on October 27, 1869. The Senor Santo Nino was officially installed as patron of Valencia, Bohol by virtue of letter number 877 of the Ministry of the Overseas Territories in Madrid, Spain dated September 3, 1870.
Fr. Mariano Cornago was the first parish priest of Valencia. He started the building of the poblacion and the construction of the church. He was succeeded in January 1878 by Fr. Francisco Arcaya who completed the construction of the church on September 7, 1882. He also completed the convent started by his predecessor and build the old cemetery surrounded by a wall of stone tablets we call ”cota”.
Valencianhons attributed the following samples of extra ordinary incidents to the miraculous intercession of the Santo Niño of Valencia.
Once, a severe drought hit the town which threatened to bring famine and starvation to the people. A novena was said in honor of the Holy Child and no sooner was it started when the much awaited rains came to save their crops and work animals. In another incident, a big fire fanned by a strong breeze broke out in the vicinity of the church. Fearing that the fire might raze down the church, the parish priest rushed inside to save the Holy Sacrament and the statue of the Sto. Niño. Coming out, the priest raised the statue of the Sto. Niño reverently towards the raging fire and miraculously the wind calmed down and the fire was easily controlled by the gathering parishioners.
During World War II, a competition among the Bolo Batallion and Women’s Auxiliary Service under the Bohol Area command was held in Valencia. The competition was participated in by contingents from the towns comprising half of the province. The contingents from the other towns have already arrived a day before but on the eve of the competition. Japanese ships were sighted in the high seas and intelligence report indicated that a landing was planned to attack the huge gathering of the resistance movement. At the news, people immediately scampered away to all directions. The contingents from other towns were reported to have fled to their respective hometowns passing through mountain roads and uncharted trails, while local residents braved the dark night to reach evacuation huts in forests and mountain bushes. The Japanese forces, however, failed to make the landing. Filipinos who served in the Japanese forces recalled after the war that Valencia that particular night was completely invisible due to the heavy fogs that surrounded its shores.
Indeed, scholars may have logical explanations for these strange phenomena but the people of Valencia attributed all these to the miracles of their beloved Senor Santo Nino, the Refuge, the Comforter, and the Protector of His people in times of sorrows as well as in times of joy.