Like the Balingaga Bells, relatives of Golden Tara’s finder wanted relic back to PH

BUTUAN City- With the United States government plan to return the historic Balingaga Bells, relatives of the Manobo woman who found the Golden Tara in 1917 along Agusan River wanted the relic’s return too.

The 13th century relic Golden Tara considered as one of the most important archeological discoveries in the Philippines is now at the Chicago Fields Museum in the US.

The four-pound, eight-inch, 24-carat “Golden Image of Agusan” is currently on display at the Chicago Fields Museum in the United States.

In an exclusive interview this Sunday morning with this writer, Constancia Guiral and Danilo Isid, great grandchildren of Belay Campos, who found the Golden Tara at the bank of Agusan River in what is now Esperanza town in Agusan del Sur province in 1917, told Claire Delfin Media they wanted it returned to the Philippines , if not in Agusan del Sur where it was originally found due safety reason but at the National Museum in Manila or at the Regional Museum here in Butuan City which also managed and run by the national Museum of the Philippines.

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“So the Filipno people can see it and will know,” said Guiral , who disclosed their family also wanted “finder’s fee.”

Guiral, 66, said their great grandmother Belay accidentally found the Golden Tara underneath an acacia tree along Agusan River after a storm and flood in 1917.

“She and her sisters thought at first, it was a shining doll at first. Later, the siblings and their parents started worshipping the Tara, and placed it in an altar,” Guiral recalled.

She said the Tara was stolen a few months later but it was returned. But then, it was stolen again, and subsequently, it became the property of another person.

“Because all of them were unschooled, they did not know what to do. All they did was just remember that once the Golden Tara belonged to them,” Guiral said.

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A group calling themselves Golden Tara Community of Agusan organized by Filipino Lama Yeshe Lhundrup, a practitioner, and devout Tibetan Buddhist elected Dr. Potenciano Malvar historian and local owner of Balanghai Hotel and Convention Center in Butuan as president, with another local historian Greg Hontiveros as vice president.

The Butuan-based group is planning a Golden Tara centennial celebration on November this year- to commemorate more than a century discovery of the Golden Tara.

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Lhundrup told Claire Delfin Media that the Golden Tara is not just an ordinary golden relic but has a spiritual value which includes spiritual awakening and cleansing.

“Once back in the Philippines, it may signal or spark some spiritual renewal, enlightenment of many Filipinos based on Hindu beliefs, an awakening of the Filipino nation longed fallen asleep, “Lhundrup said  (-30-)

Photo by Manasseh Benedict Serrano

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