During Holy Week, there are several mystical and holy places in the Philippines people go to. The most popular, at least for Luzon residents, are Mt. Banahaw and Mt. San Cristobal in Dolores, Quezon.
As many as 500,000 used to flock to the mountain during Lent, leaving tons of garbage. To save the sacred mountain from total destruction, the government closed it to the public and regulated the entry of large groups of people.
Other well-known places of religious worship and contemplation include Quiapo Church, home of the Black Nazarene; the shrines of St. Padre Pio in Libis, Quezon City and Sto. Tomas, Batangas; Manaoag Church in Pangasinan; and Siquijor Island near Dumaguete in the Visayas.
Lesser known, but slowly gathering some following and interest, is a privately owned 30-ha hill called Ciudad Verdadero, which, according to its owner and founder, businessman Art Cataquiz, was named by the spirits.
Cataquiz, a simple, soft-spoken businessman from Pateros, Rizal, bought the property originally for investment purposes. He spent a lot of money planting trees and plants, but not a single tree or plant grew.
He was so downhearted because he had expected that property to give him income for his family. He had, at that time, some idle properties in Pateros, and he was in the small business of photographic reproduction and some trading.
He happened to hear my radio program, “Inner Mind,” on DZMM, about the seminar I was conducting called Inner Mind Development, which taught participants how to use their whole brain to achieve their goals, plus many other mental techniques.
Curious, he enrolled in the seminar, learned to meditate, visualize his goals and try other scientifically proven mind techniques.
A few of these techniques yielded some positive results. He then met some mediums and psychics who could communicate with the spirit world. I lost contact with Cataquiz, until one day, he came to inform me of what happened to him several years after the seminar.
He said he learned from the spirits that the property he had bought on the border of Sampaloc and Lukban towns was not meant for business, and that it was a sacred place. He was directed by the spirits to develop the place as a spiritual retreat or sanctuary and that he was forbidden to ask any money or contribution from anybody for its development.
When he complained that he did not have enough money for such a big task, the spirits said they would provide the money.
He did not know how spirits could provide the money for such an expensive undertaking. Then a large fast food chain company offered to rent one of his properties in Pateros for a good price, which gave him added unexpected income.
He reserved 50 percent of the money for the development of his barren hill at the border of Sampaloc and Lukban town in Quezon Province, some three hours by car south of Manila.
When he needed additional funds, the spirits again told him they would provide. Another major fast food chain rented his other property near the previous one, and he again devoted 50 percent of his income to the development of the spiritual sanctuary. The fact that Cataquiz is an architect helped a lot.
His wife and children considered his activities foolish and a waste of money. But he explained to them why he had to obey the wishes of the spirits.
Despite an already advancing age, he supervised the development of Ciudad Verdadero as a spiritual sanctuary without asking a single donation from anybody, not even from his rich relatives.
Today, Ciudad Verdadero, Km. 163, at the border of Sampaloc and Lukban in Quezon, features: a half-kilometer unpaved road leading to the place; a big covered multipurpose social hall or chapel; a two-bedroom house with toilets and baths; a meditation tower; a UFO concrete helipad, a small spring where healing water flows; and two labyrinths, one located inside the chapel and another on the highest hill.
Answers to questions
The one in the chapel is the Chartres labyrinth, similar to that found in 11th-century Catholic church in Chartres, France, and the other is an older Cretan labyrinth based on Greek mythology. I suggested to Cataquiz to put a labyrinth at Ciudad Verdadero for people to get answers to their questions. The idea for the Cretan labyrinth was dictated to him by the spirits.
Another contribution I made in the development of Ciudad Verdadero was to point out to Cataquiz the importance of a powerful boulder on the way to the spring. It was covered by grass and wild plants, but every time I went there I would feel a very strong vibration. So I asked Cataquiz to have the front of the boulder cleared of any plants and obstructions.
After he did it, one could feel a much stronger energy when passing in front of it. That boulder is one of the most mysterious objects in the place. Then Cataquiz discovered higher up a boulder with a similar size, and he built concrete steps for easier access.
What are some of the strange psychic, paranormal and mystical phenomena experienced by individuals who visit Ciudad Verdadero? There are many. But it must be emphasized that not everybody who goes there will experience them.
Some see only trees and rocks. It depends on one’s sensitivity and openness to unseen things. Just like in Mt. Banahaw, Ciudad Verdadero is a reflection of one’s level of consciousness or spirituality.
Some of the extraordinary psychic paranormal and mystical things that sensitive people have experienced and related to us are:
1) Seeing elementals such as dwarves, angelic creatures and fairies;
2) Hearing sounds of galloping horses at night although there is no horse in the place;
3) Seeing unidentified flying objects or UFOs;
4) Going into a trance and receiving messages from the spirit world;
5) Feeling the boulder near the spring to be alive and breathing;
6) Experiencing healing in the waters of the small spring;
7) Encountering the “talking leaves.” Actually the leaves do not talk, but sway in a definite direction in answer to questions asked. The answers are only “yes” or “no,” just like in a pendulum.
8) Getting answers to personal questions upon reaching the center of either the Chartres or Cretan labyrinth;
9) Seeing ETs and other types of aliens, including their spaceships under the water;
10) Feeling profound peace, strong spiritual energy and unconditional love.
Warning: There are people presenting themselves as official tour guides of Ciudad Verdadero. Cataquiz emphasizes that he has not designated anybody as a tour guide of the place, and he has forbidden anybody from charging a fee for visiting and staying in the place.