A good deed went a long way for Diana Cagandahan, an owner of a wood-carving business in Paete, Laguna.
Paete, Laguna is considered the country's "wood-carving capital," with a number of wood-carving stores selling religious statues and figurines lined up along the streets.
Cagandahan lived a simple life in the province, but her luck changed when she donated a life-sized image of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist and Grace, which she had carved out of wood, to a faith healer.
She said that after that simple gesture, Mama Mary started to appear in her dreams, prompting her to have another statue made.
The statue, Cagandahan said, was "miraculous," and was frequently visited by pilgrims who offered flowers. Dried petals left at the foot of the statue bore images of Mama Mary and Jesus, she said.
Cagandahan can't explain why the statue she made was special, but she believes it had something to do with the kind gesture she did.
“Siguro natuwa noong kami ay nag-donate ng Mama Mary. Doon nagsimula ang mga mirakulo ni Mama Mary,” she told "My Puhunan."
Using P150,000 of their life savings, Cagandahan and her husband opened their own carving shop in Laguna.
“Malaking tulong ang negosyong ito sa amin…may mga nagdo-donate sa mga simbahan, ‘yan madalas ang mga customer namin,” she said.
Cagandahan and her family are keeping alive the tradition of wood carving in Laguna, with some of her children running shops of their own.
Cagandahan believes she owes her success not only to the hard work of the skilled craftsmen working in her shop, but also to the miracle of Mama Mary.
“It can happen, we cannot limit the work of the divine…You have a sense of miracle, if you have faith,” said Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, archdiocese of Lipa.