'Jesus, Mother Ignacia appeared on my blanket'
MANILA - Former actor Lance Raymundo credits his faith for his "miraculous" recovery, following an accident at a gym which shattered parts of his face and even exposed his brain at one point.
Speaking with ABS-CBN News' Ginger Conejero on Wednesday, Raymundo recalled having a "vision" during his confinement at a hospital after a barbell, which he clarified weighed 95 pounds, crushed his face last March 20.
"During my delirious state -- knowing that I couldn't be [operated on] for three weeks, knowing that 'yung life ko 50-50, and with my left eye blind -- I had a vision of the future all of a sudden, showing me looking like this, back in the business, all good things. It could be just a good dream, right?" Raymundo narrated.
He recalled hearing a voice he compared to the ominous "Big Brother" from the popular reality TV series. Raymundo explained that he couldn't pinpoint where the voice was coming from, as it seemed to come from all directions.
"This is exactly what the voice said, in English, sabi niya sa akin: 'You're only going to suffer for six days, but on the seventh day, I'm bringing you back, because I have a mission for you. I want you to continue what you're doing,'" he said.
"So I answered the voice, in my mind. Sabi ko, 'As much as I'd like to believe this, I know naman na three weeks pa bago ako mabuksan... Sana totoo 'to, sana hindi ito imagination ko lang.' Because you know when you're in that state, you would like to hear what you want to hear, 'diba?"
The voice, Raymundo recalled, challenged him to sit up on his bed to find "the answer," as if to disprove his doubts about his recovery.
"The voice said that if I have enough stregth to at least sit down on my bed, I'm going to know the answer... I sat down, I struggled, and then nagulat ako, 'yung comforter ko, pag tingin ko, may mukha ni Jesus sa pagkakagusot ng comforter. It was his face, exactly," he said.
Raymundo said he called the attention of his mother, who was sleeping on a couch near his bed, to show her the supposed outline of Jesus' face. "When she looked at my blanket, she saw it instantly, so she took a picture for remembrance," he said.
An 'image' of Jesus supposedly appears on Lance Raymundo's blanket during his confinement at a hospital last March 20. Photo courtesy of Lance Raymundo
In his mind, Raymundo spoke to the voice, which he believed was Jesus', and apologized for doubting him. "I was like, 'Alright, I'm sorry, I doubted you, but I guess this is the answer. As impossible as it seems that you said I'll be back in seven days, na sinabi ng doktor na they couldn't even touch me in three weeks, I'll just take it. If you say that, then I'll believe it.'"
In the following days, Raymundo recalled that the doctors were surprised to find that parts of his face were starting to close one by one, including the area that exposed his brain.
With the apparent healing, Raymundo's doctors agreed that a surgery could be scheduled as early as March 25, more than two weeks ahead of their initial recommendation.
The first operation, according to Raymundo, was intended as "life-saving surgery" rather than aesthetic. It pieced back his broken nose, the socket of his left eye, and his right cheek bone. The surgery also completely closed the part just above his brain, which eliminated risks of Raymundo getting meningitis or epileptic seizures.
"I woke up the next day, which is day seven," he narrated. "I opened my eyes, I could see with both eyes, and I asked for a mirror and it was basically this face already... Everything he (Jesus) said would happen, which even the smartest doctor said is impossible, all happened."
The "miracle," according to Raymundo, also had special meaning to devotees of Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, including his mother who volunteers at a healing center named after the Filipino religious figure.
(Left) Supposed religious image on Lance Raymundo's blanket last March 20 and the (right) a depiction of Mother Igancia del Espiritu Santo. Photos courtesy of Lance Raymundo
"They're considering that this might be the final miracle that she needs at the Vatican to be a saint," Raymundo said, explaining that 2 miracles have already been attributed to Mother Ignacia, who was born in the 1660s.
"I didn't talk about it before, kasi hindi naman siya popular, pero the truth is, 'yung mukha ni Jesus, may katabi siyang woman," Raymundo added. "At first I thought, it was probably the Virgin Mary. Pero nung nakita 'yung stampita ni Mother Ignacia, it's exactly what she's wearing and it's the same position."
Asked what he has learned from his near-fatal experience, Raymundo said he has come to value forgiveness, positivity, and faith more.
Referring to his trainer, who was assisting him when the accident happened, Raymundo said, "If I never forgave the guy, then I don't think I'd have enough positivity to have the will to move on, right?"
"And if I didn't have the faith, I'd probably be depressed... If you lose that, you'll lose your will to live. But if you have a strong faith, and you know that life will still be okay, that's what will keep you alive."