Agoo, La Union
|Other names||Angel de la Vega|
|Occupation||Actress, Entertainer, Businesswoman|
|Known for||Marian apparitions by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Agoo|
Judiel Nieva (born 1977), also known as Angel de la Vega, is a Filipino transgender woman, actress and businesswoman, notable for her claims of seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary atop a guava tree in Agoo, La Union, Philippines in what was labeled as the "Miracle of Agoo" from 1989 until 1993. The Roman Catholic Church officially declared Nieva's visions as non-supernatural in 1993.
Nieva is the seventh of eight children. Her parents Pedro and Julia Nieva sold goods out of two stalls which they operated in the local market. Even as a young child, Nieva was believed to have special powers and was sought out as a healer.
Alleged Marian visions
|Our Lady of Agoo|
|Location||Agoo, La Union|
|Witness||Judiel Nieva later known
as Angel de la Vega
|Holy See approval||Not Approved
Nieva claimed to have begun seeing visions of the Virgin Mary in 1987 when she was only 10 years old. On March 31, 1989, she reported that the first of several public apparitions, in which she claimed to have seen a bright light, then heard voices and the sounds of trumpets while angels descended from heaven towards him singing “Allelulia” and “Salve Regina”.
The Holy Family next appeared on a cloud, St. Joseph holding a shepherd’s staff and the Virgin Mary sitting on a rock holding the baby Jesus on her lap. Other "miraculous" events associated with Nieva included a Eucharistic Host turning into actual flesh and blood, messages reportedly coming from the Virgin Mary, images of the Virgin Mary "weeping" tears of blood and a "dancing" sun.
Description of Mary
The description of the Blessed Virgin Mary according to Nieva's personalized statue is distinct. The Virgin Mary wears a long white tunic, and stands atop a (Guava) tree resting on a cloud decorated with seven roses. The virgin has a six-pointed star on the forehead, and has a "Sailor knot" featuring a tassel and a golden chain ball hanging from her chest.
The Marian title associated with the weeping statue later became known as "Our Lady of Agoo, Immaculate Queen of Heaven and Earth" and features seven roses atop a cloud where the virgin stands.
The public was initially inclined to believe Nieva's claims. On March 6, 1993, during a "manifestation" on "Apparition Hill", an estimated one million people gathered to witness a "visitation" from the Virgin Mary. Numerous government officials, media personalities and even a Catholic bishop attested to the veracity of these events. Cardinal Jaime Lachica Sin also once publicly celebrated Holy Mass at the apparition site.
Declaration as non-supernatural
In 1993, a theological commission established by Bishop Salvador Lazo Lazo condemned the aforementioned events as Constat de Non Supernaturalitate (Latin, "clearly evident to be not supernatural"). Accounts reported in the news media regarding the financial corruption of the discredited seer's family and her own transsexualism were seen as proof of this finding.
The statue is reported to have wept tears of blood on three separate occasions. Initial reports by the National Bureau of Investigation in the Philippines ruled that the blood on the statue was Human Type "O" but further ecclesiastical investigation by the Roman Catholic Church under the Archdiocese of Manila by Bishop Salvador Lazo Lazo later discovered that the blood on the Virgin Mary statue was of pig's blood, the acceptance of public donations, along with a controversial alleged request by the Virgin Mary to Judiel Nieva to wear women's clothing further discredited the claims of supernaturality. In 2005, the original statue of the Virgin of Agoo was sold in the amount of 2,000.00 php as reported by various Filipino media outlets.
In 2003, Nieva, who now calls herself by the screen name "Angel dela Vega", starred in a film entitled "Siklo". In the film, she plays a woman who falls in love with her neighbor. As part of Vega's physical transformation, Vega has also undergone breast implant prosthesis.
In a September 2003 televised The Buzz interview with Nieva by Kris Aquino, she was asked if the Virgin Mary has continued to appear, Nieva refused to answer and asked to no longer talk about the topic in order to allow her to move on. Nieva also noted that in July of the same year, she was involved in a car accident but survived, along with her driver. In another interview by GMA Network, a host asked Nieva what prompted her to undergo a gender and sex change. Nieva empathically answered "Ito po ang Kagustuhan ng Mahal na Birhen" (English: "This is what the Beloved Virgin Mary willed (for me).").
Nieva is gay and maintains a partial residence with her lover and domestic partner in Agoo, La Union. Presently, she co-owns a spa and restaurant resort in her hometown and claims to maintain a personal religious devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in private.
- Valencia, Melrose. "Philippines Today - Showbiz Roundup". Retrieved 2008-07-18.
- "Judiel Nieva, Agoo, Philippines, 1989–1993". Retrieved 2008-07-18.
- "Visions of Jesus Christ:A blood-weeping statue in Agoo, Philippines". Retrieved 2008-07-18.
- Peter Heintz A Guide to Apparitions of Our Blessed Virgin Mary (Gabriel Press, Sacramento, California 1995) p. 617-628
- Pastrano, Mozart (2003-09-05). "Apparition star Judiel Nieva now a show biz star". Philippine Daily Inquirer. pp. A29.