Ruben Ecleo

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Ruben Ecleo
The Divine Monument.JPG
TitleSupreme President and Founder / Divine Master
Ruben Edera Ecleo

(1934-12-09)December 9, 1934
DiedDecember 20, 1987(1987-12-20) (aged 53)
ReligionPhilippine Benevolent Missionaries Association
SpouseGlenda Buray

Ruben Edera Ecleo Sr. (December 9, 1934 – December 20, 1987) was a Filipino cult leader who founded the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association in 1965, and the mayor of the municipality of Dinagat, Surigao del Norte from 1963 up to 1987.

Early life[edit]

Ruben Ecleo Sr. was born on December 9, 1934 in Cabilan island in Dinagat, Surigao (now part of the Dinagat Islands province).[1] He was baptized to the Philippine Independent Church at age one in the neighboring town of Surigao. His family moved the western portion of Dinagat island prior to 1941 in an area in sitio Puyange which is now part of San Jose municipality.[2]

Ministry work[edit]

Ecleo reportedly started his ministerial work at age eleven. He went to the United States in 1952 to undergo a months-long survey study tour before returning to the Philippines in 1953. He did mission work for the rest of the 1950s to the early 1960s, preaching in areas such as Davao, Bukidnon, Leyte, and Samar. It was around this time that his followers believe that his healing powers surfaced. There were claims that he was able to cure illnesses and even raise people from the dead. In the early 1960s, he was able to amass his first followers who became known as the "First Thirteen" and he began using the title "Divine Master". He would formally establish the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (SBMA) in 1965. The group's belief is described as a mixture of are a mixture of Christian, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Akashic doctrines.[1] He also held the title Supreme President within the SBMA.[3]

His son, Ruben Jr. would succeed him as leader of the PBMA after his death.[1] A PBMA primer said that the group believes that Ecleo Sr. "reappeared" in the body of his successor son.[4]

Political career[edit]

Ecleo would be elected as Mayor of San Jose, Surigao del Norte in 1963. He would hold the position until his death in 1987.[1]


Ecleo died on December 20, 1987.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Ecleo was married to Glenda Buray, who was a former member of the Surigao del Norte provincial board from and a House of Representatives member representing the 1st district of the same province[6] He married Buray in 1955, and they had eight children.[1] He had also a relationship with other women who were known to be his "spiritual wives" including Reyneria Borja, with whom he had two children.[7]

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Caña, Paul John (May 25, 2021). "The Strange Case of the Ecleos and the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association". Esquire. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  2. ^ "Ruben | Local Hero of the Province of Dinagat Islands". Provincial Government of Dinagat Islands. Archived from the original on January 20, 2021. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  3. ^ Solinap, Leo (June 24, 2002). "Ecleo's group not a cult, says follower". The Philippine Star. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  4. ^ Seares, Pachico (April 13, 2022). "EXPLAINER: Lent episode of true-crime podcast Lagim tells of how PBMA members regarded Ruben Ecleo Jr.: their 'God the son, reincarnation of Christ.' Local media dwelt more on violent incidents, side issues in 2002 murder of Ecleo's wife, massacre of her family". Yahoo!. Sunstar. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  5. ^ "Senate oks bills on special non-working holidays". Senate of the Philippines. September 3, 2018. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  6. ^ "Ecleo, Glenda | Personal Information". House of Representatives of the Philippines. Archived from the original on April 23, 2004. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  7. ^ "Faith, Hope, and Politics". Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. Archived from the original on February 18, 2008. Retrieved September 17, 2022.

External links[edit]

  • All About the PBMA - Unofficial website of Members of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association, Inc.