BUTUAN CITY, PHILIPPINES, August 13, 2018 (Philstar): As the United States government plans to return the historic Balangiga bells to the Philippines, relatives of the Manobo woman who found the Golden Tara in 1917 along Agusan River want the relic returned too. The 13th century 21-karat Golden Tara, considered as one of the most important archeological discoveries in the Philippines, is now displayed at the Chicago Fields Museum in the US. It weighs approximately four pounds. In an exclusive interview yesterday, Constancia Guiral and Danilo Isid, great grandchildren of Belay Campos–the woman who found the relic in 1918 along the Agusan River in Esperanza town, Agusan del Sur, said they want to have the artifact returned to the country and preferably kept and safeguarded at the National Museum in Manila or at the regional museum here “so the Filipino people can see it and will know.”
Guiral, now 66, said their family also wants a “finder’s fee” for the Golden Tara, an image of a Hindu Goddess believed to be proof that Hinduism was existent in the Philippines before Ferdinand Magellan arrived. A group calling itself Golden Tara Community of Agusan organized by Filipino Lama Yeshe Lhundrup, a practitioner and devout Tibetan Buddhist, is planning a centennial celebration this year to commemorate the 100th year of discovery of the relic, which the Field Museum of Chicago renamed as Agusan gold image. Lhundrup told The STAR that the Golden Tara is not just an ordinary golden relic but has spiritual value that includes spiritual awakening and cleansing.