In the Chinese hierarchy of folk deities, Ma-Cho (Matzu) is the powerful Queen of Heavens and protector of the sea. She is the patron saint of fishermen and overseas Chinese.
Legend says she was born a mortal named Lin Mo-liang (silent girl) sometime during the Northern Sung Dynasty (960-1127 A.D.) near Meizhou Bay in Fujian Province, China.
During her lifetime of only 28 years she was said to be exceptionally pure of spirit and compassionate. It is said that she had supernatural powers and performed miracles, subduing evil spirits and averting disasters at sea. She sacrificed her life while trying to save seafarers endangered by rough seas.
After her death, people began to pray to her for succor and good fortune. She has a huge following in mainland coastal areas. In Taiwan, where many Fujian folk migrated, she is worshipped by almost two-thirds of the population. March is the height of “Ma-cho Mania” in Taiwan, when her birthday is celebrated in over 500 Ma-Cho temples. The most famous of these ceremonies is the Ma-Cho procession or journey, known as Chin hsiang (“carrying the incense”).
In Macao and Fujian (China), Taiwan and the Ma-Cho Temples in La Union and Batangas, the goddess Ma-Cho is believed by millions of devotees to be ONE AND THE SAME as Our Lady of Caysasay. Today, the Filipino-Chinese Communities of Northern Luzon based in San Fernando City, La Union, come to visit her on yearly pilgrimage at her “Mother” shrine in Tall, bringing along the image of Mama Ma-Cho of the Ma-cho Temple.