When he was ten, his father put him in charge of taking a sack of corn to sell. Upon arrival, the buyer told him that the price of corn had fallen from 5 colones to 2.5. The boy cried, “¿¡Yay Manquesea eso?!” (“What, man what’s that?!”). Since then, Gerardo Ramirez Arias dropped the name Gerardo and for the rest of his life became known as “Manquesea,” the man with “miracle hands.”
He was born in Atenas, in the province of Alajuela. When he was seven, his family moved to Quiriman de Santa Cruz and finally, 35 years ago, he established himself in Nosara. Today, at 67 years old, he recalls how at 15 years old he started to use his “natural gift,” as he calls it. Manquesea would go to soccer scrimmages at the field in Boquiado de Quiriman and there he would take charge of healing anyone injured during the game, setting dislocated shoulders, ankles and arms and almost immediately relieving any pain.
Ramirez only finished first grade. The great poverty in which he grew up prevented him from studying. Even so, without a clinic and without any equipment aside from a bottle of body lotion, he is preferred over large clinics and well-known doctors by many locals.
His method is simple and practical. He swears that just by seeing a person, he is able to tell what they’re suffering from. He immediately takes their arm and touches a muscle, making a diagnosis – “You have a ‘pega’” (blockage, which is to say, something you ate that didn’t go down well) or perhaps, “you have stress.” He also diagnoses problems with the sciatic nerve. He explains that problems with that nerve come from not treating stress in time. Another of his specialties is dislocations from blows or excessive force.
His fame as a “sobador” (a term for a person who soothes ailments through massage) crosses borders and many foreigners come to him in search of relief. According to Ramirez, “gringos” look for him in large numbers, sometimes in groups, and he’s able to remove their “pegas” in under five minutes.
While doing this interview, a 37 year-old Tico arrived in awful shape. The man complained of pains all over his body, which weren’t letting him sleep. Immediately, Manquesea took his arm and said, “Ay Papa, your issue is just stress and you’ll see how I’ll leave you like new.” With his thick hands he massaged the man’s arms, legs, neck and back. The expression of pure pain could be felt by anyone present. Ramirez’s fingers pressed his skin forcefully and in less than five minutes the man shook; after coming in hunched over and complaining, he left walking happily, giving profound thanks, only asking, “How much do I owe?” Ramirez responded, “Give me 3,000 colones ($6) or whatever you’d like.”
Among other recommendations Manquesea has to share, he says that at the first symptom of indigestion, you should drink the juice from two sour lemons and a bit of salt, and that will help tone your stomach and avoid muscle contraction.
For those who would like to try something different when you wake up with indigestion, perhaps a visit to the man with “miracle hands” will be enough. Ramirez lives in the San Pedro neighborhood, close to downtown Nosara, and he is always available with a smile and open arms.