Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Visit To Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine

Our Lady of Manaoag

The Altar of Our Lady of Manaoag

Welcome Signboard going to Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine

Myself in front of the altar

Facade of Our Lady of Manaoag Church

It was a dream come true on our trip to Our Lady of Manaoag Church in Pangasinan last January 30, 2010. I was longing to visit the Shrine since my last vacation on 2008. Unfortunately the plan during that time did not push through. This year on my vacation, I had promised to visit the Church come rain or shine. Me and a friend leave my house at 5 am from Imus, Cavite and reached the Pasay City terminal of Five Star Bus at 5:45 am. We ride one of the bus going to Dagupan City and asked the bus conductor if he can bring and drop us at Our Lady of Manaoag Church at Pangasinan. He willingly obliged to drop us at Urdaneta City and instructed us to take a tricycle ride (around 20 minutes) going to Manaoag Church with a fare of 100 pesos. The trip going to North Luzon Expressway was exciting for me since this is the first time I will see the changes that has been done through many years with regards to the road and other infrastructure that has been built on the area. I did not sleep in the bus because I don't want to missed anything I can see on our way to the Northern provinces along McArthur Highway. We had a 20 minute stopover at Mabalacat, Pampanga to relieve ourselves and buy some snacks. The trip was painstankingly long because it took us more than 5 hours to reach Manaoag. Nevertheless, it was joy and happiness that I felt upon reaching the Church. We were not able to catched the last mass in the morning of 11 o'clock because upon reaching the church, the priest was already blessing religious articles in front of the altar. Anyway, me and my friend prayed for our own intentions that lasted for several minutes and took some pictures for souvenir around the Church. Many people visiting the Church are taking pictures and the security personnel are not that strict. We were able to visit behind the altar of the Virgin a mini-chapel where visitors go to touch the image's mantle. Her mantle is visible and can be touched only through a small partition, small enough for hands to fit. Upon touching the mantle I offered a short prayer and thank her for the blessings of God that we were able to reached the shrine safely. I was able to drop my petition prayers (for good health of my father and mother and the whole family, more blessings, peace and love for the whole world) at the petition box. It was a wonderful trip for me to the Holy Shrine, a dream come true that I visited it for the first time. I felt the peace and holiness inside me and I unabashedly cried during my prayers. I will again visit the Church on my next vacation and will make sure to catch an earlier trip so I can attend and hear the earlier mass.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I'm Totally Back

The huge statue of Jesus Christ atop the hill

Me and my dearest Fe

Overview of the stairs going to the top of the hill (292 steps)

Landmark going to Lucban, Quezon

Whew! It's almost been 2 months I have not written on this blog. I just came from my two months vacation from the Philippines and it so hard for me to continue writing while I'm enjoying my memorable and remarkable vacation. I decided not to post anything so I can enjoy much of my needed rest and recreation. Now I'm back in Saudi Arabia and started to work hard to earn that much needed dollars for my bank account. My January vacation from the Philippines was the most memorable one among the others. It was a great experienced to visit Kamay ni Hesus Shrine at Lucban, Quezon where you can find the huge statue of Jesus Christ atop the hill by 292 hundred steps to reach the pinnacle. Before reaching the top you will be passing the statues of the 14 Stations of the Cross. The view is breathtaking and you can find peace and serenity because of its green landscape, lush greenery, virgin forest, and unpolluted place. From South, we went to North at Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine in Pangasinan, a 5 hours travel by bus. The moment I stepped in front of the church, I felt a sense of holiness, peace, and serenity inside of me. I cried during my prayers and it makes me feel at peace and relieved. I had a grand time and enjoyed our reunion with my college buddies at Gerry's Grill at Mall of Asia, Pasay City. We visited one of my dear friend Ruby who is sicked and wheelchaired at their house in Calamba City, Laguna. Eventually, my bonding with my family is the most important part of my vacation where I spend quality time with them, especially with my mother and father, my sisters and brothers, and my nephews. My vacation will not be worthy at all if I will not share to you some of the pictures I've taken during that period. Above photos are taken at Kamay ni Hesus Shrine.