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.

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