Traveller, Photographer, Mountaineer, Human

Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine

June 17, 2012

Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine is a pilgrimage shrine in Manaoag, Pangasinan.  It has become a famous pilgrimage shrine due to the alleged miracle that the icon supposedly endows its devotees.

After our Vigan trip, we spent the night in Eman’s family home in Pozzorubio, Pangasinan and visited Manaoag the following (rainy) day (it is less than an hour by public jeepney).

I remembered the story of my batchmate in college whose mother went to the shrine (just before we took the board exam for accountancy) and had the pencils she was going to use for the exam blessed by the icon (I guess rubbed against the icon).

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The Manaoag Church

The Manaoag Church appears to be constructed during the Spanish era and renovated and expanded several times.  Following the traditional layout of Catholic churches, the church is in the shape of the cross with the entrance on the long end, the main altar on the short end and the transept providing additional seating closer to the main altar.

Above the main altar is a dome (probably the whispering gallery) with painted details (rather than carved).  In fact, the whole ceiling of the church is painted with no or very little carving, unlike the more grand churches (San Augustin in Intramuros, for example).

The main church aisle (left) * Dome above the main altar (below).

On each side of the transept are smaller altars dedicated to two saints I’m not familiar with.  On the left side near the entrance of the church is a small chapel dedicated to Jesus (probably the Sacred Heart of Jesus).  The icon of Jesus has disproportionately large hands.

Icon on the left transept altar (above left) * Main altar (above center) * Icon on the right transept (above right)

Icon of Jesus Christ (Sacred Heart) on the small chapel near the main door (far left) * Detail of the keystone above a door arch (left).

Similar to my previous observation, Filipinos are big Marian devotees.  Look at most of the churches here in the Philippines and a statue of Mary in her various incarnations (like in this church) will be the central icon in the church.  Jesus Christ will only have a smaller icon beside or on top of the main altar or a smaller chapel (like in this church).

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Offering Prayers and Wishes

Behind the church and slightly to its right side is a covered area with chairs for resting.  There is also a tree with the statue of Mary carved into its trunk.  I think this is supposedly the area where the original Lady of Manaoag had her apparition.

A carved image on a tree, the supposed site of the original apparition.

On the left side of this tree and directly behind the church building is a circular building with a copy of the icon’s statue in the middle.  Around this are places where devotees and pilgrims can light candles, offer prayers and wishes.  Eman bought six candles and lit up five of them.  He gave one candle to me, which I lit up (despite being a non-Catholic).

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A copy of our Lady of Manaoag icon  * One of the floating candles.* Our candles

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Touching the Icon, Other Saints

On the right side of the church is a stair leading to the second floor.  This is where the devotees gather as the stairs lead to a prayer area where they can touch the back of the main icon in the altar.

There is also a stair on the other side (left side) and this goes to the same room (but cordoned off from the prayer area).  Here are there various saints on display.

People lining up to go to the prayer area (left) * People praying and touching the back of the icon.

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Three of the saints on display.

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One is probably Aaron (brother of Moses) whose staff flowered after being placed inside the ark of the covenant (thereby confirming that it is his family that God chose to be His priests.  One is Jesus Christ as a shepherd.  The third one, not very familiar and the statue could be a young man or a woman.

There are other saints on display like St. Veronica holding a veil with Christ’s face imprint.

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The Museum

The museum is located below the prayer area and directly behind the main altar.  I like this museum as it contains some old items – vestments, icons’ regalia, etc.  (The museum is rather dark and my 18-135mm lens with its aperture of 3.5-5.6 required high ISOs.)

It has several Lady of Manaoag icons.

Some of the faces of the icons have lines, especially one of the Mary icons (the one above in blue).  I guess it was made of ivory and the stripes is a natural pattern in the ivory or the result of the elements on the ivory.

There are also icons of other saints and religious figures.

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There are also the regalia of our Lady of Manaoag (the icon changes her regalia every once in a while).

Religious statues are not the only only things found in the museum.  There are old vestments and liturgical equipment on display.

Chasuble and vestments worn by the the priest and the deacons (this is worn on one special occasion, other colors are used for other occasions).  * Some things used during liturgical mass in previous times.

It is amazing the level of details in all of these items are, particularly the clothing.

Much effort has been made in embellishing the items for use of the icon or by the priests.  This just shows how much devout Filipino Catholics are (especially before).

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Details of rich embroidery (regalia and vestments).

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Going to Manaoag Church is a nice experience.  I may not be a Catholic who will benefit from a visit to one famous pilgrimage site, still I can appreciate the devotion of the people and rich history of Catholicism, its liturgical traditions, and its iconography.

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One response

  1. Pingback: Eman’s Bday Trip – Manaoag « thenoblewanderer

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