The last leg of our Bisita Iglesia this year was the church of Manaoag in Pangasinan. It’s been two or three years since we’ve visited…it’s like coming home. Our son, Jeo, is a gift from God through the intercession of Our Lady; that’s why he is named John. In our early years of marriage, we came here and waited in line for a chance to touch her cloak. When our turn came, Weng and I, both asked for a baby boy. So Jeo came along.
Inside, people pray the rosary, say the Way of the Cross…pilgrims all, just like us.
I took pictures of the stations as we prayed but I wasn’t able to get pictures of the 1st three stations due to the people clustered around:
A Sight To Behold
The small temple behind the altar is a sight to behold. The image is flanked by St. Dominic De Guzman (patron of the Dominican Order, who administer the church), and St. Francis of Asssisi. Above is an image of the Holy Family.
Since the construct (a small temple) that holds the image is at the end of the apse, I took Jeo with me to one of the side entrances between the apse and the altar. I didn’t have my 200 mm lens with me so I made do with my 18-55mm.
The sight never ceases to inspire awe and devotion.
As you can see, the face of the Virgin is both serene and solemn. The jeweled crown and scepter are priceless.
The church holds murals depicting events in the history of Manaoag. Two for each of the transept (spaces on either side of the crossing, in front of the altar). The first one depicts the origin of the town of Manaoag.
Manaoag, in Filipino, means “to call”. According to documented accounts, in 1610, a native man who was walking home heard a Lady’s mysterious voice. To his astonishment, he saw a radiant Lady holding a rosary on his right hand, and a Child on her left. She stood on a cloud veiling a treetop. The man fell on his knees. He told the people of the apparition. And soon right on the spot where the Lady appeared a church was built. A town quickly flourished around it and was called “Manaoag”–the people answered to the Virgin’s call. Below is a picture of one of this particular event. It hangs on the West wall of the North Transept (left of the crossing before the altar).
On the east wall (opposite) is a mural depicting another miracle. A baby boy was near death from a severe illness. His parents were on their way to the church to ask for Our Lady’s intercession for the healing of thier son. The boy died before arriving but his parents continued to the church to pray for the life of their son. The boy was returned to life and cured of his illness.
On the south transept, this mural depicts the burning of the town by pagan mountain tribesmen. According to tradition, the chieftain even fired flaming arrow but the church remained unscathed.
I haven’t been able to find any allusion to the depiction of the last mural.
To the south side of the church is an adjoining chapel that holds a crucified Christ, a Black Nazarene, and other images.
Above the crossing (the point at the intersection of the chancel, the nave, and the transept), is a huge dome with portraits of the four evangelists on each corner. The chancel is the raised area where the altar (communion table), the pulpit (where the readings are read), and the lectern (where the lector leads the faithful) are found. The nave is the area where the congregation sits. The transepts are the areas on either side of the crossing for the choir and other religious attendees of the mass.
The Candle Gallery
Egressing the church through the south transept will lead you to a giant covered “hall” where the supplicants light candles for prayer requests.
After our prayers, we wanted to queue up to touch the robe of Our Lady. however, the line eas so long, snaking through the courtyard that it was difficult to find the end of the queue. We decided that this would have to wait for another visit. At the end of the hall of candles is an image of Our Lady of the Rosary hollowed out from a tree trunk.
On the way back to Manila, we stopped by Max’s Restaurant in Dagupan for some Halo-Halo.
When Jeo and his lola settled down, I took this snapshot of them.
On the way back, we stopped by a row of stores to buy dried danggit and dilis (anchovy), and some other food stuff. I took a picture of the scene across the road.
God willing, we will be able to return to pay our respects to Our Lady, who has a very special place in our hearts.