It seemed like I really can't move on with the beautiful surroundings as I joined the queue. This sanctuary is a tourist destination itself. It's as comely as a beautiful virgin lady.
"It seemed like I really can't move on with the beautiful surrounding as I joined the queue. This sanctuary is a tourist destination itself. It's as comely as a beautiful virgin lady."

[TANAY, RIZAL, PHILIPPINES] ▬ The creep of the morning light was oblivious as we reached Sitio Aguho, a highland village under the jurisdiction of the town of Tanay in Rizal province. It was a cold Saturday morning of March, one weekend of slaying the dragons of chaos to regain the worth of the soul that is peace of mind. A giant gate cloistered a serene 13.5-hectare property of rolling hills, fresh air, 10 thousand tall mahogany trees and organic farm—but one thing is the phoenix.

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ THE CREEPING LIGHT STARTS TO REVEAL THE GIANT BRONZE STATUE.


▬ Before the Right Time ▬


#TANAY


WE REACHED THIS PLACE JUST BEFORE THE sun spewed some light so I had really no idea how this place looks like. Then there was this crowd build-up from nowhere. More and more people came so the crowd continues to grow. And yes, these people are going to one destination just waiting for the right time to come.

Most of the people here are pilgrims, some are riders doing a weekend ride while one person is just a curious lad—that's me. Well I'm neither a pilgrim or a rider this time. I'm not here for a religious purpose. As I always say, I travel because I want to learn and this place considered by pilgrims as sacred ground for their Roman Catholic faith is yet another beautiful subject to understand, discover and enjoy. So yes, I'm here as a curious traveler who wants to discover and learn new things.

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ IN FRONT OF THE TALL MAIN GATE


The right time here is 8 AM. It is that time of the day pilgrims are allowed to march to the 71-foot tall giant statue we're seeing from our present location that seemed to be rising from the dark ash then the light revealed its shiny bronze color.


▬ A March to the Lady on a Hill ▬


FINALLY, THE SECURITY GUARD HAS SIGNALED US that it's now alright to approach the lady on the hill. But before that, a mandatory briefing was conducted to the first batch of visitors (I'm included) in one of its gathering facilities.

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ SEEING THE STATUE ALONG THE WAY

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ I ZOOMED THE CAMERA AND HERE IT IS, CLOSER.

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ SNAKY ROAD TO THE STATUE

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ CROWD AT THE ENTRANCE GATE TO THE LADY

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ WE'RE GETTING CLOSER.


We followed a trail that led us to the top of the hill where the lady is standing with halo crown and the infant Jesus carried by her left hand. 

The trail alone is already a satisfying encounter where line of tall mahogany trees, citrus plants, sunflowers and other trees conflate to bring out a peaceful and breathtaking setting. With me are some senior citizens who ignored the direful joint pain just to fulfill the desire of their faith. One I've met is more than 80 years old.

The trail, made easier by concrete stairs, was filled with a queue of pilgrims ascending to the top of the hill. This is a big relief for the elderly marchers.

It seemed like I really can't move on with the beautiful surrounding as I joined the queue. This sanctuary is a tourist destination itself. It's as comely as a beautiful virgin lady.


▬ Pilgrims vs Tourists ▬


REACHING THE TOP OF THE HILL, I realized this place is not limited to pilgrims. It is for both pilgrims and tourists. As I reach the top, about 90% of the multitude had their photos taken using their smartphones, tablets and digital cameras. Selfie sticks are very present.

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ UNDER THE CLEAR BLUE SKY

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ THIS COUPLE IS TAKING A PHOTO OF THE GIANT VIRGIN MARY STATUE.

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ A GIANT SCULPTURE OF VIRGIN MARY AND A CHILD

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ MOST OF THEM ACTUALLY QUEUED FOR A PHOTO-OPP ABOVE THE GROUND.

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ MY VERSION OF SELFIE WITH THE GIANT LADY ON A HILL.

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ CLEAR BLUE SKY


▬ A Beautiful Descent ▬

FROM THE TOP, THERE'S ANOTHER TRAIL GOING down. Once again, the trail view never disappoints. The view on the other side of the sanctuary is equally satisfying. As I left the hill where the giant Virgin Mary statue was perched, another set of multitude came.

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ ANOTHER SET OF MULTITUDE IS CREEPING IN.

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ VIEW FROM THE EXIT TRAIL

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ▬ I'M HOOKED TO THE BEAUTY OF THE 13.5-HECTARE PROPERTY.


All of the foregoing are just a touch of the whole narrative and stories that happened here. This post focused only on the the giant Virgin Mary statue where I wrote my observation and insights.

There are more to explore and learn inside this expanse of paradise. There is this spot here called as "Breasts of God." Breast? We will dig deeper so join me in my mission to unlock new learning on the next blog episodes to come. What is the significance of this so-called breasts of God in this sacred ground? ▬ to be continued...

[LUZON] ► TRAVEL BLOGSERYE


STORIES OF TOWN EXPLORATIONS
"Faces of Pilgrimage Sites: Tanay and Quiapo"


EPISODE 01

[TANAY] ► Romanticizing My First Sunrise in Rizal Province


TEASER ▬ ...the most noticeable of all is the beautiful sunrise over the mountain ranges that seemed like I was the only one who cares.

| EPISODE 02 | EPISODE 03

[TANAY] ► El Shaddai Hills: Regina RICA's 'Breast of God'


TEASER ▬ Blessings are meant to be worked on to. If God sees your sincerity and effort by living a life for His glory, then undoubtedly, you are the most deserving person to receive His abundant blessings.

| EPISODE 04

[TANAY] ▬ Handong: Vegetarianism, Nature and Religion Intertwined


TEASER ▬ It's vegetarianism on its face. No killing of animal life—it's primarily based on sustainable farming.

| EPISODE 05

COMING SOON! LIKE THE EDMARATION PAGE FOR UPDATES



SERIES TEASER: PILGRIMAGE SITES WERE ALL MADE FOR THE FAITHFUL. THEY HAVE THE SAME PURPOSE BUT THEY MAY DIFFER IN MANY THINGS. JOIN MY TRAVEL TRAILS FROM TANAY TO QUIAPO AND DISCOVER THE INTERESTING THINGS I PERSONALLY LEARNED FROM THESE PILGRIMAGE SITES. TANAY AND QUIAPO ARE TWO OPPOSITE VARIABLES ON THEIR OWN.
14 MARCH 2015: GIANT VIRGIN MARY STATUE
JUMP SHOT WITH THE GIANT VIRGIN MARY STATUE IN TANAY, RIZAL PROVINCE, PHILIPPINES.

REGINA RICA

[TANAY] ► HELLO! WELCOME TO THE GIANT VIRGIN MARY STATUE!


► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

[1] This post is filed under the category "Markers and Monuments." This is a category here on my blog where I write my experiences, note down my insights and post photo essays about markers and monuments I've seen or visited then I weave them into travel stories. There is a section below where you can see other related posts from this category.

[2] All maps I used on this post are the works of Eugene Alvin Villar and Mike Gonzalez published on Wikipedia. Source: 1 | 2


[3] All photos are mine.

[4] The insights, conditions and name of places or properties I mentioned here are based on the facts and situation on the day of my visit. Take note that you may have a different experience when you visit this giant Virgin Mary statue. Names of places and properties may also change by time.

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EDMAR GUQUIB, Travel Blogger
EDMARATION #TownExplorer


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EDMAR GUQUIB

Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano. Genuine Bigueño. Sucker of Long Land Trips. Loves the Highlands. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For sponsorship, advertising, event invites and collaborations email me at edmaration@gmail.com.

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