A visit or pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina or Pambansang Dambana at Parokya ni Santo Padre Pio in Santo Tomas, Batangas is incomplete whenever a group travel to the famed town.
National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio signage
The tour was arranged by Jotun ( Philippines)and United Architects of the Philippines ( UAP Makati chapter) as part of the cultural, heritage, environmental architectural tour of the town. This is my second time to visit this shrine.
The property sits on a 1.6-hectare agricultural land in Barangay San Pedro which is almost a kilometer away from Maharlika Highway, Santo Tomas, Batangas was donated the generous couple Mr. Ernesto and Adelaida Gonzaga to the Archdiocese of Lipa, where a new and larger church would be built. Dr. Isabel Malvar-Villegas donated a 200-square meter parcel of land that would be used as a right of way from the barangay road leading to the site.
Mary Mother of Mercy belfry
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), on their semi-annual Plenary Assembly in 2015, unanimously approved the elevation of the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Padre Pio into a national shrine.
We left Jotun Paint Plant at past 2:30 pm, in three vans. The group arrived past 3:00 pm at the National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio.
National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio
There were not so many pilgrims when the group arrived at the shrine and was escorted to a private parking area ( parking fees is Php 30).
Schedule of Mass and Healing Service
Saint Padre Pio half size statues for sale and healing oil
Saint Padre Pio statues made from fiber glass, fiber resins
There were several stalls which sells Saint Padre Pio statues in different sizes. Small one cost Php 150 each while larger one sells between Php 400 to Php 500.
An ambulant vendor sells candles, rosaries and sampaguita garland
rosaries, beads, bracelets and key chains for sale
Saint Padre Pio statue with donation box- right side is the office and religious store
Saint John Marie Vianney chapel
Most of the chapels and main church architecture was inspired by salakot ( native hat ) Using steel, bamboos, wood, adobe stones, stones, sasa (Nypa fruticans ) or nipa leaves, sawali panels /woven bamboo strips and cement.
The rector and parish priest Joselin C. Gonda envisioned this concept for the main church, to have a place of worship and prayer that is distinctly Filipiniana, eco-friendly and adapted to the tropical climate of the site surrounded by green environment.
Asplenium nidus / Pakpak lawin or Bird’s nest fern adorn trees
There were driftwood, bamboo panels and stones which are some of the materials used in the lectern, altar and seats. Ornamental potted plants like variegated dracena, bromeliads were used as live floral arrangements.
San Padre de Pio relic with love offering
Santo Niño with petition or love offering
San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila
life-size statues of religious saints
Divine Mercy Sanctuary for Pilgrims
There was an ongoing free religious concert at the Divine Mercy Sanctuary for Pilgrims.
The 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy in the Philippines held on January 18, 2017 attended by thousands of participants and pilgrims from all over the country and other parts of the world was held at this chapel.
Chapel of the Saints and Baptistry
Chapel of the Saints and Baptistry is located at the back of the main church. There are several improvements on the compound within the past few years. The relics were given by Ermelindo di Capua, OFMCap, the only surviving Italian Capuchin priest in 2013. Few years before he died.
The chapel is the place where baptism is held. One can also pray silently in this area.
different religious statues
Saint Padre Pio painting and other religious statues
There were different kinds of religious statues within the chapel. Some were donated by devotees or parishes. Materials range from hard wood, soft wood, eskayola ( plaster of paris), fiber resin materials.
Relic of the Holy Cross
wooden processional urna
Santo Padre Pio Bukal ng Pag-Asa / Saint Padre Pio Fountain of Hope
handkerchiefs, rosaries, prayer beads, padlocks are tied at the fence made from wire mesh
votive candles, padlocak and bottle of holy water can be purchase at this store
red and white candles for sale
Holy Water Sanctuary
Holy Water Sanctuary is another place to visit, pilgrims can throw coins at the fountain area. Water is not potable.
chapel of saint padre pio chapel of lights
One can light candles in one of these mini chapels located within the ground.
station of cross
The stations of the cross are neatly landscaped with tropical ornamental plants and ferns.
The area had several pocket gardens with manicured lawns and mini man-made forest.
San Padre Pio rectory
There is a useful guide for those first time visitors and pilgrims at the shrine.
walkway with chapel of the holy cross and belfry
There is a gentle sloping walkway going down to the man-made forest area. There are a lot of flowering plants, shrubs, trees, orchids and ferns within the property.
orchids attached on driftwood
lower portion of the belfry
religious and souvenir stores
Saint Padre Pio relics
Saint Padre Pio relics
UAP Makati chapter
The group had a meaningful, solemn pilgrimage at the shrine. We left the shrine at around past 4:00 pm, with some participants buying some native kakanins and souvenir items. One can easily make this a part of the holy week retreat.
One can commute via several bus companies which ply the route going to Batangas province. One must leave early in Metro Manila and travel time take at least 2 to 2 1/2 hours going to the shrine.