Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Batangas

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.

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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.

History

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.

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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.

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welcome arch

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.

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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).

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Schedule of Mass and Healing Service

stalls

commercial stalls

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Saint Padre Pio half size statues for sale and healing oil

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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.

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ambulant vendor

An ambulant vendor sells candles, rosaries and sampaguita garland

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rosaries, beads, bracelets and key chains for sale

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Saint Padre Pio statue with donation box- right side is the office and  religious store

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Saint John Marie Vianney chapel

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dedication marker

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.

man-made-forest

man-made forest

jackfruits

jackfruits

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.

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Asplenium nidus / Pakpak lawin or Bird’s nest fern adorn trees

interior

interiors

side-view-interiors

devotees

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main altar

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.

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San Padre de Pio relic with love offering

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Santo Niño with petition or love offering

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San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila

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life-size statues of religious saints

seats

wooden benches

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Divine Mercy Sanctuary for Pilgrims

There was an ongoing free religious concert at the Divine Mercy Sanctuary for Pilgrims.

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main entrance

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.

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interior

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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.

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chapel

The chapel is the place where baptism is held. One can also pray silently in this area.

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different religious statues

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religious statues

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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.

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Relic of the Holy Cross 

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relic

devotees

devotees

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wooden processional urna

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Santo Padre Pio Bukal ng Pag-Asa / Saint Padre Pio Fountain of Hope

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handkerchiefs, rosaries, prayer beads, padlocks are tied at the fence made from wire mesh

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votive candles, padlocak and bottle of holy water can be purchase at this store

candles

red and white candles for sale

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Holy Water Sanctuary

Holy Water Sanctuary is another place to visit, pilgrims can throw coins at the fountain area.  Water is not potable.

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pilgrims

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chapel of saint padre pio chapel of lights

One can light candles in one of these mini chapels located within the ground.

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station of cross

The stations of the cross are neatly landscaped with tropical ornamental plants and ferns.

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Platycerium coronarium

rosary

The area had several pocket gardens with manicured lawns and mini man-made forest.

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San Padre Pio rectory

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vicinity map

There is a useful guide for those first time visitors and pilgrims at the shrine.

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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

orchids attached on driftwood

bellfry-area

lower portion of the belfry

local-kakanins

local delicacies

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religious and souvenir stores

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Saint Padre Pio relics

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Saint Padre Pio relics

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Around the World Toys Series 2 from Jollibee

The country’s largest fast food chain again release another set of kiddie meal toy which will bring delight for children and fast food collectors not only in the country but the rest of the collecting community.

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Dubbed as ” Around the World series 2” this showcase Jollibee mascot in different tourist destination sites around 6 destinations and countries.

California, USA shows Jollibee on top of surf and waves. It had a movable base which can move up and down.

Venice in Italy where gondola is a traditional, flat bottomed boat, often the gondola is propelled by a person portrayed by Jollibee (the gondolier) who stands facing the bow and rows with a forward stroke. The character had a detachable paddle and its arms can move forward.

Hawaii, USA – Jollibee had a garland of yellow flowers and guitar. Hawaii is well known for her flowers and guitar makers. Large Filipino expats community also lives in the state.

Hong Kong, China – Jollibee is sitting on a dragon boat with movable arms beating a drum. Dragon boat race is quite popular in the territory.

London, United Kingdom – Jollibee is portrayed as Queen’s guard (guards on foot) wearing full-dress uniform of red tunics and bearskins (hats). With its iconic black tall hat and movable arms. The company just recently opened a branch within the outskirt of the the city.

Singapore– Jollibee is standing beside the country’s most iconic symbol. The merlion is part mythical creature with head of a lion and body of a fish is an iconic mascot of the city state. The merlion is detachable,  It can be lighted up and change into different color specks by a switch on the side of the merlion.

The downside of having a battery operated lighting merlion, Is that it’s lighting feature may not last long when children keeps on playing the item.

This is a better kiddie meal series compared to the first one issued earlier this year.  Aside from bringing joy and happiness, This also bring educational awareness on geography of the respective country and marketing on other foreign branches of the company.

The toy series can be bought at all Jollibee stores nationwide from November 1, 2018 until supplies last.

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First Series

The first series of the Jolly Kiddie Meal Jollibee “Around the World” toys was released from February 1 to 28, 2018 and  part of Jollibee’s 40th anniversary.

Among the countries featured where Canada, Vietnam, New York, Texas, and the Philippines, dressed in some of the most iconic costumes from these places.

Note: The author is lucky to have completed both set of kiddie meal toys.

Warning : The toys had some small parts which can cause some choking hazard for children less than 3 years-old. Adult supervision is a must for children playing this toy set.

Full Disclosure: This is not sponsored post by the company. All sentiment, opinion was based on the toys bought and reviewed by the author. The author is also a member and administration in some FB group which collects fast food toys.