8 Fun Ways to Enjoy Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Piat Shrine

Piat is a town in Cagayan province known their miraculous image of Nuestra Señora de Piat enshrined at the Basilica Minore de Piat.

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church facade with bell tower undergoing restoration

The jump off point is Tuguegarao city and it is just between 32.8 to 33 kilometers away from the town. On our second day, We took the chance to visit this famous pilgrim center despite our hectic schedule.

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tourist center

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The souvenir shop, tourist information center is closed and only one store located near the entrance was open. We arrived past 5:00 pm and few people where around the church.

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bas relief of Our Lady of Piat and Piat logo

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8 Fun Ways to Enjoy Pilgrimage to Piat

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Department of Agriculture -Cagayan Breeding Center with giant boer goat

8.) Land Transportation– We took an hour or so travel via private car from Tuguegarao city to Piat. One can rent a tricycle or AUV vans which ply the capital city to the town.

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People’s Integrated Agri-Tourism Center ( PIAT with giant corn)

7.) Scenery –  One would enjoy the leisurely travel by marveling both man-made and natural wonders.

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6.) Food and Souvenir Items– One must not missed the “Pawa” a type of local delicacy which probably influenced by the Chinese. The steamed ground sticky rice is filled with ground and sweetened peanuts. They are sold in packs of 9 or 10 pieces per pack. They are best eaten when freshly cooked.

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two kinds of Our Lady of Piat statue ( 10 inch) made from fiber resin

I was fortunate to have bought one Our Lady of Piat statue made from fiber glass from an old man manning the religious /souvenir store. There were t-shirts, key chains and magnets for those interested.

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According to our tour guide/ companion/ diver for this tour. I was able to get a big bargain for the Our Lady of Piat statute which normally cost between Php 500 to Php 550.00.  I was able to buy the 10 inch statue for just fraction of the quoted price.

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Our Lady of Mercy Reconciliation Chapel

5.) Bukal na Buhay – There was a spring located at the back portion of the Minor Basilica according to one of the caretakers of the place.

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4.) Basilica Pilgrimage Inn, Museum and Inn – This is like a one stop facilities for those planning to visit the center.

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staircase

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religious / souvenir store located within the church

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museum

There is a small museum which features religious carvings, statues and church vestments. The souvenir store which sells religious images, t-shirts, books among others is close. A portion of the sales goes to helping seminarians and indigents.

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3.) Stations of the Cross – life-size statues, garden, an area to lit candles and place admire the place.

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marker

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2.) Santo Domingo Parish -is located within the premises, with centuries-old bell.

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Santo Domingo parish with centuries-old bell

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Basilica Menor de Nuestra Señora de Piat interior

1.) Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat– ( Basilica Menor de Nuestra Señora de Piat ) This is a must visit pilgrim site dates back to 1604 when Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary was brought from Macao to Manila. The image is dark complexion made from paper mache probably originated from Goa, India.

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The dark skinned image resemble the Indians of Goa which is also a Portuguese colony. One can admire the church grounds and immediate vicinity.

Place to Stay : Our jump off point is at Hotel Carmelita in Tuguegarao City.

Note: We would like to “Thank” the local lay sister which took the time to welcome the group invited us to stay and tour around. But our group is such in hurry to go back to Tuguegarao.

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

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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.

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man-made forest

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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orchids attached on driftwood

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maria Auxiliadora de Marawi at the 38th Annual Grand Marian Procession

Maria Auxiliadora de Marawi was the most sought after marian image at the 38th Annual Grand Marian Procession held within the historic Intramuros, Manila.

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It was a bit cloudy when my friends Philip Reyes and Dr. Jeorge Ferrer decided to meet at the APO Philatelic Club meeting and have a short walking tour.

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Maria Auxiliadora de Marawi

Around past 2:30 pm, It began raining. Participants and devotees decided to take shelter at nearby restaurants, fire station and on the eves of the buildings within the immediate vicinity of the parade route.

Some bloggers and postal heritage walking tour participants like Allan P. Martinez and his group decided to go there later in the afternoon.

We did not manage to see each other because of the large crowd and  weather.

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estampitas, medals and pamphlets were given by the devotees of the marian images from different provinces of the country.

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Story Behind the Image

The image was wrapped with plastic and flower arrangements was done by a flower arranger. I was able to take a few snap shots and was given few pamphlets by a devotee , who told me the story behind the image. There were white Dendrobium UH variety, gerberas and carnations flowers.

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Mr. Nolan Angeles was deeply touched by what happened to the images and the destruction caused by the Maute fighters at the Cathedral of Maria Auxiliadora

He wasted no time contacting one of the country’s well-known sculptors of religious images, Ian Vicente. It was Vicente who made the Maria Auxiliadora de Marawi.

The replica was donated by Mr. Nolan Angeles, a government employee , a Marian devotee and propagator of the devotion to Mary Help of Christians.

When people and participants saw the image, everyone took their time to take few snap shots and i saw some weeping not because of the tragedy but because of immense joy and gratitude.

The marian image will then be turned over to St. Mary’s Cathedral as a donation of the Salesian Society of Saint John Bosco and the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians as well as from all Bosconians.

Mr. Angeles said he is coordinating with Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Peña for the date of the turnover.

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Provincial Contingents 

There were delegates , devotees from different parts of the country. Participants wear beautiful Filipinana costumes.

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The participants were all smiling despite of the heavy rains and Philip Reyes had left at around past 3:30 pm.

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We were quite busy talking photos and managed to have met another Marian devotee along the parade route.

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Another highlight of the festival is the participation for the second year of Santa Cruz parish in Manila .

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Our Lady of Pilar ( Nuestra Señora del Pilar ) Santa Cruz , Manila . The Jesuits enshrined the image of Our Lady of Pilar in 1643 .This is also in preparation for the cononical coronation of the image set on December 8, 2017. The parish had an active Facebook Page. 

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We manage to visit at least half of the marian images before the 4:00 pm parade had started . There were about close to 100 images.  It was another wonderful experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Search for Catholic Religious Items within Tayuman Street in Manila

Tayuman street and parts of Oroquieta street are located within Santa Cruz district in Manila. This earn the moniker as ” Religious Hub”  for Catholic religious items ranging from from rosaries, bible, estampitas, novena booklet, religious statues . This is a short walk from LRT line 1 Tayuman station ( just a few meters away).

For several decades, These streets near Espiritu Santo Parish Church are the best places to buy cheap Catholic religious statues. There are about a dozen religious stores which sells different kinds of religious items.

 

svd00SVD Catholic Trade

The most popular religious store is SVD Catholic Trade which is just along the intersection of Tayuman and Oroquieta street. The building is a circa 1960’s style with brise-soleil windows . Local parishes would buy communion host ( sacramental bread), sacramental wines , priest vestments among other items. Department of Tourism had accredited this religious store.

svd001Santo Niño made from cast fiber resin with wooden base

I accompanied my friend few days ago who have a personal devotion to Santo Niño ( maybe a Santo Niño collector) and after a brief stop in a religious store.  He was able to buy a small santo niño for a discount. Popular religious statues includes child jesus, virgin mary, holy family and black nazarene.

The cheapest religious statues which is made from fiber resin and maybe imported ones from China cost about Php 40 each about 4 to 6 inches. According to the vendor, They can give us Php 35 each if we will buy at least 6 different items.

Religious trade would involve ecclesiastical artists, carvers, artisans, encarnadors, painters, lateros, bordadors, costureras, cultural activists, devotees and collectors.

svd002metal craft works -posted by Our Mother of Perpetual Help Religious Store FB page

I was also amazed that in some instances, religious dress may cost several thousands of pesos and may be worth more than the wooden statues, not to mention the aureole, crown, septer and accessories. They are normally handled down from one generation to another.

svd003religious statues made from cast fiber resin

Religious statues made from cast fiber resin and plastics are the cheapest priced item . They are priced depending on the material, craftsmanship, details and size. The bigger the statues. The more expensive it becomes.  Religious statues made from fiber resin and plastics are more preferred by the general public, since they are cheap , lightweight and easy to transport.

1 to 2 feet religious statues like Saint Peter and Saint Paul only cost between Php 1,200 to Php 1,700 ( made of resin fiber).

The wooden religious statues cost between Php 2,000 to Php 2,500 for a small one about 12 to 14 inches. Usually they are made from batikuling , santol, langka or other softwood tree varieties.

Batikuling wood or scientifically known as Litsea reticulata, Litsea perottetii  or Litsea leytensis seems to be the most preferred wood material for religious statues. For religious ( santo) collector . They would prefer wood, which could last for generations.

Source:http://www.woodworkerssource.com/

 There are also some re-sellers of these items . Some of the stores have customization services for those who do not like the ready-made religious statues. I think they ordered those statues from Pampanga or Laguna provinces. Old folks would recount that several decades ago, that there were good santo carvers ( santoreros)  from Santa Cruz, Quiapo and even in Tondo districts.

One of my friend who would roam around different religious stores within Manila would dispute that there are some places which would sell cheaper santos compared to Tayuman area. Since their rents have risen within the district. Some of the buyers would prefer the ” suki” patron system.  They would built a long lasting relationship between buyers and sellers.

There are some religious stores which used to sell religious statues with carved ivory head and hands. During our brief stop over, We have not seen santos with ivory heads and hands displayed at their stalls. Maybe some of them stopped or went into underground trading.

We were able to get some contacts and as i have posted, my friend bought some Santo Niño statues for a little discount and a couple of religious statues made from fiber resin. One will be donated to a local chapel somewhere in Caloocan.

A religious store was having a mid-year sale and we were quite lucky to have bought 1 religious statue. Overall, His total bills reached around Php 10,000 and took a side trip eating at a local eatery ( carinderia ) near SM San Lazaro.

I have learned a lot by joining my friend in his short search of religious statues within Tayuman and Oroquieta streets.

Here is a short list of the religious stores within Tayuman and Oroquieta street.

Catholic Trade ( Manila ) Inc. 

Address: 1916 Oroquieta street, Santa Cruz, Manila, Philippines, P.O. Box 2036

Telephone : (02) 711-3630/ 741-4868 , 711-1320, 711-1321, (02)369-98-93

Fax: (02) 711-5410

Website: http://www.catholictrade.com.ph/

Operation : Monday to Saturday : 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Perpetual Help 

Address: 1853 Oroquieta Street , Santa Cruz, Manila

Items: Makers of Quality Statues, Fiber Glass, Special Resin and Cement, Specialized In: Embroidered Dresses, Crown, Abaca Hair and Accessories

Made to Order, Repair and Repaint

Contact Persons : Denmarc and Imee Cadorna – 0939-2502222/906-4762222

Telephone : (02) 423-2507

New Angels and Saints, Inc- House of Religious Articles and Candles

Address: 1858 Oroquieta street corner Tayuman , Santa Cruz, Manila

Telephone: (02) 741-4310

Holy Family Religious Store

Address : 1656 Tayuman St Santa Cruz Manila, 341 Zone 34, Manila
Telephone: (02) 493 6852
Our Mother of Perpetual Help Religious Store
Address: 1660 Tayuman Street , Santa Cruz , Manila
Contact: 313 6074/ 09184866986/ 09194539162

 

A Visit to Kiu Pat Liong Shiao Temple within Don Galo,Parañaque City

Kiu Pat Liong Shiao is a Taoist temple located along coastal road located within Barangay Don Galo within Parañaque City. This is sometimes referred as Chinese temple.

Kiu Pat Liong temple compound with high walls

This is one of the iconic landmark located within the city . This is temple which was built more than 30 years ago and is one of the more elaborate temple. Traffic reporters would put this temple as their reference point during traffic report or segment.

Kiu Pat Liong Shiao gate 

We decided to visit this temple after a certain Mr. Marcelino Chua Sy posted in a FB religious site last May 27 that the temple is closing down and is giving away some of the altar and Taoist deities.

FB page group post

Some of them are shocked with the posting, so they told us to recheck if the story is true.

local marker 

I tried to ask some of my friends who are active at the temple , one of them is Master Chua Hu Hua and some of my friends living within the city.

Santa Monica chapel

I decided to tag along a friend, who is a volunteer at a Buddhist shrine in Makati , They might need an altar ( just in case) We decided to visit the temple last June 3 saturday . We took a jeepney ride ( with Baclaran with Zapote , Quirino Avenue) paid the Php 8.00 fare and dropped off at Santa Monica chapel along Quirino Avenue .

The place is less than 4 kilometer from Baclaran church .

There was a bronze statue which commemorates the Lim Ah Hong or Ah Hong  which attacked the area on  November 29, 1574 , later identified as Don Galo or Dong Galo

We went to the temple and talked with the caretaker and 2 Filipino-Chinese guardians of the temple.  They allowed us to visit the altar and lighted an incense.

We manage to talk with the caretakers and they told us that there was no truth with the rumors and They do not know anyone with a surname Mr. Chua who is in charge of the place.

Address: Buensuceso St, Don Galo, Parañaque, Philippines