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/ sari-sari store. There were t-shirts, key chains and magnets for those interested. This was the only store that remain open during our visit  to the shrine.

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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.

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Flower of the Sacred Sleep

Aerides quinquevulnera variety farmeri

This beautiful white – highly scented orchid,  is one of the most coveted orchid species in the country. Although this orchid species is indigenous to other Asian countries . It is in the Philippines were a popular folklore about the mysterious discovery . The natives who worship an orchid- flower and a priestess who jealously guards this orchid plant seems to add to the mystery of this orchid.

The name Aerides means air-plant. About 20 species belong to this genus of monopodial epiphytes. Most species are easy to grow and have highly perfumed flowers. Aerides odorata is highly variable in color, from deep pink to pure white, and is widely distributed throughout Southeast Asia. Aerides quinquevulnera is from Philippines and New Guinea.

Aerides quinquevulnera had about five or six varieties which is also found in Papua New Guinea .

Dr. Aleko E. Lilius who disclosed that in the northern part of the Philippines – there is a mystery legend where the native inhabitants of Calayan and Babuyan islands – part of the jurisdiction of Cagayan province, practice a secret ritual called ” Flower Fiesta “.

The beautiful ceremony is an ancient tradition probably several hundreds of years . This orchid ritual is called which is attributed to the rare orchid which local people called ” Saguy Yep-Yep ” or ” Flower of the Sacred Sleep” referring to the blooming season of this orchid species  .

People worship this orchid for many unknown reasons – part religious , part fertility rites . Some say it is about the spirit that lives on the orchid and guards the islanders .

The orchid is secretly attended by a beautiful priestess , chosen by her ancestors to take care of the orchid .

Dr. Lilius tricked into leading him to the secret location of the rare orchid where he was able to obtain a sizable clump from a huge specimen. Some collectors believed that Aerides odorata variety alba and Aerides quinquevulnera variety farmeri are being worshiped by the natives, since the orchid range also overlapped with each other and both  orchid species are found in the country.

The main blooming season of this orchid species  is between July- August to September .

Some of the better  blooming specimen may still command a handsome price tag . The tales of this epic story was repeatedly published in Manila Bulletin , Manila Times and on several Philippine Orchid Review magazines and Philippines’ Book on Orchids by Mr. Andres Golamco Jr. published in 1991.

Some orchid collectors still regard this species in their wish list!

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