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.


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.


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.


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


commercial stalls


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.


ambulant vendor

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


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



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






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.


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


wooden benches


Divine Mercy Sanctuary for Pilgrims

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


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.




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


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.


Platycerium coronarium


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


San Padre Pio rectory


vicinity map

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


local delicacies


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.












UAP Makati Chapter Visits Jotun Paint Plant

United Architects of the Philippines ( Makati chapter) members and officers had visited the Jotun Paint Plant located 27 Millennium Drive, Light Industry and Science Park III Barangay Santa Anastacia, Santo Tomas, Batangas province.


Jotun Paint Factory premises ( photo courtesy of Jotun FB page)

The group met in Makati- Greenbelt 1 between 6:30 am to 7:20 am. Traffic was surprisingly light in Makati and the van took the Skyway flyover which made our trip smooth and fast. The group manage to arrive shortly past 8:45 am.


Jotun (Philippines ) Paint Plant

Jotun Paint Factory


safety guidelines and security manual

Security protocol and details were tight. Everyone knows that there were chemical and combustible items within the premises. Our group had a short photo opportunity and briefing was held at the administration building.


briefing area- administration/ canteen area

UAP- Makati Chapter Presidents


The plant tour were attended by former presidents Architect Nanette Segovia, Architect Ludy Gonzales, Architect Victor Limdico, Architect Architect Miko Carandang and the current president Architect Klari Limdico.

Jotun Company Profile


administration building and water tower

Jotun is a Norwegian multinational privately owned paint company incorporated in 1926. Today it has established 40 production facilities, 63 companies and represented in over 100 countries across all continents. Jotun is ranked number 9 among the leading paint companies in the world. The company also hires 9,800 employees from all over the world.


Mr. Roberto Alonzo ( marketing )

Jotun (Philippines) employees, marketing and administration manager were on hand to personally welcome the group. The canteen/ briefing area had been decorated with festive buntings reflecting the fiesta culture of the province.


list of some local companies which Jotun had projects/ customers

In the Philippines, it started through an agent in 1987 then became a branch office of Singapore operation in 2004. Jotun Philippines Inc. became fully operational in 2011 with offices in Sucat, Parañaque and in Mandaue, Cebu.


certificate of recognition, appreciation and awards

In 2013, it made a bold decision to invest in a local production. In 2017 , the company opened its paint plant / factory in Batangas. Currently they also have 11 dealers of their paint nationwide.


Corporate Responsibility and Logo


 Penguin is a unique symbol for Jotun

The company ‘s logo had the same look used all over the world. The Penguin expresses the Jotun values: Loyalty, Care, Respect and Boldness.  It also expresses typical Jotun employees must embodied as: Cheer, Working, Inviting and Happy.


location map ( Jotun Philippines) 

The factory sits on a 7 hectares property, but only 2 hectares are fully utilized.


product familiarization and demonstration


Jotun -Jota Shield Anti fade paint which can reduces surface temperature up to 5 degrees Celsius


surface temperature testing device


safety signage

Safety and security were up to international levels. The company products had several international certification.


seafood sinigang, fried bangus

We got seafood sinigang, fried bangus, chicken inasal, fresh tomato, eggplant ensalada with bagoong, dinuguan and lechon with sauce ( Batangas style) with pineapple juice for lunch.


lechon, dinuguan and lechon sauce

Local Games / Palaro



participants enjoyed the pabitin with lots of goodies are tied on a suspended bamboo frame  with lots of chocolates, candies and portable car usb charger as prizes.


hampas palayok

Architect Chris Aquino is blindfolded and was able to hit the traditional earthen clay pot called palayok which is  filled with goodies ( gummy candies,chocolates and kitkat ) the game is popular across the archipelago and is similar to Mexico’s piñata.


UAP-Makati chapter

UAP -Makati chapter officers and members pose for a souvenir shot, Mount Makiling serves as a backdrop for the group.



Some of the participants were able to test their paints and learned some interesting tips on how to paint a wall surface.


UAP Makati chapter -group photo

The group enjoyed the plant tour, trivia games, food, product selection and traditional games prepared by Jotun Philippines.

Note: I would to “Thank” Architect Miko Carandang, Architect Klari Limdico members of UAP Makati Chapter and Jotun Philippines for the warm hospitality and accommodation.


Opening Highlights at the International Beauty, Health and Wellness Exposition 2013

Function Rooms 3 and 4 , Second Floor SMX Convention Center, Pasay City-Philippines

vips, invited guests and organizers

The ribbon cutting ceremony was graced by some of the country’s leading personalities in the field of beauty, cosmetic,  lifestyles, health and wellness such as Mr.  Joven Alcala, Healthway Marketing Manager, Ms. Carmie de Leon ( VP Sales and Marketing – Healthway Medical ) Ms. Cynthia Lagdameo ( President and CEO of Asian Holistic Medical Alliance , Dr. Hernando Delizo ( President – Chair and CEO – Healthcare Business Development Partners Holdings, Inc.  Francine Prieto- Ever Bilena Cosmetics endorser; Mr. Rodolfo Biescas, President of Filipino Inventors Society.   Ms. Susan Barlin (VP Forever, Mr. Sonny Villariba , Jr. – Director -Philippine Coconut Authority ) Mr. Justin Seow- ( College Director) Raffles Design Institute – Manila and Ms. Carol del Rosario ( Sales and Marketing Manager, Raffles Design Institute – Manila) and Biz1 Global Solutions COO Michael Lu.

Chinese lions resting

Aside from trade bazaars where buyers can buy beauty, health and lifestyle products at a discounted price. There are FREE seminars , lectures about health and wellness.

Chinese Lion dancers courtesy of Pagoda Philippines

The festive atmosphere was capped with ribbon untying ceremonies led by the organizers of the event ( Ex-Link) invited guests from the beauty industry, international lifestyle and wellness gurus , celebrities and media partners.

Ms. Mitch Ballesteros

Ms. Mitch Ballesteros  is CEO of EXLink Event  Management said ” The expo is also a perfect venue for international companies to gain a foothold in the Philippine market , by partnering with local companies to further their expansion efforts and business growth in the country. This can be very timing endeavor since the Association of South East Asian Nations ( ASEAN) is preparing for full integration by 2015 under a single ASEAN Economic Community ( AEC).” 

Ms. Francine Prieto

Ms. Francine Prieto represented Ever Bilena company in which she was the endorser of their products.

289 Reparo St., Sta Quiteria, Caloocan City, Philippines

Contact Nos:

Landline: (632) 330-0088

Fax: (632) 361-3964

Email: customercare@everbilena.com.ph

Ever Bilena: http://everbilena.com.ph/

Ms. Carol T. Tongco in Kythe Booth

Ms. Tongco is a volunteer ( mad artist) , thru the volunteers help how art helped the children in hospitals cope with emotional and physical challenges in battling against cancer and chronic illnesses.

Artist Madhouse : http://artistmadhouse.com/

contact:  info@artistmadhouse.com


Kythe advocates for the adoption of the Kythe Child Life Program in Philippine hospitals. Through the help of partners and donors, Kythe has institutionalized the Kythe Child Life Program in 13 government and private hospitals benefiting over 8,000 pediatric patients with chronic illness.

The volunteers are very happy that they were sponsored a booth during the exposition, they aim to help more children with chronic illness.

Try to visit the website and know more about the group advocacy and how you can help save lives!

Office : Rm 201 FSS1 Building, 20 Sct. Tuason cor Sct. castor streets, Barangay  Laging Handa, Quezon City. Tel. (+632) 376-3454, email: kytheinc@yahoo.com

Kythe Foundation : http://www.kythe.org/

Bio Normalizer

Bio Normalizer was first established in the city of Gifu, Japan . The company for more than 40 years had expanded  to various countries. They have a papaya plantation in Santo Tomas , Batangas . Papaya is already in the formulary of traditional healers in South East Asia and other tropical countries in the Americas.

Bio-Normalizer (Food Supplement with Papaya Enzyme) is derived from fermented green papaya. Based on several clinical studies and scientific researches, it has
1. immumeregulatory function
2. bacteriostasis
3. Free radical regulation properties
4. Metal chelate
5. Excretory actions
6. Anti-aging as well to mention a few.
Briefly, this is a product that promotes and restores the total wellness of the human body system.

The company practices its corporate social responsibility by helping the community which plant papayas and practices sustainable agricultural practices.

Website: http://www.bio-normalizer.com/english/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bio-Normalizer-Nutraceutical-Corp/235741496489109

 Farcent Enterprises Company

The company was first established in 1983  and won several intentional accolades like  Golden Pin Design Awards and Asia Pacific Brands Award.  The mission has always been “to create quality of life and provide a comfortable life “. Based on this mission, Farcent has been dedicated in developing new items as well as improving existing products. In order to meet customers’ needs and wants, Farcent strongly emphasizes on applying user-friendly design, high quality materials and sophisticated packaging.

Mr. Hank Cheng is an overseas department supervisor and he visited a lot of trade shows around Asia and the World.  The company had been looking for local distributor of their various products . Like charcoal base deodorizers, de-humidifiers, air fresheners and cleaners.

The company had ventures in Brazil ( Largest country and Population is south America ) , Hongkong , Singapore , Malaysia, Japan , Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam , China PROC, Taiwan ROC and now in the Philippines!

Website: http://www.farcent.com.tw/en/

Contact: TEL : +886-2-2592-2860 extension ( 1191)  FAX : +886-2-2594-4800

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FarcentEnterprise

World of Wellness booth

Ms. Cory Quirino World of Wellness Retail Stores in 2008 with entrepreneur Ms. Sheila Mae Velilla

World of Wellness : http://www.wowdirectsales.com/index.html

Power Plus Shower with Vitamin C

The new technology from South Korea, used in the Vitamin-C Shower Head astonishingly uses a natural vitamin to instantly remove the harmful chlorine in water we use to shower. As water passes through it, the Vitamin-C Shower Filter releases the exact amount of pharmaceutical-grade vitamin C .

The product is locally distributed by FILHIGH Trading – General Services Corporation

Address: 6th Floor Metro View Real Estate , 915 San Antonio Street corner Quirino Avenue , Ermita- Manila

(02) 664-28-67, (02)354-8683

used in the Vitamin-C Shower Head astonishingly uses a natural vitamin to instantly remove the harmful chlorine in water we use to shower. As water passes through it, the Vitamin-C Shower Filter releases the exact amount of pharmaceutical-grade vitamin C to neutralise all chlorine and chloramine. When the water is turned off, the Vitamin-C Shower Filter stops releasing the vitamin, prolonging its life.T – See more at: http://www.allergybestbuys.com/ebuttonz/ebz_product_pages/dechlorinatingshowerheadwithvitamincfilter-901139m.shtml#sthash.Yh5ksFHe.dpuf
used in the Vitamin-C Shower Head astonishingly uses a natural vitamin to instantly remove the harmful chlorine in water we use to shower. As water passes through it, the Vitamin-C Shower Filter releases the exact amount of pharmaceutical-grade vitamin C to neutralise all chlorine and chloramine. When the water is turned off, the Vitamin-C Shower Filter stops releasing the vitamin, prolonging its life.T – See more at: http://www.allergybestbuys.com/ebuttonz/ebz_product_pages/dechlorinatingshowerheadwithvitamincfilter-901139m.shtml#sthash.Yh5ksFHe.dpuf
This is a totally natural and environmentally safe way to remove chlorine from your shower water.Highly recommended for sensitive skin and eczema, asthma and chemical sensitivity – See more at: http://www.allergybestbuys.com/ebuttonz/ebz_product_pages/dechlorinatingshowerheadwithvitamincfilter-901139m.shtml#sthash.Yh5ksFHe.dpuf
This is a totally natural and environmentally safe way to remove chlorine from your shower water.Highly recommended for sensitive skin and eczema, asthma and chemical sensitivity – See more at: http://www.allergybestbuys.com/ebuttonz/ebz_product_pages/dechlorinatingshowerheadwithvitamincfilter-901139m.shtml#sthash.Yh5ksFHe.dpuf

DLA Natural Booth

The company is exporting in more than 40 countries . The production reaches 700 metric tons per month.  In 2006, The company diversifies in Biotechnology in the Philippines becoming the pioneer producer of Spirulina in the country.

DLA Natural : http://www.dlanaturals.com/

John Robert Powers

John Robert Powers speakers gave interesting lessons to the audience ( posture ) and modeling skills

Interaksyon – the online news portal of TV 5  – one of the media partners of the event

The expo had about 120 booths showcasing different kinds of products, services , health and wellness products. There are a lot of international distributors from the ASEAN member countries and International known brands. The International beauty , health and wellness exposition runs until September 28, 2013. Do visit the site, a lot of the products are discounted during the 3 day event !

Entrance FEE is Php 50.00

Note: I would like to ” Thank” Mr. Orly Ballesteros for the accommodation during the event.

Website Link:

EX Link Event Management: http://www.exlinkevents.com/

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