Sunday, October 5, 2014

Wan Pilgrimage for a Family Thankgiving

We are a family of Roman Catholics; not really that religious but quite devoted. We siblings grew in the church, my brothers and I served as altar boys. We learned many great things in the church, in fact I earned many beautiful experiences that helped me grew to what I am now in the church ministry.

My parents are devotees of Mother Mary, and they raced us the same. My sister and I are active members of the Association of Children of Mary Immaculate, better known as COM, even until now that we are away from our home parish.

To find a very special religious place dedicated to Mother Mary, such as Rosarii Institute of Contemplation in Asia (RICA), is such an exciting destination. In fact, I have been planning to pay visit to this shrine since the day I discovered it in the internet through a funrun invite. That funrun was in Tanay, and being used to spend sidetrips while in new places, I searched for anything more to do in the place, then I browsed the Regina RICA.

The pilgrimage site is very far, isolated and interior. You really need to charter a private car to get to here. For our family to come from San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan, the trip took us about 2 hours to get there. I doubt if there's public transport that passes through or nearby. We followed the Marcos Highway all the way to the end (seems like the end though). My father kept asking how far it is yet every time we passed a village, an intersection, a corner turn. Just be patient though, since you will only notice some signage about the destination beyond San Jose, Antipolo.

The entire place is huge, wide and hilly. Be ready to walk up and down the hill. Start your climb through the St. Mary's Trail, then wait for the orientation (for firsttimers) at the foot of the 71-foot Mother Mary statue. A 10:40am holy mass is daily celebrated, should you miss it, say a prayer at the adoration chapel inside the statue. What else to do? Subscribe to ATM (Adopt a Tree Movement); light a 20-peso candle; and join the MOM - at least for us (don't know if this million signature campaign will last for a long time).

There's only one small restaurant inside the area, with limited choices of food items, can easily get crowded and hence emptied with food stocks. Better bring in foods because there are plenty of picnic areas and cottages to unload and enjoy them all, especially with family.

Take note however that the place is closed on Tuesdays.

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