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Our Lady of Manaoag

Our Lady of Manaoag (formal title: Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag; Spanish: Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario de Manaoag) is a Filipino Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary venerated in Manaoag, Pangasinan, the Philippines.

The title’s associated image, which dates from the 16th century and is supposedly miraculous is enshrined inside the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag. The shrine is a major pilgrimage site in the country, and is administered by the Order of Preachers within the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan.

Our Lady of Manaoag, who is invoked as patroness of the sick, the helpless and the needy, [1] is celebrated on two feast days: the third Wednesday after Easter, and the second Sunday of October (as Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary).

1 Etymology

Tradition holds the town of Manaoag was derived from the Pangasinense verb mantaoag, which means “to call” (from the root taoag, “call”). [2]

2 Statue

The statue of Our Lady of Manaoag is a 17th-century ivory image of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus en- shrined at the high altar of the Basilica. It was brought to the Philippines from Spain via the Manila galleon from Acapulco, Viceroyalty of New Mexico, in the early 17th century by the priest Juan de San Jacinto.

Documents dating back to 1610 attest that a middle-aged farmer walking home heard a mysterious female voice. He looked around and saw on a cloud-veiled treetop an apparition of the Virgin Mary, holding a rosary in her right hand and the Child Jesus in her left arm, all amidst a heavenly glow. Mary told the farmer where she wanted her church to be built, and a chapel was built on the hilltop site of the apparition, forming the nucleus of the present town.

Our Lady of the Rosary is depicted in other countries with similar attributes, with the accoutrements and style of the vestments varying across cultures. The Manaoag image is distinct from other statues in its sculpture and regalia, particularly its crown.

in its sculpture and regalia, particularly its crown. The Virgin’s appearance to the farmer, depicted on

The Virgin’s appearance to the farmer, depicted on a mural in the transept.

A pilgrim replica of the image also exists, and is toured around parishes in the Philippines for veneration.

2.1 Regalia and security

The original icon of Our Lady of Manaoag and her be- jewelled crown are considered priceless. There have been several attempts to burglarise the Manaoag Shrine of the jewels sewn into the icon’s dress and set into its regalia.

The image of Our Lady of Manaoag is fully secured within a bulletproof glass enclosure above the new high altar, which has additional wood carvings, an elevated pedestal, and four golden candelabras. The coat-of-arms




of the Dominicans is embedded above the image’s win- dow as a demonstration of the Order’s devotion to her. The bas-relief, made of narra carvings beneath her throne that beautifully depicts the historic events in the devotion to Our Lady, has been refurbished.

Several of her golden crowns and haloes are deposited at the shrine’s museum, donated by both Filipino and for- eign devotees. An expensive collection of liturgical vest- ments that have been used by the image and the Domini- can priests are also on display. A large array of lavishly el- egant perfumes used to anoint the image is likewise show- cased. These were donated by devotees and pilgrims from around the world as ex-votos to the image.

The archdiocese, reckoning with the Filipino custom of touching a venerated image or its clothing, constructed a staircase that rises to the second floor Veneration Room behind the high altar. This room has pews and people queue to kneel at the alcove behind the image’s shrine. Supplicants touch the lower part of the image’s mantle, and may drop their prayers into a box. After touching the mantle and praying, devotees pass through the religious souvenir shop on their way out.

Detail of the face of the image of Our Lady of Man- aoag.

A precious mantle of Our Lady of Manaoag at the shrine museum, c. 1870.

Old regalia of the image including its breastplate, haloes, crowns, sceptres, baton, and vestments at the museum.

An embroidered processional banner or gonfalon on display at the church museum.



The Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag, located on top of a hill in the town, has been canonically affiliated with the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome since June 2011. The parish en- compassing Manaoag and the surrounding towns is ad- ministered by the Order of Preachers under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan.

Some of the miracles attributed to Our Lady of Manaoag are depicted in murals inside the church’s transepts and nave. The Paschal Chapel beside the south flank of the church has icons of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo, the church’s copy of the Santo Entierro (Dead Christ), and other statues of the Virgin Mary. The sanctuary on the left side of the main entrance has a large image of the Crucified Christ.

Behind the church are the Parish Office, Museum of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag, Candle Gallery, Pil- grims’ Center and Rosary Garden. There is also an Infor- mation Center at the Priory at the left side of the church

mation Center at the Priory at the left side of the church The shrine’s façade and

The shrine’s façade and belfry in 2012.

and souvenir shops at the front office of the church, be- side the Veneration Room at the second floor behind the main sanctuary, and at the Candle Gallery in the space behind of the church.

3.1 History

The Augustinians built the first Chapel of Santa Mon- ica (the original name of Manaoag) in 1600, at the site of the present graveyard. It was served by the friars from the town of Lingayen, who were succeeded by the Dominicans in 1605 and served from the town of Mangaldan. [3]

The first Dominican priest to work in the Manaoag mis- sion was Juan de San Jacinto, O.P., who was the first curate of Mangaldan. It was only in 1608 that the Man- galdan mission was formally accepted by the provincial chapter of the Dominicans. In 1610, Tomás Jiménez, O.P. became the Manaoag mission’s first resident priest.

Numerous threats from the Igorot tribes of the surround- ing mountains led to the transfer of the entire community to the present site on a hill. The Dominicans started to

3.2 Transport


build a large church on its present site in 1701 under the sponsorship of Gaspar de Gamboa and his wife, Agata Yangta, who were wealthy residents from Manila who moved to Lingayen. Later expansion of the church from 1882 was frustrated by an earthquake in 1892.

During the tumult of the Philippine Revolution for inde- pendence from Spain, revolutionaries set fire to church,

its treasures, ornaments, and records on 10 May 1898. The image narrowly escaped destruction; it was found abandoned at the back of the church. It was spirited away

to Dagupan City, where it was kept from June to October


The Dominicans returned in 1901 upon the invitation of Rev. Mariano Pacis, the diocesan priest of Manaoag.

Under the aegis of the Dominicans, the church that was started in 1882 was finally completed to a large extent

in 1911-12. The central retablo, incorporating Baroque

columns from the 18th-century altar, was completed by

the famed Tampinco Atelier of Manila. The transepts were completed in 1931-32.

The Dominicans ceded all their Pangasinan missions to the diocesan clergy except Manaoag. Spiritual adminis- tration of the shrine in perpetuity was granted by the Holy See to the Order of Preachers in 1925.

A huge crowd attended the canonical coronation of the

image on 21 April 1926 by then-Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Guglielmo Piani, S.D.B., as authorised by Pope Pius XI. This meant that the Catholic Church offi- cially recognised and proclaimed that The Virgin Mary acclaimed as Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag had granted favors and blessings to or formidable interces- sions for her devotees through the centuries.

The church was rebuilt after surviving Japanese bom- bardment during the Second World War.

The old convento is now the Our Lady of Manaoag Col- lege, founded as Holy Rosary Academy in 1946 by the last Spanish Dominican in Manaoag, Rev. Teodulo Caji- gal, O.P

Since 8 December 1972, the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag has been under the Philippine Do- minican Province. It celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of the image’s canonical coronation on 1 January 2000.

3.1.1 Canonical affiliation with Saint Mary Major

On 21 June 2011, Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome and Pope Benedict XVI canonically approved the

granting of a “Special Bond of Spiritual Affinity in Perpe- tuity” through which the pilgrims are assured of the same blessings and entitlement to a plenary indulgence equal

to that received when visiting a papal basilica in Rome.

This was confirmed by the prelate (now Archbishop) of the Lingayen-Dagupan, Socrates B. Villegas, in a circular dated June 13, 2011. [4] The Manaoag Shrine is the first

to achieve this status followed by the Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay in Taal, Batangas in June 2012.

The official document and a shrine official, who was among the priests who went to Rome, confirmed that the plenary indulgence may be obtained on each visit to the shrine subject to three conditions for each occasion: go- ing to confession immediately before or after the pilgrim- age; receiving the Eucharist during the pilgrimage; and praying for the intentions of the Pope; each done in a spirit of detachment from the attraction of sin.

3.1.2 Elevation to basilica

On 22 July 2011, the Shrine of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag was elevated to a minor basilica in a cere- mony attended by more than 100 archbishops and bish- ops, leaders of church and state, and numerous devo- tees. The Shrine was henceforth called the Basilica of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag, headed by a rector appointed by the Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan. [5] A special Mass was also held to affirm the “Special Bond of Spiritual Affinity in Perpetuity” between the Manaoag Shrine and the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome.

3.2 Transport

The Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Man- aoag is located approximately 200 kilometers (120 mi) kilometers north of Manila. From the city, Manaoag is reached via North Luzon Expressway, then MacArthur Highway to Urdaneta City, Pangasinan, then heading northwest via the Urdaneta-Manaoag Road. It is easily accessible by public transportation. It is four to five hours by bus from Cubao, Quezon City.

The reredos of the shrine’s main altar.

Museum and Parish Offices

The Rosary Garden of the shrine.

Our Lady of Manaoag at the Virgin’s Wishing Well Building

An lithograph of Our Lady at the museum, c. 1870.

4 Veneration

4.1 Miracles

Some of the earliest miracles attributed to Our Lady of Manaoag are depicted in the murals in the church. These include images of the town miraculously spared from a wildfire, the origin of the basilica and the parish, and the original apparition.



4 5 SEE ALSO Mural in the transept depicting of the image sparing the town from

Mural in the transept depicting of the image sparing the town from a wildfire.

In the early days of the Spanish colonization, animist mountain tribes burnt down newly converted Christian villages. The town of Manaoag was among the settle- ments set afire. The thatch-roofed church was the locals’ last refuge. The leader of the pillagers climbed over the compound’s crude fence and shot flaming arrows into all parts of the church, but miraculously the building did not ignite.

During the Second World War, enemy Japanese forces dropped several bombs within the church’s vicinity. The structure was only moderately damaged. Four bombs were released above the church, with three landing on the plaza and the façade, destroying both. The last bomb fell into the sanctuary, but miraculously did not explode.

4.2 Feasts

The primary feast of Our Lady of Manaoag is on the third Wednesday of Easter. The peaks of the pilgrim- ages are during the Lenten and Easter seasons, the month of May, and the month of October – the month of The

Holy Rosary - where the universal feast day of Our Lady

of The Holy Rosary is celebrated every first Sunday of

October. There are processions after the afternoon Mass

on these occasions.

4.3 Services

Thousands converge on Saturdays and Sundays to pray for their intentions, hear Mass, pray the rosary, offer flowers, light candles, buy religious articles, have religious arti- cles or vehicles blessed, get holy water, and join in the daily and seasonal activities. The blessing of religious ar- ticles and vehicles is performed at the back of the church grounds after every Mass, while holy water is also dis- pensed there for free to those with containers.

The short dawn procession and rosary every first Satur- day before the 5 a.m. Mass is well-attended by regular

pilgrims mostly from Metro Manila and from Regions I (Ilocos), II (Cagayan Valley), and III (Central Luzon). These first Saturday rites are pursuant to the Communion

of Reparation on the First Saturdays requested by the Vir-

gin Mary in her third apparition at Fátima on 13 July 1917 for the preservation of world peace.

Any of the Masses in the regular schedule may be of- fered for personal petitions and thanksgiving. The 7 a.m. Masses on Fridays (except on Good Friday) may be of- fered for the . These may be done through the parish of-

fice at the right side of the main entrance of the church; at the Shrine Museum; or at the back of the church beside the religious store at the entrance of the Candle Gallery. Mass offerings and donations may be offered also through

its website.

Services at the shrine and religious programming are broadcast on Radyo Manaoag 102.3 FM, which is also accessible through its website.

4.4 In Guam

A three-foot replica of the image of Our Lady of Man-

aoag was donated by a devotee and traveled to the United States unincorporated territory of Guam on 17 August 2012. The statue was enshrined at the Saint Anthony of Padua and Saint Victor Catholic Church in Tamuning, Guam where a dedication rite was held the following day attended by Filipino-Guamanian Catholics. [6] The statue traveled as a paid passenger aboard the United Airlines flight. [7]

5 See also


Our Lady of La Naval, a similar Marian image en- shrined in Quezon City.

6 References

[2] “Our Lady’s Welcome”. Shrine of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag. Retrieved on 2014-01-03.


“History”. Shrine of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag Official Website. Retrieved on 2014-01-05.

[4] J.E.(2011-06-08). “CBCP: Vatican approves indulgences for Manaoag visitors”. GMA News Network. Retrieved on 2014-01-05.

[5] Administrator (2012-05-27). “Manaoag Shrine elevated to Basilica”. Shrine of Our Lady of The Rosary of Man- aoag official Website. Retrieved on 2014-01-03.

[6] (2012-08-24). “Pinoys in Guam join dedication rites of Our Lady of Manaoag statue”. GMA News Online. Re- trieved on 2014-01-05.

[7] Darang, Josephine (2012-09-12). “Filipinos in Guam welcome Our Lady of Manaoag; Kapampangans in Los Angeles”. Retrieved on 2014-01-05.

7 External links



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