Google “Philippines Shrines of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary,” and a long list of churches that match the keywords appears.
One can only guess why there are so many places of worship in the Philippines named after this beloved patron saint, but in a country composed of mostly Catholics who have a soft spot for Mama Mary, it all makes perfect sense. (Read: Prayer to Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary)
This October 7, on the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, we survey five of the churches and shrines that share the same name, yet each has something unique to offer.
Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Shrine
According to the travel blog Lexical Crown, the property situated 24 kilometers away from Calbayog City, Samar, has more than a chapel. It also has three guest rooms, a common area with a 10-seater dining table, living room, porch, and fully functional kitchen. Meals are prepared by a caretaker. (Read: Prayer to the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
The highlight of the property, however, is the shrine itself. A 22-foot statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary stands atop a hill constructed with life-size figures of the 14 Stations of the Cross, a Nativity scene, the Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord, and two archangels.
Originally owned by the late husband and wife Catalino and Dionesia Oben, the property was managed by a relative, Leonardo Hermo Oben Jr., when he was Malajog’s barangay captain. The shrine was blessed on September 24, 2010, by Bishop Isabelo C. Abarquez, who declared it a Marian place for reflection and meditation.
Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag
Approximately 200 kilometers away from Manila, Philippines, the minor basilica more popularly known as Manaoag Church, draws countless devotees daily.
Canonically affiliated with the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome since 2011, the Manaoag Church is also the place where many miracles have been attributed to Our Lady of Manaoag. As the story goes, the hilltop location is where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared before a local farmer and asked that a church be built on that very spot in her honor. (Read: Do Catholics Really Worship Mama Mary?)
A circa 16th-century ivory and silver statue of Our Lady of Manaoag, adorned in a bejeweled crown and dress, rests in a bulletproof glass enclosure that sits on the high Altar. A Veneration Room allows the faithful to kneel before a small glass window behind the image and touch the hem of her dress as they invoke her intercession.
Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Mother of Peace Grotto
Standing 26 feet, the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary poised atop Mount Caglago in Caramoan, Camarines Sur, is said to be one of the largest in the Philippines. If you think that’s overwhelming, try wrapping your head around this fact: You’ll have to climb 524 steps to reach the grotto. (Read: Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes)
Blogger John Marx Velasco, who visited this shrine in the Philippines in 2011 and wrote about it in marxtermind, advises pilgrims to take their time ascending the steps. And while you’re at it, enjoy the view of the vast expanse that is the Caramoan Peninsula and the calm sea surrounding it.
The Eucharist is celebrated in the shrine every first Sunday of the month, he added, and on other special occasions such as the anniversary of the foundation of the image (May 20), the Triduum, and the feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Mother of Peace (October 4).
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary
Though the Dipolog Cathedral in Zamboanga del Norte has undergone numerous renovations since its construction in 1896, it’s also retained a number of its original features. Most notable of them is its grand ceiling, made entirely of the Philippines’ national tree, Narra. (Read: 5 Most Beautiful Churches in the Philippines)
Nik Rielo, a travel blogger who wrote about the cathedral in his pinoyontheroad.com, said it was the main altar that drew him to visit the church. The altar was reportedly designed by Dr. Jose Rizal during his exile in Dapitan.
Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary
Tourists would often visit this 8-foot-tall statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that stands in the center of a rotunda in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. It is situated just before the church that was originally meant as a hermitage for contemplative friars.
At present, according to a post by Project LUPAD, it serves as the home of junior professed friars engaged in various apostolates and activities, such as catechesis in schools and youth formation.
Those looking for a place to pray and think about the meaning of life will find this venue much to their liking. Far from the madding crowd, the shrine is surrounded by God’s breathtaking handiwork—a lush landscape of mountains, hills, and trees in the Philippines.