Pilgrimage Tourism in Pangasinan
A travel journal that will give you a pleasant view of people, places, food, culture, history and events from a refreshing perspective
PEOPLE from all over the Philippines and other countries flock to Pangasinan every summer (which also coincides with the Lenten season) because of the food, beaches, waterfalls, churches and pilgrimage sites. Pilgrimage tourism has steadily increased in Pangasinan through the years and it has been one of the most popular tourist packages offered by travel agencies.
A visit to Pangasinan is always synonymous to a pilgrimage to the Our Lady of Manaoag Church, in Manaoag town. It is a major pilgrimage site for the Catholic faithful and other tourists because of the “miracles” granted through the intercession of “Apo Baket” which are depicted at the transepts and naves of the church. Adding to its importance as a pilgrimage site was its granting of status as a minor basilica in equal indulgences to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in 2011. It canonically established the perpetual bond of affinity between the two shrines for pilgrims who are unable to come to largest church in Rome that is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Another church of importance for pilgrims is Dagupan City’s Metropolitan Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. The church has a special bond of spiritual affinity with the Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls by virtue of decree from Rome which saw the elevation of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan to Metropolitan See. Pilgrims visiting the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist are granted papal blessings and plenary indulgence under the usual conditions laid down by Church laws.
In Natividad town, many pilgrims and tourists visit the the Sky Plaza, a park built on top of a hill in Brgy. Bachelor East. A large tiger’s head monument will greet you as you ascend the hill going to the Sky Plaza. The Arch of Love is the entrance to the 287-step concrete stairway that leads to a grotto of the Virgin Mary in the upper side of the hill, and a little higher behind it, to a 30-foot Holy Cross. From the cross is a winding trail leading to the mountaintop, where a 40-foot statue of Christ the Redeemer, called “Ayat ni Apo Jesus” (God’s Love) stands.
The newest pilgrimage site in Pangasinan is located In Hundred Islands National Park, Alaminos City. It is a newly built 56-ft statue of Christ the Savior atop the Martha Island (which will be known as Pilgrimage Island). The statue was made by sculptor Sariel Ancheta. Former National President of the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines and Alaminos City’s head of tourism Miguel Sison said that the “Pilgrimage Island” is open to public on April 13 -16, 2017 in time for the Holy Week. Soon a chapel and the Stations of the Cross will be built in the pilgrimage island making it a perfect site for recollections and for hosting religious activities.