While thousands of people flock the Church, not everyone gets to visit the museum.
Folk tradition has it that the Blessed Mother showed herself to a middle aged farmer and gave him the message on where she wanted her church to be located. She showed herself on a low tree amidst the glow of heavenly light. Manaoag is known more as a pilgrimage town than anything else. It is sometimes called the pilgrim center of the North. Every Saturday and Sunday, thousands of people converge on this town to attend Mass, pray the Rosary, offer flowers and light candles. The center od devotion is the Lady of the Holy Rosary, otherwise known as Nuestra Senora de Manaoag or plainly called Apo Baket.
The ivory image of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag which is enshrined in the high altar of the Church is several centuries old and is said to possess miraculous powers. Pilgrimages reach their peak during Lenten and Easter seasons, during the months of May and October during the feast of the Holy Rosary. Before the Dominicans arrived, the Augustinian missionaries put a the Visita of Santa Monica, (the former name of Manaoag), which they visited from Lingayen. As early as 1600 the AUgustinians had put a modest chapel where the cemetery is now located. It was turned over to the Dominicans in 1605 and was served from Mangaldan.
The first Dominican priest to work in Manaoag mission was Fr. Juan de San Jacinto, O.P. who was the curate of Mangaldan. It was not until 1608 that Mangaldan mission was formally accepted by the provincial chapter of the Dominican order. In 1610, Fr. Tomas Jimenez, O.P. took over the mission as the first resident priest. Due to the numerous threats from Igorot raids from the nearby mountains, the community was transferred to the present site on a hill. A large church was commenced in 1701 under the sponsorship of Gaspar de Gamboa and his wife Agata Yangta, wealthy residents from Manila who transferred to Lingayen. An expansion of the church began in 1882 was frustrated by the earthquake of 1892, and the whole church with its treasures was destroyed by the firelighted by the revolutionaries in May 1898. The miraculous image of the Virgin of Manaoag was narrowly missed destruction; it was found abandoned behind the church, and from June to October had to be kept in Dagupan for safety. Invited by Fr. Mariano Pacis, a diocesan parish priest of Manaoag, the Dominicans returned in 1901. Under the aegis of the Order, the church began in 1882 was finally completed to a large extent in the years 1911-1912; the altar of the Virgin was completed by the famed Tampinco studio in Manila. The transept (the arms of the church) was complete in 1931-1932.
The Dominicans ceded all their Pangasinan missions to the mitre (i.e. to the diocesan clergy), with the exception of Manaoag. Spiritual administration of the Shrine in perpetuity was given to the Dominican Order by the Holy See in 1925.
The image was canonically crowned in 1926. It means that the Church through the Holy See officially recognized and proclaimed that the Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag had granted favors and blessings through her devoteed through the centuries. The old convent now houses the Our Lady of Manaoag College, formerly Holy Rosary Acedemy founded in 1946 by Fr. Teodulo Cajigal, O.O., the last Spanish Dominican in Manaoag. Since December 8, 1972, the Shrine of our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag has been under the care of the Philippine Dominican Province.
Details were taken from Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag.
How to get there?
You may board either Victory Liner or Dagupan Bus going to Dagupan City. From Dagupan, take a tricycle or a jeepney. Ask the driver to drop you off at Our Lady of Manaoag. From Cubao, it takes less than 4 hours to get there.
By motorcycle / car:
Once you reach the main intersection of Urdaneta, Pangasinan, turn left until the town of Sta. Barbara, once you reach it, turn right on the main intersection. It’s pretty much a straight shot from there.
– Erik Gatmaitan is the author of http://www.pinoyrider.com – Journeying the Philippines SOLO on a motorbike.
Follow his adventures on his website or through his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/PinoyRider