San Pedro de Alcantara Church is noted not only for being a pilgrimage and heritage church, but also for its architectural details that fascinate Architecture & History students, as well as photo enthusiasts. It has also become a favorite wedding site for those who would like to have period-inspired weddings.
Before going inside the church, I explored the pool of miraculous waters at the end of a narrow street behind the church. Locals attested to stories of Our Lady being seen in the past, walking across the water of the Turumba pool not far from the church. It is said that devotees bathed seven times at the Turumba pool to share in the seven sorrows of Our Lady.
I was a bit ambivalent about the merriment of people in the pool; they were boisterously noisy, as if in an ordinary swimming pool/resort. There was no praying area,too, though I noticed pipes from which people filled their bottles with the "miraculous" water... I guess I expected more seriousness of intention, like the people who go to the Virgin's Well & Pool in Manaoag who pray before dipping into the pool, with the clear intention of asking Our Lady's intercession for body healing... But then again that's what "Turumba" means, revelry in a frenzy.
The famous church of Pakil is a favorite destination for Lenten Visita Iglesia, and is home of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Turumba.
There is a fascinating story about this miraculous image of Our Lady of Sorrows. It is said that in 1779, a 8" x 11" framed image of Our Lady was found floating on Laguna de Bay, drifting towards the shore of Pakil. It is believed that a missionary might have carried it with him in a small boat that capsized during a storm. The image got caught in a fisherman's net who,uninterested, left it on a rock by the shore. Local women tried to get it but it was too heavy and wouldn't budge. Then, the parish priest who happened to pass by tried to lift it and succeeded. The people jumped and danced with joy, and the framed image was enshrined in the church. When the convent (where the image was kept) was damaged by fire in 1851,only the edges of the framed image got burned.
Today, the miraculous image of our Lady of Sorrows of Turumba is enshrined at the second floor of the convent where devotees and pilgrims pray for her intercession. The first time we went there, the chapel was closed. Luckily, the 2nd time we were led to the chapel where the original painting of the miraculous Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Turumba is enshrined. I was even luckier to have been given miraculous relics (shreded pieces of cloth from Our Lady's old gowns) by Sister Loida, our guide.