Faith or religious belief is a personal matter... Having said that, I would like to share that there is something mystical about the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag which is a popular Catholic pilgrimage site. Famous for her powerful intercession and protection, Our Lady is known to "call" you at the appointed time. Whatever your state of health or circumstance, meditate on her face as you pray and she will communicate her personal message to you.
There is nothing so relieving for the weary soul and weak body than that undescribable peace one gets at the Rosary Garden in the compound of Manaoag Church. The Rosary Garden was designed to provide the devotees with a quiet place to meditate on the Paschal Mysteries (Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ) , and develop an intimacy with God through the holy rosary. As you enter the Rosary Garden, you will come across the oval walkway with the Crucifix. This is where you will call to mind your personal intention(s) for your rosary. Then, you turn right to proceed with your rosary and follow the pathway to the life-size statues depicting the mysteries, until you reach the image of Our Lady of Manaoag and ask for her intercession.
You are supposed to give a minimum donation of P10 for maintenance of the place.
For photo enthusiasts who like taking shots of old church's architectural designs, I suggest that as a gesture of respect to the Liturgy, you time it AFTER the mass. Also, you will have less difficulty as there will be less people distracting your view.
Built during the early 20th century, this is the famous Shrine Of Our Lady Of Manaoag or simply Manaoag Church among the locals and devotees. This is the third church built to house the image of our Lady of Manaoag; the second one was totally ruined by the earthquake of 1892. Since then, the people celebrated the Mass until 1896 in a wooden chapel near the church. However, a fire during the Prilippine Revolution burned down that wooden chapel including all its contents, except for the image of Nuestra Señora del Rosario. A miracle that made this church a pilgrimage site known throughout the land.
Since the Philippines is one of two predominantly Catholic Countries in Asia(the other one is East Timor), ther are many pilgrimage site of Roman Catholic Pilgrims and the two most popular is Antipolo in Rizal Province and Manaoag here in Pangassinan province. Our Lady of Manaog is the Patroness of the sick, the helpless and the needy hence many go on pilgimage here. In 1610, a native man who was walking home heard a Lady's mysterious voice. He looked around and with great awe saw the radiant Lady with a Rosary on her right hand and a Child on her left as she stood on a cloud veiling a treetop. The man fell on his knees. He told the people of the apparition. And soon right on the spot where the Lady appeared a church was built. A town quickly flourished around it and was called "Manaoag".
Remember to pass by the Museum of Our Lady of Manaoag. It is a reliquary of religious icons (pilgrimage images of Our Lady) and articles, vestments, as well as gifts (perfume, jewelry,etc) of devotees to Our Lady. I personally find the dim light and quiet atmosphere in the museum "spine-tingling".
Taking photos and videos inside the museum are prohibited.
Just before each mass, the priest blesses vehicles of pilgrims. There is a designated area for vehicle blessing, where the owner-driver waits for the priest and participates in the prayers before the blessing. After the blessing, the owner of the vehicles is supposed to drop any amount as donation in a drop box, then transfer the vehicle to the parking space for pilgrims.
A quiet and tranquil garden located at the back of Manaoag Church, this garden was created to provide the devotees with quiet place, where they can meditate on the Paschal Mysteries and nurture their intimacy with God by praying the Rosary.
I have seen some visitors praying in the garden, but I have also noticed that others were just hanging out there having fun and take some pictures while others just sit down in the grass, maybe taking some rest after a long journey.