The Philippines, with a population predominantly devoted to the Roman Catholic faith, is indeed fortunate to be granted a papal decree once more this year. Particularly worthy to note, in every respect is the image inside the church where miracles were documented as attributed to Blessed Virgin Mary intercession.
If the plains of Central Luzon region has a shrine devoted to the “Our Lady of Manaoag” in the province of Pangasinan, the church in the province of Cagayan situated in the Northern part of Luzon has the “Our Lady of Piat” and the province of Batangas in the southern part of Tagalog region has “The Lady of Caysasay”.
The Lady of Caysasay is a 17th century image canonically crowned at the Basilica De San Martin de Tours by Cardinal Quiraga, representing his Holiness the Venerable Servant of God Pope Pius XII. At present it is considered the patroness and named with the title, “Queen of the Archdiocese of Lipa.” The feast day is every December 8 and 9.
Legend be told that the 27-centimeter image was fished out of the water in 1603 by a man named Juan Maningcad in the nearby Pansipit River. Thereafter, according to Philippine Church annals numerous miracles and favors granted were substantiated to be related to the public devotion to the image.
The present, devotees and pilgrims who visit and pray to the Virgin Mary are entitled to receive plenary indulgence similarly given to the ancient church of St Major in Rome. The decree was signed in May 2012 by Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, archpriest-emeritus of St Mary Major in Rome.
The municipality of Taal is a peaceful town classified as (4th) fourth class. In term of structural and cultural heritage, the town is similar to Vigan, Ilocos Sur. As a former Spanish colonial area, the cultural and historical are preserved.
Buses from Manila bound for Lemery pass by the Church of Our Lady of Caysasay. The travel time takes about (2 ½) two and a half hours. All things considered, a pilgrimage to the shrine because of the proximity from Manila can be an alternative from the shrines situated far north of Luzon.
Upon leaving the church premises expect an intensified emotional experience like every devotee encounters through the years and centuries. And likewise, with enough time to spare, take a tour around the town that takes pride in its cultural and structural heritage.