Quantcast
Latest Stories

Maasin shrines lure Marian devotees

By

Monte Cueva Chapel The chapel inside the cave can sit about a hundred people. But on special occasions, Mass is held outside because of the thousands of devotees who flock to the shrine.

MAASIN CITY—Even before they got married in May, John and Era Estan of Hindang town in Leyte had long wanted to go to the Marian shrine on a mountaintop in Maasin City, which offers a panoramic view of the capital of Southern Leyte from the foot of the statue of the Our Lady of Assumption.

They were not disappointed.

“Yes, it’s true,” John says. He and his wife joined thousands of devotees who went to the Monte Cueva Asuncion dela Virgen Shrine, or simply Monte Cueva, on Aug. 31, the first of the nine-day novena Mass to celebrate the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Sept. 8.

“It’s one sight to behold which you don’t always find anywhere in the country. We are here to pray and, at the same time, visit one of Maasin’s tourist spots,” Era says.

Visitors also enjoy an unobstructed spectacle of the green scenery with the Camigu in Sea serving as backdrop, as well as houses and a smaller shrine on Jalleca Hills.

Chapel inside cave

The shrine is called Monte Cueva (172 meters above sea level) because its chapel is inside the cave. It is located in the interior barangay of Rizal, 10 to 15 minutes by tricycle from the city center.

Canonically established by the bishop of Maasin, it is officially called the Shrine of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus and the Our Lady of the Assumption, the city’s patroness, according to Fr. Garnet John Dy Quirong, diocesan shrine director for five years.

A small signboard near a “sari-sari” (retail) store directs visitors to a small alley leading to the shrine. Pilgrims pass by houses and cross a short concrete bridge to arrive at the foot of the holy place.

There are two long stairways on both sides. The right one with about 550 steps is the upward entrance “path,” while the other, with over 300 steps, leads downward to the exit.

Quirong says Monte Cueva has become a popular destination for pilgrims for the past six years.

Lot owner’s dream

THE LADY of Assumption was put up in 1992 by the site’s previous land owner, lawyer Joaquin Chung Jr. on the mountain top in Barangay Rizal, Maasin City.

The first Mass in the area was held in 1999, but the big Marian statue was erected in 1992 by the former owner of the site, lawyer Joaquin Chung Jr., according to Tiro Cerdan, a staff member of the shrine.

“It was said that the previous owner had a dream about the Lady of Assumption, who asked him to build a shrine. True enough, he built it and subsequently donated the property to the diocese,” Cerdan says.

The statue faces Maasin’s coastal plain and has arms outstretched, indicating love and protection for the growing city.

Residents once referred to the place as “aghuban” (mountain cave). Others called it Sitio Tinibgan, meaning a carved rock shaped like a wooden basin on the lower portion of a brook.

The cave used to be a habitat for bats and birds. Stalactites embellished the ceiling, but there were later ripped off and sold as decorative items.

“People from all walks of life, shapes and sizes come here to pray and sacrifice,” Quirong says. “Coming here is not only a tradition. It has become the people’s commitment to their faith because they have seen the healing power of coming here by the grace of God and the intercession of Mama Mary.”

View from Monte Cueva: Devotees are awed by the panoramic view of Maasin City at the foot of the Statue of Our Lady of Assumption, patroness of Maasin City.PHOTOS BY CRIS EVERT LATO

Smaller shrine

The other shrine on top of Jalleca Hills in Barangay Mantahan is also drawing devotees, especially during the feast day of the Blessed Virgin. It has a 36-meter statue of the Blessed Virgin.

Since the Our Lady of Assumption Shrine was built in 1994, residents say the city has not been hit by a typhoon until last Wednesday when public Storm Signal No. 2 was hoisted over Southern Leyte due to Tropical Storm “Ramon.”

Like Chung, Mila Gaviola dreamt in 1990 that the Blessed Virgin appeared and told her to build the shrine behind the provincial hospital overlooking the city. The place was called Jalleca Hill after its owners—the Jarabe, Llevares and Cadavos families.

Gaviola told the Catholic owners, about her dream and persuaded them to donate the land. They readily did.

The group which managed the shrine was organized in 1992 even before it was completed. It is composed of Marian devotees, some of whom belong to known families in Maasin.

The late Bishop Vicente Ataviado of Maasin gave his blessing when Gaviola informed her about the project. The shrine was completed four years later through the help and donations of devotees.

No recognition

A total of 235 steps leads to the 36-m statue. The small chapel at its foot came 14 years later in 2008.

Unlike the Monte Cueva, the shrine on Jalleca Hills has not been recognized as the official Marian Shrine in Southern Leyte by the Palo Archdiocese.

Gaviola says the Church officials want her to turn over management of the shrine, but she refuses because it was built through the initiative of devotees like her.

Without the recognition, Masses are no longer held there, except on Sept. 8, the birthday of the Blessed Virgin, and in October, the Holy Rosary month.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Leyte , Our Lady of Assumption , Religion




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
Advertisement

News

  • Name names, Lacson told
  • Ukraine FM: We are ready to fight Russia
  • Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  • 2 contractors fined P25,000 for delays in Edsa rehab
  • Luisita beneficiaries take over renters
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Denims that keep you cool–literally
  • 10 essential summer skin savers
  • Here’s your visual guide to all things cool, hot in summer fashion
  • Entertainment

  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • OMB exec’s assurance: We work 24/7
  • Business

  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Gaming stocks gain, PSEi eases on profit-taking
  • Cebu Pacific flew 3.74M passengers as of March
  • Corporate bonds sweeteners
  • Professionals in the family business
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  • US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement