Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Lady of the Caves

ask any filipino who is the patron saint of cebu and most would answer "Sto. Nino". the Sinulog, arguably the largest and grandest filipino fiesta, is dedicated to Sto. Nino and this reinforces the thought that the Child Jesus is the patron of the province.

which is not exactly right.

The Lady of Guadalupe, a persona of the Virgin Mary, is the patroness of Cebu. last holy week i took my boss to visit the cave in Langub where the original image of the Lady of Guadalupe was found by a local trapper of chicken sometime in the late fifties(?).

the story goes that devout followers of the Lady of Guadalupe kept the image inside a cave up in Kalunasan to ensure that it is not confiscated and destroyed by Japanese invaders. after the war, the image was left to memory until that day that the local trapper stumbled across a cave overrun by shrubs that covered the entrance and the hills that surround it.

if you're planning to do a trek to Langub, you may want to visit the Guadalupe Church Parish instead as the original image was taken down and enshrined in this church. on the other hand, they created a replica of the image that's left in the cave.
pilgrims go through a poor community that line the path leading up the hills to where the cave is found and they form a long line to offer prayers, kneel in front of the Lady and cover themselves under the flowing mantle of the Lady. To Catholics, shrouding oneself with the mantle is a symbol that shows the protection bestowed by the Lady to the devout believers of her intercession to the Lord Jesus.

it was a bit difficult to look for historical information about the specific dates leading up to the establishment of the Guadalupe Parish Church and goes to show how our culture is slowly fading from our memory.

the place itself is very interesting as the cave has a narrow entrance that leads to a cavernous area where fifty people can comfortable sit themselves while meditating. the air somehow automatically becomes cool and the drone of people praying reverberate against the stone walls. right beside the Lady is a stalactite that drips with water that is reported to be miraculous and has healing powers.

as i knelt down to offer my prayers i also gave thanks for all the blessings from the Lord and all the prayers that has gone through the Lady's intercession.

if you're inclined to add this to your schedule, take a cab or a jeep and have yourself dropped off at the Guadalupe Church in Barangay Guadalupe. From there, ask the vendors for directions leading to the take off point. it's very close to the church and it goes straight, straight through the slums, up the hills and to the gates of the chapel that houses the cave.

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