I love going on road trips, sometimes they take us to places where we discover something wonderful and I just stare in awe and imagine myself transported to a world where only peace and quiet reign, when the only thing you could hear is your heart saying, “Thank You, Lord, You took me here.”
This morning, we decided to visit Regina RICA (Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia), an hour and a half trip by car from our place. This is my second visit to Tanay but it is my first time to see Our Lady Regina Rosarii located at Brgy. Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal. I love the winding road going there, it’s more of a zigzag actually, with curves and bends and lots of greenery dotting the countryside. It’s what I like about going on road trips because I get to recharge and relax while traversing a road that leads to somewhere interesting. We passed by the place where I took my first test of endurance three weeks after my final session of chemotherapy last December 8, 2009. It was indeed like touching heaven. I really find it so relaxing traveling the scenic Marcos Highway where the view of the Sierra Madre mountains is an eye candy for city dwellers like me. The glimpse of the Laguna de Bay from a distance is an added bonus.
The Warm Welcome
This is the view that greeted me upon reaching the gate of Regina RICA, an image of Mama Mary from a distance. In my excitement I forgot to take pictures of the two iconic figures of the Dominican community, the image of St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena at the gate.
Another journey has begun and I am committing it to memory.
Regina Rica is a 13.5-ha land envisioned by the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii to be a place of pilgrimage, prayer, contemplation, ecological sanctuary and wellness environment.
Pasilungan which in Ilonggo dialect means shelter is the first stop where you get to see the miniature models of the entire place and where you can also write your prayer petitions. They have a welcome video just waiting for the visitors to appreciate what Regina RICA has to offer.It serves as their reception area.
The Journey To Mama Mary
The view from the top…
Getting closer and I am so excited. The walk towards the image of Mama Mary is a S-rail to give the pilgrim a breathtaking view of the place. She stands 71-foot high. There are 13 candle stations where one can leave candle offerings.
Catching my breath at one of the candle stations. There was a gentle drizzle on our trek up and while going down the road leading to the Fourteen Stations of the Cross. I told myself, “this must be Mama Mary’s way of showering her blessings.” I held that thought until we went back to Pasilungan while looking at her through the open windows of the place, so serene and so peaceful.
Seeing her up close at last. Sr. Eppie Brasil, OP describes the image this way, “She shelters and shield us in the safety of her mantle of love. Below her feet is a canopy of clouds where 17 angels watch over us. Inside the mantle of Our Lady is our Adoration Chapel called Sulod (Sanctuary of Universal Love and Devotion) an Ilonggo word for “enter”. We were allowed to enter the prayer room, barefoot and taking pictures is not allowed. Imagine yourself in a very peaceful place enveloped in the mantle of Mama Mary. Awesome!
Going Down, Exploring The Site
A distant view of the Sierra Madre Mountains and the S-Trail of Our Lady and Candle Offering Stations.
This place reminds me so much of Caleruega in Nasugbu, Batangas, another Dominican site where peace and quiet abound. I was delighted to see their vegetable garden where they grow different varieties of lettuce, Chinese kangkong (water spinach), okra, cabbage and other garden veggies that I could not identify.
Near the garden is Rotunda de San Jose, where the image of St. Joseph is enshrined. Near the place are lovely small Bahay Kubo and animal shed where you could find some birds, monkeys and some flowering plants. I was tempted to take shots of all the lovely flowers, some I’ve seen only now.
We went back to Pasilungan and watched the video presentation, ordered their popular mais con hielo and met Sr. Ellen Tayo, OP who is in charge of the place. I gave her two rosaries which I made and she was thrilled. I just told her it’s my way of giving back for all the blessings and for my health. She was so touched she gave me prayer pamphlets, their latest issue of Sacred Space mag and Regina Rosarii calendar for 2012.
It was a journey worth-repeating. One of these days, I would love to visit the place again and attend a Holy mass there. It would take one or more blogs to complete the pictures I took of the place. This message I read in one of the pages of their calendar touched me to the core.
Alone? Feel His presence in pain, persecution, and problems. Don’t be afraid. Jesus promised, “I will be with you until the end of time.” You will be okay.
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