Our Lady of Manaoag

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Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag
Birhen ng Rosaryo ng Manaoag
Our Lady of Manaoag 1.JPG
The ivory bejeweled image enshrined at the main retablo of the shrine.
Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Major shrine

Basilica of Our Lady of Manaoag,

Manaoag, Pangasinan,
Philippines Philippines
Feast Third Sunday after Easter,
first Sunday of October (as Our Lady of the Rosary)
Attributes fair complexion, with child Jesus, rosary, marshall's baton, royal regalia
Patronage Manaoag, the sick, Pangasinense and Ilocano peoples

Our Lady of Manaoag (Spanish: Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario de Manaoag) formally known as Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, associated with a statue in Manaoag, Pangasinan from the 16th century. She is the patroness of the sick, the helpless and the needy.[1]

The church is one of the Philippines' most widely visited Roman Catholic Pilgrimage sites. Many people from across the Philippine archipelago come and visit the town of Manaoag, where the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is enshrined in a church dedicated to this name. The church is administered by the Dominican Order in the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan.


Tradition holds the town's name itself was born from The Virgin Mary’s call or "taoag" to the young man. The term manaoag was derived from Pangasinan Language word "mantaoag" which means "to Call".[2]

The title Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag is the same title of Our Lady of the Rosary used universally just like the other titles of Mary or labels of reverence. All of these names really refer to the same polyonymous Mary, The Mother of Christ. The “of Manaoag” epithet is an appendage to that title to merely associate her to the host town and to the parish.


The statue of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag is a 17th-century Roman Catholic ivory image of The Blessed Virgin Mary with The Child Jesus enshrined at the high altar of the Basilica. It was brought from Spain via Acapulco in the early 17th century to the Philippines by Padre Juan De San Jacinto.

A closer look at the image of Our Lady of Manaoag

Documents dating back to 1610 attest that a middle-aged farmer walking home heard a mysterious female voice. He looked around and saw on a cloud-veiled treetop an apparition of The Blessed Virgin Mary, holding a Rosary in her right hand with The Child Jesus on her left arm amidst a heavenly glow. Mary told the farmer where she wanted her church to be built. A chapel was built on the spot where Mary appeared to the man and the town quickly grew around it.

Worldwide, Our Lady of The Rosary is depicted by the same images of The Blessed Virgin Mary holding a rosary, with The Child Jesus on her left arm. These figures vary basically in the material used, the rendition by the respective artists, the regalia, and the style of the vestments according to the native culture. Thus Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag can be distinguished from the other statues by its distinctive sculpture and regalia, and most especially by her crown.

It should be understood that The Real Mary, The Mother of Jesus Christ, is the one being addressed as Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag. She is the one actually performing the miracles, granting the requests, or formidably interceding for those that implore her miracles or intercessions and not the inanimate icon with all its majestic royal and opulent grandeur. The veneration, devotion, and prayers should be directed to the Blessed Virgin Mary and not to the statue depicting her or in any of her various titles. It would not be just a fallacy but a sin of idolatry.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag[edit]

The Shrine of Our Lady of The Rosary, located on a hill in Manaoag, has been canonically affiliated with the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major in the Vatican since June, 2011. The parish serving Manaoag and the surrounding towns is administered by the Dominican Order under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan.

Some of the miracles attributed to Our Lady of Manaoag are in the murals inside the church. The Paschal Chapel beside the south side of the church has the icons of The Nazarene, The Santo Entierro, and the Blessed Virgin. The sanctuary at the left side of the main entrance has a large Crucified Christ image.

Behind the church are the Parish Office, Museum of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag, Candle Gallery, Pilgrims’ Center and Rosary Garden.

There is an Information Center at the Priory at the left side of the church and souvenir shops at the front office of the church, beside the Veneration Room at the second floor at the back of the church, and at the Candle Gallery at the back of the church.


The Augustinians built the first Chapel of Santa Monica (the original name of the town of Manaoag) in 1600 where the cemetery is now located. It was served by the friars from the town of Lingayen. This was turned over to the Dominicans in 1605 and was served from the town of Mangaldan.[3]

The first Dominican priest to work in the Manaoag mission was Fr. Juan De San Jacinto, O.P. the first curate of Mangaldan. It was only in 1608 that the Mangaldan mission was formally accepted by the provincial chapter of the Dominican Order. In 1610 Fr. Tomas Jimenez, O.P. became the first resident priest as he took over the Manaoag mission.

Numerous threats from the Igorot tribes of the surrounding mountains led to the transfer of the entire community to the present site on a hill. The Dominicans started to build a large church on its present site in 1701 under the sponsorship of Gaspar De Gamboa and his wife, Agata Yangta, who were wealthy residents from Manila who transferred to Lingayen. Later expansion of the church from 1882 was frustrated by an earthquake in 1892.

On May 10, 1898 during the tumultuous days of the Philippine Revolution for independence from Spain, the whole church and its treasures, ornaments, and records were burned by the revolutionaries. The miraculous image narrowly escaped destruction. It was found abandoned at the back of the church. From June to October 1898, it was in Dagupan City for safekeeping.

Invited by Fr. Mariano Pacis, diocesan priest of Manaoag, the Dominicans returned in 1901. Under the aegis of the Dominicans, the church that was started in 1882 was finally completed to a large extent in 1911-12. The central retablo, the altar of The Virgin, incorporating Baroque columns from the 18th-century altar, was completed by the famed Tampinco Atelier of Manila. The transept, the arms of the church, were completed in 1931-32.

The Dominicans ceded all their Pangasinan missions to the mitre (i.e. the diocesan clergy) except Manaoag. Spiritual administration of the shrine in perpetuity was granted by The Holy See to the Dominican Order in 1925.

A huge crowd attended the canonical coronation of the image on April 21, 1926 by the then-Papal Nuncio, as authorized by Pope Pius XI. This means The Catholic Church, through The Holy See, officially recognized and proclaimed that The Virgin Mary acclaimed as Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag had granted favors and blessings to or formidable intercessions for her devotees through the centuries.

The church was rebuilt after surviving the Japanese bombing during World War II.

The old convent is now the Our Lady of Manaoag College, the former Holy Rosary Academy founded in 1946 by the last Spanish Dominican in Manaoag, Fr. Teodulo Cajigal, O.P..

Since December 8, 1972, the Shrine of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag has been under the care of the Philippine Dominican Province. It celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of the image's coronation on January 1, 2000.

Canonical affiliation with Saint Mary Major[edit]

On June 21, 2011, Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome and Pope Benedict XVI canonically approved the granting of a "Special Bond of Spiritual Affinity in Perpetuity" through which the pilgrims are assured of the same blessings of The Lord and the entitlement to a plenary indulgence equal to that received when visiting a papal basilica in Rome. This was confirmed by the prelate (now Archbishop) of the Lingayen-Dagupan Diocese, Socrates B. Villegas, in a circular dated June 13, 2011.[4] The Manaoag Shrine is the first to achieve this status followed by the Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay in Taal, Batangas in June 2012.

The official document and a shrine official, who was among the priests who went to Rome, confirmed that the plenary indulgence may be obtained on each visit to the shrine subject to three conditions for each occasion: going to confession immediately before or after the pilgrimage; receiving The Eucharist during the pilgrimage; and praying for the intentions of the Pope; each done in a spirit of detachment from the attraction of sin.

Elevation to a Basilica[edit]

In fitting ceremonies on July 22, 2011 attended by more than 100 Archbishops and Bishops, church and government leaders, and devotees, the Shrine of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag was elevated into a Minor Basilica. The Shrine was henceforth called the Basilica of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag, headed by a rector appointed by the Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan.[5] A special Mass was also held to affirm the "Special Bond of Spiritual Affinity in Perpetuity" between the Manaoag Shrine and the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome.

Our Lady of Manaoag in Guam[edit]

A three-foot replica of the Our Lady of Manaoag was donated by a devotee and traveled to Guam on August 17, 2012. The statue was enshrined at the Saint Anthony of Padua and Saint Victor Catholic Church in Tamuning, Guam where a dedication rite was held on the 18th attended by Filipino-Guamanian Catholics.[6] The statue traveled as a paid passenger aboard the United Airlines flight.[7]


Our Lady of Manaoag's 400-year history of renowned miraculous and pious events has brought distinctive honor and fame to the eponymous town and to the province of Pangasinan. Some of the earliest are depicted in the murals in the church. These include images of the town miraculously spared from a wildfire, the origin of the basilica and the parish, and the original apparition.

In the early days of the Spanish colonization, animist mountain tribes burnt down newly converted Christian villages. The town of Manaoag was among the settlements set afire. The thatch-roofed church was the locals' last refuge. The leader of the pillagers climbed over the compound's crude fence and shot flaming arrows into all parts of the church, but miraculously the building did not ignite.

During World War II, the Japanese dropped several bombs within the church's vicinity. The structure was only moderately damaged. Four bombs were released above the church, with three landing on the plaza and the façade, destroying both. The last bomb fell into the sanctuary, but miraculously did not explode.

Regalia and Security[edit]

The original icon of Our Lady of Manaoag and her bejeweled crown are considered priceless. There have been several attempts to burglarize the Manaoag Shrine due to the jewels sewn into the icon's dress and regalia.

The image of Our Lady of Manaoag is fully secured with bulletproof glass enclosure above the new high altar with additional wood carvings, an elevated pedestal, and four golden candelabras. A new special Dominican logo has been embedded to manifest the devotion of the Order to her. The bas-relief, made of narra carvings beneath her throne that beautifully depicts the historic events in the devotion to Our Lady, has been refurbished.

Several of her golden crowns and halos are deposited at the shrine's museum, donated by both Filipino and foreign devotees. An expensive collection of liturgical vestments that have been used by the image and the Dominican priests are also on display. A large array of lavishly elegant perfumes is likewise showcased. These were donated by devotees and pilgrims from around the world as ex-votos or presents to the image.

The archdiocese, reckoning with the Filipino custom of touching a venerated image or its clothing, constructed a staircase that rises to the second floor Veneration Room behind the high altar. This room has pews and people queue to kneel at the alcove behind the image's shrine. Supplicants touch the lower part of the image's mantle, and may drop their prayers into a box. After touching the mantle and praying, devotees pass through the religious souvenir shop on their way out.


Processional banner on display at the church museum.

The feast of Our Lady of Manaoag is on the third Wednesday of Easter. The peaks of the pilgrimages are during the Lenten and Easter seasons, the month of May, and the month of October – the month of The Holy Rosary - where the universal feast day of Our Lady of The Holy Rosary is celebrated every first Sunday of October. There are processions after the afternoon mass on these occasions.


Thousands converge on Saturdays and Sundays to pray for their intentions, hear Mass, pray The Rosary, offer flowers, light candles, buy religious articles, have religious articles or vehicles blessed, get Holy water, and join in the activities for the day or the season. The blessing of religious articles and vehicles is performed at the back of the church grounds after every Mass. Holy water is also dispensed there free to those with receptacles.

The 4 a.m. dawn short procession and Rosary every first Saturday before the 5 a.m. Mass is well-attended by regular pilgrims mostly from Metro Manila and from Regions I (Ilocos), II (Cagayan Valley), and III (Central Luzon). (These first Saturday rites are pursuant to the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays requested by The Blessed Virgin Mary in her third apparition to the three children at Fatima on July 13, 1917 for the preservation of world peace.)

Any of the Masses in the regular schedule may be offered for personal petitions and thanksgiving. The 7 a.m.Masses on Fridays (except on Good Fridays) may be offered for the souls of the dearly departed. These may be done through the parish office at the right side of the main entrance of the church; at the Shrine Museum; or at the back of the church beside the religious store at the entrance of the Candle Gallery. Mass offerings and donations may be offered also through its website.

People who cannot come to the shrine may listen by radio to Radyo Dominiko ng Manaoag 102.3FM, which is also accessible through their website.

A pilgrim image of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag has been visiting parishes in the Philippines.


The Shrine of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag is located approximately 200 kilometers (120 mi) kilometers north of Manila. From the city, Manaoag is reached via North Luzon Expressway, then McArthur Highway to Urdaneta City, then heading northwest via the Urdaneta-Manaoag Road. It is easily accessible by public transportation. It is 4–5 hours by bus from Cubao, Quezon City.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Our-Lady-of-Manaoag/120437460753?sk=info
  2. ^ "Our Lady's Welcome". Shrine of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag. Retrieved on 2014-01-03.
  3. ^ "History". Shrine of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag Official Website. Retrieved on 2014-01-05.
  4. ^ J.E.(2011-06-08). "CBCP: Vatican approves indulgences for Manaoag visitors". GMA News Network. Retrieved on 2014-01-05.
  5. ^ Administrator (2012-05-27). "Manaoag Shrine elevated to Basilica". Shrine of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag official Website. Retrieved on 2014-01-03.
  6. ^ (2012-08-24). "Pinoys in Guam join dedication rites of Our Lady of Manaoag statue". GMA News Online. Retrieved on 2014-01-05.
  7. ^ Darang, Josephine (2012-09-12). "Filipinos in Guam welcome Our Lady of Manaoag; Kapampangans in Los Angeles". Inquirer.net. Retrieved on 2014-01-05.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 16°2′38.5″N 120°29′19″E / 16.044028°N 120.48861°E / 16.044028; 120.48861