The Guadalupe Shrine in Tablon: Your Holy Week Pilgrimage
Tomorrow, as we all begin to prepare ourselves for the last hours of Jesus before His death on the cross, many will be doing the Stations of the Cross and Visita Iglesia. Some Kagay-anons, however, will be trekking to the Guadalupe Shrine in Tablon. This place has become a popular and important Holy Week destination in the past years. Majority of those who go there do so as a Panaad or promise/pledge. Some believe that a visit or pilgrimage to the Guadalupe shrine will answer prayers and requests for miracles.
To understand the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, here is a brief summary of her story:
Photo credit: By Ellismendez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
In the 1500s, a native Indian residing in Mexico (then a Spanish colony), had a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Blessed Mother asked the young man, named Juan, to build a church at the Hill of Tepeyac in her honor. Juan shared the story with the bishop, but the bishop only instructed him to return to Tepeyac and ask the lady for proof of the apparition. Juan did as told and the Blessed Virgin asked him to go to the top of a barren hill and gather roses. He was then asked to go to the local bishop, and to give proof of the apparition, Juan was to give the bishop the roses. Juan did as he was told and kept the roses inside his cloak. As he presented them to the church leader, what the bishop saw was a miracle. Impressed on Juan’s cloak was the icon of the Blessed Virgin! That was when Our Lady of Guadalupe first became known to the people.
There’s another story, though; one which can be traced back to the early days of Spain, particularly in the province of Extremadura. In this version, the Blessed Mother appeared to a cowboy named Gil Cordero sometime in the early 14th century. Cordero was in the mountains, looking for a missing animal, when the Blessed Mother appeared to him. The Virgin asked him to tell the priests to dig at the site of her apparition. The priests did as asked and they discovered a hidden statue. They then built a shrine in that site. This later on became the monastery for Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe, is believed to be the bearer of many miracles. In the Philippines, several towns and provinces celebrate the feast of the Virgin with different religious and traditional activities. In some places, childless women devotees dance before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to ask for a miracle. Those who get answers go back to the image every year as a pledge and lifetime pilgrimage.
The Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Tablon is said to possess the same miraculous powers. She can heal and she can help childless women become pregnant. To be able to get to the shrine, however, you will have to cross nine rivers. River waters can vary according to the season or weather, but since it is summertime, they won’t be that deep. The 4km (more or less) trail connects three barangays: Tablon, Agusan, and Balubal. For some, it can be a tiresome trek, especially since you’ll have to wade through ankle or knee-deep waters. For the many who have made it their yearly pilgrimage, though, the trek to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is worth every sweat and every effort. They do not mind the scorching heat of the sun and the (sometimes) strong water current. It is their Panaad; their pledge. Their promise.
This Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, if you want to experience what a real pilgrimage can be like, why don’t you try trekking through the nine rivers that take you to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe? Who know what miracles await you there?
Have a blessed and meaningful Holy Week, Kagay-anons! Don’t forget to spend some quiet time with Him!
Tags: Cagayan de Oro, CdeO, CDO, Good Friday, Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine Tablon, Our Lady of Guadalupe Tablon