111712 - The Urban Tracker (In Pangasinan) : Manaoag In Morning Stopover Glory

Catching Manaoag church reveals its facade on the tick of sunrise
or those northbound, paying homage to the patron of Manaoag has somewhat become a routine or a welcome idea for a sidetrip. 

In this Saturday morning as skies about to shift daylight, we found our spot to park as we landed the premises of the pilgrim ground after a 7-hour road trip. A gradual indulgence was in the making.

Our Lady of Manaoag church photo P1010002_zpsd92d3b53.jpg
A glimpse of the shrine
From the opening of the souvenir section up to the bell signal summoning the numbers to bow with the order into the church pews, there's a sense of attaching, yielding, integrating falling in places. Listening to the gospel acclamation, doxology and the inspirational homily came with an invigorating effect.

Our Lady of Manaoag church photo P1010004_zps16058271.jpg
Devotees queue for a close encounter with the Lady of Manaoag
Then the assembly converged for seeking of blessings. Something was pervading in the air as our attention turned into  the back of the altar for a moment of whispered request with the so-called miraculous virgin. Some have brought letters, or even the souvenir images for anointing.

Our Lady of manaoag church, A devotee tries to touch or make a plea with the Lady of Manaoag
Pilgrimer whispers of prayer with the patron.
The next stage was a more poignant one - the candle lit ritual. A candle store nearby was at reach for candle selections.  The pilgrimage revealed another phase of divine introspection wounding up in the gardens in everyone's retreat.and respite.

Our Lady of Manaoag church, Candle offerring in the garden site
Candles are lit up for prayer vigils
Our gathering moved outside of the church facade for a group picture souvenir. Daylight had fallen, a filling wonderment and indescribable feeling subdued us as we moved back to our van  to have a fix of breakfast which we shared later with the vagrants.

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Replica of the  venerated Lady of Manaoag towers in one pilgrim area.
That morning seemed to be a long endeavor but just the beginning of another pivotal journey to another territory in Pangasinan. Despite lack of sleep and 3-hour drive ahead of us, the prospect of the day were refreshing, catapulting and recharging. The segue to Manaoag never failed as they say as a redeeming stopover as proven once again for many north hikers just like for us today and the rest that have come and trailed our way.
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