We left the Parola (Check : A Day Trip To Tanay : The Parola) around 9 am and its very odd that despite the scourging heat of the sun, the rain started to fall (may kinakasal yata na tikbalang). We finally made it to our next destination in Tanay, the well known pilgrim site of Regina RICA. Regina RICA is indeed one of the popular pilgrim destinations that is not too far from Manila (Check : List of Pilgrim Sites and Retreat Centers NEAR Manila That You Should Visit This Holy Week) . I have always wanted to visit this place but I never got a chance to do so. That is why when I saw that the site will be part of our itinerary, i really just can’t hide my excitement.Regina RICA basically stands for Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia. The congregation behind this 13.5 hectares pilgrim site was founded by the former members of the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary in 2005. Standing on top of the hill is the marvelous image of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. It is a 71ft tall image of the Virgin Mary, a masterpiece of artist and sculptor Jojo Barcena Jr. It is definitely a work of art and something pilgrims can marvel but this is not just a typical huge Marian image. This huge sculpture is actually habitable and people are actually encouraged to go inside for their own spiritual enlightenment and meditation.The map of Regina RICA showcasing all the facilities, retreat centers and activity areas that you can find within the huge hectare of land.The huge image of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary as seen from afar. Like I said, the rain began to fall and I thought that I will never get a chance to enjoy this trip. We were given an hour to explore the place which is actually good enough to attend a mass and to explore the other areas. Since we already attended the mass in Tanay Church (Check : A Day Trip In Tanay : The Tanay Church), we decided to explore the area instead. The rain stopped few minutes later and I started to navigate the place. The first place that will welcome you upon entering the Regina RICA is their visitor center. Here, you’ll find souvenirs, a booth where you can write petitions, donation area and also venue to orient visitors of the do’s and dont’s while exploring the Regina RICA. This is not a field trip or excursion after all. It is a place of prayer and contemplation.The best way to reach the statue of Mary is by passing through their so-called Mary’s Sacred Trail. hey also refer it as the S-Trail while others are referring it as the Sunflower trail. I’m not sure if it’s because of the curvy path or because the trail is formerly filled with sunflowers (I didn’t find any though) but as you can see the path is still surrounded by plants and flowers.Candle Offering Stations can also be found along the way.The image of Our Lady of The Most Holy Rosary as viewed from the S-TrailAlso from the S-Trail, you’ll get a nice perpective of the RICA Chapel which is located just below the hill. The very interesting Columbary as viewed from the S-trail.And finally, after few minutes of passing through the S-trail, I have reached the foot of the marvelous image of the Virgin Mary. It was really stunning and I can’t help but to marvel its beauty! As you reach the top, you will be welcomed by a long queue of pilgrims and devotees. They were all lining up to enter the facility inside the habitable statue of the Virgin Mary. Please be mindful that this place is a place of prayer and meditation and they are not allowing anyone to take any pictures inside. You can bring your gadgets with you but please, as a sign of respect, refrain yourself from using it once you get inside. So what to expect from Regina Rosarii statue? Once you enter, you will be prompted into a waiting area. Here, someone will brief you on what are the things you should do and observe once you enter the adoration area. They will provide you information and history about the Regina RICA,about their future and current projects and more. Please be mindful too that visitors are required to take off their shoes once they enter the facility. After few minutes of briefing, you and your batch will be prompted to go upstairs. Here, a member/ sister of the congregation will invite you to join a short yet spiritually enlightening prayer and meditation in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament . After doing so, you will now be guided to the exit so they can accommodate the next batch. Outside, you’ll find another activity area, the so-called Pilgrim’s LabyrinthIt is a very simple activity where pilgrims are encouraged to follow the path all the way to the center where they can offer their prayers and also the path to go out. I actually thought that it is going to be easy but it surprisingly took me almost half and hour just to get the right path. It was really a rewarding experience though. The image of the Virgin Mary as viewed downhill.There is also a Way of the Cross trail for the pilgrims to try on. The Pahuwayan Columbary also offers an interesting work of art (also credited to Mr Jojo Barcena Jr)Rotunda De San Jose
Things You Should Know Before Visiting the Regina RICA
► Regina RICA is open every Mondays to Sundays except Tuesdays from 8 am to 5pm
► There is NO ENTRANCE Fee To Regina RICA
► Those with cars, however, should pay for the Parking Fee (Php50)
► Proper Dresscode should be observed. Female with short skirts is not allowed but if they want to enter the place, the facility is allowing them to borrow long skirts and shawls. (They’re kinda glossy so if you do not want to wear such, maybe going there in proper attire should be highly considered)
How To Get to Regina RICA via Public Transport
►From Star Mall in Shaw Boulevard, you can ride a van that will take you to Tanay town proper. Just tell the driver to drop you off to the Sampaloc Jeepney Terminal. From there, ride the Sampaloc-Bound jeepney and tell the driver to drop you off at the Sampaloc Tanay Market. From there you can ride a tricycle that can take you to the Regina RICA site.
► It is very ideal to asked the tricycle driver and made a deal with them to pick you up because it is quite hard to find a ride going back to the Sampaloc Market.
After an hour of exploring the huge hectare of land of Regina RICA (an hour is actually not enough to explore them all), we were taken to a nearby restaurant to take our lunch. After doing so, we went to our next destination and this is actually where the real adventure begins! We went to Calinawan Cave and it was my first every spelunking adventure!
By the way guys, In case you are planning to stay in Rizal for a day or two, you can check the list of affordable and “budgetarian” Hotels in the link below!
I can’t wait to share you my first caving experience and I will post them all in my next entry but for the mean time, if you have time , feel free to follow me at my accounts for more updates:
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Here are the links to the rest of my Tanay escapade: Feel free to visit the links below
► Pililla Wind Farm
► Tanay Church (San Ildefonso de Toledo Parish)
► The Parola of Tanay
► Regina RICA
► The Calinawan Cave
► The Daranak Falls
► The Batlag Falls