Sunday, March 01, 2015

Valentines' Date: APO BAKET!

February 14, Valentines Day. For most, it is a time of love, relationship and affection. People set up dates, go with their bf's or gf's, and... nah! For others, it is Independence Day, thanks to their single status. Others? Well, they like eating Ampalaya on this day, brought about by their bitterness.

Over the past month, I experienced a very terrible heartbreak. I felt like it was the end for me. Thankfully, it wasn't. Instead of throwing myself away in depression, I decided to go somewhere more comfortable, and visit one of the most beautiful women I ever encountered.


It's been two years since I last visited her Shrine, now to be declared a Minor Basilica. A lot of changes happened, making the place a lot more beautiful. Regardless, the feeling of beholding her once again is worth all the waiting and longing. More of the story below...

Unlike before, when vendors were the welcome sight in front of the
Shrine, the pathway going to the Basilica is paved and surrounded
with images of different Saints - Dominican as well as others.
It is now a better way of saying welcome to the Basilica!

Manaoag Basilica as it looks now. Developed for the
modern taste, yet cherishing a wonderful treasure of the past. 
APO BAKET, the Lady who Calls. Upon seeing her again, I just can't help
but cry and say, Nay, andito po ulit ako. Can you be my date?
Before leaving her, I gave her a simple gift: a rose, in gratitude
for everything she did for me and for my family, and for those dear to me.
It was just a simple act of love for someone who loves us more.
In the afternoon, there was a Solemn Mass in preparation for the Declaration of the Minor Basilica on February 17. It was led by Most Rev. Rolly Tria Tirona, Archbishop of Nueva Caceres,

In his homily, the Archbishop stressed that during her life, Mary
has always been faithful. We are also called to be like her, faithful to Jesus
and to God the Father.
The replica of Our Lady as it waits for the procession...
... and after it rounded the streets of Manaoag. It was repeated for
the whole period of the Triduum (February 14-16), as well as after the Solemn
Declaration of the Minor Basilica (February 17).

It was really a fulfilling day. it was also tiring at some point because of the travel, but once you're there, everything is turned to excitement and wonder. Mary continues to call her children, to come to her and receive from her many graces and blessings. This is really a reason to love her more than ever,

Our Lady of Manaoag. Really, a perfect date on Valentines' Day. :) 

Kung si Nanay na ang tumawag, wag nang tumanggi. Sagutin na siya, dalawin na siya, paglingkuran na siya at ang kanyang Anak!
(SB, December 2012)


  1. Hello, Mr Panganiban! I would like to ask for your permission in using one of your photos for my personal blog. I forgot to bring my camera when i went to Manaoag, Pangasinan. I would like to use your photo of the church facade. And i will mention your name and blog site, of course. thank you!