A sanctuary for the body and soul

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

THE world and its cares can sometimes be overwhelming and people seek a place of quiet, of serenity, of contemplation and prayer. That’s when a place like the Our Lady of Manaoag Rosary Sanctuary beckons.

It lies on a hillside in Barangay Guba and is about an hour’s drive from the heart of the city. The road, on the Guba side, tends to live up to the name of the barangay (guba in Cebuano means “in ruins” or “disrepair”).

But once the visitor reaches the entrance to the sanctuary, he immediately feels the trip is worth it.


The visitor has to enter the sanctuary on foot, via a concrete bridge that leads to a footpath lined with cucharita plants and manimani.

To the right is a small garden of blooming roses and to the left are mango trees. The ground under them is grass-covered and beautifully landscaped by caretaker Rami.

Where there are rock formations, he has planted mostly vari-colored cucharitas around them.

At the end of the path is the sanctuary, a simple roofed structure open at its sides with a rock formation as its backdrop. Here, Our Lady reigns, inviting one to prayer and quiet meditation. There are benches for the devotees and there is a vigil candle stand.

Since the trip to the sanctuary can be long and tiring, its owner Edna O. Toral has also provided benches under the trees. At the other end of
the property, she has a roofed shed with wooden benches lining three of its sides. There are also clean comfort rooms.

Sanctuary visitors can thus tarry in the place, relax , enjoy the beauty
of nature, or even have a picnic. Or they could go nature-trekking at the back of the sanctuary, which dips into a river where wildfl owers abound in season, including camia blooms and where visitors may be lucky enough to encounter a rare bird, a turtle or some other water denizen. The place is so beautiful and welcoming that it has already seen a birthday celebration and a wedding reception in the premises.

The rosary sanctuary is open to the public and use of all its facilities is also free. The owner simply wants to help spread the devotion to Our Lady of Manaoag and to pray of the rosary.

If the visitors have the time, either going down to the sanctuary or going home from it, they can also visit a small chapel by the roadside, some hundred or so meters from the sanctuary. It’s a chapel for San Pedro
Calungsod and is owned by Edna’s sister Olga Ouano. It is also open free to the public.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 20, 2014.


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