The Silence at Montemaria: After The Pilgrims Left
With paved roads, it is easier to travel now from Ilijan unlike the by-gone days. However, there is one particular part of the road where I remember it has a very dangerous incline towards the cliff and the sea. It is where my dad’s personnel had an accident when their truck fell off the road. Beautiful, it is reminiscent to that of Batanes. Moreover, it has become a place of controversial pilgrimage. They call it Montemaria or Mountain of Mary. From this point, you could see the busy ships passing by and a magnificent panoramic view of Verde Island, Mindoro, Batangas Bay and even Batangas City from afar (hey, we’re still 20 kilometers away from the city center). Wow! This place is such a sight to behold (minus the cow dung everywhere).
This hilltop place at the edge of Batangas City has created stir among the faithful as Father Fernando Suarez, known here in the Philippines as “The Healing Priest,” sets his plan to create a five-hectare pilgrimage site in which the main masterpiece would be the statue of Our Lady of Poor which would best Cristo Redentor of Rio de Janeiro and the Statue of Liberty of New York! We even saw the face of Maria revealed on media.
Another thing, the news of healing stones from Montemaria abound. An article of Inquirer in 2007 stated that there were reports of miraculous healings from different people due to the stones that are found in the place. Whoa! Does that mean I’m stepping on one?
It became so famous that people flocked all the way to this isolated part of Batangas, Indeed it became a popular “pilgrimage site” for those who seek healing through the priest.
By the time we passed by Montemaria, it is back from its old silent self. A white church stands guard on the slopes of a hill overlooking the “future shrine.” A lonely cross was erected, standing silently watching over ships that pass by. Abandoned sari-sari stores and stone gardens abound. When the buzz was over and Father Suarez left, so is the area. The colossal statue of Maria wasn’t there. However, the silence and abandonment has brought it back to paradise. Despite the cow dung littered almost everywhere, the place returned to the bosom of Mother Nature—the wonder of God itself.
However, I know for a fact that this tranquility is temporary. The crowd may come back and we might even see the construction of the said Mary’s statue on top of the hill. But for now, let the placid winds echo Montemaria.
Where is Montemaria in Batangas located?
View Montemaria Batangas in a larger map