Malasag, Our Lady of Guadalupe ready for devotees

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Thursday, April 5, 2012


ROMAN Catholics and devoted Christians are observing the Holy Week tradition as they remember the passion and death of Christ in a spiritual and holistic way through penitence or “Panaad.”

In Cagayan de Oro, two “Panaad” destinations are now set to accommodate devotees who are expected to gather and take part of the annual tradition.

Over the years, the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Barangay Tablon and Malasag in Barangay Cugman have been hosting devotees and pilgrims in fulfilling their annual “panaad.”

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To get to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, devotees have to walk four kilometers and cross through a river that connects barangays Tablon, Agusan and Balubal at least nine times.

Some devotees said they felt they are closer to God when they reach the beautiful chapel located on top of the Igbalalay hills after climbing a unique stairway.

Aside from the majestic view of nature, devotees said they value the beautiful sanctuary and the unique altar made of drift wood that signifies the antiquity of times where two images of the Our Lady of Guadalupe are housed.

According to Tablon village chief Romeo Bacarro, despite the long walk, devotees keep coming back at the shrine as it was believed to grant the prayers of students who want to pass their board exams and other requests of the devotees.

Bacarro said he had already requested more than 50 police personnel to man every station to provide security to the flock of devotees.

“We had also set up medic’s stations and information booths,” he said.

Bacarro said he had also requested the Oro Rescue to provide safety to the devotees while crossing the river and the Philippine Air Force to be on standby at the chapel to respond to any untoward incident.

But he advised devotees not to bring small children since crossing the river and trekking the terrain is dangerous.

“I am also encouraging everyone not to throw their wastes anywhere,” he said.

In Malasag, devotees usually take part on the annual Via Crucis or way of the cross where they walk three kilometers to reach the chapel of the Birhen sa Medalya Milagrosa.

Archie Labinganay, event organizer of Holy Week activities, said they are focusing on the peace and order in the area through more police visibility.

Labinganay said he even requested for fire trucks just in case fires occur considering that the area is “grassy” though he emphasized that smoking is strictly prohibited.

He said vendors are now starting to set up their booths, including medics to attend to any emergency.

Labinganay shared that the Birhen sa Medalya Milagrosa is believed to perform miracles.

“Many have paid their debts and many businessmen were successful that is why a lot of people visit the chapel, especially during Holy Week,” he said.

He advised the devotees to wear comfortable and decent clothes, especially the ladies, and encourage them to observe silence and solemnity while having their overnight stay in the area to give respect to those who sincerely do their penitence.

The Our Lady of Guadalupe and Malasag both provide devotees a good venue where they can commune with nature and reflect on the sacrifices of Jesus Christ.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 05, 2012.

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