THE ongoing civil works for Phase 2 of the pilgrimage site Capelinha de Fatima replica in San Remigio town, northern Cebu, focus on constructing pilgrim grounds for visiting devotees.
Bro. Reynald Andales, executive director of Tres Pastorinhos de Fatima Foundation Inc., said Phase 2 of the project is dedicated to creating comfortable grounds for pilgrims during their visit.
Phase 2 also includes greenery projects, lampposts with speakers, and pedestals for religious images to welcome guests. Construction began last September.
Andales said the completion of the second phase depends on funding availability, mostly from donations. He added that benefactors are also making significant contributions to the construction.
The target, however, is to finish the second phase within seven months, or by April, coinciding with the second anniversary of the consecration of the religious site.
Andales said the construction of the main chapel, as part of the first phase, cost P35 million. He estimated that the ongoing second phase may require up to P25 million.
The Capelinha de Fatima replica, located atop Tinubdan Hills in Barangay Lambusan, San Remigio, was consecrated on April 4, 2022. It was declared sacred by the Church after the 18-month construction of the first phase, including the main chapel’s construction.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the three-hectare site was held in October 2020.
Andales said the entire construction project for the Capelinha de Fatima replica consists of four phases.
The third phase will cover the construction of the parking area for the devotees, which might take eight months of construction.
He said the final phase will require two years for construction. This phase will include building the sacristy, used in Catholicism to store vestments, sacred vessels and parish records.
Additionally, they will construct residences for the priests, a large station of the cross and a rosary garden. A gazebo will also be erected on a nearby hill, crowned with an image of the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus.
The image of Mary will feature her holding her heart with thorns and wearing 12 stars on her head, all with an illuminating blinking effect, making it visible even from the viewpoint down the Tinubdan Hills.
He said the current development covers only half of the total area, with the remaining half reserved for the other phases. He said they have not yet estimated the cost of completing the last two phases.
Andales, the international vice president of the World Apostolate of Fatima International, said they plan to complete the whole Capelinha de Fatima replica in 2030.
He revealed that to protect the surrounding lots from potential skyscraper developments, they have submitted a proposal to the local government unit for safeguarding of the adjacent lands.
“We already presented to the mayor last year our proposed ordinance for that area… to ensure its protection, prohibiting any building construction of two stories, from violating it,” he said.
He said the protection should extend to a one-kilometer radius around the area, particularly to preserve the view of the religious structure from below the hills.
Andales said the local government unit is enforcing a measure requiring those intending to construct high-rise buildings to obtain approval from the Tres Pastorinhos de Fatima Foundation before proceeding with construction.
Andales said selling and drinking around the area are not allowed, as well as singing karaoke, to maintain the solemnity of the Capelinha de Fatima replica.
The religious tourism spot is a replica of the chapel where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three children Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto at the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. It is the fourth of its kind in the world and the first in Asia. The other replicas are found in the United States, Brazil and Puerto Rico.
Andales said they currently receive an average of 1,000 devotees daily. It could even go up to 1,500 every Saturday and an average of 1,200 on Sundays.
He asked the public to send donations for the construction of the remaining phases to BPI Bank Acct. No. 5881044929 under the account name Tres Pastorinhos de Fatima Foundation, Inc.