By: Jessica R. Bantilan | Solemn Place
The height of Our Lady of Regina Rica is as symbolic as the number of angels carved below the statue on a canopy of clouds. There are 17 angels around it. The height of the image and the number of angels represent the Nos. 1 and 7, which when added would equal to 8. Besides the statue of Our Lady of Regina Rica, there’s also the Rica Chapel where you can pray and attend mass.
Our ministry got to enjoy the scenery and the solemnness that the place have. We saw and we felt God’s love as we pray and stay. Standing on top of the hill is the marvelous image of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. It is a 71ft tall image of the Virgin Mary, a masterpiece of artist and sculptor Jojo Barcena Jr. It is definitely a work of art and something pilgrims can marvel but this is not just a typical huge Marian image. Inside it is a chapel. Rica, a Spanish word for “rich lady,” the inspiration of the structure was drawn from the Dominican tradition and belief that Our Lady shelters her devoted children through her protective mantle. This huge sculpture is actually habitable and people are actually encouraged to go inside for their own spiritual enlightenment and meditation. The chapel can hold less than a hundred people, but by the start of the Holy Week, it can accommodate 200 people and the entrance is free.
Regina RICA basically stands for Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia. It is a 13.5-hectare place of sanctity for those who want to have a holy pilgrimage, or just a place for peace and quiet. The area is run by the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii. It was founded in 2005 by Sister Mary Epifania F. Brasil, OP, in Quezon City. It was transferred in 2009 to where it is currently located.
Going on a pilgrimage is a big hard to, but if you’re looking for a place to go to this Holy Week that is near Metro Manila, then you don’t have to go that far. Regina Rica which is located in Sitio Aguho, Tanay, Rizal.
The best way to reach the statue of Mary is by passing through their so-called Mary’s Sacred Trail. Devotees before climbing the stairs to the “Sulod” area where they can pray to Mama Mary are requested to have a briefing first at the Orientation Area before they head to the chapel located at the second floor. Everyone is requested to take off their shoes and go straight to the chapel in bare feet. It is prohibited to take photos once you are at the second floor to keep the place sacred and to prevent noise as well.