Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our Lady of Piat -- Yena Tam Ngamin

The real reason why we make our annual Northern Road trip as a drive from the eastern side of Luzon to the western side
is so that we can visit Our Lady of Piat in Cagayan Valley.
I first learned of Our Lady from my parents who made the trek many years ago, in the early 80s.
Since we started our road trip, Piat has been an annual pilgrimage for us.
The Basilica Minore of Our Lady is located in the small town of Piat, about 30 kilometers from Tuguegarao.
For more than 400 years, she has protected and guided the people of Cagayan Valley. The Basilica Minore, a brick church that is not an old structure, houses her image which originated from Macao in the early 1600s.
It was originally brought to Manila and then to Lal-lo, the center of the diocese of Nueva Segovia.
From Lal-lo, it was brought to Tuguegarao before it was finally brought to Piat in 1623.
The image of Our Lady seems to be made of dark wood but interestingly enough, it is actually made of papier mache.
The statue of Our Lady of Piat is at the center of the altar. You may go to the back of the church, climb a flight of stairs and reach the back of the altar where a small door opens up to the back of the statue.
Pilgrims line up and climb to fervently touch her statue, wipe it with hankies, scarves, towels; bow heads in prayer, give thanks, ask for help with petitions and requests.
Our Lady of Piat is very merciful -- she has countless miracles attributed to her through the centuries. She has saved the people of Cagayan from drought, from invasion, from plagues.
And for me, just one pilgrim out of countless many, she is truly Yena Tam Ngamin.
It is indeed a blessing to be able to visit her every year.

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