Sunday, February 28, 2016

GQNC Road Trip: Pilgrimage to Regina RICA

Since it's already Lent, it's the best time to visit a pilgrimage site. The place the Grain Quality barkada visited this year is called Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia (RICA). It's a centre run by Dominican Sisters and was designed to be a place of peace and quiet for people who want to meditate amidst gardens and streams surrounded by mountains.

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Towering and watching over pilgrims is a 30-foot statue of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. I thought it was a stone carving; however, it turned out to be cavernous inside. There was something that looked like a chapel at the bottom while a more private contemplation room is found in an upper level: literally inside the bowels of the statue. Nuns were leading pilgrims through a prayer when I popped in, while the rest of the GQ barkada were taking photos of the gardens below.

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The gardens appear to be well organised and had cheerful flowers peppered all over. Sunflowers abound along with pink and red ones. I'm sure that in May, this place will be so pretty! The gardens have winding pathways with what looked like glass bird houses. However, a closer look inside showed that they contain candles.

The people in Regina RICA say that the candles have different meanings, based on colour. Basically, they want people to use different colours for different intentions: to pass exams; for safety of family members; for the dead; to get good employment. You name it, and there's a candle with the right colour for you. They do make a beautiful photo but something in me said that this is foolish... but I bought six candles anyway, for Mommy, Daddy, Anna, Biboy, Barbara, and Lola Bats. I really didn't care about the colours though.

A photo posted by Rochie Cuevas (@rochiecuevas) on

Anyway, this visit to Regina RICA was a really nice way to end the GQNC barkada annual road trip. It's much better than the pilgrimage site in Batangas City (where people claim that there's a miraculous stone that cures people) because Regina RICA just claims that it is a quiet place for prayer. Nothing more. It also is very serious about dress codes. Girls in skimpy clothing (and that means skimpy by the nuns' standards) were provided with long skirts and scarves to cover themselves.

I just wish that those who visit really took in the solemnity of the venue. I could here ladies swear like they've not been educated in good manners. There were others who viewed the place as a tourist spot and shouted in conversation with there friends. Oh well. At least they're in church. That's the important thing.