Few months ago, my fellow legionaries and I went on a special trip in Batangas as part of our annual July Awareness month campaign. We’ve been planning this trip since January and I’m glad we were able to push it through. The Monte Maria Shrine is a newly opened pilgrimage center in Batangas which highlights a 315ft (96 meter) statue of Mary, Mother of All Asia.
The Monte Maria Shrine which is dedicated to Mary, Mother of All Asia is located at the southernmost tip of Batangas Bay in Batangas City. It is just few hours drive from Manila which makes it an excellent choice of destination for those who are planning for a pilgrimage tour especially during lent season. You can check our list of Pilgrim sites and Retreat centers near Manila for more ideal destinations.
The statue alone is technically taller than some of the world’s notable landmarks like the Christ the Redeemer in Brazil (98ft high) and the Statue of Liberty in US (151ft high). This project aims to develop this place not just as a pilgrim center but also as a world destination.
The 66 meter tall statue is standing on top of a stadium. Although the structure itself is not completely finish, the stadium below is already accessible. Masses are being held here too. Unlike the Sto Niño Chapel (where also special masses are being held), this one can obviously accommodate more people.
The Sto Niño Chapel located downhill. This is where we had our mass. The chapel has a very simple facade. It has no ornate details or anything but just a stained glass window on the center niche. The foliage outside however is truly overwhelming which creates a very serene atmosphere. Not to mention the stunning view of the Batangas Bay and the Verde Island.
The Verde Island as viewed from Monte Maria Shrine
The island as viewed from a different angle
Inside the Sto Niño Chapel, you will be welcomed by a stunning fully ornate retablo with the image of Santo Niño on the center niche.
The Sto Niño Chapel as viewed from the stairway heading to the Statue of Mary
The place also has other commercial facilities. In fact, part of the on-going development of this project is the construction of 35 hectare commercial business district, a 17 hectare hotels and resort. Although it is true that this project will improve Batangas’ industrial, residential and tourism development, i just thought that entire commercialization of the place will somehow ruins the serenity of the area which could turn the Shrine as a tourist attraction more than a place for spiritual enlightenment.
The stairways heading to the Statue of Mary. You will also encounter pictures depicting the 14 Stations of the Cross which makes this place an ideal venue for Lent, visita iglesia and pilgrimage. I failed to count the steps but it is less challenging than the Kamay ni Hesus Shrine in Quezon.
A wooden cross that welcomes you before you take the first step of the long stairway.
A worm’s eye view of the Statue. As you can see, there are still many scaffolding surrounding the structure because the construction is still ongoing.
Inside the stadium is bigger and more spacious auditorium
Overlooking Batangas Bay
Things You Should Know When Visiting Monte Maria Shrine
►The place alone doesn’t have lots of facilities yet. There’s a restaurant near the gate and there’s also a small canteen and souvenir shop near the Sto Niño Chapel
►Regular mass schedules in Monte Maria Shrine / Saturdays (8AM, 9:30AM, 11AM, 12:15PM, 3:30PM) / Sundays (7AM, 8AM, 9:30AM, 11AM, 12:15PM, 3:30PM)/ Every 1st Friday of the Month (4PM)/ Every 8th Day of the Month (9AM)
►The Statue depicts the image of Mary, Mother of All Asia
►The Statue is 315 ft tall which is taller than Christ The Redeemer in Brazil and Statue of Liberty in US.
►Comfort rooms are available near the canteen (Php5 donation)
►I’m not really sure if Food is allowed within the facility because there is seemingly no area to do such. There are, however, many eatery and carinderia along the way.
►I’m not sure as well if Pets are allowed but come on, this is a worship place so I don’t think bringing a pet is appropriate.
►There is NO Entrance fee in Monte Maria Shrine
How to Get to Monte Maria Shrine via Public Transport?
►If you are coming from Manila, take a bus bound to Batangas (there are terminals in Buendia, Quezon City and Alabang).
►Alight at Batangas City Grand Terminal and take a jeepney to SM Batangas.
►At the back of SM Batangas is another jeepney terminal. Take a Jeepney bound to ilijan and ask the driver to drop you off at Monte Maria.