THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIA

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THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIA

Local children of ages 10 to 12 followed us all throughout as soon as we descended from the 125-granite steps of San Lorenzo Ruiz, which leads to the church of Our Lady of Caysasay.  They were seated on the benches at the front yard of the church as we gaze the yellow-painted façade of the church.

Candles were their main merchandise.  In a sudden shift of trade, they became instant storytellers.  All recited in Filipino, without too much blink of an eye, the legend of Our Lady of Caysasay was told.  As if memorized from a book, the storytelling was flawless and continuous.  Every detail uttered by these children were confirmed on my succeeding research.


THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIA
THE BELFRY
The story goes.

In a small barangay of Taal, a fisherman named Juan Maningcad went out fishing. Instead of casting his net to the sea, he threw it into the nearby Pansipit River.  When he drew his net, he caught a small, wooden image of the Blessed Virgin Mary less than a foot high. Dona Maria Espiritu, the widow of the town’s judge, was assigned as the image’s caretaker.  She ordered an “urna”, a wooden, canopied shrine to be made for the image and kept it in her home.  Every evening, she noticed that the image went missing but then in the morning it would be back on its usual place.  Worried, the widow told the incident to the priest, who accompanied her back to her house and saw that the urna was empty.  The urna suddenly opened and the image appeared before them.  The priest decided to gather volunteers to keep vigil beside the image, and during the night they did see the urna open by itself, and the image leaving and coming back again.

THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIA
THE STORY AS TOLD ON THE CHURCH CEILING
One day, it disappeared and was nowhere to be found.  Years later, two girls named Maria Bagohin and Maria Talain were gathering firewood, and saw the image reflected in the waters of a spring near where Juan Maningcad had found it.  They looked up and saw the image of the Lady of Caysasay on top of a tall sampaguita bush, flanked by two lit candles and guarded by several “casay casay” (silvery kingfisher) that abounded in the hillside area, thus called Caysasay by the Spaniards.

THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIA
THE EXQUISITE INTERIORS
A general cleaning was ongoing as we scrutinize every detail of the church.  The Shrine of our Lady of Caysasay has quite an interesting interior of domes painted to reflect the history of the coral stone church.  There is likewise a wall painting in one corner with the fisherman who discovered the image as the subject.

THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIATHE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIA

THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIA
THE DOME ARTS
THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIATHE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIA


Though not as grand as the Taal Basilica, this church holds a vital role in the town’s history.  On a concrete steps at the side of the church, we were lead to a room where devotees could venerate and this is behind the main altar.

THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIATHE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIA

In a few steps after the church visit, the children served as our guide while we pass by their humble abode that seems like an abandoned heritage house.  We were directed to the miraculous Well of Sta. Lucia.  The spot where the well is located is believed to be the site where the two women saw the reflection of the Virgin of Caysasay.  The landmark is a coral stone arch with a bas-relief image of the Virgin carved on its façade.

THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIA
THE STORYTELLERS

THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIA
THE HUMBLE ABODE OF THE STORYTELLERS
The children shared that one fat female (with emphasis of being fat) student fell on the well and good that she managed to swim and was taken out immediately by the locals.  She was goofing around with friends in front of the camera when accidentally she was pushed and landed on the well.  The well is of quite a high elevation and the two openings have varied depths.  The fat girl incident was the lone accident at the well according to one child.

THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIATHE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIA

THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIA
THE SACRED WELL OF STA. LUCIA
THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIA
THE IMAGE OF VIRGIN OF CAYSASAY CARVED ON THE FACADE
 A narrow walkway within a residential community served as our gateway to leave Barrio Caysasay towards the town proper.  The silhouette of the church’s dome blanketed by the orange hues of the skies is the final scene of the day as the sun sets.

THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY AND THE WELL OF STA. LUCIA
THE SUNSET

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