Thursday, September 3, 2009

"Our Lady" Grotto of Bogo

Alright. Done with the Museum and Library, done ogling at the old train immortalized at the center of the plaza, I thought of what else to see. Asked a trike driver if the grotto of the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal was far from the city center. He said not really, just a few kilometers away and just P10 by tricycle. So I asked if he was okay to bring me there. Agreed! So we went forth!

The few kilometers is really just a few kilometers from town center going back south on the road to Cebu City. But, I think the ten peso fare is too small for the distance. Shh, am not complaining and don’t tell the trike drivers of Bogo lest they increase their fares! Mind you, when I was asking the trike driver before my ride, he even told me that if I wanted it cheaper, I could ride a Ceres bus going there and it would have cost me only five pesos! Gosh!

That’s why I love being in Cebu. Transportation around here is relatively cheap AND, drivers are not only helpful. They are honest! Where in Metro Manila do you find transportation worth P5? Even the tri-sikads charge a minimum of P10 anywhere!

Hey the grotto is some hundred meters or less from the highway and you walk to it via a concrete path that halfway becomes a series of wide concrete flight of stairs. How wide? Well, more than twice the width of your concrete stairs over at the Chocolate Hills. Ah, I think we all know that… in this country (or is it everywhere) people really spend more when it’s about some religious installation, activity or festivity, right? Thus, the wide concrete stairway!

I was alone! On a gloomy Friday afternoon, I was surprised I was the only human being who was walking up the path to see the grotto. Why did I have to see it anyway? Well, it is purported to be one of the “attractions” of Bogo. For the religious, it is some kind of a place you want to go to via a pilgrimage-like activity. For the non-religious, the size of the image is worth your awe as it stands atop a hill really tall and big! So I cannot allow myself not visiting it.

There is a little shack that sells candles and snacks. It was manned by a young girl but she was busy playing with three other kids. Actually, they were the only human beings I saw when I finally arrived at the grotto.

As I roamed around, two youngsters (probably 12 or 13 years old) came biking via a path behind the grotto. They lighted candles and prayed for a moment. Then they left on the same path. Hmm, that was almost dramatic for me. They looked like they’re the kind of kids whose only language are basketball, PSP, online games, basketball, PSP, online games – in that or reverse order! That was for me a very rare sighting!

While the grotto is fascinatingly big. My nape ached trying to look at the whole statue of Our Lady.

However, something else invited my curiosity. Everywhere in the place are signs telling people not to be too ‘physically romantic’ in this place of worship. I thought that was good, but I also thought, this was reason why there are no people coming here hehe! Okay I'm joking... but actually, my take is that those signages are mostly of ugly to even dangerous installations. Imagine, one of those signs is a cardboard hung on an electric wire with a broken piece of hollow block dangling below it as "weight" so the cardboard does not easily sway with the wind.

I believe there are other better ways to convey that message. Example: announce via a board that everyone is authorized to censure and should admonish people who are getting to be physically romantic. In fact, I didn't like the use of "By God" at the end of each those ugly signs apparently written by hands that didn't even get to hear the importance of aesthetics (is that 3rd grade). Isn't that blasphemous? Kanus-a ba gyud niingon si God nga guinadili ang gakus-gakus? Aber? Anyway, mu bottomline is really just to make those signs respectable enough and not just ugly hieroglyphics placed anywhere or printed cardboards na tadatad sa packaging tape.

Oh from atop this hill, one could see the farms and fields to as far as the sea beyond San Remigio. Of course the new City Hall being constructed can also be seen from here.

Until I walked back towards the highway, I have never seen a single adult anywhere there! Gosh!

Our Lady must have been watching over me? Soon after I hailed a trike going back to Bogo, it started to rain. Had I been caught in that shower, I could have still been at that grotto was past nightfall. Whew!


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