Also known as the Virgin of Antipolo, is a 17th-century Roman Catholic wooden image of the Blessed Virgin Mary venerated in the Philippines. The image in its form of Black Madonna represents the Immaculate Conception, and is enshrined at Antipolo Cathedral in Antipolo city.
The image was brought to the country by Governor-General Juan Niño de Tabora from Mexico via the galleon El Almirante in 1626. His safe voyage across the Pacific Ocean was attributed to the image, which was given the title of “Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage”. It was substantiated later by six other successful voyages of the Manila-Acapulco Galleons with the image aboard as its patroness.
The statue is one of the most celebrated images of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Philippines, gaining devotees since the mid-19th century, having been mentioned by Jose Rizal in his writings. From May to July each year, the image attracts millions of devotees from all over the country and abroad. Pope Pius XI authorised her Canonical coronation on 13 June 1925, which occurred on 26 November 1926.
On March 25, 1626, the galleon trading ship El Almirante left Acapulco, Mexico, carrying the newly appointed Governor-General of the Spanish East Indies, Don Juan Niño de Tabora, who brought with him the statue. He arrived in Manila on 18 July 1626, and the statue was brought to San Ignacio Church of the Jesuits in Intramuros. When Governor Tabora died in 1632, the statue was given to the Jesuits for enshrinement in the church of Antipolo, which was then being built in the present-day barangay Santa Cruz.
In 1944, the Japanese Imperial Army invaded the town and turned it into a garrison, with the shrine being used as an arsenal. To save the image, the church’s head sacristan, Procopio Ángeles, wrapped it in a thick, woollen blanket and placed it in an empty petrol drum, which he then buried in a nearby kitchen.
Fighting between Imperial troops and the combined American and Filipino forces drove Ángeles and other devotees to exhume the image and move it to Kulaiki Hill on the border with Angono. From there, it was spirited away to the lowland Barangay Santolan in Pasig, and then to the town center of Pasig itself. The statue was then kept by a certain Ocampo family in Quiapo, Manila, before it was enshrined inside Quiapo Church for the remainder of the Second World War.
On 15 October 1945, the statue was translated to its church in Antipolo, where it resides today.
During construction of the church in the 1630s, the image would mysteriously vanish several times from its shrine, only to reappear atop a tipolo (breadfruit; Artocarpus incisa) tree. This was taken as a divine omen, and the church was relocated to where the tipolo tree was situated. The image’s pedestal is supposedly made from the trunk of that same tipolo tree, which also gave its name to Antipolo itself.
In 1639, the Chinese rose in revolt, burning the town and the church. Fearing for the statue’s safety, Governor Sebastián Hurtado de Corcuera ordered its transfer to Cavite, where it was temporarily venerated. The governor later ordered the statue removed from its Cavite shrine in 1648, and it was shipped back to Mexico aboard the galleon San Luis. At the time, the statue of a saint onboard served as a ship’s patron saint or protector of the Acapulco trade.
The statue crossed the Pacific on Manila-Acapulco galleons six times from 1648 to 1748 aboard the:
San Luis — (1648–1649)
Encarnación — (1650)
San Diego — (1651–1653)
San Francisco Javier — (1659–1662)
Nuestra Señora del Pilar — (1663)
San José — (1746–1748)
A royal decree by Isabella II of Spain on 19 May 1864 ordered that the curias of San Nicolas de Tolentino be turned over to the Jesuits in exchange for the curias of Antipolo, Taytay and Morong, which were given to the Augustinian Recollects. The latter order thus came into possession of the image.
The statue was canonically crowned by the Archbishop of Manila, Rev. Michael J. O’Doherty, on 26 November 1926.
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Pilgrimages to the image’s shrine begin and peak in May, which in Catholicism is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. On 30 April—the eve of May Day— thousands of devotees from Metro Manila customarily perform the Alay Lakad, where they spend the night travelling on foot to Antipolo, where they are greeted at the shrine with a dawn Mass.
The farthest official starting point of the present-day pilgrimage is Quiapo Church; the custom of visiting the shrine in May, however, was already recorded by the 19th century. On 6 June 1868, a young José Rizal and his father Don Francisco Mercado, went to the shrine in thanksgiving after the boy and his mother Teodora Alonso survived his delivery in 1861.
LocationAntipolo City, Rizal
FounderJuan De Salazar, S.J.
ArchitectJosé L. De Ocampo
Architectural typeChurch building
DID YOU KNOW THAT?
Did you know that the church was supposed to be built on a different location? It was originally built to enshrine the miraculous image of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (an image originated from Mexico) but instead of settling on a different location, they have chosen to establish the church on the site where the Tipolo tree is located. They said that the miraculous image was found under this tree after vanishing several times from the shrine.
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