Brgy. Bongol - Balaoan, La Union
03 March 2010
It was still quite early when I left Balaoan Church, so I decided to make a quick stop at the Grotto before heading to San Fernando to eat lunch.
From the Highway. In 2006, when my siblings and I went to a much extensive summer vacation, he asked us, "Have you seen Nips Land?" While traveling to Vigan City that summer, he pointed us this place from the bus' window. He said he called it "Nips Land" because of its multi colored stone walls, resembling that of Nips Chocolates - the local version of M&Ms. Since then my sister and I have called the place "Nips Land," too.
Before seeing the Grotto, one must take the stairs with more or less 50 steps. It will be a steep climb, but the view from above was pretty.
Altar. The place was bare when I got there, but there was a wall carving about what the place is about. It reads: "This Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes is dedicated as a place of devotion and adoration in sincere expression of the heartfelt gratitude for the abundant blessings bestowed on the family of ex-mayor Joaquin Ostrea, Sr. and wife Rosario through powerful intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes to the Almighty Father."
There were a few benches in the place... I guess masses were held here, too, and guests can also see framed pictures of the Ostrea Family and other events held in this area. The place is open to everyone who wants to visit - it was a good place to contemplate and have solitary moments, although at times there are people gathering meetings here, too.
The place may be bare, but there are staffs taking care of the place. When I last went here in 2008, someone came over to sweep off the dried leaves. Like the Balaoan Church, this is located along the highway, too, and because of its multi-colored stone walls, it is very easy to spot this, but because very few people come to visit this, I suggest you tell the driver or the conductor that you wanted to be dropped off here or you might miss it or walk a distance. Since it's a highway, drivers tend to breeze off, you really have to inform them.
My post for: Outdoor Wednesday, Wordful Wednesday, and Just Beautiful!
*** Jenn ***