Marian Orchard Balete Reviews
Not Just for Adoration but for Outdoor Merriment as Well Aug 23, 2014
It was Good Friday of Easter when we've been to this place called Marian Orchard, a veneration ground in Balete, Batangas which was just around 40 minutes away from my place. I’ve never been there before and I have no idea what to see. What guided me was only the information I got from the net.
Well, everything turned out good. Marian Orchard is a huge compound and is an adept venue for veneration. From the gate, on the right side and passing through well grown plants and flowers is the way leading to the church at the far end. The church is small, yet is gives complete serenity. Beside the church, there was a small chapel called Chapel of Jesus – the divine healer. This place I noticed was always flocked with people the whole day we were there. Besides the statue of Jesus, there was also a statue of our very own Filipino saint, Pedro Calungsod. There was also a board hanging on the wall with a drawing of a tree. Then there were pieces of leaves for sale. Those bought leaves will be fixed on the branches of the tree with the names of those who bought the leaves. Well, this is some sort of fund raising initiated by Sacred Heart Missionaries of San Pedro Calungsod.
Beside the chapel were narrow and precipitous steps leading to the platform where a big statue of the risen Christ stood. The statue was already visible even from the gate because of its huge size. Standing from the platform gave us a 360 degree view of the surrounding - the magnificent Taal Lake and its majestic Taal Volcano being among them.
Walking further down, there lies another excitement. There were several booths with statues of different saints. Adoration made it easy because the prayers and petitions for each saint were already written and inscribed beside each saint. All you have to do is just read but of course with all solemnity.
Following these booths of saints were the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary printed on a cloth, framed and hung up at the sides the walkway as you descend down the hill. The end of this scenario will give you two different adoration gardens again – The Garden of Divine Will, and the 14 Stations of the Cross.
As you go straight from the last Mystery of the Rosary, you will enter the gate leading to the Garden of Divine Will. The place was so struck dumb and somber. I just noticed those life size statues of saints scattered within the compound were etched in a bit funny mode (maybe intentionally done to aid in releasing some burdens and stresses of meditation, lol).
Still at the end of the last Mystery facing the left side, follows the station of the cross. The fourteen stations were placed along the hilly side in such a way that the last station is again at the top of hill and is almost level with that of the church.
After the last station, there comes another one – the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Concluding the seven sorrows is a life size statue of Mama Mary depicting the Queen of Martyrs in a very grievous mode. The ritual ends here.
So, it’s for lunch. Just within the same vicinity is a huge picnic ground wherein the pilgrims usually have their lunch. Though most of the people brought their own food, still there were kiosks and food stores selling packed meals. We didn’t bring any but instead we’ve just buy one. Souvenir shop is also available.
Ascending a bit from the picnic ground, there stands the giant arch with images of different religious icons painted on it.
Beside the arch is a 2-storey old antique building. The second floor was closed to the public while the ground floor features the collection of universal Eucharistic Miracles on the display. The building is surrounded with colorful flowers.
Next to it are two white painted temple-like structures. Well, these two mini temples remind me of Parthenon in Greece.
There is also a wishing well wherein the children were fond of throwing their coins unconsciously.
At the far end is the Grotto of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace which is another main attraction within the orchard.
Summing it up, the orchard as a whole is a complete venue from adoration to soul searching to outdoor relaxation rolled into one. A sublime niche to meditate especially during Easter Holiday.
Part of the IT'S ALL ABOUT BATANGAS, MY FRANTIC HOMETOWN (Philippines) travel blog
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