A place of prayer, pilgrimage and peace – these are the words that best describe this holy ground situated in Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal. A lot of devotees and pilgrims visit Regina RICA, Our Lady on Top of the Hill, to contemplate and commemorate Mama Mary’s divine love for us.
The Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia (RICA) is a venue for serenity, silence and stillness in our noisy and harried world run by the Dominican Sisters. Just a brief background, the first Regina Rosarii shrine in the Philippines is located at the Dominican Heights, Tagum, Davao. Her second statue is at the Rosary Hill in Tagytay. The third Regina Rosarii statue is the 30-foot revolving statue on top of the roofdeck of the motherhouse of the Domican Sisters of Regina Rosarii.
RICA is a Spanish word that means rich lady and Our Lady is the Queen of the Holy Rosary, she is highly favored and richly blest.
It was Holy Week last year when my feet first landed on this sacred ground, when all business establishments were closed from shopping malls to appliance repair services to laundry shops, etc. I instantly felt the Divine embrace of Our Lady Regina Rosarii. Her huge 71-foot high statue stands on top of the hill and seeing her image made me feel Her warmth welcome in Her beautiful paradise.
Going up, you have to walk thru the S-trail path. There are 13 candle stations where you can leave your candle offerings. Everyone is encouraged to pray and reflect while ascending the steps and at the same time exploring the breathtaking view.
Reaching the top left me in awe. It’s indeed a mesmerizing image of Our Lady Regina Rosarii made by the sculptor, Jose Barcena Jr. Under her mantle is a holding area where visitors are briefed about the place and the restrictions imposed in several areas. Below her feet is a canopy of clouds with sculptured 17 angels. Inside her mantle is an adoration chapel called SULOD (Sanctuary of Universal Love and Devotion). “Sulod” is an Ilonggo word meaning “enter”.
Pilgrims lined up to enter the adoration chapel, those wearing strapless shirts, shorts and sandos are not allowed inside. Everyone is requested to enter the scared place barefooted and to maintain silence so as not to disturb others. Cameras are not allowed inside as well.
Inside the mantle of Our Lady is the Holy Cross and Sacred Host. We sat down on the floor in an angel sit position and the nun started the prayer. We were also asked to cite our personal petitions silently. After a few minutes, we went out to give way to others in line. The exit place is the balcony of Regina Rosarii where you can have a full view of this breathtaking place.
Regina RICA’s logo:
The two hills at RICA are called the El Shaddai Hills or the Breast of God. It is a place that nurtures abundance. The 3 trees symbolize RICA as place of Prayer, Ecological Sanctuary and a Wellness Environment. The 13.5 rays of the sun stand for 13.5 hectare land of Our Lady, Regina Rosarii. The black and white Dominican seal signifies the Dominican presence at Regina RICA.
Walking the Labyrinth
Another type of prayer is called “prayer in motion”. A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It represents a journey to our center and back again out with the world.
It’s a circular path you walked with while praying until you reach the end which is the center.
From the statue of Mama Mary, Regina Rosarii, we went down via the asphalt road passing thru the Stations of the Cross and the RICA chapel.
Going back to the reception area you will see the following:
Regina RICA’s friendly reminders:
-Respect the sacredness of the place
-Eat only at designated areas
-Attend to pilgrims’ need for silence
-Dress properly and modestly
-No pets allowed
-Fruits and flowers are for your eyes only
Visiting Time: 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM except Tuesdays
Address: Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal
Tel Nos.: (632) 401-2036/(632) 9853878
Mobile: (63) 919-2694286
Email: [email protected]