ABBEY OF THE TRANSFIGURATION
This monument of faith is famous for its unique design, it was one of National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin’s final masterpieces. A huge stone boulder, taken from the Montserrat Mountains in Spain (home of the Benedictine Abbey), serves as an altar in this holy place. Hundreds of pilgrims and faithful attend mass here where it is made even more solemn by the Benedictine Monk’s songs and chants. Many claim to have found peace and answered prayers in the Monastery.
An added attraction to the monastery is their two-storey museum which houses the impressive vestment collection of monk Fr. Dom Martin Gomez, mostly made from indigenous fabric. Formerly known as Gang Gomez, a famous couturier in the '70s, he used to dress prominent clients including President Corazon Aquino and Imelda Cojuangco. At the height of his career, he left everything and joined the Benedictines where he found peace and happiness with the Lord.
This is also the home of the famous Monk’s Blend Coffee which is harvested fresh from coffee trees on the Abbey grounds.
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CHURCH
The Immaculate Conception Church of the Municipality of Jasaan was declared as a National Cultural Heritage Treasure by the National Museum on July 31, 2001, because of its artistic design and cultural value which have been well preserved since its construction in the early 20th century. The church was an attempt to mimic the famous San Ignacio Church of Intramuros in Manila and the Jesuit brothers Francisco Rivera and Juan Cuesta are credited with the construction of the original church façade. Significant architectural features of this beautiful church are the original brick paving, neo-Gothic retablo, and ceiling woodwork which is reminiscent of basket weave style, and the four church bells in its two towers.
THE RUINS OF SAN ROQUE CHURCH
The ruins of the old Gui-ob Church or Cotta Bato are all that remains of 19th century Camiguin. Hailed as a national heritage treasure, the church was built in 1623 as the parish church of San Roque and was made with coral and stone before it was half-covered by lava in the eventful eruption of Mt. Vulcan in 1871.
The moss-covered convent and belfry still stand to this day and are mementos that celebrate the history and heritage of the beautiful island. The ruins offer another kind of Camiguin experience as it transports you back to a version of the island-province centuries back and will make you appreciate not only the natural wonders of the island but also its people and society.
Between the towns of Kolambugan and Tubod in Lanao del Norte lies the Dapit Alim Shrine whose name in local terms loosely means “a place, invitation, and nearness to God, creation, and one another.” It was founded by Fr. Dong Galenzoga and the members of the Kahigalaan ni Hesus as a place for prayer, healing, contemplation, meditation, and retreat.
Dapit Alim is seated in a hill overlooking the Panguil Bay and Mt. Malindang from afar. A big sculpted hand welcomes the visitor upon arrival at the base of the 243 steps to the shrine. This spiritual getaway is dotted with the works of famous Mindanaoan sculptor Kublai Milan who used the motifs of the stars, cosmos, hands, and nature to demonstrate the message of spiritual reconnection and faith.
Some of Milan’s works that are displayed all throughout the shrine are the 10-foot face of the Cosmic Christ at the top of the hill, the body of Mother Nature at the entrance arch to the shrine, the Inahan sa Dapit Alim on a higher level of the hill, and a sculpture of a star with tentacle-like features that are gracefully wiggling their way to the sky.
Dapit Alim is a fresh and mysterious take of an encounter with the Divine Presence amidst both natural and man-made beauty.
BIRHEN SA COTTA
The miraculous statue of the Birhen sa Cotta was brought to the City in the 1700s and was originally housed in the Cotta Fort and then transferred to the Immaculate Concepcion Church. The image mysteriously disappeared in the 1970’s. In 2016, it was found in Manila by an antique collector and was returned to Ozamiz on December 8, 2017, the feast day celebration of the Birhen sa Cotta, in an emotional homecoming attended by thousands of pilgrims. The Birhen sa Cotta remains as one of the most visited religious sites of the faithful in Mindanao.
BIRHEN SA COTTA
FUERTE DELA CONCEPTION Y DEL TRIUNFO/COTTA FORT
Strategically facing the Panguil Bay in Ozamiz City, the Fuerte dela Conception y del Triunfo or the Cotta Fort is one of the local historical gems of Misamis Occidental. This citadel was first built by Spanish Jesuit priest and commander, Jose Ducos to serve as an outpost to protect the area against marauding pirates. It then became a Japanese garrison during the World War II and was damaged during the April 1955 earthquake. It was faithfully restored to resemble the original structure and is now one of the only 14 fort remains from the Spanish era in the Philippines.
The Cotta Fort is constructed out of coral stone and has four bastions or baluartes namely San Fernando, San Jose, Santiago and San Ignacio. An image of the Virgin Mary is carved on the outer side of the Cotta’s wall and is believed by the locals to be growing in size. Pilgrims from all over the country flock to the Cotta Fort to personally see and touch the image. As a local historical landmark, the Cotta Fort has embedded itself not only on the history of Ozamiz but also in the identity, culture, and memories of the people whose communities and lives slowly fostered around it for centuries.
We are always thrilled and mystified by historical edifices that have survived through the calms and storms of history. Fuerte dela Conception y del Triunfo or the Cotta Fort is a worthy inclusion to our pilgrimage travels where a beautiful mix of history, religion, and culture have fortified not only its wall but also the faith of its devotees.
BIRHEN SA COTTA
DIOYO RIVER CRUISE AND CALUYA SHRINE
This community-based tourist destination is a stunning combination of a relaxing river cruise and a soulful pilgrimage experience. Tourists will start their journey with an hour-long cruise tour along the pristine emerald waters of the Dioyo River traversing the towns of Baliangao and Sapang Dalaga.
At the end of the cruise, you will be welcomed by the breathtaking view of the Murciellagos Bay. The flourishing mangrove sanctuary allows guests to commune with nature and enjoy a rich biodiversity over and under water.
The highlight of the tour is a trek to the picturesque Sapang Dalaga Shrine featuring a fifty-five foot statue of Christ the Redeemer created by famous Filipino Mindanaoan Artist Kublai Milan. Views from the Shrine at sunset is a must-see because this is the best time to capture the magnificent angles overlooking the bay with its flamboyant display of colors of the sunset. Sapang Dalaga is indeed the best view of the sunset facing some areas of Zamboanga del Norte!
Enjoy a sumptuous seafood buffet prepared the traditional way by locals at the Caluya Floating Restaurants as you embrace the unforgettable memories of your experience. A fitting end to the symphony of magical experiences in Sapang Dalaga are the bioluminescent plankton shining like stars in the water as the night falls, bidding us farewell.