F The Gallery : The Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat in Cagayan - jeepneyjinggoy

The Gallery : The Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat in Cagayan

About 44 kilometers east of Tuguegarao City is the town of Piat, seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tuguegarao, and home to the venerated ‘Apo Baket', "the beacon of charity and hope among the locals and devotees."

The image of the black Madonna traveled from Macau in 1604 to the town of Lal-lo and finally settling in Piat in 1616, where the centuries-old image is enshrined at the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat, a pilgrimage site (aka Pilgrimage Center of Northeast Luzon), which gets busy during festival season (Sambali Festival on June 23 to June 30 and the feast of Our Lady of Piat on July 1 and 2). Devotees attest to the miracles Apo Baket has granted. 

Constructed mainly of red bricks, the basilica sits on high ground, saving it from the seasonal floods caused by the Chico River overflowing. Quite unique, the pilgrimage site is accessed through an arched entrance gate at the basilica's rear. Within the church, the venerated image of the Blessed Virgin Mary stands encased in a glass case at the altar. While prayers may be offered fronting the altar, it can be offered behind it as well. A staircase at the back end leads to an upper floor where the glass case opening allows devotees to touch the dress of the Virgin Mary while kneeling in prayer.

Within the sanctuary is the Piat Basilica Museum, the parish convent and life-sized depiction of the Stations of the Cross.