Regina Rica: Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia

Monday, April 10, 2017

I live in Antipolo, Rizal for as long as I can remember but I know for a fact that I still need to go out there and explore our very own city. There's so much to do and visit in the province of Rizal that now I was wondering why I didn't start exploring it before.

One of my bucket list destination is Regina Rica which is located in Sampaloc, Tanay. 
Holy Week already started and I'm glad I was able to visit this place before it gets too crowded and I also got the chance to have a peaceful and serene time for my prayers.

We all know that Filipinos give time to reflect on their relationship with God, unfortunately, because of the hectic schedule of everyone, from being a parent, doing office work and more, even though we are all good at multi-tasking, going on a pilgrimage is a big hard to, but if you're looking for a place to go to this Holy Week that is near Metro Manila, then you don't have to go that far.

With about 65 kilometers from Metro Manila Manila, for a two-hour drive, a place of prayer and pilgrimage could be found in Regina Rica.

The Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia (Rica) in Sitio Aguho, Tanay, Rizal, is a 13.5-hectare place of sanctity for those who want to have a holy pilgrimage, or just a place for peace and quiet. The area is run by the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii. It was founded in 2005 by Sister Mary Epifania F. Brasil, OP, in Quezon City. It was transferred in 2009 to where it is currently located.

Regina Rica’s most recognizable structure is the 71-foot-high statue of Our Lady of Regina Rica, the Blessed Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. Inside it is a chapel. Rica, a Spanish word for “rich lady,” the inspiration of the structure was drawn from the Dominican tradition and belief that Our Lady shelters her devoted children through her protective mantle.  The statue was constructed in 2009 and designed by the artist-sculptor Jose Barcena Jr. The chapel can hold less than a hundred people, but by the start of the Holy Week, it can accommodate 200 people. Entrance is free.

The height of Our Lady of Regina Rica is as symbolic as the number of angels carved below the statue on a canopy of clouds. There are 17 angels around it. The height of the image and the number of angels represent the Nos. 1 and 7, which when added would equal to 8.  Besides the statue of Our Lady of Regina Rica, there's also the Rica Chapel where you can pray and attend mass.

Regina Rica has candle houses with candles in various colors, which 
represent different intentions. 

 Devotees before climbing the stairs to the "Sulod" area where they can pray to Mama Mary are requested to have a briefing first at the Orientation Area before they head to the chapel located at the second floor. Everyone are requested to take off their shoes and go straight to the chapel in bare feet. It is prohibited to take photos once you are at the second floor to keep the place sacred and to prevent noise as well.

You can do an offering and have your footprints imprinted in the clay where it will be displayed in the footsteps around Regina Rica. 

    I was really excited to visit Regina Rica because ever since I heard and have seen this place in the internet, I'm really eager to see how majestic it looks like in person and when I got there, it was indeed a majestic experience. The moment I saw Mama Mary when I am still at the bottom of the steps, I felt goosebumps all over me and I while I was walking, I was saying a silent prayer, a thanksgiving prayer for getting there safe. It may be a long and challenging journey going to Regina Rica but it is surely a worthwhile trip and pilgrimage.

After going to Regina Rica, I felt an immense sense of peace and relief because I know that my prayers are safe with Mama Mary and she will surely share to Christ in Heaven. 

Our Lady on top of the hill
The Rica Chapel

There are Bahay Kubo and gazebo in the area where you can sit down, contemplate or reflect i  silence. There's also a cafeteria in the area if you get hungry or thirsty.

If you want to do the Station of the Cross with your family, Regina Rica also have it.

Many devotees and tourists visit Regina Rica to pause and reflect in silence. Regina Rica nuns promote and practice silent prayer. They also offer various programs, such as Mary’s One Million, where they pray for the healing of one’s family tree every day.


How to go to Regina Rica:
How to visit REGINA RICA
If you go by public transportation

If you want to pass through Marcos Highway :
1. Go to Aurora Boulevard, Cubao Mercury. Get a jeep CUBAO-PADILLA to Cogeo market.

2. Go down Cogeo market then go to Cogeo market to get a jeep to Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal. This will pass by Marcos Highway.

3. When you reach Sampaloc, Tanay market. Get a tricycle to Regina RICA Sitio Aguho Street. It will bring you inside Regina RICA guard house.

Getting an aircon public transportation from Star Mall, EDSA:

1. Go to Star Mall at EDSA corner Shaw Boulevard and get a van or jeep going to Tanay. This will bring you to Tanay town proper.

2. Please tell driver to show you the parking area of the Tanay Sampaloc jeepneys.

3. Get Tanay Sampaloc Jeep and go down at the market place in Sampaloc, Tanay.

4. Get a tricycle to Regina RICA Sitio Aguho Street . It will bring you inside Regina RICA guard house.

For those from Los Baños, CALABARZON who wish to pass by the back door:

1. You will pass by Bay, Pila, Pagsanjan.

2. Stay on the national Highway passing by Pakil, Siniloan, Mabitac, Pililia.

3. Upon arrival to Tanay – Manila East Road turn right at Shell gasoline station you will see Flying V on your left.

4. When you reach Sampaloc, Tanay turn right Marcos Highway.

5. Straight ahead. You will pass Camp Capinpinon your left and on your right JE camp (Erap’s place).

8. When you are in approximately Km. 66.5 there is a signage directing you to Turn right at Sitio Aguho Street and 200 meters away on your right is the gate of Regina RICA.

Prayer changes us. When we spend time with God, He is working to change our heart to be more like His. The more time we spend with Him, the more we are like Him. Our habits and lifestyles change. We no longer live a self-centered life, but one that is focused on others with a pure and sincere heart. Prayer changes us inside out and prayers can really move mountains. 

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