Our lady of Antipolo
The Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje or famously known as Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage was the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary on the basis of the Spanish galleon's successful eight ocean crossings. On several occasions, it was believed that she saved the galleon by warning the people about an imminent catastrophe.
On March 25, 1626, Don Juan Niño de Tabora boarded the El Almirante galleon and left Mexico to go to the Philippines. He brought along the brown image of the Blessed Virgin. The “El Almirante” safely braved the dangers of the stormy seas and a fire aboard the ship for three months. It finally arrived in the ports of Manila on July 18, 1626. Governor Tabora credited the Blessed Virgin for the galleon's safe and successful journey and called for a celebration for the image's arrival. A religious procession was held to transfer the image to the Manila Catholic Cathedral in Intramuros. It was believed that because the Blessed Virgin provided safe voyage for the galleon, she was named Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje. The Blessed Virgin assures that everyone will be safe in any voyage, any journey, any pilgrimage or trip for as long as the Way is Jesus, also the truth and the Life.
Upon Governor Tabora's death in 1632, the Blessed Virgin was turned over to the Jesuit fathers who were constructing a church in Antipolo. A church was to be built for the Blessed Virgin in the nearby barrio of Sta.Cruz although the Jesuit fathers found it hard to move it there from the Church of Antipolo. As if in protest of leaving the town, the image was always found on the tree trunk of Tipolo which grew in the original site of the old church. Because of such, a pedestal was curved out of the trunks of that tree and the Blessed Virgin became locally known as the Virgin of Antipolo.
When the Chinese community in Antipolo revolted, they burned the church as well as the image. However, the Blessed Virgin was recovered unblemished except for a slight streak on her right cheek. It was said that the image was stabbed by the Chinese non-believers.
The image was transferred to Manila then to Cavite where it stayed for 14 years.It was brought on board the galleons of the Filipinas-Mexico trade route on round trips from Manila to Acapulco.
The Antipolo Church became a Japanese garrison during World War II. The image was kept in a drum and was buried under the convent floor. When the town was destroyed, the image was taken by the devotees to the house of Rosario Ocampo. It was later transferred to Quiapo Church before it was brought back to Antipolo when the war was over.
The image of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage was sculptured by Mexican craftsmen. It was carved from dark hard wood similar to the Black Nazarene in Quiapo. One would note the presence of her famous "plancha de oro. It was an exquisite, 18th century rococo-style frontal dress of solid 18 karat gold with a design of various flowers and birds. Her crown which was made of solid 18 karat gold is completely studded with rose-cut diamonds, large natural Sulu pearls, Burmese rubies, Colombian emeralds, and Indian blue sapphires. Her aureola" halo, also made of solid 18 karat gold is studded with precious gems like diamonds, pearls, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. Her 18 karat gold hair pins or "atochas" and rings are all studded with rose-cut diamonds and Sulu pearls. Her cape has a magnificent and heavy silver-gilt thread embroidery. She also seems to be wearing a wig made of human hair. Unfortunately, all of the magnificent jewels of the "Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje" disappeared at the turn of the 20th century. It was said that a caretaker had absconded with the entire lot to Hong Kong.
She was canonically on November 26, 1926 by Archbishop Michael J. O'Doherty in Luneta Park.
The devotion to Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage prospers in the Patronato de Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buenviaje Fund, a collection of public tithes and donations. The fund supports a scholarship program which benefits the poor but deserving elementary and high school students. This program has emerged from an earlier welfare program, which was started by Ms. Cue in 1971. The Patronato is administered by the Parish with the help of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. The Paaral ng Birhen (Scholars of the Virgin) are chosen from candidates in selected poverty-stricken communities. They are given free education plus school supplies and uniforms.
The Parish is being sustained by different congregations of sisters including Pious Disciples of the Divine Master, the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth and the Daughters of St. Dominic.
Celia and Josefina Bautista, children of Eustacio and Catalina Bautista who also served as guardians of the image at the end of World War II, are the present caretakers of the Virgin. They also safeguard the Candle Room, Patronato Program and the Camarin de la Virgen. They are also the custodians of Our Lady's replica, jewelry, accessories and a five-hundred-piece wardrobe. The church has been declining dress gifts for some time now and instead ask the people to give donations to the Patrocino Program and other ministries.
The feast of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage is celebrated in the month of May.