Leviste Highway, Malabanan, Balete, Batangas
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- Historical Site
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It was midweek my friend and I, both jobless or should I call it semi-retired went on a roadtrip to Batangas just to visit Padre Pio, Marian Orchard and eat authentic 'Batangas Lomi'. It was a day of prayer & meditation plus foodtripping. Felt refreshed and holy. What I missed to do is buy 'kapeng barako' cause we couldn't find where to get it, maybe next time.
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I recently resigned from work and decided to go bum for several months. Like anybody else, I got excited. Didn’t worry about leaving my friends at work as I am sure that we will be seeing each other again in no time. The next thing that comes to mind was.. “WHERE TO GO?” where can I spend my very own independence day?! It will be my first day of being jobless, so I have to go out and celebrate.
While browsing my instagram.. one of my friend posted a photo taken at Marian Orchard. it caught my eye and without me knowing it, I was already searching for it on google and reading reviews about it. I only found several reviews for this one therefore, had a difficult time creating an itinerary. I was already decided! Just go with the flow and bahala na si batman ang peg.
Marian orchard’s founder’s day is on December 17, 2015. Founder is Mr Larry Katigbak. Marian orchard is located in barangay Malabanan, Balete, Batangas. I haven’t been to this side of Batangas so I immediately look for ways on how to go there via commute. It is really hard especially if you do not really know the place. I saw different suggested routes and got really confused. Next, I checked for bus schedules and found out there are 2 bus companies going to Batangas particulary to Lipa. Then, decided to take JAM Liner. First schedule was at 4:00 in the morning. This is it!!!!!! Walked out of the office and booked a grab car. At 3:40 am, I arrived at JAM Liner, Buendia. Asked the conductor where I can wait for the bus going to Lipa when they told me that it already departed just a few minutes before I arrived. Holy cow!!! Good thing they have a 4:20 am schedule. I excitedly rode the bus… placed a pillow at my back and had a not so goodnight sleep. I didn’t even noticed that I was already in SM Lipa, arrived exactly 6 am. That was really fast!!!
The Marian Orchard is a Catholic-themed park composed of the following:
1. Visitors center at The Ruins – Yes, they have their own version of The ruins. On the first floor, There are displays of different chaplets rosaries enclosed in a glass storage. Wash room is also located on the far end of this building.
2. Chapel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary & Marian Museum
3. Two hearts promenade – pathway leading to the garden of Saints, wherein several statue of saints are displayed.
4. Sacred heart tower – this is where a replica of Brazil’s “Christ the Redeemer” statue is located. It is beautiful. This beautiful view will welcome you once you enter Orchard Marian’s gate.
5. Sacred heart chapel – when I entered this chapel, I really felt something, like someone’s looking at me from afar. I decided to take a rest inside; I was the only one in there. It was really peaceful. The ceiling is painted with clouds which were really relaxing to the eyes. I felt that I was in a different place, a place where no one will judge you. A place where you can do soul-searching.
6. Garden steps – stairways leading to the Meditation hill.
7. Via Crucis garden – This is where station of the cross is located. The trail is confusing; I did not finish it as I got lost. There were no people aside from me on the area so that really got me afraid of continuing on following the trail. Yes, there were some direction signs but.. but… I really did not get it why I got lost. “Muntik ko na baliktarin damit ko” chos. Haha
8. Meditation hill - this is where three big crucifix were located. I passed by this area when I was looking for my way back, when I was already getting lost.
9. Marian plaza
10. Mary Mediatrix of all graces prayer hall - right after the garden of Saints. A statue of Mary Mediatrix, also beside it is an area where you can light candles.
This is really a beautiful place surrounded with plants and different flowers. Also, in some of the area, especially the one near the cafeteria, you can see the Taal volcano. A perfect, serene place for self-searching and meditating. If you want a quick getaway from the city, more or less 2 hrs from Manila, you can go here. Spend even half day here and forget all about your worries and problems.
While enjoying everything Marian Orchard can offer, I found this funny sign. “SA MGA MAGSYOTA, BAWAL DITO MAGLAMBINGAN, PUMUNTA SA CHAPEL AT MAGDASAL, UMIWAS SA TUKSO” I was literally laughing alone. What a very straight-forward reminder. haha
My do-it-yourself and bahala na si Batman itinerary:
*Booked grab car from BGC to JAM Liner, Buendia : Php 120
*Bus from Buendia to SM Lipa : Php 124
*SM Lipa to Levi town (via tricycle) : php 50
Asked the driver how much if until Marian Orchard, he charged me PHP200!!!!! I asked him to bring me until Levi town only. Haha Levi town: when you see Caltex, dun na yun! Haha
*Levi town to The Marian Orchard : php 100
See, nakatipid ako ng php50! Hahahaha There is a 7-11 in Caltex, so if you need something, better buy it here as I did not see any convenience stores nearby.
For sure this place is really crowded during the Holy week, so if you want to go soul searching and you want peace and silence, go here during the weekdays. I went here on a Wednesday, only an old couple and me was there that time. The couple were really cute. I offered to take photos of them, they were lovely! The caretakers of TMO are really nice and helpful.
· Entrance fee if not a resident of Lipa or Balete is PHP 50, If resident, entrance is for php25 only.
· Better bring water and umbrella
· Wear comfy shoes and clothes.
· Bring insect repellents
· parking is located outside
• candle donation costs php5
• proceeds will go to Pedrito sunday school for poor children
• opening hours :
Gate closes at 5pm
Close : Monday except for holy monday and declared holidays
Mass schedule - 4:30-5:30pm every Sunday and 1st Friday of the month
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