Bulacan shrine opens pilgrims museum

Bulacan shrine opens pilgrims museum

Bishop Dennis Villarojo of Malolos leads the opening of the “Museo de la Parroquia” at the San Pascual Baylon Parish – Diocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción de Salambao in Obando, Bulacan on Dec. 19. COURTESY OF OBANDO SHRINE

By Kendrick Ivan B. Panganiban

December 21, 2020

Obando, Bulacan

A Catholic shrine in Bulacan province’s Obando town has opened a museum for pilgrims who frequent the place because of its famous devotional dance.

The “Museo de la Parroquia” brings together the Obando church’s collections of historic photographs of the “Sayaw sa Obando” and vestments of Our Lady of Salambao.

The museum also features artworks, murals and a copy of Jose Rizal’s novel “Noli Me Tàngere” with the account of the Obando dance.

Bishop Dennis Villarojo of Malolos blessed the museum at San Pascual Parish – Diocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de la Immaculada Conception de Salambao on December 19.

The occasion was preceded with a Mass and the blessing of the enhanced interior of the church.

Obando Shrine Rector Fr. Virgilio Ramos said the museum was established to celebrate the parish’s rich history.

“The shrine opens this new museum as a sign of more than 200 years of the parish community as well as the many years that people come to Obando to participate in the annual May Fertility Rites,” Ramos said.

Obando Shrine is home to the “Sayaw sa Obando” or the graceful prayer dance for couples who wish to bear children.

The tradition has also been recognized as an “intangible cultural property” of the Philippines by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

There are three patrons of Obando: St. Paschal Baylon, the titular patron of the parish, to whom male children are asked for; St. Claire of Assisi, the secondary patroness of the parish, to whom female children are asked for; and Our Lady of Salambao; the shrine patroness, to whom the grace of abundance in life is asked for.

The museum infographics state that the image of Virgen de Salambao was named after the bamboo fishing raft where it was caught by three fishermen brothers on June 19, 1763. The image was later on enshrined in Obando Church as the third patron.

It is also to these patrons that the annual May festivities every May 17-19 are dedicated to and when people flock the shrine.

“Much effort and time was really put into this museum since it is a two-storey area with its own gallery for Our Lady of Salambao besides the museum proper,” Ramos said.

“This place has been for many years a center of devotion and culture, hence it is important not only for the town but also for the Church and the Diocese to promote this heritage of prayer to the three patrons,” he added.

The Obando Church is one of the seven diocesan shrines of the Diocese of Malolos. It also aims to be declared a national shrine because of the regular influx of pilgrims in the town from different places in the Philippines and abroad.

The museum is open to pilgrims until December 24 from 9am to 5pm. It will be reopened again next year in time for the celebration of the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines.

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