Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine is located in Barangay Labac in Taal, Batangas, beside the Pansipit River, near Taal Basilica. The chapel was built to honor the image of Virgin Mary that was believed to have made miracles and apparitions. The word “caysaysay” came from the “casay-casay” (kingfishers) birds, which can be found in the area.
In 1603, a fisherman named Juan Maningcad found an image of Virgin Mary in Pansipit River while fishing. According to him, the image was glowing. The parish priest then declared it to be sacred and ordered a lady named Maria Espiritu to protect the it. The image was placed inside an urn to keep it safe. Espiritu later realized though that the image would disappear in the evening and return in the morning, until one day, the Virgin Mary never came back.
While the chapel may not be as grand and old as its neighboring church, Taal Basilica, Our Lady of Caysaysay Shrine still possesses its own charm. The church is well-lit during the day, as natural light can easily get inside because of its generous openings, including the windowed dome above the centerpiece of the altar, which holds the sacred image of the Our Lady of Caysaysay. There is also a painting on one of the walls featuring Juan Maningcad, to honor the “discoverer” of the Virgin Mary.
Behind the chapel is the path called San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps, which leads to another sacred site, Sta Lucia Well. In 1611, the Virgin Mary that never came back had an apparition near Pansipit River, surrounded by casay-casay birds. The locals later found the actual missing image in a cave near the site. Sta Lucia Well is currently marked by an arch with the image of Our Lady of Caysasay.
How to Get There
Take a bus bound for Lemery from Manila. Inquire if the bus is passing through Taal Town, and if it does, get off at Taal Park, where you will find the Taal Basilica as your landmark. If it’s not passing through the town, you may take a jeepney from Lemery Bypass Junction to get there. From Taal Park, walk down the alley on the side of 7-Eleven convenience store, then at the end turn left. This path will lead you to San Lorenzo Ruiz steps, where at its base you will find the chapel.