Our Lady Of Manaoag Church is also known as the Shrine of the Nuestra Senora de Manaoag. Located in Manaoag, Pangasinan, the church was established by Captain Gaspar de Gamboa in 1720 and was donated to the Dominicans in 1722.
Perhaps the most visited religious destination north of Manila, “manaoag” is coined from the word “taoag” (tawag) or “to call” when centuries ago, a farmer on his way to his farm one daybreak heard the virgin mary calling him from the top of the tamarind tree (where the church is right now) instructing him to initiate the construction of the church. These days, thousands of devotees visit the town of Manaoag each day in response to the Virgin Mary’s “tawag” or “call”.
The image of Mary itself is said to have been brought to the Philippine Islands by way of Acapulco, Mexico by Padre Juan de San Jacinto around 400 years ago. Folk history even declares that it was the Virgin herself that designated where the church to house her image was to be built.
In the 17th century, locals had resisted Catholicism brought about by the Dominica. Even tribes from mountains close by refused to adopt Catholicism as a new religion. Hence, the friars introduced the Our Lady as a “powerful protectress.” Tales, from the vanishing church to the apparition of the Blessed Virgin atop a hill, had spread and made the conversion of the people to Catholicism much easier.
However, faith in the Nuestra Senora de Manaoag in years had to make way to highly-commercial activities such as the Galicayo Festival in December led by the local government each year.[Wikipilipinas]