Visit to Kamay ni Hesus Shrine

Visit to Kamay ni Hesus Shrine
by Danny Tariman

I had been to Lucban, Quezon over a decade ago in one of my missionary trips. A missionary-friend, drove through this town going to Lucena City down to Bicol, because he believes that the travel time is shorter than via the usual San Pablo City route. That was an experience for me because I haven’t passed by this route before.

A short stop at Caliraya: a lake on top of a mountain.
A short stop at Caliraya: a lake on top of a mountain.

Recently, I visited this place again. But this time I was with my family for our usual long week-end family out-of-town trips.

I enjoyed the drive. We passed by Pagsanjan town in Laguna (which is famous for its falls), passing also the Caliraya Lake atop a mountain. Wow, it was really a great family drive on long, winding roads lined with every conceivable greens. Refreshing view of the countryside!

We had a night stop- or sleep-over at a family friend’s weekend home in Luisiana, Laguna where we had a wonderful time reconnecting with each other. Yeah, parents and parents, children and children. This was a bonding time between two families; we had been going out on family trips a number of times in the past.

The Kamay ni Hesus shrine on top of the hill.
The Kamay ni Hesus shrine on top of the hill.

On to Lucban.

My friend drove his Montero with his family, while I drove with my family, on our travel workhorse — our Crosswind, until we reached the town of Lucban. We passed through secondary roads which my friend knew very well, as he is from this place.

The town proper of Lucban has a bit heavy traffic, with narrow roads, especially at the town center. But it was worth the trip.

We reached the “Kamay Ni Hesus” (Hand of Jesus) shrine in no time. From the road, you can see the big statue of the Risen Lord. I understand it stands at 50 feet tall, above a hill overlooking the rice fields and the town.

Our children and family friends at the foot of the shrine.
Our children and family friends at the foot of the shrine.

At the foot of the hill is a chapel – or church – where Masses are regularly celebrated. Surrounding the chapel are buildings with function rooms for retreats and recollections, and dormitories where pilgrims or retreatants may stay overnight.

The ascend to the hill of Kamay Ni Hesus, starts in a Bible-themed park – where you can see a statues of Adam & Eve, a Noah’s arc and all sorts of animals “entering” the arc, and others.

A Noah's arc replica at the park below the shrine.
A Noah’s arc replica at the park below the shrine.

The stairs going up is a good way to meditate the Stations of the Cross. Each station is strategically spaced where you can pray and at the same time rest from the uphill climb [good for those with weak knees!].

And once you reach the top, wow, really good view of the surrounding fields and communities! The cool draft of wind soothes your tiredness!

A refreshing  view from the top.
A refreshing view from the top.

On our way back from the hill, we checked the line of stores offering novelty and souvenir items. One thing you should not miss – taste the local stir-fried noodle served in banana leaf, locally called “pansit hab-hab”. The outlet won’t offer you kalamasi (local lemon) as condiment but rather a bottle of vinegar. It also does not come with spoon or fork, but of course, you can request one. You have it eat it direct from the leaf! This is a “food-trip” experience for most of us!

With the couple family-friend in front of the chapel.
With the couple family-friend in front of the chapel.

Back to the town proper, don’t miss with bring home Lucban sausage (locally known as Lucban longganisa) – a spicy, “garlicy” short sausages. Of course, do taste the “yema cake” – sponge cake topped with a mix of caramel and milk. Check-out Buddy’s (a popular casual restaurant in Makati) which started in this town.

I forgot to tell you, the first time I came here, I and my friend ate at a native restaurant where the freshly caught tilapia is charcoal-grilled and lavished with thick coconut cream. We ate in the middle of a fish pond where the tilapia are grown. The name of the place? “Palaisdaan”, native word for “fishpen”.

Great time, great family, with a great family friend!

The Pieta
The Pieta
My family at the foot of the 50-feet statue of the Risen Christ.
My family at the foot of the 50-feet statue of the Risen Christ.
The pancit hab-hab: a local stir-fried noodles served in banana leaf
The pancit hab-hab: a local stir-fried noodles served in banana leaf. Inset shows how the “hab-hab” is traditionally eaten.
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