TOP officials, friends and volunteers of the Wong Chu King Foundation, Inc. (WCKFI) joined thousands of pilgrims and devotees last week in a high mass officiated by Tuguegarao Archbishop Sergio L. Utleg, D.D. honoring the miraculous 410-year old Our Lady of Piat in Cagayan Valley.
The mass highlighted the launching of WCKFI’s activities this year, which include Handog Pasasalamat Project 2014, a joint undertaking with the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao for the distribution of gift bags to 18 villages in Piat and three in Tuao; turnover of the St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Barangay Alabug, Tuao, which was built on the pledge of the Wong Chu King family; and the construction of the Wong Chu King Hall at the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat, which is envisioned to serve the religious and social needs of the local communities in Cagayan.
The gift-giving activities were coordinated with Church leaders led by Msgr. Samuel Baculi of Tuao, Msgr. Bartolome Othello of Piat, representatives of the local and social services and the office of Piat Mayor Carmelo “Black” Villacete.
Villacete thanked Alexander and Cesar Wong Chu King, their spouses, staff and volunteers who came from Manila for the occasion.
“We thank the Wong Chu King Foundation for its consistent social apostolic work for many years now, their work have contributed immensely to the spiritual and social needs of the people in Cagayan,” Archbishop Emeritus Diosdado Talamayan said.
“Our Lady of Piat, reflecting the people’s faith and devotion, is a source of strength and hope not only for our family but for other believers as well,” Alexander Wong Chu King said.
Msgr. Baculi, for his part, lauded the foundation for building a chapel in Barangay Alabug that will also benefit Mungo and Fugu villages.
One of the oldest Marian images in the Philippines, Our Lady of Piat was named “Queen of Heaven and Earth” on June 20, 1954 in a ceremony led by papal delegate Egidio Vagnozzi. The Ibanags call her “Yena Tam Ngamin” (Mother of Us All) while natives of Piat, she is known as “Apo Baket” (Grand Matriarch).
Declared a shrine on June 22, 1999 by the Vatican, the basilica draws thousands of Marian devotees each year.
The Archdiocese of Tuguegarao, provincial and local governments, and the Department of Tourism hold various activities during the festival, including a medical mission, museum exhibit and street dancing, apart from novenas and masses.