At the grotto, you will notice a cluster of rotating solar panels. Beside this is a dirt trail going down from the grotto. You will see what appear to be shelters protected form the heat of the sun by tarpaulins. You'd think this is a campsite, but it's really a mountaintop food court where you can buy meals and refreshments (which can be a welcome surprise to pilgrims. There's even a secluded area where the local storekeepers wash up. Where they get the water is a mystery you can solve yourself by asking them where the water comes from. The traverse trail to the mountain peak and to what locals call "The Rockies" passes through these stalls. This might not be for everyone, but for those who are fit and psyched up to facing the challenges of the mountain, they can definitely go on to experience the rest of Mt. Maculot. But for most people, the grotto is their sole goal.
|Our Lady of Lourdes pic by Dennis Jarvis|
During my first climb to the Our of Lourdes grotto, the patch of rock face was what caught my attention. I don't think anybody has noticed it before, but if you look carefully, you will see what appears to be the image of the Our Lady of Lourdes Virgin Mary. If you want to be scientifically technical about it, it's what is called a simulacrum, which means the similarity might just be a quirk of nature and human perception (the image of the rock featured here has been zoomed in, switched to black and white, and color-inverted), but as a coincidence, it is short of miraculous to find it there. It is definitely something that could be attributed to more than chance by the Catholic faithful.
|Outline of Our Lady of Lourdes|
Note that the barangay hall is not identified on Google Maps, but the resort is marked. If you will have trouble finding your way, then you can ask the local tricycle drivers or just hire them to take you there. The main tricycle station is near the intersection of B. Laqui st. and the National Highway. It's best to make the journey during the dry season, which is between December and May. Otherwise, the trail would be muddy and slippery, even though, for the most part, you will be climbing on concrete stairs.