Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Nestled on a plateau, Piat is a small town, some 40 km. northwest or an hour's ride from the capital city of Tuguegarao. It is accessible from Tuguegarao via concrete roads and over the country's second largest bridge which spans the "Bannag", the river which gave the name "Ybanag" to the early natives.

Every June and July, Piat comes alive with two festivals. From June 23 to 30, the Piat Sambali Festival is held, centered on the sambali, a war dance of the tribes that were united and converted to Christianity through the intercession of the Nuestra Senora de Piat. The festivities don't stop since on July 1 and 2, the feast of Nuestra Señora de Piat is celebrated.

The venerated image is erroneously referred to as Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (that was the original title) when it is in fact the Nuestra Señora de Visitacion (Our Lady of the Visitation). The Church of Piat became the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat in 1997.

Outside the church is one big flea market where you can find rows of stalls and vendors selling religious images, tobacco and native kakanin among other items you can find in the usual provincial tiangge. You don't see tobacco sold in Manila that way. They're usually in reams, flip top packs or sold by the stick. But in here they are being sold in bandle.

The Piat Basilica is actually a great place to sample the local delicacies. Of all the kakanin they sold in the area, the best is the"pawa", a kakanin made from ground sticky rice with sweetened ground peanut filling inside. While most vendors sell it for PHP20. The "pawa" sold in the Piat Basilica are of varying quality. There are some which make it really good and I recommend V. C. Pasinca's Pawa. A pack of this yummy treat costs PHP25. Make sure you also buy it warm to ensure heavenly experience I had munching on them.


Our Lady of Piat Basilica

Originally from Macau, the patroness of Cagayan Valley housed at the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat, has become the religious fulcrum of people wanting for favors of any kind.
Instead of facing the town plaza as Philippine churches do, the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat faces the Chico River for the image of the miraculous Virgin Mary to tame the overflowing Chico River. The El Niño weather has reduced the mighty river into a stream, leaving corn fields high and dry along its banks here in Barangay Aquib where villagers now wade knee-high to reach the other side instead of taking a banca as they normally do.