The Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto (or simply the Grotto or Lourdes Grotto), a Catholic shrine and place of prayer and meditation, is one of the most popular attractions in Baguio City. Located on Mirador (meaning “prospect point”) Hill, in the western part of the city, this very familiar and much photographed spot is particularly crowded on Sundays and during Holy Week, when pilgrims and devotees come to seek the blessing of the Virgin Mary.
Visitors to this popular tourist destination have increased in numbers over the years. On Good Friday, it is estimated that about 10,000 people visit the grotto. To reach the shrine, visitors must climb 252 steps or drive a light vehicle up a winding and steep paved road. When you reach the top of the stairs, it is traditional to light a candle.
The century-old Lourdes Grotto, an integral adjunct of the Mirador Jesuit Villa, was constructed in 1913 at the initiative of Fr. José Algue, S.J., the director of the Manila Observatory. It was made of the same limestone, probably gathered on Mirador Hill, and was built, in slow stages, by Jesuit scholastics (seminarians), brothers and fathers, usually during the summer when Jesuits on vacation would augment the community’s population.
The stairway, from the grotto to the foot of the hills, was completed five years later. The steps began as stones laid on the ground but was later covered with cement.
Inside the grotto is a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. The image, of polychromed molave, was carved by noted sculptor Isabelo Tampingco, whose name is inscribed (“I. Tampingco Manila 1913”) at the back of the statue. Above the statue are inscribed the Latin words Tota Pulchra Es Maria (“You are beautiful Mary,” part of an old Catholic prayer of the same title). An excellent view of the city can be had from the grotto.
On March 2007, work began on the grotto’s upper most section. For the convenience of pilgrims, the upper most landing was extended by more than 150 sq. m. and handicap access was provided. The stairs leading up to the grotto, damaged during the July 16, 1990 Luzon earthquake, was repaired and a center rail added for the convenience of the elderly.
Within the shrine is the Kapilya nina Hesus at Maria (Chapel of Jesus and Mary). Commonly known as the Lourdes Grotto Chapel, inside is an image of the Divine Mercy on the left and Our Lady of Lourdes on the right.
Also within the grounds is The Shrine of The Risen Lord, a big statue of Jesus Christ with outstretched arms. Made on the spot by skilled sculptors from Black Nazarene Enterprises (the sculpture atelier of Bernie Caber), it was dedicated on February 11, 2008, the 150th anniversary of the appearance of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes to St. Bernadette Soubirous.
The statue will be the culmination of a planned outdoor Stations of the Cross whose bas reliefs will also be designed by Bernie Caber. It will begin near the parking area at the vehicular entrance of Mirador Hill and will follow a penitential path through the rock formations of Mirador Hill.
Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto: Dominican Hill Rd., Mirador Hill, Baguio City, 2600 Benguet. Open daily, 6 AM – 7:30 PM.
How to Get There: From Zandueta St. (Baguio Central District), jeepneys travel to Lourdes or Dominican Hills.