One of the most unique and impressive churches in Tanay Rizal is named Regina Rica. The official name is Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia but more commonly known as Regina Rica. Let’s be honest it is easier to remember as well.
Did you know that Regina Rica is not only visited by Catholics who want to pray and meditate, but also by casual tourists who want to explore its impressive trails. Aside from the church, you can also find a creek and three waterfalls inside the sanctuary. The scenery is impressive and is a great way to connect and immerse yourself with nature. Best of all that there is no entrance fee.
The area is run by the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii. It was founded in 2005 by Sister Mary Epifania F. Brasil, OP, in Quezon City. It was transferred in 2009 to where it is currently located in Tanay.
Did you know that the Regina Rica is a 71-foot-high statue of Our Lady of Regina Rica, the Blessed Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus? Or 21 meter high, so basically a 7 floor high statue and building in one.
It’s a popular pilgrimage site in Tanay, especially visited during the Holy Week. The entire sanctuary is huge as well. In total of 13.5 hectare with multiple trails and a Statue of the Queen of the Holy Rosary is located on top of a hill. Which has a chapel on the lower level. It is very unique and impressive to see this building.
The three trees symbolize Regina Rica as a place of Prayer, Ecological Sanctuary, and a Wellness Environment. The 13.5 rays of the sun stand for the 13.5 hectare land, and the black and white Dominican seal signifies the Dominican presence at the place.
Rica, a Spanish word for “rich lady,” the inspiration of the structure was drawn from the Dominican tradition and belief that Our Lady shelters her devoted children through her protective mantle. The statue was constructed in 2009 and designed by the artist-sculptor Jose Barcena Jr. Currently under reconstruction, the chapel can hold less than a hundred people, but by the start of the Holy Week, it can accommodate 200 people. Entrance is free.
The height of Our Lady of Regina Rica is as symbolic as the number of angels carved below the statue on a canopy of clouds. There are 17 angels around it. The height of the image and the number of angels represent the numbers 1 and 7, which when added would equal to 8. This number is referred to symbolic number, which is considered a holy number of Jesus.
Perhaps you would light a candle in the area, this is possible at the candle houses. There are candle houses in Regina Rica that sells unique candles (PhP20 each) with deeper meanings. They offer them in various colors and each color embodies a spiritual intention.
The color red stands for courage, blue stands for peace, green stand for hope, orange stands for good health, violet stands for financial prosperity, brown stands for safe trip / good job, aqua stands for thanksgiving, yellow stands for joy (happiness of the heart) or great friendships, white stands for success, rose stands for love/family and all of the above stands for abundance, happiness and good fortune / luck.
There are 2 ways to get to Our Lady of Regina RICA. These are the so called holy paths of enlightenment.
The first path of enlightenment you can take Mary’s S, (the “s” stands for sacred) Trail at El Shaddai Hills, a pathway of a total of 308 steps trail made with bricks (some with footprints of those who gave their love offering) that leads directly to the icon. Here, you have a great view of the RICA Chapel just below the hill.
Second path that you can take is the Way of the Cross, 14 stations that leads you along a winding road that also leads you to the icon on top of the hill but also tours you to Regina RICA’s other facilities – the Organic Gardens, Regina RICA Chapel, San Jose Rotonda (has a 13-ft. high statue of St. Joseph looking at his family), 13 Candle Stands, Koi Pond, Flower Gardens, Kakahuyan and Sunflower Trail.
The opening hours are daily from 8 AM to 5 PM except on Tuesday.
Regina Rica does not have any entrance fees. It is completely free to enter the area. Please consider the parking, as Regina Rica does not offer any parking space but there are many in the area. Those ranges between ₱ 30 ~ ₱ 50. However just like any church, donations are accepted and appreciated.
Please note that cottages within the Regina Rica sanctuary are paid facilities. On average it is ₱ 300.
Please note that at Regina Rica there is a strict dress code and proper attire is a must. Without the proper behavior and dress code you may not enter the area. It is advised to wear bottoms that are below the knee and tops that cover the shoulders. They provide green skirts for those whose bottoms are above the knee. Please note that the rules are strict and green skirts are subject for availability.