Over the decades, thousands of devout Filipino believers have been drawn to the town of Luna, formerly Namacpacan, in La Union to pay homage and ask for help from Our Lady of Namacpacan.
Once a place of refuge for those people running from the tyranny of colonizers, today, the town is home to the Miraculous Shrine of Our Lady of Namacpacan. Locally known as Our Lady Apo Baket of Namacpacan, it was the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by the natives of La Union because she appeared to the native people of the Cordilleras as an old woman which offered them food and invited them to be baptized. Apo Baket is how the people call the elderly woman as a sign of respect.
Origin of Our Lady of Namacpacan
According to the historical sketch done by Msgr. Quintin Velasquez, the image was ordered by the Augustinian friars of Vigan from Spain in 1871 but came to Luna accidentally. The galleon set sail to the Philippines heading toward Vigan and was caught in a storm off the coast of La Union. When the storm ended, they tried to continue their journey but the wind urged them to come back to the port. The captain decided to return to the port and have the statue delivered to Vigan by land.
When the statue was about to be transported to Vigan, the men could not remove the statue from its place. They took it as a signal that the image wanted to stay. It was negotiated upon by the Augustinian friars and Fr. Marcelino Ceballos that the image would stay in Namacpacan. They concluded that Our Blessed Lady must have chosen the town of Namacpacan as her sanctuary. A big feast marked the arrival of Our Lady in town. The townspeople came out in their best to meet it in the parish church, which came to be known as Our Lady of Namacpacan.
The Miracles of Our Lady Apo Baket of Namacpacan
• Rosa Roldan is a thirteen-year-old who was born lame. She claimed that Our Lady came to her home and restored her ability to walk. She said that one day, an old woman knocked on her door asking for drink and food. Rosa let her come in and told the old woman to help herself to the jar and get some leftover food in the kitchen. The old woman drank, water trickling from the cup, falling on Rosa's feet. Before the old woman left, she told Rosa to meet her at the church altar. When she had left, Rosa began to walk. When she came to the church, she recognized the Statue of Our lady as her visitor. Since then, Rosa led a moral life, healing the sick and praying for the fishermen to catch more fish.
• In early 1900 Tribal families from the Mountain Province came to Luna for baptism. They claimed that a tall beautiful lady had invited them there. After seeing the image in the church, they said that it was the same lady who came to the mountains who gave them food and purchased blankets from them. In return, she asked them to come to Luna for christening. When they came nearer, they saw the blankets she bought from them, laying at the foot of the altar.
• Shortly before the death of Pope Pius XII, he saw Our Lady of Namacpacan in his dream. Upon waking, he asked the Vatican staff where Namacpacan was. Since the image was in Luna, a remote town in the Philippines, no one could provide an exact answer. It was only after the pope's death, when the request for canonization was raised by the local church to the papacy, was the answer obtained.
The town's name was changed to Luna, in honor of the national heroes, Antonio and Juan Luna, whose mother is a native of the place. Presently, Luna's boundary arch proudly announces, "Welcome to Luna, Shrine of Our Lady of Namacpacan."
How to get to La Union?
From Manila there are various bus lines that offer trips to La Union. Air conditioned buses from Dominion Bus Lines, Philippine Rabbit, Partas, Fariñas, Maria de Leon, and Viron depart from terminals in Manila bound for Ilocos. Destinations can either be La Union, Narvacan, Vigan, Laoag or Abra.
San Fernando City, La Union's capital, lies 273 kilometers from Manila. Travel time is about 5 hours by land and 30 minutes by air. Also it is about an hour’s drive from Baguio City. You will find the town of Luna along the coast of northern La Union only about 40 kilometers north of San Fernando City.
Getting around La Union One can take jeepneys and mini-buses with fixed routes. Tricycles are commonly used to access must-see places in-between towns. Rented transportation that plies this town is also available that will bring you to the city proper.
Nearest Accommodations: There are many inns, pension houses and hotels located in and around San Fernando.
• Oasis Country Resort - Sevilla, San Fernando City, La Union, La Union, Philippines
• Thunderbird Resorts - Poro Point Poro Point Freeport Zone, San Fernando, La Union, La Union, Philippines
• China Sea Beach Resort - China Sea Beach Resort
• Hotel Ariana - Paringao, Bauang, La Union, La Union, Philippines
• Bali Hai Beach Resort - Parungao, Bauang, La Union, La Union, Philippines
• Citylight Hotel - 245 Upper General Luna Road, Baguio City Proper, Baguio / Banaue, Philippines