The Shrine of the Brown Madonna Cave, located in Tuba, Benguet, is a human-made tunnel that was meant for a railway system linking La Union and Baguio. The locals now treat the shrine as a living symbol of their continuing faith in God the Father Almighty, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The shrine was once a dull cave that was found by past Baguio City Councilor Nars Padilla in 1986. The tunnel turned out to be part of the two passageways – famously known as Asin Tunnels that were established in the 1850’s by means of prison labor but soon abandoned in 1915 because of the World War I. In addition to that, it was believed that the area was deserted because the cost of structure increased to 1000% of the original budget.
It is said that Padilla encouraged his neighbors to construct the grotto. Therefore, it was through “Bayanihan” that the shrine was built. The locals celebrate the anniversary of the place in the first week of October. The image here does not literally resemble a “brown” Madonna but was named as such since it is clothed with a brown cape on special occasions.
Before it was called the Shrine of the Brown Madonna, the place was christened as the Nauyac Wonder Cave in the absence of a name. For people to fully appreciate the cave, the barangay council of Asin Road requested funds from the city council for the construction of a road that will be used to access the shrine.
Inside the Shrine
Since the shrine is erected amidst a cave, one can expect sparkling stalactite and stalagmite decorating the place. There are also remarkable rock formations inside. Standing in the middle of the cave is a small altar with the image of the Virgin Mary. A few concrete benches are also provided for the tourists and devotees. Hanging on the walls of the cave are pictures depicting religious events.