Basilica of Our Lady of Piat in Cagayan Valley

The Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat is one of 12 minor basilicas in the Philippines. It is distinguished as the home to the venerated Black Virgin Mary.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Piat is located in the town of Piat, which is 30 minutes away by land from Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Province.

This pilgrimage site attracts a large number of devotees especially on July 1 and 2 when the feast of Nuestra Señora de Piat is celebrated.

The first thing I noticed that was different about the Basilica of Our Lady of Piat was its entrance arch. It was located at the back of the church. You’d have to go around from the entrance to see the the church facade.


Basilica of Our Lady entrance arch


Side entrance of the basilica

Image of the Black Virgin Mary

Image of the Black Virgin Mary or Nuestra Señora de Visitacion (Our Lady of the Visitation) was made by the Chinese in Macao from where it was sent to the Philippines.

It is not certain what the reasons were to have it transferred to Manila … then to the city of Nueva Segovia (now La-lo, Cagayan) … and finally, to Piat. Perhaps the friars at the time looked down on it because it was too dark (“muy morena”) and not made of ivory, which was the fashion at the time.

One thing is known, the people of Piat seemed to have fallen in love with the image. Although the statue did not have the face and hands of ivory, the dark color of the Virgin Mary may have been more appealing.

Especially since the townspeople believed the image to be miraculous.


Image of Our Lady of the Visitation

Reference: History of Our Lady of Piat

Our Lady of Piat Basilica Exteriors

Our Lady of Piat Basilica sports a simple facade flanked with a tall belfry. It is located on top of a hill with the intention of avoiding floods brought about by the seasonal overflowing of the Cagayan River.

The church structure is mainly made of red bricks, which is noticeably common among churches in Cagayan Valley. It is a contrast to old churches made of limestone and coral stone in many parts of the Philippines.

Located in the midst of the Cagayan River, the largest river in the Philippines, it could have been more practical to build churches made of clay bricks.


Basilica of Our Lady of Piat facade

Tall belfry at the side of the basilica

Our Lady of Piat Basilica Basilica Interiors

The interiors also looked clean and simple. I liked the curved ceiling made of wood.


Interiors of Basilica of Our Lady of Piat 

Other Structures


Piat Basilica Museum


Restaurant and Snack House


Store for religious items


Probably the parish convent


Pathway leading down to the river


Brick fence beside the Church


Outside the entrance arch

Piat’s Pawa

On our way out, Eric bought a pack of these unassuming circular snack food called “Pawa” at P15 per pack. We took a bite when we were already on the van back to Tuguegarao. It tasted really good! The tasty peanut filling was a gustatory surprise. We regretted not buying more of these.


Pawa and other delicacies of Piat sold at stalls outside the basilica

Getting to Piat

The terminal for “Piat” vans can be found at the Buntun Westbound terminal. It’s actually located just past Hotel Ivory.

The van ride from Tuguegarao to Piat took 30 to 45 minutes and costs P60 per passenger.


Buntun Bridge


Van terminal in Piat