As I was arriving from my reflective journeys and travels at the Hoyohoy Stone Chapel in Tangub City on a solo backpacking trip over the weekend, I went directly to the famous Cotta Shrine in Ozamis City where I lighted candles, yes, red candles and offered prayers for my beloved departed parents. Cotta Shrine is indeed Ozamis’ religious bastion.
Upon walking into the Shrine, I was reminiscing the same ambiance I had when I visited the famous Fort Pilar of Zamboanga City. People were praying, an old woman leading them. I was asked by one boy that the lighting altar for candles were at the left side of the gate upon entry. I took time to immerse myself into the motions of prayers and candles. Many travellers like me too, were offering candles and prayers at the Cotta Shrine.
Ozamis’ religious bastion, the 18th Century Cotta Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ozamis is at the right side of the Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo at its Baluarte de Santiago. It is also the commonly called the “Birhen sa Cotta” and labelled as the Blessed Virgin of Triumph, coming from the Spanish vessel Triunfo of Friar Ducos as it made berth at the Ozamis port in the Spanish era. Its feast day falls every 16th of July where devotees flock to the Shrine and offer prayers. The Shrine also becomes busiest every 8th of December, the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Concepcion.
The famous Ozamis religious bastion serves as the frontline in terms of religion and economic activity even until today. It made one’s visit more meaningfully significant especially as one is being transported to the days of the Spanish Friars. Even bloggers visiting the City of Ozamis comes to the Cotta Shrine and write about it.