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Street Side Grottos


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The Virgin Mary is one of the most widely revered religious icons in the Philippines, a deeply Catholic country.

These Virgin Mary grottos pop up randomly in street corners all over Metro Manila.

The DIY ethos of these little structures speaks volumes about the Filipino character. These little structures are very well clean and well maintained despite being located in some very-high trafficked areas where the surroundings are sketchy, polluted, or situated in nooks beside crumbling walls. Some even have fresh flowers in makeshift vases.

They’re really cool, and more often than not, we  locals overlook them. Some are too big to be ignored, but many are really small, just perched in front of some tree or hidden behind a parked car in a narrow street corner. You can only see a bit of the grotto’s blue frame peeking out.

These grottos have different personalities. In some, the statue is barely recognizable as Virgin Mary, like this one. It looks like some cute cartoon.In some, you can see the types of bottles the residents of that street chose to use as vases. Some are Gatorade bottles, some are mineral water bottles.

The photos in this gallery span 2009-2016.

Click each photo to enlarge.

Here are some grottoes with their surrounding environments, so you can see where they’re typically found. The photos give the impression that these are large structures, but they’re actually usually small, dwarfed by their environment.

Click the thumbnails to enlarge.

I found these two on two street corners surrounding a Mormon temple. There’s a diagram showing their locations:
I spotted a few behind gates:
And these were shot at night:
 Posted by at 10:23 pm

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