On a clear night as one looks towards the Guimaras Island, one could see a glorious beacon - a constellation shaped like a cross familiar to all Ilongos. However, this not one of those stellar creations of the gods of Greek mythology but the dream of one man to build a fitting shrine for Mary overlooking and blessing the City of Iloilo.
The Balaan Bukid as it is famously known is the site of the Ave Maria Shrine located on top of the Bundulan Point, on the Island province of Guimaras. It was originally conceived by Rev. Fr. Virgil Pixner, MHM, a Mill Hill Missionary and chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, Iloilo Council No. 3346. Before leaving Panay for another overseas assignment, he entrusted this dream to the late Atty. Jose Maria Lopez Vito Jr. who pursued it with equal vigor. With the help of religious organizations of the city and with the support of the then Archbishop Jose Maria Cuenco, the shrine, complete with a towering cross, a chapel, a rectory and the stations of the cross, was completed in 1956. It has now become a famous site for pilgrimages as Ilongos trek towards its winding path upwards meditating on the way of the cross which marks its path.
The shrine celebrates its yearly feast every third of May and draws many pilgrims from all walks of life.