La Virgen del Rocío | The Church Built Into a Mountain in Biblián Ecuador

This is Part 1 in our 3-part series from day trip we took from Cuenca Ecuador with Flavio from Polylepis Tours to Biblián, Cañar and Ingapirca. Our first stop was La Virgen del Rocío in Biblián Ecuador: the church built into the side of a mountain.

Other Videos on this Day Trip from Cuenca:

Part 2: Cañar Ecuador Indigenous Market
Part 3: Ingapirca Inca Ruins Ecuador + La Cara del Inca

Biblián Ecuador Day Trip from Cuenca

Cuenca to La Virgen del Rocío

Cuenca to La Virgen del Rocío

La Virgen del Rocío – Biblián Ecuador

Biblián is home to El Santuario de la Virgen del Rocío, or the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Dew. This church was built into the side of a mountain after the residents of Biblián believed a miracle happened.

La Virgen del Rocío Biblián Ecuador

La Virgen del Rocío en Biblián, Ecuador

A long drought in 1883 killed all the crops in the area so a farmer placed a statue of the Virgin Mary on the side of the mountain and prayed for rain. Within a few days, the rain came and saved the crops and the people. Soon after, construction of the church began to honor the Virgin Mary and the miracle.

La Virgen del Rocío Biblián Ecuador Statue

La Virgen del Rocío Statue

The church is literally built into the side of the mountain with the altar and support structure carved into the stone. The Catholic people believe this is a very holy site so they place important pictures, plaques and other trinkets in and around the church and pray for miracles.

La Virgen del Rocío Biblián Ecuador Church Altar

La Virgen del Rocío Church Altar

If you’re familiar with Catholicism, you’ll recognize the Stations of the Cross in the video on our hike up to the top of the mountain above the church. This is a steep hike and a challenging climb at such a high altitude, but at Easter we’re told this trail is packed with people of all ages and abilities performing the Stations of the Cross.

La Virgen del Rocío Biblián Ecuador Station of the Cross

Virgen del Rocío Station of the Cross

This informational plaque on the top of the mountain tells us a little about the Canton of Biblián. While veganism is growing rapidly here in Ecuador, many of the traditional dishes are of animal origin.

La Virgen del Rocío Biblián Ecuador Informational Plaque

Virgen del Rocío Informational Plaque

We’ve noticed that the Ecuadorians don’t have the same issues with meat reality as Americans. It’s common to see the entire animal, head, hooves/claws and all, served up for everyone (including children) to see.

To us, it’s utterly disgusting, but they’re exposed to it from birth so it seems normal to them. Along with several Ecuadorian vegan friends who are equally disgusted, we’re working to help people realize animals are here with us, not for us. As the rates of diet-related disease increases here, they are becoming more open to the idea of returning to their traditional mostly plant-based diet.

We thoroughly enjoyed our day with Flavio and Christian.

La Virgen del Rocío Biblián Ecuador Church Stairs

Flavio from Polylepis Tours at La Virgen del Rocío on the Church Stairs

La Virgen del Rocío Biblián Ecuador View

View of Azogues from La Virgen del Rocío Biblián Ecuador

Our next stop is la Ciudad de Cañar to visit the Sunday indigenous market. We’ll show you that interesting experience in our next video.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!


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Video Transcript

>> JP: Hi veggie lovers!
I’m JP and this is Amelia.

And we’re with Amelia And JP.

This is part 1 in our three-part series from an

excursion that we took north-east of

Cuenca to Biblián, Cañar and Ingapirca.

>> A: Yes. Yes. Biblián was our first stop

and my favorite part was going to see

El Virgen del Rocío, which is the church that

is built right out of the mountainside.

It is incredible and I think you all

will like it as well.

>> JP: It is really incredible.

Alright so we post videos every
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time and

we hang out for about an hour afterwards

to answer any questions
you guys might have.

So please subscribe to our YouTube

channel and hit that little
notification bell.

Where is it? Down here somewhere?

Hit that notification bell
so you make sure

and get notified when we post new videos.

And we’ll see you after this

after we show you the sights of Biblián.

>> A: Yes, see you soon veggie lovers.

[Upbeat Music]

>> Flavio: My name is Flavio.

I am the tourist guide.

And introduce you to Christian our driver.

>> Christian: Hi.
>> JP: Hola Christian.

And now we need to drive to Ingapirca
archeological site.

One of the most important
archaeological sites in in Ecuador.

And different stops, for example,
in the..

Virgen del Rocío church,

indigenous market

and I hope you two enjoy it.

[Calm Latin Guitar Music]

The capital of Cañar province…

…probably in the city we have about 60

50, 60 percent of the people, the families

who have immigrants in the US.

The economy from these little

towns it moves from the immigrants.
They send money. Yeah?

>> A: That’s wonderful.

>> JP: So the people move to the states
or move to another country and

then send their money back?
>> F: Exactly.

The live in the US. Yeah?
People live in the US.

They go 30, 40 years ago, probably.

>> JP: And they still send money back

to the family.
>> F: Exactly. Yeah.

This is the reason it’s normal
in this kind of mountain

we find a beautiful houses.
Big ones.

Good constructions. These are the people
who send money.

>> A: Yeah.
>> F: Yeah.

They are like they’re rich people
in mountains. Yeah?

Indigenous people.

It’s like a competition.

>> A: Really?
>> F: Yeah.

>> JP: [Laughing]
>> A: Interesting.

>> F: This is my BIG house

and probably my family sent me
a lot of money.

And they have a BIG one, house.

The construction of the..

..Virgen del Rocío church..

Virgin of the Dew, no?

Rocío dew

>> JP: Virgin of the Dew.
>> A: Oh. Ok.

>> F: The dew.

1883.. and the temple, the construction
of the temple, was in 1924.

>> A: Oh. Ok.
>> F: Yeah.

[Calm Latin Guitar Music]

Zhalao hill the name of the mountain here.

But, around 1893,

in this part..

we have we have a big problems
with the drought.

>> A: Oh. Ok.
>> F: The drought. Yeah?

and.. the people, local people
come to here with a

little image of the Virgin.

But, it destroy everything.

The farms don’t have a more production
of the vegetables, you know?

And talk with a bishop and
come to here

the Zhalao hill..

and put the little image of the Virgin

in a little hole like a waiting

a miracle, okay?

and the next day or a few days..

>> A: It starts to rain.
>> F: Yeah.

This is the dew, okay?
>> A: Okay.

The dew and say well is a miracle
of the Virgin.

This is the name it, for example,

Virgen del Rocío

The Virgin of the Dew, yeah?

And then all the Catholic people come to here and

the different processions bring all the

materials from the mines near to here and

they construct this kind of church.

It’s like a faith. Faith of the people.
>> A: Yes.

[Calm Acoustic Guitar Music]

>> F: Look at this.

This is an actual mountain. Rock.
>> A: Yeah.

>> F: And the church is carved
in the middle of the rock.

>> A: It’s amazing!

[Calm Acoustic Guitar Music]

>> F: In every little towns,

the towns in Ecuador.

Soccer field.
>> A: Oh, of course.


>> JP: It’s the second church.
>> F: Exactly! Yeah!

>> F: Second temple.

[Calm Acoustic Guitar Music]

>> A: We’re up on the top of the mountain

and right behind me is a Azogues and

Virgen del Nubio or Virgin of the Clouds

so we’re standing on the Virgin of the Dew

so Virgen del Rocío and then
over to.. my..

>> JP: In that direction.
>> A: In that direction.


My left; your right.
Is Cuenca.

So we’re not that far.

It’s absolutely beautiful.

>> JP: Where are we?
>> A: We’re in Biblián.

>> JP: Biblián?
>> A: Yes, we are in Biblián.

[Calm Acoustic Guitar Music]

It’s very peaceful up here and it’s also

good preparation for Cajas because we’re
at higher altitude.

Although I’m not really feeling it.
JP is.

>> JP: Yeah, I can’t breathe.
There’s no air.

>> A: It’s not that bad.

We’re still alive.

[Calm Acoustic Guitar Music]

>> JP: What are we looking at?

>> A: That giant bug!

It doesn’t even look real!

>> A: That’s a good idea.
>> F: The dimensions.

>> A: Yes..

[Calm Acoustic Guitar Music]

This church is built into the side of
the mountain.

It’s incredible. You can see the rock
right behind me.

There’s also pictures.
And those are pictures of

loved ones that they place here
to keep them safe.

Our tour guide Flavio is saying that

sometimes it’s people who are going to

the US and they won’t here for them for

months so they look at this as a form of

protection and also for people

undergoing surgeries and
things like that.

[Calm Acoustic Guitar Music]

>> JP: Hopefully you enjoyed the beautiful

scenery in Biblián and the Santuario..

El.. What is it? El Virgen del Rocío?
>> A: Sí. The Virgin of the Dew.

>> JP: The Virgin of the Dew.
>> A: Rocío means dew.

>> JP: And Amelia thought it was really cool that

they built this in the side of a mountain.

>> A: I think it’s incredible, and
they built that by hand.

It’s amazing!

>> JP: Yeah it was a 100 years ago
120 years ago

they built it by hand out of the side of..

the mountain is the inside the church.

It was really cool.

>> A: Very cool.

>> JP: And we walked up to the top

and the Stations of the Cross

if you’re Catholic you know what

that means. Amelia’s not Catholic.

>> A: JP had to explain this.
>> JP: Yeah.

So I was raised Catholic and so they had

the Stations of the Cross that lead all

the way up the mountain and I guess

people come up there and do the Stations

of the Cross around I guess..
>> A: He said Easter.

>> JP: Easter. it’s mainly at Easter time.

And they.. it’s really steep and
to go up..

>> A: Well and he said that elderly and the sick do it

everybody comes and does it in the area

comes for the Stations of the Cross.

>> JP: So if you saw all of those
white and blue crosses in the video,

that’s what those were:
the Stations of the Cross.

>> A: Yes.

>> JP: Alright so stay tuned for our next video

which is going to show you Cañar and

the indigenous indigenous marketplace.

>> A: Yeah, that was a major change
from Biblián.

>> JP: Yeah a big change from Biblián,
like going back in time.

>> A: It was fun.

>> JP: Alright. We’ll see you next time and please

remember to subscribe and hit that
little bell.

>> A: Isn’t it down here?
>> JP: I don’t know.

It’s down here somewhere.
>> A: I think it’s down here.

>> A: Alright, bye.
>> Buh bye.

[Blooper Beep]

A: They also have something else
going on in January 20th you know

there’s always celebrations happening in

and around the Cuenca-land area.

>> JP: That was irrelevant. [Laughing]
>> A: Ok. [Laughing]

>> JP: Unrelated to what we’re talking about.

>> A: Well.
>> JP: Anyway.

>> A: Anyway.
>> JP: Anyway.

Hola todos! Welcome to my author bio page! Let's see. Where to begin... I grew up in the country on a lake outside a small Kansas farm town. As soon as I could, I got the hell outta there! Since then, I've lived and/or worked in Kansas City, Washington D.C., Denver, San Francisco, and Ecuador. I started and sold a dotcom, wrote a book about it, started a YouTube channel, and now I write a lot. Amelia and I have embraced the Unconventional Life and we want to help you do it, too!

1 reply
  1. Enrique Peralta
    Enrique Peralta says:

    I a no glad you liked my little town. Biblian and it’s people will still eat the cuy and not they will not be placed in a wheel to be someone pet. We are mix in our diet and truly don’t care too much about it. We come to USA start up business and yes if we want to go back sent money, build homes, and eventually return. If not, we just acculturate and enjoy life in this great nation the USA. I can proudly share that I more American that Ecuadorian and I am proud that I was born in Biblian but had crated value in America, provide jobs to Americans and one day will enjoy just visiting Biblian and the rest of the old Ecuador


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