Stressed out about your Lenten Season itinerary? We got you covered!
To many Filipino families, the Holy Week is a time to reflect on our spiritual life. Not only that, but it is one of the longest and most awaited holiday in the Philippines. While some of us choose to stay home and reflect, most people would usually go out of town to spend the holidays. Do you have your itinerary for the Holy Week planned yet? If not, there are numerous places you can consider visiting, and here are our top picks.
1. Quezon Province
Quezon Province is about 200 km away from Manila, but if you ask me, it’s worth the excursion. The province displays its many beautiful landmarks and natural scenery. In Lucban, you can visit the popular Kamay ni Hesus. This pilgrimage destination is known for its healing masses and its trail of life-size sculptures which depict the 14 Stations of the Cross. The hill has over 300 steps! But to devotees who go there, the Risen Christ statue with a staggering height of 50 feet and its arms wide open is an inspiring and encouraging view. In Quezon province, you will also find the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel, a historical church that dates back to the Spanish era and many other historical churches that would be perfect for your Visita Iglesia. On the way home, you can stop over one of the many beautiful beaches in the province.
If we’re talking about pilgrimage sites, Rizal certainly would not run short. Try visiting Regina RICA in Tanay, where you can pray and reflect during the recollections held there. It also has a chapel, you just have to remove your shoes upon entering (they provide you with shoe bags, so no worries!) You can also visit one of Antipolo Rizal’s most famous destination, the Antipolo Cathedral. Also in Antipolo, you’d find the Hinulugang Taktak and Pinto Art Museum for some well-deserved recreation.
Bicol, as we know it, is home to the majestic Mayon Volcano. If you visit Cagsawa Ruins, you’ll get a perfect view of the volcano that covered the town of Cagsawa and its church with lava. You can also visit other churches like Our Lady of Peñafrancia and Our Lady of the Gate Parish church. Heading home from your Visita Iglesia, you’ll pass through Camarines Sur and Caramoan Islands where you can go island hopping!
I think you can never run out of things to do in Batangas. Popularly known for its many beaches, Batangas has been our go-to summer destination.
If you want a peaceful vacation by the beach, I would definitely recommend the ones in Malabrigo, Lobo. It’s a little farther away, but it is the most peaceful beach I have been to. In contrast to the other beaches in Batangas, the pebble beach in Malabrigo is less commercialized and so it is cleaner and fewer people go there (just don’t forget to bring your flipflops! *wink*). Because it is a pebble beach, the water is much clearer so you can really see the beauty beneath the water and if you go for an afternoon swim during the high tide, you can actually see smaller fishes swimming along with you (just don’t try to catch them though!). Just a short walk away is the historical Malabrigo Lighthouse.
Also, in Taal, Batangas, you’ll see the enormous Taal Basilica, the largest Catholic church in the whole of Asia (how about that?!) Batangas is about 2 hours away from Manila, but for all these destinations and a bowl of special lomi, I’d say it’s definitely worth the drive.
The first thing I personally look forward to when visiting Marinduque is the ferry ride (this may sound childish but it’s true!). It’s just that when you’re so used to the hustle and bustle of city life, just to travel by water and watch the waves of the sea can be very relaxing. When you get to Marinduque, go straight to Boac and visit the Boac Cathedral which is always the starting point of the famous Moriones festival. You just have to! When you get there and see the great architectural style of the church and how serene it is, you won’t regret it.
If you choose not to, there are other places you can visit, like the Holy Cross Parish Church in Santa Cruz. After your pilgrimage, you can visit one of the many beautiful beaches of Marinduque, the Maniuayan Islands, for a little swim. Marinduque’s beauty is so natural and the residences here chose to preserve architectural structures which are historical and so they give the city a very vintage vibe.
The Philippines are rich with historical churches, pilgrimage sites, and the natural beauty that we need for our Lenten season plans. Which of these places do you want to visit with your family this Holy Week? Let us know in the comment section below after you listen to it! You can also send us a message on our Facebook or Twitter @UDoUPh.