Thursday, April 17, 2014

To Go on Visita Iglesia or Hit the Beach?: That Is the Big Question!

Wazzup Pilipinas!

What are your plans for the long vacation days this Holy Week?

Holy Week or “Semana Santa” is one of the most important religious festivities of the year. They say the Lenten season starts on Ash Wednesday, when people get ash in the form a cross on their foreheads. During my younger years, I would usually get annoyed seeing those and sometimes tempted to get their attention but had to stop when I realized it was Ash Wednesday. Holy Week culminates on Good Friday commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, and ends on Easter Sunday to celebrate his rise to heaven.

If you're like me whose plagued with a constant case of wanderlust, I am always itching to go somewhere when time and budget permits. I am raring to go on an adventure, and hop on board a plane, cruise ship or bus to anywhere I can afford. The free days off work, with no immediate responsibilities and very minimal obligations, during Holy Week is very tempting to push me somewhere off to where I will enjoy the most - to those places that I've never been to and worth exploring.

But I guess I have to make use of the week doing something else instead of further turning black because of too much exposure under the sun. While some of you head off to lounge on the beach, I will going around visiting churches. Anyway, luckily there's an alternate invitation that I accepted to quench my thirst for adventure. This week I am off to a Visita Iglesia, but next week I will set foot on one of the most beautiful and developed beach in the Philippines.

Next week I am scheduled to do the following activities at the so called "Port of the Galleons"

1. Hill trek to La Pirmida Viewdeck
2. Visit Aninuan Waterfalls
3. Try out the Ponderosa Zipline
4. Check out the cool Mangyan tribe
5. Cove-hop
6. Snorkel at the beach
7. Visit the Excavation Museum
8. Climb up to the Escareo lighthouse
and more...

Can you guess where I am going?

Yes! I am among the members of the media invited by the LGU and Tourism Office for a media junket at Puerto Galeraa soothing vision of shimmering seas surrounded by lush mountains.

Puerto Galera is the northwesternmost municipality in the province of Oriental Mindoro that is well known for its numerous scuba diving spots, among other many great things. But some people call it the poor man's Boracay as it's the next best place to go to get a similar experience like going to Boracay, and definitely much cheaper if you're like me whose coming from Manila.

But forget the beach for the moment and let's concentrate on our Visita Iglesia. If you’re in the Manila area, be sure to stop by some or all of the famous churches below. The minimum requirement is only seven but others do go up to more than that like fourteen... Lol!

1. Assumption Church (Our Lady of the Assumption Parish)
2. Malate Catholic Church (Our Lady of Remedies Parish)
3. Ermita Church (Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Guia Parish)
4. San Agustin Church  (Shrine of Our Lady of Correa / Immaculate Conception Parish)
5. Manila Cathedral (Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica)
6. Binondo Church (Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish)
7. Chinese Catholic Church (This I don't know the formal name)
8. Sta.Cruz Church (Church of Our Lady of the Pillar)
9. Quiapo Church (officially known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, canonically known as Saint John the Baptist Parish and colloquially known as Quiapo Church)
10. Holy Face Church (Holy Face of Jesus Chapel)
11. San Sebastian Church (Basilica Minore de San Sebastian)
12. San Beda Church ( Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat)
13. St. Jude Parish  (Saint Jude Thaddeus Archdiocesan Shrine)
14. San Miguel Church (National Shrine of Saint Michael and the Archangels) (aso called Villa de San Miguel Church and Malacañang Chruch due to its proximity to the Palace)

When the opportunity comes when a good soul offers to sponsor me for a trip in exchange of a blog about their hotel, beach resort, camp, theme park or the likes, then I'm no fool to decline the ex-deal. The offer is sound enough for me because I get to enjoy doing two things I love most - traveling and writing.

However, there are no regrets going through a Visita Iglesia instead because it's the best opportunity to get closer to our creator while doing something with a purpose. I believe my purpose is to be able to share the different churches with my readers especially to the ones who are living out of the country and has difficulty getting any way close to these religious structures.

It also helps if you'll be inviting friends, or colleagues along with you, and extra special if you're doing it together with your family. A perfect family bonding time to strengthen the bonds among family members.

Like they said, "A family that prays together, stay together!"

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