Holy Week 2018: Where to pray Stations of the Cross in Bicol

Mavic Conde
For those who are Bicol-bound this Holy Week, here are tourist destinations that also serve as venue for Stations of the Cross and other traditions

For many Catholic devotees, Holy Week is a family thing. From Visita Iglesia to Via Crucis to Easter Vigil – all these they do together. Many of them also spend it with relatives in their home provinces, such as Bicol.

For those who are Bicol-bound this Holy Week, here are tourist destinations that also serve as venue for Stations of the Cross and other traditions.

Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Mother of Peace, Caramoan

Activity: Stations of the Cross

The 26-foot image of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary towers above Mount Caglago in Caramoan, Camarines Sur. This Marian image, which is the biggest in the Philippines, draws pilgrims and tourists to Mount Caglago. In 2000, it was declared as one of the pilgrimage sites in Archdiocese of Caceres.

Since 2008, it has been holding the Via Crucis or the Stations of the Cross, during which Catholics pray before stations or images depicting the passion and death of Jesus Christ. It can be done individually, with family or through a procession.

OUR LADY OF PEACE GROTTO. Tourists flock to Caramoan to see this 26-foot image of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. Photo courtesy of Mavic Conde

Location: Mount Caglago, Barangay Tabgon, Caramoan

How to get there: Rent a boat from Paniman, where many take a boat for island hopping in Caramoan. It is also included in the tour packages for island hopping in Caramoan. Best time to go: before sunrise.

Kawa-Kawa Hill and Natural Park

Activity: Stations of the Cross

Life-sized sculptures depicting the Stations of the Cross adorn this hill, starting from the foot with the Last Supper to the slopes up to the top. It is also an ecotourism site with sunflower plants and greeneries at the top.

Kawa is the Bikol word for wok, which resembles the shape of the hill due to the recessed area on the hill’s plateau. Thus, the name kawa-kawa (like a wok).

LAST SUPPER SCULPTURE. Journey to the top of Kawa-kawa Hill to see a life-sized version of the Last Supper. Photo courtesy of Mavic Conde

Location: Barangay Tuburan Ligao, Albay

How to get there: Ride a Ligao-bound jeepney at Legazpi terminal. Ride a tricycle to the park from Ligao city proper.

Mayon Skyline, Tabaco City

Activity: Stations of the Cross

Every Good Friday, at 5 am (or earlier), Catholic devotees gather at the meeting point to Mayon Skyline for the Stations of the Cross. It could take three hours or more to complete the religious activity and reach the park, located on Mayon Volcano’s northern slope, halfway up the summit. Yes, it is within the 6-kilometer danger zone.

MAYON SKYLINE. Every year, devotees gather at the Mayon Skyline. Photo courtesy of Ian Diaño.

Location: Barangay Buang, Tabaco City

How to get there: Ride a Ligao-bound jeepney at Tabaco terminal. Alight at Mayon Entrance on the junction in barangay Buang and the trail’s beginning. Better yet, rent a vehicle (habal-habal, tricycle, etc.) a day before to take you there early in the morning. Tell the driver to drop you at the first station. Note that there is no public transport going to this route.

Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church in Camarines Norte

Activity: Stations of the Cross

Drop by at this 400-year-old Church at Vinzons, Camarines Norte for the traditional Stations of the Cross. This refurbished Spanish-era church had its original look retained – from the retablo to the choir loft to the communion rail to the floor tiles, doors and stained glass windows. The paintings depicting the life of Saint Peter by multi-awarded local painter Hermes Alegre are an addition. After having been destroyed many times by calamities and fire, only the coral walls, rafter, and roofing are in their original form, with everything redone exactly how they looked before. Visit either before or after your Calaguas tour.

ALTAR OF PARROQUIA DE SAN PEDRO APOSTOL CHURCH. This 400-year-old church has kept its Spanish era look. Photo courtesy of Franco Ayson

Photo courtesy of Franco Ayson

To get there: From Daet, ride a tricycle to Central Plaza Terminal (P8 fare). Look for Vinzons-bound jeepney. Fare is less than P20. Travel time is 20-30 minutes.  

Little Baguio in Irosin, Sorsogon

Activity: Via Crucis

Little Baguio is a borrowed concept of Baguio City’s The Lourdes Grotto. So it has the same grotto image atop the hill, which can be reached in 17 steps. Stations of the Cross lined the ascending steps. It also hosts an ossuary. The peak has a view of Irosin and Mt. Bulusan.

ST MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL CHURCH. Sorsogon's 'Little Baguio' can be found beside this church. Photo courtesy of Mavic Conde

Location: San Julian, Irosin, Sorsogon

How to get there: Look for the Municipal Hall. The road in front of it leads to the hill where the church of Saint Michael the Archangel is built. Beside this church is the Little Baguio.

Albay

Activity: Procession of Faith

Observed every Holy Wednesday and Good Friday, the Procession of Faith is a parade of life-sized paso (statues of the characters and scenes on Passion of Christ) depicting the characters in the Passion of Christ. The traditionalist devotees join the procession and follow their patron saints. Some choose to just watch the procession as the pasos make a spectacle with their colorful clothes and carousels.

PROCESSION OF FAITH. Life-sized statues depicting characters from the Passion of Christ are paraded around Albay every Holy Wednesday and Good Friday. Photo courtesy of Mavic Conde

Location: Albay Parishes (e.g. Legazpi Parish, Tabaco Parish, and Tiwi Parish) and other parishes all over the country.

Naga

Activity: Visita Iglesia

Here are 7 churches in Naga City for Visita Iglesia.

Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist or Naga Cathedral is where the image of The Our Lady of Peñafrancia is transferred from her home church during Traslacion, which opens the Peñafrancia Festival every September. Elias AngelesAvenue 

San Francisco Church is the oldest church in the region, reconstructed after it was nearly destroyed in World War II. This is where the historical surrender of the Spanish rule in the province on September 17, 1898, happened. Peñafrancia Avenue

SAN FRANCISCO CHURCH. Saint Francis Church is the oldest church in Bicol. Photo courtesy of Laurie Mae Gucilatar

Our Lady of Peñafrancia Basilica is the current home of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia, a replica of the image from Spain and whom devotees call Ina or Mother. Balatas Road

PEёAFRANCIA BASILICA. This basilica is the home of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, a replica of the original in Spain. Photo courtesy of Mavic Conde

Our Lady of Peñafrancia Shrine is the former home of Ina, and serves as the starting point for Traslacion. Peñafrancia Ave.

Our Lady of Concepcion Church is located in the city rotonda, where commuters converge to go to the city proper. Pequeña Naga 

Carmelite Church is home to the Carmelite Sisters or Monastery in Naga City. Monastery Road Concepcion Grande

Saint Jude Thaddeus is a modern church in Saint Jude Village, Concepcion Grande. It will be the venue for Suscipe: Sarong Pagdusay, a prayer concert with Ateneo de Naga University Choir on Holy Monday. 

Bat-ongan cave in Masbate

Activity: Pilgrimage

This cave in Mandaon, Masbate attracts tourists for its view from the top. At 177-meter high above sea level, one can see the refreshing greeneries of the area. Mystical stories have it that faith healers visit it on Good Friday for the renewal of their healing powers. Hire a guide to the peak and into its many chambers. Rent caving gears too for your safety when climbing to the rocky peak.

How to get there

Ride a van to Mandaon from Masbate fish port. Alight at the stop to Bat-ongan Cave.

Rent habal-habal to the cave. – Rappler.com