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MANILA, Philippines – Every year, thousands of pilgrims join the Alay Lakad, a pilgrimage to the Antipolo Cathedral on Maundy Thursday.
However, with over three million devotees expected to participate, the annual tradition generates huge amounts of wastes like plastic bottles, food packaging and wrappers, utensils, cigarette butts, among others. For some pilgrims, piles of trash spoil the experience of doing their penitential walk.
The Alay Lakad resumes this Holy Week after three years of being suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with this, the Antipolo City government and advocacy network EcoWaste Coalition remind those going to the shrine this Thursday to keep their pilgrimage “peaceful, solemn, vigilant, and clean.”
Jove Benosa, the coalition’s zero waste campaigner, said proper disposal of waste will “help a great deal in maintaining the integrity and beauty of the Antipolo Cathedral and its environs.”
“This year’s pilgrimage is made even more special with the declaration of the Antipolo Cathedral as the international shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage by the Holy See,” said Antipolo Mayor Casimiro “Jun” Ynares III.
The advocacy network encourages pilgrims to practice the following:
- Walk with water in a reusable container to avoid consuming water and sweetened drinks in disposable plastic bags and bottles.
- Opt to take your meals in eateries that serve food and water in reusable containers.
- Bring a reusable carry bag for the suman (rice cake) and other native delicacies that you can bring home from Antipolo.
- Dispose of your discards in proper bins.
- Refrain from smoking or vaping.