Holy Week: Philippine Destinations for the Soul - Isla Story

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Holy Week: Philippine Destinations for the Soul

The Lenten Season is one of the best times to go on a vacation, escape the hustle and bustle of life, and to seek comfort and freedom from everyday stress.

For most Filipinos who are Catholic devotees, Holy Week is the perfect chance to take a break from work and school in order to reflect the Sacrifices of Christ. This time of the year, they combine religion and vacation to get that much-needed rest, offer prayers, and be in complete solitude. And given that the Philippines have the most number of the Catholic population in South East Asia; it's not surprising at all how Filipinos show their devotion.

Don't have plans yet? Be sure to check out below suggestions if you're seeking for the perfect place to spend Holy Week this year:


Batangas isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of places to visit during Holy Week right? But come to think of it, this place has scenic views, peaceful surroundings, and a handful of greeneries that can give you solace. Plus, it is just a two hours drive South of Manila.

It's your perfect spot if you're going on a retreat since you can find lots of old churches here such as  San Sebastian Church and Caleruega Church. What’s the most popular one? The Basilica de San Martin de Tours also known as Taal Basilica which is considered as the biggest church not just in the Philippines but in Asia!


Lots of recreational facilities have emerged in the city throughout the years, yet Tagaytay is still considered as a spiritual destination by many especially due to its prime location.

It is a must place to visit this coming Holy Week because of its tranquil, peaceful, and very solemn surroundings.  Numerous pilgrims come here to visit the Pink Sisters Monastery and Tierra de Maria where you can pray and enjoy some quiet time.


Never miss to include Tarlac on your Holy Week bucket list, as some of the most thrilling experiences can be found here.

Dubbed as the “Holy Land” of the Philippines, Tarlac features a replica of the tomb of Jesus Christ and a 40-foot statue of Jesus on the cross on Mount Golgotha. Aside from these, visitors can also go on a trekking adventure at Mt. Pinatubo, visit waterfalls, museums, and try-out the province's delicacies.


With its awe-inspiring natural surroundings, historical landmarks, and century-old churches, Ilocos Region is a very popular place to visit during the Lenten Season.

For those who observe Visita Iglesia, or the tradition of visiting traditional churches and praying the Stations of the Cross, there are lots of options that await them in the Ilocos Region. From the famous Paoay Church, Virgen Milarosa Shrine to La Milagrosa Chapel, you'll never run out of places to see.


If don't want to wander too far from home, then you can opt to stay in the city.

No need to worry, about missing out on visiting old churches during this Holy Week 'cause Manila got your back! In fact, there’s a lot to choose from such as the Quiapo Church, Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church, and the Paco Church. Get ready to get stunned by their different architectures and learn more about the story behind each facade.


Since churches become the most visited sites during Holy Week then there’s no better place to visit than Bulacan. Find some of the most notable historic churches here like Barasoain Church, St. Monica Church, and Church of Santiago Apostol.

And considering that Bulacan is just a 2 hours drive from Metro Manila; then a quick day tour is a must for you!


Known to be one of the top destinations in the country, Cebu is more than just its white beaches and as a center of business in the Visayas Region.

It is the oldest city in the Philippines and the place where Christianity was first introduced by the Spaniards to the Filipinos making it a relevant place to visit during the Holy Week. What you should not miss are Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu, home to the image of the Santo Niño de Cebú and Simala Church, a castle-like shrine built by Marian Monks that also serves as guardians of the sacred site.


Annually, Marinduque welcomes numerous tourists from all around the country and from the various corners of the world during the Holy Week because of its Moriones Festival.

The whole festivity is all about the iconic portrayal of the story of Longinus, a Roman centurion who, according to the stories, pierced Jesus’ crucified body then had his vision restored by Christ’s blood.  The street will literally turn into a theater where you'll see men and women in Roman-inspired costumes and masks scaring children and making loud noises.


Your list of where to go during Holy Week wouldn’t be complete without visiting Pampanga. Annually every Good Friday, this place draws millions of Catholic devotees and tourists to observe extreme acts of faith.

Locals conduct a re-enactment of the Passion of the Cross and the crucifixion of Christ. There is a procession where some devotees will walk with covers in their head, bare-chested while whipping their backs nonstop even though it's already bleeding also known as "Penitensya", or an act of repentance. Some would walk barefoot and not minding the heat of the day. And there is also a man dressed in red and carrying a cross imitating Christ. But the main highlights of this event are the men and women who are being crucified in a cross, literally!

Although some find this tradition a bit extreme, for some Filipinos, this is their way of repenting for their sins and showing how strong their faith to their religion is.

Not only that you can practice your Catholic religion here but you get to immerse with its rich history as well. So, free your self with all the stress, admire various traditions, and observe the true meaning of the Lenten Season all throughout the country offering complete spiritual and mental enlightenment.


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