Saturday, March 26, 2016

How to enjoy Holy Week in the Philippines

1. Leave early. If you have to go to another place for Holy Week, be sure to leave early. If you can go on Monday or Tuesday, go ahead on those days so that you can avoid the traffic. If leaving on Wednesday or Thursday is inevitable, leave very early in the morning, maybe at 4 a.m.

Leaving early still does not guarantee that you would escape traffic. My cousin's family left their house in Metro Manila at 4 a.m. but they just entered the North Luzon Expressway at 8 a.m. So be sure to bring enough food and drinks in case of a traffic jam.

2. Stay and enjoy. If you don't have to go to your hometown or province, you can just stay wherevever you are. Think of it as your very own staycation. Visit nearby churches, check in a local hotel, celebrate in a resort close to you. Search on the internet or ask your friend and neighbors to find attractions near your home.

3. Keep the faith. If you are religiously inclined, the Holy Week holiday will give you much time to attend services and visit churches. For Catholics, Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday will tend to have masses in the evenings. For Good Friday, parishes may offer stations of the cross in the morning, while venerations of the cross and processions will likely happen in the afternoon.

On Easter Sunday, Filipinos peculiarly celebrate the  resurrection of Jesus Christ with the salubong. This happens very early in the morning while it is still dark. The men go with the statue of the risen Christ, the women follow the statue of Mother Mary. They go their separate ways at first, but Jesus Christ and Mother Mary eventually return and meet in front of the church. After they meet, children who act as angels sing the Regina Caeli, or Queen of Heaven.

4. Visit your hometown. Holy Thursday and Good Friday are regular holidays, so Holy Week instantly gives a four day weekend. So you can take the time to visit your family and friends in the province. Take advantage of the clean air and relaxed lifestyle in pyour hometown or province. You can eat more fruits and vegetables that are hand picked. If your province has a coast, you can enjoy a lot of fish and seafood. You might even enjoy your stay so much that you eventually think of retiring there.

5. Fly away for a vacation. A four day weekend will give you more time to have a pleasure trip. If you want to go to the beach, you can check out the more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines. Boracay and Palawan are famous for their beaches, but more islands are available for you to visit, such as Batanes, Apo Island, and Suquijor.

If you want a cooler vacation, try going to the mountains of Cordillera or Sierra Madre with Baguio, Sagada, and Tagaytay as popular vacation spots. For urbanites, try visiting cities and soaking up their culture and history. Manila, Cebu, and Davao are all great centers for history and culture. Have a blessed and enjoyable Holy Week holiday!

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