Batangas’ beach resorts, lakeside restaurants, and heritage sites make the province a popular destination especially during summer. Its centuries-old churches, on the other hand, also make the place a choice destination among Catholics during Holy Week.
On March 18 (Saturday), Green Faith Travels organizes a pilgrimage in the area in observance of the Lenten season. Participants will pray and reflect at the National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio in Santo Tomas, Nuestra Señora de la Soledad in Tanuan City, Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian or the Lipa Cathedral, and four other churches in Lipa City in Batangas for its annual Visita Iglesia, the fifth Lenten Pilgrimage of Faith and Heritage.
Devotees of Saint Padre Pio and the Blessed Mother will also pray at the Carmelite Monastery (Carmel of Our Lady Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace) and the parishes of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace in Bgy. Antipolo del Norte, Saint Therese of the Child Jesus in Bgy. Talisay and Sto. Niño in Bgy. Marawoy.
The day-long pilgrimage ends with a visit to Marian Orchard and its Sacred Heart chapel in Balete, Batangas. The sprawling prayer park, an oasis for contemplation of local and foreign visitors, features flower gardens, including images of Via Crucis.
The church of Saint Padre Pio, which the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) declared a national shrine on September 14, 2015, has become a popular pilgrim destination, where the faithful hear Mass, confess, and pray for their intentions for the intercession of Saint Padre Pio, known for his healing miracles.
From nipa and bamboo, the main church was redesigned using wood, stone, bamboo, and sasa (thatches made from nipa palm leaves). Its salakot-shaped roof (native wide-brimmed hat made of nipa palm) is a reminder of God’s protection of His people.
Interested pilgrims may inquire with Bro. Edwin Galvez through (+63) 926-6152596 or firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com or visit www.facebook.com/greenfaithtravels for details.
Pilgrimage fee of Php2,500 per person covers round-trip transport (tourist bus), breakfast at Batangueña restaurant, Lenten buffet lunch at Lima Park Hotel, morning and afternoon snacks and drinks, pilgrim’s kit and church donations.
Payment deadline is on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Twenty percent discount is given to one pilgrim for groups of five pilgrims.