Year 2011 when I and my travel hubby got hold of our first issued passport, and since it was the hyped of promo fares from several airlines, was able to score a cheap flight via Cebu Pacific. This was our first trip abroad and to keep me sane, we went to a country where we can be guided by someone we know. Singapore was an easy pick because it is where my sister-in-law is currently based.
my beautiful sister-in-law, our host for this trip
travel hubby at changi airport
Singapore is known as one of Southeast Asia country that has a high cost of living. Thanks to my sister-in-law for welcoming us to their abode, accommodation expense was deleted from our budget. For food, aside from home cooked dishes by my sister-in-law, we also tried authentic Singaporean dishes from a hawker place.
a temple below the pad of my sister-in-law
gao feng fish head steamboat
Tourist spots around Singapore are quite accessible, thanks to a very strategic railway system and organized bus stops.
first experience on a two-decker bus
(you may check our itinerary for this tour Singapore-Malaysia Tour)
How to beat the summer heat? Some take refuge in beaches, others in man-made pools but my forever sanctuary is nestled in Carolina Naga City, a spring with water so cool.
I have first set foot on this place in early 2000 and instantly became attached. And each and every visit left me with fond memories etched in my heart. The green forest, the sound of flowing water and the peaceful surrounding makes you commune with nature. And those recollections would not be complete without the people I shared it with. Together with my travel hubby (then my boyfriend), cousins and cousins’ friends, a “spur of the moment” would lead us to my happy place…“Batis”. We would just ride scooter (the biggest group was 6 scooters with 1 or 2 back ride each) with no extra clothes, just chips and beers at hand. Oh how I miss those Young and Wild and Free days!
With the corporate world taking its toll on me, it’s been quite awhile since the last time I’ve been there. And summer of last year gave me a chance to relive those happy days, though we weren’t able to reach the same spot we usually go because my dad and uncle joined us this time and it may be hard for them to trek. We just settled to a nearby area, plenty of people enjoying the place, few cottages for rent, water in the stream is not that deep and the mini waterfall is out of sight. But just the same, this place is still and will forever be my sanctuary… my “happy place”.
my uncle enjoying the water
my dad loving the water spa
my cousins reliving the memories
my happy place
Visita Iglesia is where people would drop by 7 to 14 different churches during Lent. Some would perform the station of the cross in every church they visit as part of their penitence.
Naga, Camarines Sur
Three churches that are very near each other along Naga proper are the Basilica Minore of Penafrancia, Naga Cathedral and Penafrancia Shrine. All three churches are dedicated for the mother of all Bicolanos.
Basilica of Peñafrancia
Three well preserved churches that can be visited in Bohol are Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Duais, Immaculate Conception in Baclayon and St. Peter Church in Loboc. It was just heartbreaking seeing these churches torn apart with the recent earthquake that shattered Bohol.
Three municipalities in Isabela that has churches rich in history are the St. Paul Church in Cabagan, St. Paul Church in San Pablo and St. Mathias Church in Tumauni. Aside from its history, the well preserved altar and façade are breathtaking.
San Pablo Church
Another way of penitence for Catholics is the Alay Lakad or walk offering. People would march (other barefooted) for an hour or so to reach a certain destination.
Our Lady of Peace & Good Voyage, Antipolo Rizal
In Rizal, alay lakad is usually done going to Antipolo Church. Those from the metro who cannot go to their provinces come here instead.
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Manaoag Pangasinan
People from Pangasinan go to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Manaoag to offer their walk.
Amang Hinulid, Calabanga Camarines Sur
I have not tried doing the first two but in Bicol, I was able to experience alay lakad for 5 consecutive years. Bicolanos go to Calabanga to visit Amang Hinulid or the image of the dead Christ. From Canaman as our starting point, we would walk around 15kms and would take us 2 hours to reach Calabanga. This is where I’ve also experienced riding on top of PUV.
Every Good Friday people would go to churches to make the station of the cross. While the church is a common place, there are other locations like hillsides where you can perform this form of penitence.
Mount Zion, Bugallon Pangasinan
Mt. Zion is a new location for Station of the Cross located in Bugallon Pangasinan. I believe the place is more developed now compared the time we visited it two years ago. (you may check previous blog here)
Regina RICA, Tanay Rizal
Last year, I went to Regina RICA in Tanay Rizal. This was my first time to see the place and also my first time have the station of the cross alone. The site is very peaceful and serene. You can also have a bird’s eye view of Tanay once you reach the top of the huge statue of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.
Kamay ni Hesus, Lucban Quezon
I also came across Kamay ni Hesus in Lucban Quezon but not during Lent. We were scouting for a venue to have our company outing and were able to reach the place. Like Mount Zion, there are life-sized statue depicting the station of the cross and like Regina RICA, you will see the huge image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus upon reaching the top. There is also a replica of Noah’s ark (with matching animals) that serves as a retreat house and they also have a chapel in between.