Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Walk to Antipolo

"There are more people on the roads than cars!" I think to myself. There's music and marching madness all around and the air is fever-pitch. One thing's for certain, the excitement is contagious. It's not long before I'm swept up in the encompassing enthusiasm and brush up on my marching skills.

If it weren't for the tens of thousands of other people ascending past me, I'd think to ask a few questions. I'd want to know where exactly everyone was heading to, but with this many people bustling past - it was inevitably something worth seeing.

Along the busy stretch of Ortigas Avenue, we hear the steady beat of marching drums and murmured prayer. The jeepneys and tricycles that jostle for position with the swarm of pilgrims, are careful not to honk their horns and upset the religious reverence that's ever present. For once it is us pedestrians who aren't the minority, rejoice!

Starting in Pasig City, we leave the hustle and bustle of Manila after about two hours. It is then that we begin to scale the mountains of Antipolo. Once you begin the winding path up the hills, all fourteen stations of the cross must be crossed before reaching the famous church. At each station, there are a collection of stalls selling food and beverages. There's also musical performers and dramatic re-enactments of the final hours of Jesus Christ.

Post midnight, the atmosphere is akin to that of a carnival, and rather than complain about a long night of walking, families are roaring with laughter and people are dancing in the streets, all the while chanting prayers directed at the heavens above.

We had been walking for more than four hours, and feeling worse for wear, began to see how those around us were holding up.
"Since Taguig," says Anne, a student from Taguig City University. "We are now walking for our seventh hour. We started at 9pm, it is now 3am. I'm so very tired."

After such a tiring walk, many people opt to sleep outside the church, on nothing more than newspapers. Understandably so for some, who have walked as far as 50 kilometers! Spread out upon their favorite tabloid, many people sit down with friends for a late-night picnic of beer and snacks.

Antipolo is roughly 25 kilometers from Metro Manila, and is home to the most stunning and sweeping views of the seventeen cities that make up our world-class city. The view at sunrise is awe-inspiring, and well worth the trek. Watch as it basks in gentle orange ambiance of early morning sunshine that knows not yet of traffic.



  1. What dedication! It must have been awe-inspiring to march with so many people with a single purpose.

    Have a great weekend!

  2. I Remember doing this as a Child with My Mom and Dad, along with their friends. I always end up sleeping half way through, and my dad would be carrying me on his shoulders. Fond memories :)