Friday, April 27, 2012


Our Holy Week road trip was hectic but fun. It was solemn, reflective and quite a photo opportunity that everyone was quick to snap pictures here, there and everywhere. Me, I like taking pictures of scenery, landscape and vast empty spaces.

And flowers were certainly part of the rustic scenery in the town of Alfonso in Cavite. These shots were taken at the Our Lady of Monte Maria Oratory. It was a rural setting with lush foliage and quite fresh (summer) air. Something I certainly miss in the urban jungle of the metropolis.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Holy Week (April 7, 2012)

We were supposed to head back to Manila after Caleruega but it was already past 6pm. We were all really exhausted. Traffic in the Tagaytay area was terrible. We figured we would also encounter heavy traffic in the SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) so we just decided to find a place to spend the night. Our previous hotel was fully booked but they recommended their sister hotel, the Alfonso Hotel Farm also in Alfonso, Cavite.

A well maintained secluded farm environment with rooms/cottages for rent. It has two swimming pools, a stable where you can hire horses for riding. A perfect laid back getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Our 8th church: Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Tagaytay, Cavite. It has a grotto, and candles chapel on its grounds. Its stations of the Cross was inside a hallway in the lower level of the Church.

We only had provisions for 2 days since it was supposed to be just an overnighter trip. But we recycled our clothes. It was a hectic 3 days and the weather was quite warm and humid. But it was an enjoyable Holy Week, we were able to visit 8 churches so it was worth all the sweat stains, the tired feet and the last minute changes!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Holy Week (April 6, 2012)

After we spent the night at Alfonso hotel in a tiny room where 7 people somehow managed to squeeze themselves, we all had daing na bangus (it was Good Friday, after all!) for breakfast.

Then while the rest were taking showers in the bathroom, we decided to check out the premises. D always looks very fresh since he hardly breaks into a sweat. Not fair!

I tend to travel light so I hardly have space for my hair dryer and hair iron. So here I am with curly wet hair (which will be knotted into a bun once dry) and already sweating as we walked around the area.

5th Church in our Visita Iglesia: Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine in Taal Batangas

The main altar of our Lady of Caysasay Shrine

The magnificent painting at the interior dome of the church

A beautifully carved arch was constructed over the spring near the church known as "the Wells of Santa Lucia". It is believed that an image of the Virgin Mary was reflected in this spring so the water is said to be miraculous.

6th stop: Basilica of St Martin de Tours also in Taal, Batangas

The Taal Basilica is identified as the largest Catholic Church in Asia

Its long and wide aisle is very imposing. Its interiors was quite spacious.

Its Doric style main altar was a sight to behold

Another important feature of Taal Basilica is its bell which is considered as one of the largest bell in the country. This massive instrument is 19 feet (5.8 m) in circumference at the lip, 9.33 feet (2.84 m) around the crown and 6.42 feet (1.96 m) in height

There were magnificent paintings all over, this is on top of the organ/choir section.

You can climb all the way to the roof top of church. I was too coward to do so but D wasn't!

This was the great view he caught of the city of Taal

After taking tons of pictures, it was time to leave the scenic town of Taal and head to our next destination.

Our 7th church: Caleruega in Nasugbu, Batangas

The Transfiguration Chapel is such a solemnly serene place of worship

The administration building of Caleruega

It was such a long day, I was terribly exhausted so I just parked myself on a bench and took pictures of the sun as it set for the day :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


The best exercise for weight lost is walking. My father who is 75 years old walks every day. He didn't have to join any gym, nor buy expensive sporting attire to get his cardio workout going. Garbed in a comfy tee, a pair of walking shorts and good rubber shoes, it doesn't really take much. He has been telling me for the longest time that walking is how to lose weight fast.

Well I may not do it daily but believe me our recent Holy Week trip to visit churches was one tough exercise. We walked all over, went up and down stairs, sweated my jeans off because it was really scorching hot. Actually it was my mistake to wear jeans and blouses for the trip. My conservative self prevailed, I didn't want to enter churches dressed in shorts and tank tops. I was under the impression we would just go in, say our prayers then leave for the next place of worship. I was wrong. Next time I will be better prepared! :D

Monday, April 23, 2012

Holy Week (April 5, 2012)

My sister let me use her digicam even though silently I knew she was pouting inside. The thing is she demands I spend every single minute with her whenever she is in town. Quite reasonable, if you ask me but she understood we already had plans. So D & I went through with the Visita Iglesia trip with our friends.

Holy Thursday, we shoved off at 6:30am. Our destination was to cover as many churches possible in the province of Batangas. After enduring heavy traffic on the SLEX, we reached our first church.

Santissima Trinidad church in Batangas City

The Stations of the Cross were displayed in beautiful stained glasses

2nd church: The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Batangas City

It had huge murals and colorful paintings depicting biblical events

3rd church: The Immaculate Conception Parish in Bauan, Batangas

The main altar of the Bauan Church

The marker at the Immaculate Conception Parish church, Bauan

We had bulalo for lunch with a fantastic view of Taal Lake and Volcano

4th church: Our Lady of Monte Maria Oratory, Alfonso Cavite

This is the temporary structure which houses an altar and plastic chairs are readily available whenever Father Suarez performs his healing masses.

The Piety statue is very much like the one found at the Vatican in Rome

Life size Stations of the Cross

The vast expanse of the grounds is perfect for a solemn reflection at the Stations of the Cross

The statue of Our Lady of Monte Maria

D & D at the Our Lady of Monte Maria Oratory in Alfonso, Cavite

After a very hot and tiring day, we made our way to the Alfonso hotel for the night