A Quick Holy Week Getaway: Experience Tranquility Near Metro Manila

As the Lenten season approaches, many seek solace and reflection away from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila. Fortunately, several destinations within a few hours’ drive offer serene settings and opportunities to observe Holy Week practices. Whether you’re seeking spiritual retreats, cultural immersion, or simply a peaceful escape, these nearby sanctuaries provide a perfect backdrop for contemplation and renewal.

Where to go?

Antipolo City, Rizal

What to do: Visit the Antipolo Cathedral, also known as the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Church, where devotees traditionally make the pilgrimage to venerate the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary. Attend Holy Mass and join the processions held during Holy Week.
Where to go: Explore the Pinto Art Museum, an oasis of art and culture nestled amidst lush gardens and Mediterranean-inspired architecture. Immerse yourself in contemporary Filipino art and find inspiration in the tranquil surroundings.
Where to stay: Book a retreat at one of Antipolo’s cozy bed and breakfasts or boutique hotels overlooking panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains.

LMP 2001Antipolo Cathedral facade with new coat of arms 2023-11-26CC BY-SA 4.0
Tagaytay City, Cavite

What to do: Attend religious services at the Pink Sisters Convent and Chapel, where the nuns hold perpetual adoration and offer prayers for the intentions of the faithful. Take a moment of quiet reflection in the chapel’s serene ambiance.
Where to go: Visit the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church and join the Stations of the Cross procession held on Good Friday. Experience the solemnity of the occasion amidst the tranquil surroundings of Tagaytay.
Where to stay: Choose from a range of accommodations, from budget-friendly inns to luxurious resorts with breathtaking views of Taal Volcano and Lake.

Raymund James Bare Attribution (CC BY 2.0)
San Fernando, Pampanga

What to do: Witness the reenactment of the Passion of Christ during the renowned Via Crucis or “Maleldo” in San Pedro Cutud. Experience the profound devotion of the local community as they commemorate Christ’s sacrifice.
Where to go: Explore the San Guillermo Parish Church in Bacolor, known for its submerged bell tower that stands as a testament to the resilience of faith amidst natural calamities. Attend religious services and marvel at the church’s Baroque architecture.
Where to stay: Find accommodations in nearby Angeles City or Clark Freeport Zone, offering a range of hotels and resorts for a comfortable stay.

Joefran4, Bacolor ChurchCC BY-SA 3.0
Travel Tips

Plan Ahead: Check the schedules of religious services, processions, and events in your chosen destination to make the most of your Holy Week retreat.
Respect Local Customs: Observe reverence and respect when participating in religious activities and visiting sacred sites. Follow dress codes and guidelines set by local authorities.
Prepare for Crowds: Be mindful of the influx of pilgrims and tourists during Holy Week, especially in popular destinations. Arrive early for religious services and events to secure a good vantage point.
Stay Connected: Inform family and friends of your whereabouts and keep them updated on your travel plans. Stay connected in case of emergencies and coordinate meeting points in crowded areas.
Pack Essentials: Bring essentials such as sunscreen, water, snacks, and appropriate attire for religious observances and outdoor activities. Prepare for varying weather conditions and keep hydrated throughout your journey.

A quick getaway from Metro Manila during Holy Week provides an opportunity for spiritual reflection, cultural immersion, and relaxation. Whether you choose to visit historic churches, join religious processions, or simply soak in the natural beauty of the countryside, these nearby destinations offer a tranquil sanctuary for the soul. As you embark on your Holy Week retreat, may you find moments of peace, contemplation, and renewal amidst the solemnity of the season.