FAITH-BASED TOURISM. Photo shows (from left to right) Intramuros Administration administrator Atty. Guiller Asido, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Teo, DOT Region IV-A Director Rebecca Villanueva-Labit and DOT Undersecretary Atty. Marco Bautista share a light moment at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila on Thursday (March 15, 2018). The administration in partnership with the DOT, Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) will stage several activities during the Holy Week to promote faith-based tourism. (PNA photo by Ben Briones)
Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo urged the public to visit faith-based tourism destinations and participate in the Lenten activities in the regions.
With the launch of Faith and Farm tourism, the DOT chief has deemed it the right time to boost the program during Lent.
“The DOT is poised to go full swing on piloting emerging faith tourism destinations this year, highlighting festivals and various Filipino traditions that will encompass a holistic pilgrimage experience.”
Teo noted that she has given the sector the marching orders to focus on the promotion of Faith-based tourism products in the different regions of the Philippines, the only Catholic country in Asia with 85M (93%) of its population as Catholics.
Among the destinations and activities recommended are the shrines of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Pangasinan, all in Region 1, the site of the Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion, a Unesco World Heritage site.
For Region 2, Visita Iglesia in Cagayan Valley is encouraged as the region has existing packages highlighting religious excursions in the province.
Other regions mentioned by Teo that has notable religious festivals are:
– Region 4-B. MIMAROPA is known for its famous Moriones Tableau, a century-old tradition in Marinduque staged during the week-long celebration of the Holy Week where locals would perform a re-enactment of Christ’s passion and death with Longinus as the other central character, an event that the province has staged for decades, showing a glimpse of its religious history.
– Region 6. Holy Week celebrations in Bacolod City, Talisay City, Villadolid, Bacolod City is known for “Kalbaryo sang Krus”, a street drama portraying the suffering and death of Jesus. Visit the historic churches of Silay, and Cadiz City, and participate in the Worship Festival, Pamalandong sa Tamborong, and Taital in Iloilo and Guimaras.
– Region 10. Visit the shrines and churches of Misamis, Lanao, Bukidnon in Northern Mindanao. The Sunken Cemetery of Camiguin is a must-see for tourists alike, as well as the St. John the Baptist Church, a known heritage site in Misamis Occidental. The region also celebrates a number of religious festivals for the Holy Week celebration, namely the Feast of the Divine Mercy, Hinuklog, Panaad, and Patunob festival.
– Region 9. Dipolog City in Zamboanga Peninsula will be staging its annual Katkat Sakripisyo on Good Friday, a depiction of the passion, suffering, and death of Christ in Linabo Peak where pilgrims will complete the 3,003-step katkat (climb) until the last of the 14 stations of the cross.
Meanwhile, the Metro Manila residents who want to avoid the exodus of travelers going to the provinces may opt to visit Intramuros where the Visita Iglesia, Senakulo, and Via Crucis will be held from 29 March (Maundy Thursday) and 30 March (Good Friday) said Atty. Guiller Asido of the Intramuros Administration.