Garden salad and Japanese cucumber juice from Costales Nature FarmsThis year, Roman Catholics and most Protestant groups will be observing the Holy Week from March 30 to April 4, 2015. During this time, expect Filipinos to be watching processions and religious programs, attending talks such as “The Seven Last Words,” reciting the pabasa and the like.
One of our most notable customs is the Visita Iglesia, wherein people visit seven churches, usually on Maundy Thursday or spread over several days until Easter Sunday if the churches are located in different areas. Completing the Visita Iglesia, it is said, means that one’s wish or prayer will be granted.
At the same time, some devotees opt to pray the 14 Stations of the Cross. This means they visit a total of 14 churches or, due to time or other constraints, pray two stations in seven churches.
We all have our own itineraries for this tradition, but for this year, do consider Laguna and Quezon, which offer an array of Spanish-era churches—and great food stops along the way.
If one is coming from Manila, the first stop would be St. John the Baptist Church in Calamba. Established in 1779, this was the baptismal site of Jose Rizal, and just a stone’s throw away from the Rizal Shrine.
Traveling down to the town of Bay, do drop by at St. Augustine Parish Church, built in 1578.
San Pablo City is where Saint Paul the First Hermit Cathedral dating back to 1721 is located.
San Bartolome Apostol Parish Church in Nagcarlan, built in 1752, was featured in the ABS-CBN series “Kampanerang Kuba” starring Anne Curtis in 2005.
Sulyap’s kulawong puso ng sagingLiliw, the footwear capital of Laguna, boasts of the redbrick St. John the Baptist Parish Church which dates back to 1605.
The home of a national cultural treasure, St. Gregory the Great Parish Church, is located in Majayjay.
Cap your day at San Luis de Obispo Tolosa Parish Church, built in 1738, in Lucban and visit the Kamay ni Hesus Shrine.
Don’t forget to fortify yourselves at these seven establishments very close to the aforementioned churches.
In Calamba, check out Ding Hao Chinese Cuisine and, in Bay, Kamayan sa Palaisdaan, whose crispy pata is a must-try.
At Lake Pandin, contemplate nature and experience dining in an ancestral house in San Pablo City’s Sulyap Gallery Cafe and Restaurant as you taste the delectable kulawong puso ng saging.
Right beside the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery is Ralphjoy’s Restobar with its delicious menudong Tagalog.
After shopping for affordable footwear on Gat Tayaw Street in Liliw, try the great steaks and pasta at Arabela.
Take a break and refresh yourselves at the Taytay Falls and dine wellness-style on the organic dishes of Costales Nature Farms in Majayjay. Don’t forget to eat at Mustiola’s, the so-called best carinderia in Lucban town, with its budget-friendly home-cooked meals.
But despite these proffered gastronomic ideas during a most solemn part of the year, it would still be best to eat in moderation, even as we help boost the livelihoods of our countrymen in other regions by becoming tourists in our own land. (Story/ photos by Gerbs De Castro)