holy week 2015 | BATANGAS

Life was a lot like better during this time (half of 2015), everything seems in order –my finances were good and I worry less. I remember being worried only on how I can flee the office during the first day of Bluecross Sale. Hehehe. Seriously tho, my life was so easy before and I’m caught unprepared about getting old and all its limitation. Life hacks, I failed.

As I sum up 2015, it’s been a roller coaster ride and it run-ups to so many episodes. And because I’m still tiding up my files and getting this blog up-to-date, let me take you to another Batangas getaway during Holy Week of 2015.

I’ve been to Batangas many times, beaches in majority and this trip on a Holy Week was of many firsts. This time we visited the western part of the touristy Batangas.

On our way we passed by the abandoned Fantasy World in Lemery, stopped for a while and took souvenir photos from afar. At the course of my reading, Fantasy World was supposed to be a Philippine version of the famed Disneyland but it was never completed. And visiting Fantasy World according to many is not really worthy especially if you’re coming from Manila because there’s no point of interest and the most you can do here is take a lot of photos. Plan your visit here as a side trip only to a bigger trip so you don’t end up disappointed and exhausted from Tagaytay traffic.

We continued our drive to Taal which was our absolute destination that day for the annual Visita Iglesia. Getting to Taal Basilica you’d pass by the heritage town and a lot of it brings back memoirs of Ilocos and its ancestral houses –truly it can be named Vigan of the South.

The Basilica de San Martin de Tours or commonly referred as Taal Basilica remains to be the largest Catholic church in the Philippines and in South Asia and wow, it was such a beauty and majestic. Its façade baroque structure stands tall in an elevated hill facing Balayan Bay and from atop it overlooks the historic town and its neighboring town of Lemery.

Its interior is even grandeur –it’s vast and airy and well-lit, wide aisles and its ornate ceilings is similar to my hometown’s very own parish church.

After praying the Station of the Cross led by Nanay we left and explored the heritage town on foot.

From the vicinity of the church stands Escuela Pia. This old structure is a school supervised by the church and was named after the congregation established by San Jose Calansaz during the 17th century. Agustinian priests constructed this convent which later became school for the underprivileged Taal youth.

It is considered also as one of the oldest educational institution in the country.

From Escuela Pia, we wandered and passed by one of Taal’s recognized ancestral house. The Villavicencio Wedding Gift House, but it was closed already so I snapped a photo of its opulent bordering. The house was given as a gift by Eulalio Villavicencio to his soon to be wife Gliceria Marella.

While still getting around we also chanced San Lorenzo Ruiz steps –125 granite steps dedicated to the memory of San Lorenzo Ruiz.

Down the stairs you’ll find the Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine believed to be miraculous.

The image, which depicts the Immaculate Conception is also believed to be one of the oldest in the country, having found in 1603 by a man fishing in Pansipit River. The subsequent Marian apparitions documented by Spanish colonial church leaders were first in the country.

On our climb back at San Lorenzo Ruiz steps, halfway through there were plenty of people leading to a pathway. We followed just like that and was surprised to find another sacred site.

Sta. Lucia Well is a pilgrimage site known for its miraculous healing waters. About 500 meters off the steps past a dried creek and gloomy undergrowth are the twin wells of Sta. Lucia. The present site used to be a brook where the Virgin of Caysasay performed miracles and where a church was built by the townsfolk. The violence of the 18th century earthquake sank the church but its half immersed facade remains intact. After the quake, spring water gushed out of the twin doors. (source: read HERE)

I was all observant all along our stay at the miraculous well, there were people who collected waters and some even took a quick bath. I cannot reasonably explain the rationality behind the waters, at the end it’s all faith.

After all the climbs and walks, it’s very probable that everyone was so tired and hungry. We looked everywhere around the heritage town for the famed Batangas Lomi but unfortunately every stall we went was sold out. How disappointing eh? We ended at this unpretentious eatery in Lemery which serves Batangas Lomi and home-cooked meals, I don’t know what happened next because I felt really drained. P.S. I did not really touch the meat and innards from my lomi bowl, the kids ate pork sinigang because the church says they’re exempted.

Oh, the following day is Good Friday and we’re back on the road with no itinerary on hand. This time we drove passing Maragondon, and the tough magnetic hill of Ternarte. It was ze husband’s first time to drive at this route and I did not mention any about the seeming magnetic field that strains the engine until he complained that our car might be broke. Hehehe.

Anyhow, we reached Kaybiang Tunnel in one piece. Kaybiang Tunnel is the Philippines’ longest subterranean road tunnel at 300 meters that links the towns of Ternate, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas.

Of course we stopped by like most tourist and had a quick photo op.

The next turn after Kaybiang Tunnel offered a very scenic view of Patungan Cove, the long drive was so worth it. And what better way to kill the blistering summer heat, beach! We drove at the access road but eventually stopped by uniform men because it’s not open to public, but with the right connections we were allowed in due course.

Patungan Cove is a fishing village and I can still recall my Tatay’s struggle when he was still the Municipal Agriculturist of Maragondon. There was no access road back then and the only way to reached Bgy. Sta. Mercedes is by boat. My Tatay spent nights at this village for so many times especially when waves get bigger at late afternoons. I know he made friends with many village folks here and it’s sad that because of legal issues some were forced to abandon the place.

Anyhow, if you’re visiting I read somewhere that there are boats from a spot off the highway that can be rented and get you at the beach.

The coastline here is not a white sand beach instead is light brown in color and clean and you get the hilly part as backdrop. It was a nice breather because the beach is not crowded. Before sundown we left and drove to Nasugbu-Tagaytay gateway. Had a quick dinner at Jollibee Mendez Crossing Tagaytay before heading home.

Easter Sunday. It’s perhaps the most unforgettable and the most I will always cherish. We had a widespread of home-cooked meals. I told you how we celebrate Easter like Christmas, it’s merry and we have extended families coming over to lunch with us. Tatay was so alive then, there was no sign of any sickness or pain. Why he was taken shortly? I know it’s nearly four years and yet I’m still talking like it happened only yesterday. I really wanted to move forward and evolve from it but many times I caught myself still shattered beyond recovery. Sigh!

I still have tons of kwentos and trips to document but I need more time and I don’t know what’s next.

Please stay tuned. ♥



holy week 2016 | BATANGAS

Back in 2016, ze husband and I decided to spend the Holy Week in Cavite again because it was the first year to observe Lent without Tatay. I thought Nanay was always clingy then and we needed to be at her side for most days. Tho we’ll be missing the holiday road trip up North, I guess it was great also to spend time with the doggos. The big B and my litol boi Astro were equally clingy when we’re home and no amount of McDonald’s burger can’t replace the presence of their hoomans. Jowk! Insert a laughing B and Atlo 😀

Hello Alfred!

Because Tagaytay traffic gets too heavy and bad during holidays we drove to nearby Batangas for the annual Visita Iglesia.

First stop was at the Carmel, Mary, Mediatrix of all Grace. It was an accidental stop actually when we sort of got lost from navigating our way to Lipa Cathedral. Not like the many old churches I’ve been to, Carmel is unadorned and looks modern –white walls and light blue ceiling. There’s not much trace of the olden eras but despite of its unassuming interiors, it remained peaceful and holy especially that location is a bit away from the loud city traffic. By the way, Carmel was founded in 1946 two years before the apparition happened to Teresita Castillo and other sisters at the convent.

I read somewhere that there is monastery garden, the actual site of the apparition, we didn’t saw it because we didn’t really go around. It was around noon time when we were there and everyone was hungry I guess.

A few kilometers from Carmel is the Parish of Mary, Mediatrix of all Grace located in Antipolo del Norte, Lipa City. This Spanish baroque church was founded only in September 2011 and was solemnly dedicated by Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop Emeritus of Manila and Most Rev. Ramon C. Arguelles, D.D., Archbishop of Lipa.

The parish interiors with retablos in gold.

I’m quite lost about history and some stories I should have researched prior to our visit. But it’s always good to learn something first-hand and eventually regret –I should have snapped many photos to remember all the details.

Our last church that day was The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian, commonly known as the Lipa Cathedral. It was formerly located on the Shore of Taal Lake and was destroyed when Taal Volcano erupted in 1754. Reconstruction of the church on the present site began in 1732 and ended in 1790. According to legend, the image of San Sebastian disappeared from the church and was later found by the townspeople on a lipa tree, which led to the town being named after it.

San Sebastian Cathedral is constructed from rough-hewn, rectangular stone and has a six-storey octagonal bell tower which rests on a rectangular base and tapers gradually to the cupola on top. ( source: read HERE)

There were so many visitors that day and it’s surprising that I don’t have any decent photos of the church interiors. Sigh! I’m too distracted or maybe I wasn’t thinking of writing about the whole trip or I was deeply meditating.

Anyhow, the trip was all worth of gas expenses and toll fees and time. At least in tough times, I have something good to look back. By the way, if you’re fasting and abstaining like me during Holy Weeks, Chowking meals are great because they serve meatless fast-food meals –tofu, water spinach, chopsuey, sweet & sour fish and of course Halo-Halo.

This day ended with another meal at Goto Me in ADB Triangle, Tagaytay City. Yes, we had rice porridge and daing na bangus to cap of the night.

Sorry for the very short info you might pick here. Am writing another Batangas trip, check out soon. ♥



P.S. Easter Sunday was always observed over big eats at home. It’s festive like Christmas. Moi at my heaviest or it’s just the wrong angle 😀



holy week 2017 | CAVITE

I think I spent too much time on social media platforms (facebook & Instagram mostly) and yet I remained hiatus on my very own space. It’s a shame really and I have no valid excuse except for my lack of interest to write life’s events. I felt there’s nothing to write about because it’s monotonous anyway. And then, I met a young lady during the Holy Week whom I had a nice chat regarding the rise of these new breed of influencers. I admire her wit and despite her being a millennial she still finds it odd to read only good reviews online, not that she detests the good life and inspiration we get from these public post, I mean can we be more truthful and write something close to reality?

So where were you during the Holy Week break?

In 2017, I spent Holy Week in my hometown minus ze husband because my brother-in-law was in town and ze husband had to accompany him in Ilocos. I had no solid plans that time but if you know me really, I can come up with an overnight plan and travel right away especially if budget was not a major concern. I commissioned ze cousin to drive us for the customary Visita Iglesia. Oh, I terribly missed Ilocos and the baroque churches I’ve been. But this time, I find it redeeming to visit nearby Cavite churches and go on a road trip, of course with my regulars –Nanay and Tita G and Shane.

First stop was The Diocesan Shrine of the Immaculate Concepcion Church in Naic, Cavite, constructed during the 1800s (Reference Wiki). I can’t remember the last time I visited this church, it must have been ages, 20+ years ago, a baptismal rite perhaps and I can’t even remember how it look like then and if there have been changes thereafter I can’t really tell now. This is the exterior, I wish I had a nicer camera then to capture the whole façade. With my iPhone on hand, and the church limited frontage I cannot do more. Please note that the church is tucked in the vicinity of a covered court, a school nearby and tricycle terminal, parking may be difficult especially if you’re visiting during this season.

This is the church interiors –simple and airy and I love the golden chandeliers.

The second church was Sto. Niño de Ternate in Ternate, Cavite. The history of the parish church is traced way back in 1863 at which time this town was under the jurisdiction of Maragondon. It’s historic on its own and if you’d like to discover more I recommend you read more here.

I don’t know why I missed a photo of the exterior minus us. Sorry for the shameless selfie. Hehehe

After two churches, we had late lunch at Lolo Claro’s in Maragondon. I don’t know but Holy Week is always synonymous to summer and Lolo Claro’s oversize Halo-halo was the perfect break from the scorching heat of the summer skies. Must try and specialty of the house is Claro’s Fried Chicken. It tasted like your all-time favorite fried chicken na talagang Sarap to the Bones!

Back on the road was our third and probably the most significant amongst was The Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Church in Maragondon, Cavite. It was consecrated in 1581 and was completed only in 1714, it’s the only heritage structure in the town of Maragondon which was declared by National Museum as a National Cultural Treasure. Tatay must have many things to say about the church and Maragondon itself after spending many years as the Municipal Agriculturist at this heritage town. I can tell how happy he would be telling stories and his experiences from way back. I remember he has this friend who owns a big grocery near the town plaza and an old friend who owns a gas station too. I know I should have been more attentive to his modest stories before.

This is Maragondon Church interiors with bright altar pieces or retablos.

And the exterior speaks so much of age and history. I love this church because the mood remains solemn despite the flock of many pilgrimage that day. Yes, I’m biased.

From Maragondon, we drove to the landlocked municipality of Magallanes. It was such a good afternoon drive because of the greeneries and nicely paved highway.

Upon reaching the quaint town of Magallanes, we parked at the side road where we thought next to the Parish Church. I noticed that the church is so small, our Visita (tuklong) was even bigger and grand, so I really thought until some church-goers came in. We felt a bit weird, I don’t know. When we went out we bumped into Shane who was looking for us, apparently she was waiting for us at the church compound. Guess what? The church we went in was an Aglipayan Church. It was an ice breaker and we laughed as we crossed the street going to the catholic church.

Nuestra Señora de Guia is the Parish Church of Magallanes, Cavite. Don’t ever make the same mistake we did, I read somewhere how he describes the Aglipayan Church more “catholic” than the nearby parish church.

Sorry for this almost vanishing photo of the church, there were too many people that time and mass was on-going. 

From Magallanes, we drove to Alfonso, Cavite. St. John Nepomucene is their Parish Church and I remember our Christmas visits to Rev. Fr. Reddy when he was still the parish priest. He would welcome us to his small office cum abode at the church compound and offer us simple sandwiches and coffee. He was my parents godfather during their church wedding and it was a tradition back then that our family visits their Ninongs and Ninangs during the Holidays. I don’t know why it stopped when in fact it’s more convenient now to travel, maybe because we’ve grown up and the parental thought it’s no longer appropriate for us to go.

From Alfonso to Indang, you’d passed by another parish church at Lumampong Halayhay which is St. Vincent Ferrer Parish. In 1851, St. Vincent Ferrer was established as a Visita under the parochial of St. Gregory the Great in Indang and in 1997 it became a pastoral center. After a short prayer, we went our way to our last destination.

It was already past 6pm when we reached the hometown. St. Gregory The Great is the Parish Church of Indang, Cavite. Founded in 1625 and became witnessed to so many life events of my family. I was baptized and confirmed here but decided to do my wedding in one of Tagaytay churches because of convenience for our Manila guests. The same church witnessed deaths of family members and friends.

This is the interior of St. Gregory The Great Church –rose colored trompe and impressive oil paintings on the ceilings. The retablo has three levels of niches and saints. The church of Indang was one of the first churches in Cavite to use galvanized iron as its roofing in 1869 and I remember how my grandfather tell us story that he was one of the carpenters who made its roofing probably in the 1950s during the restoration.

By the way, if you happen to pass by the town of Indang make sure you buy one of Indang’s old delicacy –Kalamay Buna or Kalamay Indang, it’s a traditional kakanin made of glutinous rice, coconut milk, brown sugar and young coconut meat. You can get hold of this at the pasalubong center nearby the police station and old municipal hall.

Next, Visita Iglesia in Batangas. 🙂