For many Filipinos, the Lenten season is a time to not only reflect on the sacrifices of Christ, but also a time to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Metro and busy life. Holy Week is one of the longest, and most anticipated holidays in the Philippines, and deciding where to go to celebrate it is cause for much excitement. If you’re stressing out because you do not have a plan in place for Lent this year, we have you covered. Whether you decide to stay in Metro Manila, or venture elsewhere, there are plenty of activities to enjoy. As your local travel guide in the Philippines here are top 6 destinatons in the Philippines for Holyweek.
While not quite a household name like Boracay and Palawan, Guimaras is a great alternative for those seeking crystalline waters and shores with the finest sand. It is less frequented, providing vacationers with a level of seclusion, which is a little more apt for observing the Holy Week. Notable places to visit include the Baras and Natago beaches, the Pawikan Sanctuary, and the Panaluron Falls.
Siquijor is the best destination for those who wish to truly get away this Holy Week. Siquijor has long had a reputation for being a place of magic, and the island province’s scenery is nothing short of magical. The island’s Healing Festival perfectly coincides with Holy Week, providing a one of kinde experience for the entire family. The Healing Festival is a four-day event that is celebrated by multiple church services, holy treks, and even healing sessions.
Another option if you are truly looking to get away from Metro Manila is Batanes. Batanes is in the northern Philippines, and is 657 km from Metro Manila, plus the best way to get to Batanes is via plane. Though getting to Batanes will require quite a travel, it is the ultimate Holy Week retreat. Often dubbed as the New Zealand of the Philippines with its serene and picturesque sights, it’s the best place to revitalize and reflect in time for Lent. Locations where you can enjoy moments of reflection include Chawa Cave, Mount Iraya, and the Itbayat, Sabtang, and Batan Islands.
Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur
Roughly an eight hours’ drive from Metro Manila, these sister provinces are quite famous for their natural surroundings and centuries old churches. Visitors often feel like they are traveling back in time, as many of these towns have done a splendid job of preserving their structures, which date as far back as the Spanish era. These make for great places to observe the Holy Week, particularly for vacationers who observe Visita Iglesia, or the tradition of visiting several churches and praying the Stations of the Cross.
Chances are you know someone who has been to Pampanga during Holy Week, and has come back with many stories to tell. Pampanga is filled with historical churches and religious shrines that tourist travel from all over the world to admire. What makes Pampanga a destination of choice for many Filipinos during Holy Week are the numerous reenactments of the crucifixion of Christ. If you have not made your way to Pampanga during Holy Week, make it your number one choice this year. Best of all, Pampanga is only 81.8 km away from Metro Manila, and you can get there by car in a little over an hour and a half.
Snorkeling, sea food and beaches await you in Palawan. Find yourself an undeveloped beach to laze under the sun. While you’re there, pay a visit to the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and attend mass with other devotees. Many believe that the Patron Saint of Palawan will grant the deepest desire of your heart if you pray fervently there during Holy Week.