The Province of Cebu is dotted with a number of religious and pilgrimage sites. However, some of these sites are located several miles away from the city center such as the Simala-Lindogon Church in Sibonga, to which not everyone has access to. Despite the pilgrimage exodus during the Holy Week season, a number of Cebuanos stay within the confines of the city perhaps because of work commitments, financial constraints, and physical limitations.
If you’re among those stuck in Cebu City throughout the Holy Week, don’t worry. There’s always a way to make your week as meaningful and memorable as you’d want it to be. This list of local churches, Stations of the Cross venues, and pilgrimage sites are enough to keep your spirit happy and your week busy!
If you’re Roman Catholic, then you’re probably planning to do Visita Iglesia – a religious practice of visiting at least seven churches during the Holy Week. Top of the list is the famous Basilica Minore Del Sto. Niño located across the Cebu City Hall. It’s where you can pay homage to the iconic Holy Child Jesus. Just a block away is the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, the ecclesiastical seat of the Archdiocese of Cebu. From there, you can head either south or north.
To the south, its best to drop by the newly built contemporary church dedicated to San Pedro Calungsod Chapel in South Road Properties. You can then proceed to the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish in Pardo. From Pardo, take the road back to the city proper and drop by Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Punta Princesa.
Here you can either head down to Redemptorist Church nestled at Queen’s Road, and then you can travel towards Mabolo’s San Jose de la Montaña Parish, and if time permits go a little further to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. Or from Punta Princesa, you can go to Our Lady of Guadalupe, then to St. Therese Parish in Lahug, and to the churches in Mabolo. Or you can visit San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish in C. Padilla Street before you go to uptown churches.
Stations of the Cross Sites
Stations of the Cross, also called Way of the Cross or Via Crucis, is a penitential tradition observed by most Roman Catholics. It symbolizes their act of following Christ and sharing in his suffering as he walked to Mount Calvary. More popular Stations of the Cross sites can get crowded during the Lenten Season, particularly on Good Friday, it may be best to visit the nearest Via Crucis location and do so earlier in the week to avoid the human and vehicular traffic.
Celestial Garden in Banawa is popular not only among Roman Catholics, but other religious individuals as well, because of its astounding view of the city and the life-size statues showcasing the last moments of Jesus Christ as God incarnate.
Folks in the northern part of Cebu City may visit the infamous Q Park in Consolacion (northern town) , but if that’s a long way, they can always drop by Tabor Hill in Talamban. The place is named after Mount Tabor in Israel. It features the towering Millennium Cross, standing at 33 meters and guiding pilgrims towards their destination. Tabor Hill is sometimes called Marian Hill because it also displays several images of the Blessed Virgin.
Those living in uptown Cebu City might as well enjoy the inspiring city view and the cool breeze while observing Via Crucis at Mountain View Nature Resort in Busay. Although a site mainly for recreation, the topmost portion of the resort features Stations of the Cross and a prominent white cross visible from lower Busay.
Pardo residents are perhaps the most fortunate having two venues for Way of the Cross in their area. There is the Talavera House of Prayer in Quiot, a retreat facility maintained by the University of San Jose-Recoletos. And there is San Carlos Heights in Basak, a subdivision with Stations, which is less crowded and more serene than others even during the Holy Week.
Other Religious Sites
The Langub Church in Guadalupe is a sanctuary of an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, hidden in the cave during the Spanish era and rediscovered in modern times. Devotees to the Virgin Mary, as well as people from other denominations visit the cave to experience the surreal surroundings, say a prayer, and marvel at the cavern-turned-chapel.
Of course, we should not forget Magellan’s Cross – the first iconic cross erected in the Philippines located between Basilica Minore Del Sto. Niño and Cebu City Hall. For most people, this shrine may just be a stop-over venue for picture-taking, but for devotees, the cross has a deeper meaning and value.
So there you have it, our list of spiritual sites and pilgrim destinations all located within Cebu City. This goes to show that you don’t have to look far to find God. Just because you’re not traveling somewhere outside the Queen City of the South, your Holy Week is never going to be boring and ordinary. Although you’re not spending the Lenten Season out of town, you can still be on your feet and on the road reconnecting with God and making the most of the long weekend.