Traditionally, Filipino Roman Catholics observe The Stations of the Cross or Via Crucis every Holy Week, specifically on Good Friday. Devout Catholics go on a pilgrimage to mimic the passion of Christ as a sign of sacrifice.
But due to the scourge of COVID-19 around the globe, most of these Holy Week traditions and activities will be practiced by Catholics in the confines of their homes.
So while we stay indoors as a part of our cooperation in flattening the curve, let us revisit some of the beautiful sites in Cebu for Stations of the Cross or Via Crucis.
The Celestial Garden – Banawa, Cebu City
The Celestial Garden is one of the most famous sites to do Via Crucis in Cebu. Owned and managed by the Tanchan Foundation, this 12-hectare garden is actually a memorial park. It features a life-size Way of the Cross and has rolling hills covered and surrounded by flowers and trees. One of the reasons the place is popular especially during the Holy Week is its accessibility because it is just located in the city.
Our Lady of Manaoag, St. Benedict’s Monastery – Carmen, Cebu
St. Benedict’s Monastery in the Archdiocese of Cebu is a Monastic house established by the Order of St. Benedict of Montefano in the year 1999. It is the first monastery of the Order in the island of the Philippines.
The place is known for its human-size Way of the Cross and for being a monastery with a breath-taking view of the surrounding mountains. It’s perfect for a spiritual escape during the Holy Week because the place can provide a solemn ambiance while you pray and reflect.
Tabor Hill – Order of the Discalced Augustinians, Talamban Cebu City
Another popular spot for the Way of the Cross during Lent is Tabor Hill located in Talamban, Cebu. It is named after Mt. Tabor in Israel where it is believed to be the site where Jesus Christ, Moses and Elijah appeared before the apostles. Over the years, many religious devotees visit Tabor Hill for prayers and reflections. Visitors start at the chapel and a well-paved path leads to the different stations. There are also shrines dedicated to Mother Mary and other saints. Tabor hill also offers a different view at night as it has a well-lit path that can easily let you see your way around the area as you do the Stations of the Cross. Found in the 12th Station of the Cross is the 33-meters high Millennium Cross that serves as guide for those who want to reach the high point of Tabor Hill.
Talavera House of Prayer – Quiot Pardo, Cebu City
The Talavera House of Prayer located up the mountain of Barangay Quiot Pardo in Cebu City was initially built to facilitate the spiritual growth of students, employees, and administrators of the University of San Jose-Recoletos. But now, any devotee or pilgrim is welcomed to visit the site for prayers and contemplation. The place is ideal for those who are looking for a solemn space where you can have a spiritual retreat for prayer, renewal, and individual solitude.
Q-Park – Compostela, Cebu
Owned by the Quisumbing family and the Norkis group, the park is the perfect place to reflect and pray. The owners call the places as “A legacy to the Filipino people and a place to remember.”
The only downside of the place is that it’s not as accessible compared to the other spots, but it’s worth the travel. Other than the Stations of the Cross, there’s also a 41-foot statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the park./dbs