The Corona Virus Effect
By John Xtian
Good Friday holds a special place in my heart. It makes me reflect of the sacrifice the Lord Jesus Christ did for humankind. Makes one think, just how special and worthy are we, that God loves us so?
I recalled, this date three years ago, I went down south of Cebu to visit 7 different churches.
These churches are around 100 kilometers away from the main city of Cebu. I realized that no matter how far these churches are from the other, the practices and celebration remain the same.
The one big difference down south is tranquility. I can’t seem to put my finger around it, but there’s this a different sense of beauty in the quietness of the towns in the south of Cebu.
Quaint are the towns down south of Cebu.
On Good Friday it becomes more quiet but is solemn, at the same time.
It was a rather long trip, but I know that I will find something special if I experience the Good Friday celebration of the people in the south of Cebu.
I was not wrong.
The plan was to visit the following churches:
1. Immaculate Concepcion Church in Oslob.
2. Our Lady of Patrocinio in Boljoon.
3. Sta. Rosa de Lima Church in Alcoy.
4. San Guillermo de Aquitania Church in Dalaguete.
5. Sta. Monica Parish in Cawayan Dalaguete.
6. Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish in Talaga, Argao.
7. The Archdiocesan Shrine and Parish of St. Michael the Archangel in Argao
Immaculate Concepcion Church in Oslob, Cebu
This right here is the church of Oslob. Quite old, I should say.
The church of Oslob was built in the year 1690, making it 330 years old this year (2020).
The church is dedicated to the Immaculate Concepcion.
Oslob Church Facade
If there is no mistake in this info, the inside of the church was renovated due to a fire that happened almost or a decade or so ago.
Interior of Oslob Church
The next stop is the Church of Boljoon.
At this time, I was basically going north.
As I was nearing the church, I witnessed 2 men, walking at the very center of the highway, self-flagellation.
During Good Friday, in the Philippines, it is a long standing tradition, for some, to chastise themselves.
They start walking from their house going to the church.
This is a form of penitence to show how sorry they for their sins.
This practice dates back to early Christianity. Christians do self-flagellation to show remorse of their sins and as a reminder how unworthy they are in front of God.
One of the two men arrived first in the entrance gate of the Oslob Church.
He continues to do this while waiting for his companion to arrive.
The children in the picture are their companions.
Both chastise themselves in front of the Church.
The ritual ends when they prostrate themselves in front of the Church.
I was really curious about this practice/tradition. I have heard of this before in the news but did not actually experience one personally.
I was so curious that I asked them about this.
I found out that the man wearing white shirt is the father, while the other person is his son.
The father has been doing this for a long time now. He first learned to practice this tradition when he was still staying in Manila. It’s been 7 years since he got back in Cebu.
He introduced the tradition to his son, who willingly accepted to join his father in self-flagellation.
They didn’t get inside the church even after they were done with the ritual stating that they find themselves unworthy to get inside the House of God
The back of the son. It was so full of dried blood but has been cleaned off.
If you notice the children in the picture who brought a pale with them, they were the ones who do the cleaning. The pale is filled with water. It is what they use to clean off the dried blood.
This is one of the most peaceful churches I have been to. Boljoon Church Facade
The interior is really nice, too. Boljoon Church Interior
Off to Alcoy, Cebu
The church in Alcoy is very much easy to spot. It is just in the center of the town proper.
Unlike other towns’ churches where it is near the municipal hall, the church of Alcoy is located on the other side of the road from the location of the municipal hall.
Sta. Rosa de Lima Church in Alcoy, Cebu
The interior of the church.
It’s always a touching scene to experience that someone still holds the tradition to fervently pray especially on Good Friday.
San Guillermo de Aquitanio Church in Dalaguete
Established in the year 1690, the church in Dalaguete is really quite old. Notice the structure of the church, it is the same as that of the ones in Argao, Boljoon and Oslob.
It pretty much share the same architecture as those other three. We do not know who copied who. Maybe, it was not strictly copied, they just might have the same designer as they were established almost on the same year.
I’d definitely love to come back here again.
The people that were inside queued up for confession. Good Friday, in the Philippines, is always a day for confession.
It is quite a big church.
Sta. Monica Parish in Cawayan, Dalaguete
Since Dalaguete is quite an enormous town, it becomes difficult for those people living in the outskirts of the town to go to town proper to attend mass.
Thus the presence of a different parish in Dalaguete, in Barangay Cawayan, specifically.
It is a very quaint parish. So peaceful and traditional. It is a few meters aay from the highway. Hardly noticeable especially when you travel and just keep looking forward, not looking at the side.
The interior of the church is practically empty. Services were done and it was lunch time.
There’s hardly any people as it goes to show that not a lot of people get to stop in this church for Bisita Iglesia as the church is a place where you, at times, need to look for.
Even at times when I head down, I fail to notice that I already gone past the church.
Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish in Talaga, Argao
Another parish that is not from the town proper is in Talaga, Argao.
This is the first church that I always notice, ever since I was 13 years old. I knew one day that I need to visit the church.
This church is way more noticeable compared to the Sta. Monica Church in Cawayan, Dalaguete.
Families flock the church to do the Way of the Cross on a Good Friday.
It gets quite tiring travelling from Oslob all the way to Argao. That pretty much is around, more or less, a 100(+ -) kilometers of distance.
Lunch would be quite good.
Escabeche and puso should do it.
The Archdiocesan Shrine and Parish of St. Michael the Archangel in Argao, Cebu
Established in the year 1703, this church stands as one of the great pillars of Christianity in the south of Cebu.
The town of Argao is easily accessible via bu transit. It is easily, one of the most quaint towns in the south of Cebu. Located just right after the town of Sibonga, the town of Argao boasts of the best torta and tablea in Cebu island.
The church interior adorned with a hundreds of years old paint in the ceiling.
As a more convenient and more known church, more families flock the church to do the Way of the Cross on a Good Friday.
I made a vlog post about the church, technically. Check it HERE
My last stop of the Bisita Iglesia was the Nuestra Senora del Pilar in Sibonga, Cebu.
For some reason, though, all my pictures are lost
But, I still visited other places of worship. I did it on Easter Sunday.
The Theotokos Shrine in Carcar City, Cebu.
Received by many as a miraculous place, the shrine sits on top of a hill in Carcar City.
I made it a point to visit the Chapel of the seminary where I used to study.
When I arrived, seminarians were praying their morning praise.
I wish to share more of this.
Hopefully, this problem with the corona virus pandemic ends soon. So, we get to experience the beautiful places our world offers.
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I’ll catch you guys on the next one.