Filipino Catholics flock to churches, pilgrim sites to mark Good Friday

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 30 2018 08:18 PM | Updated as of Jan 03 2019 07:48 PM

A woman takes a photo of the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in Baguio City on Good Friday. Marianne Claire Reyes‎, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—Thousands of Filipino Catholics throughout the country marked Good Friday by visiting different churches and pilgrimage sites.

In Baguio City, the faithful endured a 252-step climb to the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, a popular pilgrimage site.

The 10 Commandments tablet in Baguio City is the largest in the world. Marianne Claire Reyes‎, ABS-CBN News

Besides being the "Summer Capital of the Philippines," Baguio also houses the largest 10 Commandments tablet in the world.

Filipinos cross a river to see the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine at Igbalalay Hills in Barangay Tablon in Cagayan de Oro. Cris Angelo Andrade, ABS-CBN News

Thrill-seeking pilgrims in Cagayan de Oro endured a 4-kilometer trek and had to cross a river 10 times to see the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine at Igbalalay Hills in Barangay Tablon.

The Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine at Igbalalay Hills in Barangay Tablon, Cagayan de Oro. Cris Angelo Andrade, ABS-CBN News

Among the 40,000 pilgrims who visited the site this year is Rey Cocamas and his family.

"Last year, we had prayed to [the] Our Lady of Guadalupe so we wanted to go back [because our prayer] was granted. This is also our sacrifice for the Lent," he said.

At the foot of the shrine, pilgrims can enjoy horseback riding for P20.

Filipino Catholics wait outside St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral. Ria Galiste, ABS-CBN News

In Ilocos Sur, thousands took to the streets of Vigan City to join the procession at St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral.

Devotees have parts of their body touched or stepped on by the image of St. Vincent Ferrer in Sagay City, Negros Occidental. Yasmin Pascual-Dormido‎, ABS-CBN News

In Negro Occidental, a different show of faith is being practiced by Catholics.

Hundreds of devotees trooped to the Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer in Barangay Vito, Sagay City to take part in "Palapak," a Hiligaynon term that means "to be stepped on."

Devotees do not only kiss or wipe the image of St. Vincent with a cloth or handkerchief, but they also have parts of their body touched or stepped on by the image.

Aniceta Bulanon, an 82-year-old devotee, claims that her devotion to the saint has allowed her to live a long lfie.

“A few years ago, I got sick. I felt pain on my chest but with the help of St. Vincent, I am still OK and I feel fine after every visit here,” Bulanon said.

Another faithful, Ledema Hortilano, said she feels "healed" whenever she visits the church.

“I feel light and freed from sorrows. Every time I suffer from body pain, I go here and touch the image of St. Vincent and I feel healed,” she said.

In other parts of the country, devotees choose to mark Good Friday with a bloody display of faith that involves crucifixion and flogging.

Known as Asia's bastion of Catholicism, nearly 80% of Filipinos are Catholics, a legacy attributed to nearly 300 years of Spanish colonization.

Reports from Cris Angelo Andrade, Yasmin Pascual-Dormido, Ria Galiste, and Marianne Claire Reyes, ABS-CBN News