Holy Week for 2013 just ended. Last Good Friday, my family and my relatives were supposed to do the Stations of the Cross in Via Dolorosa. It was just a ten-minute drive from the home of my relatives, which made it very convenient for us. Finding a parking slot was not difficult but what surprised us was what we saw near the entrance of Via Dolorosa. There was a horde of tourists waiting for their turn to go inside the place. “Horde” might actually be an understatement. Devotees were divided into batches, according to who came first. My aunt decided to postpone our activity then suggested that we go instead to Kamay ni Hesus (Hand of Jesus) the following day.
And so, we did. We left for Quezon province at around 5AM. We got a bit lost since it was my tatay‘s first time to drive to Kamay ni Hesus. When we arrived at around 8:30AM, it was already hard to find parking spaces since apparently, lots of devotees were also there. Kamay ni Hesus, which was built under the initiative of Fr. Joseph “Joey” Faller, draws thousands of people especially those who are in need of hope and miracle. Upon entering the area (or even before that), I noticed that there were various stalls at one side of the pathway — there were hats, shades, bags, and of course, pasalubong. I regretted not buying a hat after our Stations of the Cross at the grotto. The heat was a killer! Later that day, I heard from the news that the temperature was the hottest for 2013. ヽ(#`Д´)ﾉ This guy was seated near the entrance of the shrine and whenever visitors enter the place, he would ask each group which city or province they came from. He would announce that the visitors were from whichever city/province then tell them that they would surely enjoy the place. Every minute or so, he would announce how to go to the comfort room. Probably lots of people kept on approaching him for directions.
We left my ama (Chinese for grandmother) inside the church since she might not be able to handle the crowd at the grotto as well as the number of steps to reach the grotto’s top. There was no scheduled mass for Black Saturday; nevertheless, the church was jam-packed. Piano masterpieces of Catholic songs were played and these were even heard outside the church.
One of the attractions that kids will love in this place is the Noah’s Ark. I did not get the chance to capture photos of all the animal statues they had at the garden because we were in a hurry to get to the grotto already. Children and adults alike were going from one corner to another in order to take their pictures with the animals as well as with the huge ark of Noah. If the public was allowed to go inside the ark, I would have stayed behind and explored the ark first. Hah!
View from the bottom of the grotto… Lots of plants plus the glaring morning sun!
I did my best to capture images of each station before starting the prayer for each station with my family and relatives. Upon reaching the top of the grotto, a huge statue of Jesus Christ awaits the devotees. People prayed here for their personal intentions; some even opted to place their hands at the granite pillar beneath Christ’s feet while praying. The heat of the sun and the number of steps we took were nothing in comparison to how much Christ suffered since He was arrested up to His last breath.
One of the things that annoyed me though is when people stopped at every station, or even every corner of the grotto, to have their pictures taken with whatever sculpture was near them. Most of the people climbing up the grotto only passed by each station; some did not even bother looking at the station. I know that I am in no position to tell these people to follow and do the Stations of the Cross properly but what they were doing took away part of the place’s solemnity. I guess it was more of a tourist attraction for them.
These are just some of the statues/sculptures you will see when you visit Kamay ni Hesus.
After the Stations of the Cross at Kamay ni Hesus, we decided to have lunch at Buddy’s Pancit Lucban. The two branches of this resto that I know are in Market! Market! (Taguig City) and Kalayaan Avenue (Makati City). Of course, the first thing we ordered was the Pancit Lucban since this is the resto’s claim to fame. You might be thinking that it’s the same as pancit canton. That’s not the case though. There are three things that make Pancit Lucban special (and my favorite!): 1) lechon kawali is mixed with it; 2) the dish is not totally dry [look at the picture since there’s sauce]; and 3) mixing their vinegar makes the dish more flavorful. I’m actually big fan of vinegar. *wink*
Since we were also in Lucban, I made it a point not to miss the chance to eat Lucban longganisa (longganisa is the Philippine version of sausages, BTW). It was a good thing that my uncle was also a foodie so he bought it right away. Yay! Buddy’s Lucban Longganisa did not disappoint. It was a bit garlicky so this was a plus for me. My uncle told me that Vigan longganisa was more garlicky though. Can’t wait to have a taste of it!
My little sister is a picky eater and she does not eat longganisa. She ordered Buddy’s Pizza Supreme instead to make sure that she would be full after eating. She was very happy with the pizza since there were generous amounts of cheese and meat.
Here’s a photo of me with my little sister. I still like to call her my “little sister” even though we only have a one-year gap and we almost have the same height. #oldersisterfeelz LOL. On another note, I must end this entry and start attending to my last college requirements. Leggo!
Kamay ni Hesus Shrine and Healing Center: Lucban-Tayabas Road, Lucban, Quezon Province
Buddy’s Pancit Lucban: 66 General Luna St., Cor C. M. Recto Tayabas, Quezon Province