Bible Tourism

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Saturday, August 30, 2014


THE Silay City Tourism Office has come up with new concepts about tourism. In tourism, we convert realities into opportunities. Some raise eyebrows on our concoctions like Architourism, Cemetery Tour, Exploring the Hacienda, Sacada Kwartel Guided Tour, Night Talk at Heritage Houses, Mangrove Romance, Nothing but Organic, and the exciting “Tabi-tabi Tour.”

One day, a tour operator visited me here in our office. “Where do you get all the inspirations for Silay tourism program,” he asked. “From the Holy Bible,” was my short answer. The Holy Bible is about tourism. God is the organizer of all the destinations and attractions. He made heaven, earth, the creatures, and the habitat. He gave each one a role to play in his universal tourism master plan. He even provided heaven and hell as destinations. (You may request me to retract on this.)

Astonishing events were happening when Adam and Eve went walking in Eden. Everything was perfect but the serpent provided the conflict before the climax. The Holy Bible is also a challenge. What do we view when we read? Are we looking for the literal truth or a metaphorical reading that must coexist alongside Darwinian Theory?

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Where is Eden? Genesis told me, “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was partial, and became into four heads. They are Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel, and Euphrates.” Our Bible scholars are trying very hard to explain their whereabouts now. It makes Eden exciting since then.

Noah, his family, and their large menagerie ended their miraculous cruise (with the ark) “upon the mountain of Ararat.” Could Ararat be situated in eastern Turkey? Noah did not make it clear although he lived for 950 years. Marco Polo in his travel note mentioned of the boat resting on top of the mountain. Even Robert Ballard, the man who found the “Titanic” took interest in the Ark and Mt. Ararat.

The “father of love” Abram later changed by God to Abraham (father of many nations) made his epic journey from his native Mesopotamia into Canaan. Today, we would say that he left Iraq and made his way to Israel and Lebanon. The itinerant shepherds parted ways later and God made sub-plots about the iniquitous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Erich Von Daniken in his “Chariots of the Gods” claimed that Sodom and Gomorrah were subjected to nuclear bombing by the ETs.)

Mount Moriah provided a fascinating view. It is here where Abraham was told to sacrifice his son Isaac but God provided a ram as a substitute sacrifice. Mount Moriah is a gentle slope that leads to a summit now supporting the gold-roofed Dome of the Rock mosque. There is an enormous rock up there 58 by 51 feet).

Joseph, the son of Jacob, became governor of Egypt because God gave him a gift to interpret dreams. Joseph moved freely in Cairo – with the peasantry by the Nile and the court of the king. Joseph was a visitor there and had the opportunity (as tourist) to see the personal pyramid of Pharaoh Khafre and the inscrutable Sphinx. Moshe Rabbenu (Moses our Teacher) lived in the time of Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II. We know the story of Moses and his encounters with God in the Burning Bush. That was a wonderful attraction.

Moses crossed “yam suf” with the Hebrews. Exodus makes clear that the crossing was awesome. “Yamsuf” means “sea of reeds” not “Red Sea.” A Bedouin walk performed by Moses could be an attraction to present-day-trekker. The walk could have started from SikketSaydma Musa (The Path of Mosses) toward the summit of Jebel Musa (The Mountain of Moses), perhaps the true biblical Mt. Sinai. Here, God revealed himself to Moses and gave him the Ten Commandments.

The Place in the bible I have mentioned could have been the destinations during that time having relevance to human history and thought. The recounting of famous Bible stories have even inspired poets from Milton to Eliot and made influence on literary tradition as it has on theological development… and on our outlook of tourism today. (To be continued)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 30, 2014.

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