SOME 40,000 devotees visited the two pilgrimage sites in Cagayan de Oro City during the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, a significant decrease compared to last year's observance, the disaster office said over the weekend.
Allan Porcadilla, officer of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Department (CDRRMD), said around 33,000 to 35,000 people visited the Malasag Walkway and roughly 7,000 devotees crossed the rivers to reach the Guadalupe Shrine in Barangay Agusan.
Porcadilla said the figure has dropped to almost half of last year's record which is nearly a hundred thousand.
He said the decrease could be attributed to other newly-established pilgrimage sites in Misamis Oriental.
"Sauna ang taga Misamis Oriental moanhi og syudad para mosaka sa Malasag ug Guadalupe karon dili na kay daghan naman bag-o nga destinations sa province (Before, people are coming to the city to visit Malasag and Guadalupe but now there are many sites in the province which are near to their homes)," Porcadilla said.
Misamis Oriental province has at least six holy sites that attract the faithful during the Lenten season - the Divine Mercy Shrine in El Salvador City, the Our Lady of Moog in Laguindingan, the Sipaka Heights in Talisayan, Hinuklog in Medina, Our Lady of Lourdes in Binuangan, and Christ the King in Gingoog City.
Porcadilla also said the hot weather may also have discouraged the devotees.
Porcadillla added their office had received numerous emergency calls and responded to several vehicular accidents around the city during the Holy Week.
Meanwhile, an official of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) said the observance of the Holy Week was generally peaceful.
Cocpo spokesperson Superintendent Mardy Hortillosa II said no major untoward incidents were recorded during the two-day religious activity.
He said there were only isolated incidents noted at the sites like few devotees who passed out and some children got missing but were later found by the police.
Authorities are not yet letting their guard down as they continue to monitor beaches for the Easter Sunday, April 1, to ensure safety and security of the public.