ROMAN Catholic church leaders say the Holy Week is time for reflection and not for vacation.
Let’s not be hypocrites. Almost everybody goes on vacation during the observance of Lent. Holy Week is the time for a vacation because of longer days that we don’t have work. You do not go to Boracay, Bantayan Island, Panglao in Bohol, Tagaytay, Bagiuo and other tourist destinations with your family and loved ones for reflection. For those who can afford, they go abroad to have some leisure time and relax.
Our primary intention in going to these areas and spending money is not to reflect but to have a vacation. We don’t necessarily have to go to church or on a retreat to do “pamalandong” (reflection) because you can do it anytime and anywhere. But we can strike a balance. While on vacation, you can attend religious activities. You can do Visita Iglesia and attend Holy Week and Easter Sunday masses.
In my case, I spent the Holy Week in a private beach resort in Candugay, Barili owned by my friend, Jay and Maridel Ruiz. Its a well-developed resort but it’s not commercialized. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place. It was a stress-free vacation. Indeed, I had a great fun and an unforgettable experience together with close friends like Atty. Eddie Barrita, dySS drama spinner Nelson Tantano, the Binghay family of Balamban and SunStar Superbalita Editor Joseph Tubilan, who is a native of Barili.
I passed by the transcentral highway going to Balamban then to Toledo City, Pinamungajan and Aloguinsan. Although, it’s a longer route compared to the one in the southeast, the roads are good and well maintained. I avoided the expected traffic jam on the national highway in Minglanilla, which was closed due to religious activities last Maundy Thursday and the Kabanhawan Festival yesterday.
Before proceeding to Barili, I dropped by the parish of Fr. Mark Barneso in Maomaoan, Babag, Cebu City where I had lunch. I also dropped by the residence of Pinamungajan Mayor Glenn Barricuatro. Mayor Glenn, a longtime friend and a kumpare, has been inviting me to visit the town after he was elected in 2013. But it was only last Holy Week that I managed to drop by. We had not seen each other for a long time. He offered manok Bisaya and butong.
I noticed developments along the mountainous highway like mountain resorts in Gaas, Balamban; Toledo City; Pinamungajan; and Aloguinsan. In Aloguinsan, there is a mountain resort being developed, “Curvada de la Maria,” which overlooks the sea. Motorists usually drop by the place to relax as it has a good ambience and is a perfect spot for a selfie. Balamban also has a new Gaisano Mall.
When I returned to the city yesterday, I took the same route. I observed most of the beaches were full of people celebrating Easter Sunday.
In Tajao, Pinamungajan and in Cabitoonan, Toledo, where most of the town and city’s beaches are located, respectively, there was an influx of people. There was little traffic in these areas because most of the vehicles of the beachgoers were parked along the highway. I observed the same scenario in Gaas, where plenty of people visited those famous flower growers. It took us three hours to travel from Barili to Cebu City without passing through heavy traffic unlike in the southeast.
Who says that the church is not commercializing the presentation of the “Seven Last Words.” If you listen to the speakers interpreting the “Seven Last Words,” they’re like those radio stations producing Siete Palabras, which are full of sponsors and commercials. Mao nay gi-ingon nga hasta taga simbahan, mibaligya pod sa Ginoo.