Mera Joy Aniolga

A trip to the Holy Mountain

In Event, Family, Travelling on April 23, 2011 at 8:18 am

One of the apostles at the top of the cross.

Locally, it is refered to as the ” Balaan Bukid” which can be literally translated as the Holy Mountain. As a kid, my father would take us on long afternoon drives at the port of Iloilo. We would take out our favorite food and eat it at the port area overlooking the island of Guimaras. If you at the port of Iloilo, you will get a chance to marvel at the beauty of the island from afar. You will also notice a huge cross at the far right side of the island. My father said that the cross is where the “Balaan Bukid” is.

Considering the fact that Philippines is one of the most religious country in Asia, the “Balaan Bukid” comes to life during holy weeks. Local tourists and pilgrims come to the said mountain to offer prayers. This is also the time when people living in the area can make money as they become candle vendors, food vendors and so on. The boats going to Guimaras offers a special trip in going there. During regular seasons, there are two ways to get to Guimaras, one from Parola wharf to Nueva Valencia and another one is by Ortiz Wharf to Jordan.

View at the Top of the Cross

Guimaras is near Iloilo City, it is like 10 minutes away. But we woke up early as we know that during Good Fridays, a lot of people are going there. We did not want to have trouble in forming long line under the heat of the sun. Based on our previous experiences, (as this is actually my third time to go up the Balaan Bukid) it is best to arrive early so that you won’t have to wait under the sun just to the boat. During the Lenten season, there is a special trip going to the Balaan Bukid. But on regular days, there are only two trips going to Guimaras. This is done in accordance to the high demand of passengers going to the said mountain during Good Fridays.

Stations of the cross. This is the original purposes as to why people come here. Going up and down the mountain you can see stations of the cross. You can bring a rosary, candles or prayer guide if you intend to follow it. There are no prayer leaders and the way it is done is individually. I don’t know how to pray the stations of the cross but I brought candles so that on every station that I ass by, I light a candle.

One of the Stations.

There are two ways to get to the mountain, one is by boat. Most tourists use this method as going to Jordan means additional fare for the tricycle. For locals or for people who are already in Guimaras, they can do it by land. Both ways have stations of the cross as well. As for us, we used the old method in going up and land method in going down.

The boat method has a difficult terrain but there are first-aiders and Red Cross members who are ready to help in case the need arises. There are also ropes where people can hold as they trek up the mountain.

Chapel at the Mountain

At the top of the mountain is a chapel and at the left side of the chapel is the huge cross. The first time I went there, my friends were too lazy to go up the cross. I can not help but think about other people who may have done the same thing that me and my friends did on my first climb. This time, we decided to make it to the top. The line is long, very long but devotees and tourists alike do not mind. Before climbing up at the cross, you will see the “apostles” as they are the guide and the guards on the “event”. For instance, there is this apostle that helps you take pictures at the top of the cross, there is an apostle that manages the line as the number of people allowed to stay at huge cross is fairly limited.

Once at the top of the cross, the view is pretty amazing. You got green field on your right, the chapel and the long line below and the cityscape of Iloilo City on your left. I wonder if my Father knows how great the view from here as compared to the view from our usual spot at Fort San Pedro?

Repost from Old Blog. July 18, 2010



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