Post-pandemic travel has become a transformative experience. These days, traveling means immersing yourself in new locals, exposing yourself to different cultures and building bonds with local communities.
One of the quickest ways to have a genuine travel experience is by following the way of life of locals. By speaking with them, going where they go, and understanding their beliefs and traditions, you get to build deeper and stronger bonds.
For the people of Cebu, faith is a pillar of their cultural identity, and Christianity has been interwoven with local customs, traditions, and practices. Visiting religious and historical landmarks is a must to better appreciate Cebuano culture.
Eager travelers can try Cebu’s faith-based tours that include sites of religious, historical, and cultural significance with faith as the central theme.
The Department of Tourism has developed two routes specific to this interest: the Southern Cebu Jubilee Churches Tour and Marian Pilgrimage of Metro Cebu.
Southern Cebu Jubilee Churches Tour
For the Catholic faithful, visiting a Jubilee Church is a rare and significant experience. During a Jubilee Year, the Holy Father (Pope) grants inherent plenary indulgence, which is a remission and forgiveness of the entire temporal punishment for sin. Holy doors are opened to all Catholics where one must enter in a “state of grace” or have undergone confession.
The 2-day-1-night tour will take guests along the scenic route of Southern Cebu. Aside from church visits and daily masses, guests will also engage in experiences that are unique to the towns visited.
In celebration of the 500-years of Christianity in the Philippines, the tour shall start at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño with a mass. It will then work its way down to Carcar and then to the municipalities of Argao, Dalaguete, Boljoon, Ginatilan, Alegria and Barili.
Every stop includes a visit to the town’s centuries-old churches that were built during the Spanish colonial era: the St. Catherine of Alexandria Church of Carcar, Argao’s St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Dalaguete’s San Guillermo, and Boljoon’s Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio.
Apart from getting to admire the architecture and historical artifacts, the tour also includes cultural activities such as torta making and organic farming. The tour concludes with a short visit to Unchuan Farm in Barili for a hot cup of sikwate (local chocolate drink made from tablea) and freshly-baked pandesal.
Marian Pilgrimage of Metro Cebu
Aside from their devotion to Señor Santo Niño, Cebuanos also hold a special place in their hearts for the Blessed Virgin.
In fact, the Our Lady of Guadalupe de Cebu is the official patroness of the province and not the Señor Santo Niño as many may presume. In Metro Cebu alone, there are at least four (4) churches dedicated in her honor. The Marian Pilgrimage of Metro Cebu covers these four churches all in one day.
The churches included in the tour are the Nuestra Señora dela Regala Parish, Archdiocesan Shrine of our Lady of Lourdes, Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe de Cebu, and Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church.
To make the tour more meaningful, participants will pray the Holy Rosary where one decade will be prayed in each church, culminating in a short novena at the last stop.
Whether you’re religious or not, there’s wisdom and experience to be gained through these tours. Learning more about the belief systems of any locale can enrich the human experience. Seeing and experiencing how the locals live and the faith they hold endows you with a sense of community and accountability.
All tourist destinations in Central Visayas have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks, regularly washing their hands, and practicing physical distancing.
To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit www.philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel or the Google Playstore.