April 21, 2011
“Pilgrimage” a journey to a shrine or other sacred place undertaken to gain divine aid, as an act of thanksgiving or penance, or to demonstrate devotion.
The Antipolo Maundy Thursday Pilgrimage is an annual gathering of millions of people coming from different places in all walks of life doing penance by walking in the stretch of Ortigas Ave Ext all the way up to Antipolo Cathedral. You will witness different street programs like “Senakulo”, musical presentation of Way of the cross, people in bare foot, thousands of street foods to keep you energize while walking- fish and squid balls, boiled eggs and cob corns, sandwiches and free drinking stations being sponsored by baranggays and civilian volunteers group.
The long walk is almost 15km depending on your starting point. According to waypoints.ph, the distance from Edsa Shrine to Kaytikling junction is 9.43km and Kaytikling to Antipolo junction is 3.29km, It will all depends on an individual walking speed which if I consider this as a marathon run, then probably this is almost a two hour distance running for me. If by walking and consider the huge flocks that will surely slows your walking pace, estimate it around 4 hours to complete.
For the last 10 years observing this annual event, I am always amazed on the millions of people who joins this pilgrimage. And every year the street vendors also adds up and so as the street garbage. Just imagine those fish ball sticks that was being thrown in the road that might poke your feet? those plastic cups with juice left overs that you will step in? and expect the sweats and smell of different people that you may bump in. Its a sacrifice anyway, so wear the most comfortable clothes, good walking shoes, and do not be overly obsessive compulsive while having your pilgrimage.
I am hoping soon, that this will be more a serious walk and people will realize that we have to protect too our environment, that there will be more street campaigns on the real value of “the pilgrimage” educating the youth on the real essence of penance and sacrifices. Yes it is fun to walk and its nice to see this huge crowd, I myself enjoys the street fair like fish and squid ball mania every year, and witness these millions of devotees that represents the voting crowd of Manila that can elect a senator post. I am proud how Filipino celebrates unity and faith, and wishes that the youth be awaken on the real value of pilgrimage and soon the Philippines or this annual event be known globally.
So, dear Mayors and Governors who is responsible for the long stretch of Ortigas Ave to Antipolo church. What are you waiting for? Let us start the drive to make this 15km stretch an annual environment-friendly celebration of faith.