MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CITY—The Department of Tourism (DOT-7) in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Cebu and the Order of St. Augustine of the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino designed a Pilgrimage Tour in Cebu and launched the Southern Cebu Jubilee Churches Tour project on April 8 with the media, travel/tour operators, as part of Cebu’s pilgrimage/faith tourism and in celebration of the 500-years of Christianity in the Philippines.
“This Pilgrimage Tour project was hatched in 2019, in preparation for the 500-years celebration of Christianity in the Philippines, but the pandemic has put on hold all our tourism programs especially on travels and tours. Today, we are launching the Southern Cebu Jubilee Churches Tour,” Tamano added.
Rev. Fr. Brian Brigoli, Chair of the Cebu Archdiocese Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, bared that faith tourism, in cooperation with other tourism stakeholders, is part of the reconstruction of churches to remind people of their faith, via faith tourism.
Faith tourism, Brigoli said, reaches a lot of people, hearts of people. It also opens to all other religions and to humanity. “It speaks of who we are as humans and these are all to be shared to all people because this pilgrimage is open to all,” he added.
Brigoli went on that the Pilgrimage Tour highlights the opening of Holy Doors in Jubilee Churches where they are expected to open until September this year. He bared that there are 13 Holy Doors in the region.
“Entering the Holy Door is an experience of every Christian to know its cultural, historical and patrimony behind the essence to receive indulgencies from entering the Holy Door,” Brigoli shared.
DOT-7 Faith-based Tourism Focal Person, Riza Marie Macaibay presented the Southern Cebu Jubilee Churches Tour which according to her features the jubilee heritage churches around southern Cebu as identified by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
The highlights of the tour is the Jubilee Holy Door in each of the churches visited, which according to beliefs, pilgrims obtain plenary indulgence as part of the “Year of Christ” celebration specially granted to the Philippines.
According to DOT-7, the 2-day/one-night tour takes the guests/tourists to scenic routes in southern Cebu visiting heritage churches that include the St. Catherine of Alexandria Church in Carcar City; Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Argao; San Guillermo de Aquitania Church in Dalaguete; Nuestra Senora del Patrocinio de Maria Church in Boljoon; St. Gregory the Great Parich Church in Ginatilan and the Shrine of Sta. Ana Church in Barili.
In celebration of the 500th year of the arrival of the Holy Image of the Senor Santo Nino in the Philippines, the pilgrimage tour starts at the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino with a mass.
Macaibay revealed that DOT-7 also plans to develop more pilgrimage circuits such as the Marian Pilgrimage and Heritage Churches Tours in norther and southern Cebu and also Camino de Santiago Walk/s.
While in Metro Cebu, DOT-7 has already come up with the Marian Pilgrimage Tour, a one-day tour taking pilgrims to four Marian Churches in Cebu City and Lapulapu City for the devotees of the Blessed Virgin.
Marian Churches for the tour include the National Shrine of Nuestra Senora Virgen dela Regla Parish Church in Lapulapu City; Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Labangon; Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Gudalupe, Cebu City; Our mother of Perpetual Help Church-Redemptorist in Camputhaw, Cebu City.
According to DOT-7 and the pilgrimage tour organizers that aside from guided tours and faith-based activities, the pilgrims and guests can also experience the culture, culinary and some popular tourist attractions and offerings of each town in the pilgrimage.