I’ve received a few press releases from some friends, so I’d figure I’d do a little guide on where to go for Holy Week 2009 in the Philippines, including Easter:
1. Visita Iglesia. The Church Visit is quite common among Catholics,and the more churches, the better. I can still remember the times spent in my mother’s hometown in Bulacan and how authentic the commemoration of Christ’s suffering there was, with flagellants walking along the road. You’ll never see a better picture of Catholicism in action that in the week leading up to Easter Sunday.
2. Trek to Mt. Banahaw. Thousands will once again trek to the mountain deemed as holy by its devotees and who don’t mind making the long pilgrimage. While you’re in Dolores, Quezon, don’t forget to stay and sample the culinary offerings of Kinabuhayan Cafe.
3. Go on a retreat. Ateneo de Manila will be holding a Holy Week Triduum Retreat for its alumni, while those of us glued most of the time to the internet can join the Online Holy Week Retreat of the Jesuits.
4. Restaurants open in SM Mall of Asia on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The mall will be closed, but dining establishments open are Bucharest, China Palace, Fish & Co, Gerry’s Grill, Guilly’s Island, Highlands Steakhouse, Italianni’s, Jatujak, Tanabe, TGI Friday’s & most restaurants in San Miguel By The Bay.
5. Kusina Salud Lenten Specials. One of my favorite restaurants south of the metro prepares a tempting array of fish and seafood treats from Holy Wednesday to Black Saturday. These are: Lumpiang Seafood Shanghai (P175), Bacalao Espanyol (P215), Kinamyasang Hipon (P245), and Bangus a la Pobre (P265). They also have an Easter Sunday Lunch Buffet at P399 per person plus an Easter Egg shell art activity for P350 per person. All these makes me want to make the lone drive, I swear
6. IIntercontinental Manila’s Easter Wonderland. This Makati hotel holds a mass at 9:30 am and then the Easter fun begins at the Legaspi Room and the poolside garden. Activities include fabric painting, glitter tattoo, Time Zone machines, fashion parade by Osh Kosh B’Gosh, a magic show and of course, the great Easter Egg Hunt.
7. Be a beach bum. From Batangas to Puerto Galera, the beaches will surely be full. Boracay remains a popular spot and the new Fuego Hotel there, 7Stones, is offering a “stay two nights, get one night” promo. Perfect for honeymooners, I should say.
8. Hotel Promos Galore. Holy Week is the time when hotels give special rates, to take advantage of holiday revellers. For instance, Bellevue Manila offers its de luxe rooms at P4,000 net per night, inclusive of buffet breakfast for two at cafe d’Asie. Check out the friendly hotel near you.
For the past three years, the family has stayed in Manila and looks like it will be the same this year. I like it because traffic in Manila becomes such a breeze, and the season is really a time for resting and relaxing, not driving like crazy through the highways. Uh huh.