Every year the Bantayan Holy Week located on Bantayan Island , Cebu approximately five hours from Cebu…attracts more Filipino locals, tourists and world travelers. This year is no exception. All of the buses and ferries are filled with Holy Week seekers who come to celebrate this great Easter Celebration. The dates start on Thursday March 24, 2016 and go thru Sunday March 27 with the main attractions celebrated in Bantayan Town with a Easter themed parade. Located at the town center circle you can witness the ancient church and see hoards of people along with many vendors selling every type of tasty snacks and trinkets. Other visitors rent rooms, hotels and guest houses and lounge on the white sandy beaches of Santa Fe , twenty five minutes from Bantayan Town. Santa Fe has excellent swimming on the turquoise blue waters and offers many excellent restaurant ventures.
If you have never been to Bantayan Island Holy Week… grab your backpack, pack some sunscreen and travel snacks and hop aboard the many buses leaving North terminal, Cebu. As a reminder it would be a Cardinal Sin not to bring your camera. Enjoy!
Can you imagine over 50,000 visitors will descend on Bantayan Island to witness and celebrate Holy Week.
This years event will be celebrated on March 24, 2016 Maundy Thursday and March 25, 2016 Good Friday. Filipinos from every province of the Philippines will trek here by private car, buses, motorcycles, and eventually make the ferry crossing from Hagnaya port to Santa Fe. Bantayan Island is approximately three hours by bus from Cebu plus one and half hour by ferry. From Santa Fe you can take motorized tricycle or jeepney to the town of Bantayan where the religious activities take place.
HOLY WEEK OBSERVANCE
“The ancient customs of observing the traditional religious festivity during the Lent is drawing bigger and bigger crowd of devotees every year to Bantayan. The main attraction is the passion and death of Jesus Christ well illustrated in life-size figures, mounted on high, richly decorated and brightly illuminated “carrozas””. These are paraded along the main streets on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Besides the passion and death of our Lord, images of saints as related in the Bible are also depicted. To this date, the scenes are complete from the Last Supper down to the scene when Jesus was being laid to His tomb.” source: Bantayan.Gov.ph
Since most of the resorts are fully booked well in advance you are advised to make your hotel and resort reservations at least six months in advance to insure you have a place to stay. Most of the people will stay in Santa Fe since it has many resorts and restaurants and is located on a beautiful white sand beach with palm trees swaying in the wind.
Almost every square inch of the beach is used for family get togethers and celebrations with many sleeping on the beach. Santa Fe has several tent rental vendors leased out on the first come basis. Some of the more seasoned visitors bring their own sleeping gear and equipment.
The main event is in the town of Bantayan and centers around the central park and historical church. They have daily parades which include life-like portrayals of Jesus and the Stations of the Cross. Vendors sell everything from candles to snacks and balloons and cotton candy for the kids.
While in Bantayan many visitors visit the fresh fish wet market, the vegetable market and the dried fish market. There are also many local businesses along with individual booths selling everything from used clothing, to the latest video releases. Many visitors purchase bags of dried fish for future personal use or as gifts to their friends and family.
If you get hungry one of the favorite hangouts of the locals and foreigners is Kermits Restaurant just off the central square. They are noted for the best cheese burgers on the island along with great burritos and homemade cakes and pies of every description. Don’t know what to order… try their Halo Halo special ice-cream with ice and hidden treats. Yum Yum!
So there you have it! Holy Week is quite a spectacular event to witness and celebrate the teachings of Christianity. So why not join in the festivities and contribute to the new Filipino public relations promotion which states: “It’s more fun in the Philippines.” As a reminder don’t forget your camera grasshoppers… you will have many photo opts while on Bantayan Island.
QUOTE: “We ought to fast, and to abstain from all vice, and from all that will lead us into sin, as well as from extravagance and superfluity. We should often visit the churches, and venerate and reverence all ecclesiastics on account of their office, and because they distribute the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ, which they offer in sacrifice, receive themselves, and administer to others. And let everyone know and hold for certain that we cannot be saved except through the sacred Words and the Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which priests preach, announce, and distribute, and of which they are the sole ministers.” -St. Francis of Assisi
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:The Holy Week is one of the biggest, most colorful and most theatrical festivities of the Catholic Church along with Christmas. In the Philippines, the ‘Semana Santa’ (original Spanish name) or ‘Mahal na Araw (literally ‘dear days’) is the week preceding Easter Sunday. In this predominantly Catholic country, the focus of the celebrations is not just on the resurrection of Christ, but also on His crucifixion and the events that led up to it. In fact, given the penchant of Filipinos for everything heart-tugging, the crucifixion of Christ has always been more colorful than the other activities of the Holy Week.
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Religious Cards.
ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Make a special trip to Bantayan Island and experience the Holy Week celebration.
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