Observing Holy Week in Baguio
Baguio City is known for its cool weather, pine trees, fresh produce from Benguet and a myriad of other things. However, one thing that travelers are not so much aware about is that Baguio City is also a great place for meditation and prayer. There are several retreat houses, churches and even some quiet and or serene places where one can go to in order to pray, meditate or even reflect. Practically, majority of the places in Baguio City can be a place to meditate, recently, I had the chance to take photos of the different churches that I frequently visit and the places where I usually go to think and meditate. The following are my Guide to Baguio City’s places to visit for prayer, meditation or self-searching.
Baguio City Guide to place of Prayer:
1. Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish Church
This church is located beside the Saint Louis School Center High School also formerly known as Campo Filipino. Saint Vincent Ferrer Church is offering mass every 6:00 AM – 7:00 AM from Monday to Saturday and 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM anticipated mass on Saturdays. Hourly Sunday Mass from 6:30 AM to 11:30 AM is also being offered, then 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM and 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM. The church can be reached easily because of the fact that it is along Naguilian Road, it is advised for those who will be trying to catch the mass on time to be early as there is limited parking space and because Naguilian Road is one of the city’s main traffic artery thus expect a lot of vehicles plying this area. For those who do not have a private vehicle, any of Baguio City’s public transportation like taxi and jeepney’s would be a good choice. You can take the taxi and be taken directly from your initial location to St. Vincent Ferrer Church or Jeepney’s that utilizes Naguilian road as part of their route will be a cheaper and convenient choice, many of the jeepney’s that can take you to St. Vincent Church has their jeepney terminal at Kayang Street in Baguio City’s public market, this is of course assuming that you are coming from the city’s central business district.
2. The Baguio Cathedral (Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral)
Baguio Cathedral or the Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral sits on top of what was known as the Cathedral Hill or Mt. Mary Hill, it is considered to be within Baguio City’s central business district as the church is situated at the top of Session Road. Baguio Cathedral can be reached by taking the stairs connecting the church to Session road, just make sure that your walking legs are strong enough to climb the stairs of around 50 degrees inclination. For those who are not prepared to walk or climb you can reach the church via private vehicle and taxi, for those coming from the areas of Trancoville, Aurora Hill, Bonifacio Street and Rimando Road area can take the Trancoville or Aurora Hill Jeepney area just make sure that you ask the driver if they will be taking the Bonifacio Street route and not the Magsaysay Road route. If by some chance you find yourself at the General Luna Road area near Saint Louis University Elementary or Saint Louis School Center elementary you can take the walkway in between these schools to reach the Cathedral Church. Another way into the Cathedral grounds is by taking the escalator at the Porta Vaga mall just make your way to the top and you will be able to find the exit going to the Baguio Cathedral Grounds.
Once there you will be able to discover a myriad features of the church, like a prayer room where you can meditate, a shrine for offering candles, an Aviary and a man-made fountain among others. Being at the center of the city several masses are celebrated daily for the complete schedule you can visit this site.
3. St. Joseph the Worker Parish Church
Situated near the Pacdal Circle the St. Joseph the Worker Parish Church is popular for wedding ceremonies maybe because of its proximity to the Baguio Country Club which is a good place to hold your reception after the wedding, not to mention the fact that the church is actually far from Baguio City’s central business district which of course makes the church to be a lot more serene. Spared from the hustles and bustles of city life, the church is a good place to visit, meditate, pray and reflect. Though simple having only a small shrine for candle offering and a prayer room the St. Joseph the Worker Parish Church is a good place to visit especially for those who would like to explore Baguio City because of the fact that it’s location is proximate to some of Baguio’s premier destinations like the Baguio Country Club, Camp John Hay, Good Shepperd, Mines View, Wright Park, The Mansion and the Baguio Botanical Garden. So after visiting these places you can go to the St. Joseph the Worker Parish for a quick visit and to say a simple thank you to God for a successful day of visit.
The St. Joseph the Worker Parish could be reached via private vehicle through Leonard Wood Road if you are coming from the central business district particularly General Luna Road and or Session Road, landmarks that could tell you if you are on the right track are Teachers Camp and Botanical Garden. The church is just beyond botanical garden and before Wright Park. Those who plan to take the jeepney you can ride the jeepneys going to Pacdal, or you can always have a taxi take you to the St. Joseph the Worker Parish.
These are some of Baguio City’s churches which you can visit during Holy Week or even anytime when you are in the City of Pines, of course there are several other places and Churches in Baguio City which you could visit and I promise to post them as soon as I am able to take photos.