1 kilometer, 2 kilometers, 3 kilometers...the distance from the starting point of our pilgrimage is growing but our group didn't seem to mind it. We were not daunted by the 18 kilometers of distance that we had to walk from Monumento to Baclaran Church.
There were few people on the street that morning despite it being Palm Sunday. The weather is still cool. It is the perfect time for walking.
|Our route for the pilgrimage and some of the churches that we visited.|
We followed Rizal Avenue and our plan is to visit the churches along the way. It was my first time to walk the whole length of Rizal Avenue. The truth is that I rarely go to any part of Rizal Avenue located north of its intersection with Recto Avenue. The road that we walked is simply out of my way.
|Somewhere along Rizal Avenue.|
AJ, the group’s leader, said that our next stop would be a church inside La Loma Cemetery. I got excited because I hear about La Loma but I haven't visited it yet. I heard that La Loma Cemetery has a beautiful old church inside.
|The street to La Loma Cemetery.|
St. Pancratius Church
The guard freaked out when he saw the SLR camera of my companion. He almost stopped us from entering the cemetery until we promised that we will not take photos of the church interior.
We didn't go to La Loma Church but stopped at St. Pancratius Church instead.
|St. Pancratius Church in La Loma Cemetery.|
I never heard of St. Pancratius and I found it unusual to see a church in the Philippines dedicated to a less known saint.
Saint Pancratius, who is also known as St. Pancras, was martyred on AD 304 at the age of 14 years. He is the patron saint of the jobless, the sick and the youth.
We left La Loma Cemetery after praying a decade of the Holy Rosary. Our next stop would be the San Roque de Manila Church.
|Off to San Roque we go.|
There are a lot of things to see along Rizal Avenue. Our pilgrimage was a perfect time for me to try street photography. I was hesitant to take photos because of the fear that people will be angry with me when they saw me photographing them. But this is a rare opportunity so I took a shot at street photography.
|Not angry? I guess PM is happy to have his photo taken.|
San Roque de Manila Church
It was Palm Sunday so most of the churches that we visited were crowded. San Roque de Manila Church wasn't an exception so we had no choice but to pray at the candle area.
AJ said that the interior of the San Roque de Manila Church is also beautiful. Unfortunately, it was too crowded for me to enter and gaze its beauty.
|How I wish that I climbed these stairs!|
The sidewalks became crowded at San Roque de Manila Church. Vendors are everywhere! I suddenly felt like I was in Divisoria.
|This is not Recto. This is Blumentritt.|
Seems like this area is another market hub where products from Divisoria are being sold. People can buy anything here. Bags, fake shoes, pirated DVD movies, clothes, and even these:
|Who wants to buy pigeons?|
Few steps from San Roque de Manila Church is the PNR railway and the PNR – Blumentritt Station. I made another first at this place. Yes, it was my first time to cross a railway on foot.
Some of you may be wondering who or what is this Blumentritt. Well, Blumentritt is the German friend of the Philippine national hero
and ultimate idol Jose Rizal. The street of Blumentritt and the stations of LRT and PNR in the area were named in his honor.
Almost two hours had passed when we reached Blumentritt. We were already sweaty and starting to get exhausted because of the long walk. But we didn't surrender. We continued our pilgrimage because it is a test of our will.
Read the first part of this blog series. Up next is the third part, which narrates things that we saw from Blumentritt to Quiapo and our walk to the historical church of Binondo Chinatown. You can also jump to the last part (Binondo to Baclaran Church).
Information about St. Pancratius came from Catholic Online.