May is the pilgrimage season in Antipolo. It’s a month-long celebration that begins with a mass and followed by a procession known as the First Procession (happened on May 2). The procession started around 7 am in the morning where thousands of devotees from different parts of the country, not just Antipoleños, partake in.
Further, the image of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Nuestra Señora De La Paz Y Buen Viaje), the patron saint of the city, will be brought to Via Dolorosa (formerly known as White Cross).
What via dolorosa means
In Latin, via dolorosa means “the way of grief/sorrow.” According to Wikipedia, it’s a street within the Old City of Jerusalem; it’s the path people believed to be that one Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. Fourteen incidents took place while the Christ carried his cross hence the fourteen stations of the cross. Via dolorosa, therefore, signifies Jesus’s suffering.
What you’ll see inside Via Dolorosa in Antipolo
Inside the site are life-size figures, like the ones you see in Kamay ni Jesus in Quezon province, that depict these stations.
However, no cameras are allowed inside, as per the management. It’s not a strict rule I guess. Anyway, it would be difficult to detect these tiny gadgets. And also, the rule has a loophole—how about cam and video-enabled mobile phones? Hmmm…
My sister said that it is not really a rule, but a reminder to keep quiet out of respect for people who are praying at the stations. Makes sense.
Going back, the stations of the cross culminate at the image of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage and the gigantic white cross (hence the moniker White Cross).
We went there last Holy Thursday (April 13). It’s my first time there on this day because we usually go every Friday afternoon when all the chaos has subsided. And chaos it is! There were so many people going in and out, but it’s understandable because it’s Lent.
What saddens me is the thought a place as sacred as Via Dolorosa could easily be turned into a Divisoria-like area. [No, I have nothing against Divisoria; I love going to Divi.] Stalls selling stuff you don’t really need during a visit to pilgrim sites like this abound. I would understand the need to buy bottled waters and food to get you through the next meal or even foldable fans, but sim cards, curtains and other whatnot.
Not here please.
When it is not Holy Week, Via Dolorosa is a quiet place. And the serene surroundings draw you to communicate with God with all your heart. You can focus on praying for personal intentions because of limited distractions.
So if you must go there, go on a regular weekend so you can have the place to yourself to reflect and reminisce.
Inside, the first thing you will see is the small image the patron saint of Antipolo beside the candle racks. You can buy candles at the store near the gate. Light the candles and offer prayers.
On the left going to the first station are the rosary garden and the chapel where mass is held every Sunday. This is the perfect place for meditation (when it’s not the Holy Week).
Head to the first station. It’s a rocky terrain going up. If you are not in for the physical challenge, I suggest you go ahead to the White Cross where you only have to tackle a few steps going up.
In the middle, you will see a stunning view of the Manila skyline. There is a cave-like path where the lifeless body of Jesus lies. It’s actually the thirteenth station.
Again, our last stop is the White Cross. Just be careful though because you might fall or trip at the steep trail.
How to go to Via Dolorosa in Antipolo
From Crossing or Cubao
- Ride the jeepney with Antipolo Simbahan signage. The fare is Php34 from Cubao and around Php25 from Crossing.
- Alight at the last stop, just a few meters from Antipolo Cathedral. If you are from JRC or Crossing, alight at the first stop after Ynares Center, in front of USA88.
- Hail a tricycle and tell the driver to take you to White Cross. [White Cross is a more popular term than Via Dolorosa.] A special trip costs around Php40 (Php10 per passenger).
- The tricycle will drop you off about a few meters away from the entrance. Walk towards the entrance.
From LRT2, Santolan station
Upon alighting LRT2, look for jeepneys with Antipolo Simbahan signage. Ride one. The fare is Php23 from Santolan. Then, proceed to steps 2 to 4 above.
Via Dolorosa is open for public; no entrance fee required. Food and drinks are not allowed inside to maintain the cleanliness of the place.
Don’t bother using the only public restroom, though. I won’t elaborate, but you get my point for sure.