Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Antipolo's Unang Prusisyon 2011 (First Procession 2011)

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Every first Tuesday of May, the Unang Prusisyon (First Procession) is celebrated. During this event, the image of Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje (Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage) or fondly known as Our Lady of Antipolo by many is brought to Via Dolorosa (formerly known as the White Cross). It is a hill-like grotto with life-size images of the Stations of the Cross, similar to the Kamay ni Hesus of Lucban, Quezon. The Via Dolorosa is located at the Pinagmisahan Hills, the highest peak of Kaytikling Road. It is a popular site during the Lenten season.

I wasn’t able to witness the procession because I woke up late. However, I was able to make it during the solemn mass at Via Dolorosa. The priest was telling the devotees the story behind this activity.

Long time ago, a plaque hit the town of Antipolo. The only source of hope was prayers to Our Lady of Antipolo. But it seemed that the Holy Mother didn’t grant any of them. The priest then decided to bring the image on top of a hill where a solemn mass was offered. The thought of bringing it on a high place is for the Holy Mother to see entirely the sufferings of Her children. Miracles started to happen. The plaque was gone. This is also the reason why the hill is called Pinagmisahan Hills.

After the procession, I was lucky enough to be allowed to enter the room where the original image of Our Lady of Antipolo is kept.

You'll sure be hungry after the long foot procession. Just outside the church or even along the route of the procession, you can see a lot of food vendors. You might to try some of antipolo's famous delicacies.

Getting to Antipolo:
-You may opt to take LRT2 and get off at Santolan station. Ride jeeps bound to Antipolo. Ride a tricycle or jeep going to Antipolo church.
- Ride FX along Aurora Blvd., in front of Gateway Mall. It will bring you to Antipolo. Ride jeep or tricycle going to Antipolo Church.
- Fare is around P60 or more one way.

Coverage tips:
- The procession starts early, around 7 or 7:30am.
- The procession runs a little slow, you can take good shots of the image.
- Prepare yourself for a long walk. Bring extra shirt, towels, and water.
- Since the image will be brought on hilltop and Antipolo is located on a high place, expect a very uphill climb.
- Stretch your muscles to avoid cramps.
- Be extra mindful of your belongings esp. when you're in a crowd.
- Vendors could really be irritating at times. They'll follow you around like a stray dog, forcing you to buy their products (mostly scapular and prayer books). If I may add, some of them take advantage esp. if they sense that you're new in the place. My advise, don't mind them and stay sharp.
- You can buy religious items from the store inside the church or some stalls outside. They have cheaper items than those who doesn't have a stall/store. 

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