Ideal locations to strengthen your faith

Spiritual traditions are intrinsic to the Filipino collective identity and the belief in God imbues many aspects of our life. The whole nation observes Christian holidays like Christmas, Lent, and Holy Week, while almost every locality celebrates fiestas for various patron saints. This reflects our individuality — we’re taught of the importance of going on pilgrimages, offering candles, praying the novena, and seeking the will of God through meditation.

Most Filipino homes are outfitted with an altar or grotto for praying and meditation, and perhaps you already have a special spot, a well-designed study or garden conducive to such rituals. But, if you want to go somewhere for a different spiritual experience even just for a day, there are peaceful sanctuaries worth the drive made exactly for a retreat. With lush greenery and fresh air, they’ll surely give you a keen awareness of harmony with living things, as well as a prospect for renewal and strengthening of faith.  After all, God is experienced most readily in nature.

1.    Kamay ni Hesus Shrine, Quezon
At the five-hectare shrine of Kamay ni Hesus, devotees take on the challenge to climb 300 steps of stairs on the slopes of Mt. Banahaw to reach the 50-foot-high statue of the Ascending Christ, one of the tallest depictions of Christ in the world. Along the trek, you’ll find life-size statues rendering the 14 Stations of the Cross. Aside from the main attraction, there are other sites in the shrine like Luklukan ni Maria, a spot dedicated to the Blessed Mary, the Noah’s Ark Retreat House, and the Healing Church, where healing masses are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m.

Kamay ni Hesus is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites for Holy Week. So if you plan to pray and meditate in peace here, consider going off-season. 

Kamay ni Hesus, Brgy. Tinamnan, Lucban, Quezon. (42) 8540-2206.

2.    Field of Faith Sanctuary, Laguna
Found at the foot of a mountain in Calauan, Field of Faith is a four-hectare lush garden and sanctuary. It hosts days-long spiritual retreats and offers accommodation for family reunions and gatherings complete with home-cooked meals. But it’s also open to walk-in visitors. When in Field of Faith, you can find respite in the canopy of trees after meditating on a Labyrinth walk, praying at the Stations of the Cross, offering petitions and wishes at the Shekinah Wishing Wall, and trekking towards a luminous cross with a small fountain on a hill.

Field of Faith, Brgy. Lamot II, Calauan, Laguna. (49) 8721-0081.

3.    Regina RICA, Rizal
Regina RICA (Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia) is a 13.5-hectare pilgrimage site tucked in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Tanay. Here you can find the 71-foot statue of Our Lady Regina Rosarii, whose mantle shelters the Sanctuary of Universal Love and Devotion, a place to learn more about Our Lady. The site has a range of facilities that includes RICA Retreat, a contemplative spiritual facility, Way of the Cross, which starts in the garden and finishes on top of the hill, a labyrinth for a serene moment of walking meditation, a refreshing garden of indigenous and native trees, chapels, and the Pasilungan Restaurant.

Regina RICA, Brgy. Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal. (02) 8372-5327.

4.    Timberland Heights, Rizal
Another popular destination for prayers and petitions is Timberland Heights’ Walk of Faith. Although it’s only open during the Lenten season, visiting this calm, idyllic spot has been a spiritual tradition for most faithful. The meditative mountainscapes of the Filinvest township set a great backdrop for communing with God and going through prayerful reflections at the 14 Stations of the Cross. Walk of Faith is open to public on all Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays of Lent, from February 28 to April 11, 2020, 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Timberland Heights, San Mateo, Rizal

Reflections and prayers are deepened when one can be alone in the company of nature and lush foliage. Find the time for some rest and meditation in your own specially-crafted community and living spaces. Prestige by Filinvest offers holistic residential masterpieces in highly coveted locations for distinctive tastes, personalities, and needs, meant to be cherished from one generation to the next.