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Religious pilgrimage back in Bataan

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Bulacan pilgrims fill the St. Joseph Cathedral in Balanga City. Photo: Ernie Esconde

BALANGA CITY — After restrictions for almost two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Bataan is again abuzz with religious pilgrimages.

On Andres Bonifacio Day, 450 pilgrims from Bulacan in their “Lakbay Dasal” visited six of seven churches in Bataan declared pilgrim sites by the Diocese of Balanga.

Maricel Untalan and Melba Ramos said they arrived in nine 49-seater buses from San Jose del Monte in Bulacan for a pilgrimage for the first time in Bataan. 

“Ito ngayon ay religious pilgrimage namin sa anim na simbahan sa Bataan na ginagawa namin kapag November at pinakapanata na namin ito,” the two women said.  

“First time namin sa Bataan pero taon-taon nagsasagawa kami ng ganito sa iba-ibang lugar kung hindi lamang nagka-pandemic,” Ramos said. 

Bishop Ruperto C. Santos has declared the following churches as pilgrim sites in Bataan: the 266-year-old Saint Peter de Varona in Hermosa, the 312-year-old Virgen Milagrosa del Rosario in Orani, 426-year-old St. Catherine of Siena in Samal, the 434-year-old Sto. Domingo in Abucay, the oldest in Bataan; the 308-year-old Saint Joseph Cathedral in Balanga City, the 222-year-old Virgen Milagrosa del Pilar in Pilar, and the 355-year-old St. Michael the Archangel in Orion.

The churches, all located along the MacArthur Highway, had undergone renovation but have one common material visible in the inner and outer walls – the sturdy bricks known as “batong silyar”.

Pilgrims from various areas in Luzon flock by the hundreds the pilgrim churches to do their Visita Iglesia during the Lenten Season in March or April.

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