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Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Road to Antipolo

4/19/2014 11:04:45 AM

Around 10:10 PM at Marcos Bridge Marikina City.
I think I just had the most grueling challenge in my 23 years and almost 7 months of existence.

It’s been a very long while since I personally have thought of doing this – and I’m talking about ‘sacrifice’ for Holy Week. Yes, the one they called “Alay-Lakad.”

Most of the Catholics used to do this on a Maundy Thursday – morning, afternoon, evening or even midnight (which technically speaking, is already a Good Friday morning). They will start walking from their respective place of residences to any of churches known as “pilgrimage sites,” such as Antipolo City, the Divine Grotto in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, Redemptorist Church in Baclaran, Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan, Kamay Ni Hesus in Lukban, Quezon, and the Quiapo Church (also known as the Black Nazarene Basilica) in Manila.

Outside the gate of Our Lady of Peace and Voyage
Well, I’d prefer the much similar place – the Our Lady of Peace and Voyage located at the capital city of Rizal Province.

Taking the trail was never an easy task though. Yes, you may only walk, but such activity can really drain you in both inside and outside aspects. And I found myself more up to the challenge after seeing a road sign in Sumulong Highway (I believe it lies near that Kingsville gate), which states “Antipolo Cathedral – 17.5 kilometers.” Unfortunately, I haven't took a photograph of that.

Around Ligaya, boundary of Marikina and Pasig cities
Passed by the intersection where the Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall was located.
Near Masinag area in Antipolo City (far left shows portion of the SM City mall right there).
Ugh, some people may think of giving up by just riding a public transport. But a lot of them refused to do so, including yours truly (but of course, if this was an ordinary day, I doubt any one of us will do the chore at all). Plus, Sumulong Highway has been providing a better skyline view than any of those skyscrapers in the Metropolitan, especially if been passing there in broad daylight.

I have seen already bunch of people piling up the sidewalks of Marcos Highway in Marikina City alone when I start taking my path (I bet most of them came even farther than I do).

Along Sumulong Highway, all of the 14 stations of the cross were situated. (I managed to take some pictures of a few of them).

And after some 219 minutes of walking—from my place in Marikina City all the way up there to Antipolo…  (by the way, I started walking by exactly 10 in the evening) wow, I never see this coming at all.

I made it.

Though the authorities have to close the church's main doors at the wee hours, it never stopped every pilgrim to take time on laying a candle, say a prayer and even throwing coins on them (and seriously speaking, can somebody educate me about this, please?).

Believe me. For I've been a runner for a very sparingly period of time. But fatigue-wise speaking, nothing compares to a penitential walk like this. Seriously, I may have managed to survive a 10 kilometer run by just a mere of an hour. But this? I don't even have any distance-calculating device with me at all, but I  it seems the distance lies somewhere between 17 to 25 kilometers. Even if I’m not that religious anymore, I can tell… this seems to be my ‘ultimate sacrifice.’

At the end, when I took a bus trip (as much as I want to walk down home, unfortunately, muscle pains on my feet isn’t cooperating) and got myself back at home at 3:30 in the morning, I realized… “wow, have I really done that?” Considering the fact that at one point of my life, fatigue really took its toll on me. This time around, I never experienced signs of hallucination and even fainting at all.

The Sea of Faith-driven Humanity
Maybe it’s because I have faith both in myself and up there. That’s why.

Author: slickmaster | © 2014 september twenty-eight productions


  1. Wow. I never tried this Alay Lakad thing. Forgive me but I think many people who do this especially the young ones are just in it for the "social media" factor (i.e, posting pics in FB, Twitter or Instagram) so their friends can see LOL. Or to find cute guys/gals para lumandi (harsh ko no?). Like in Simbang Gabi. Haha. Anyway, maybe it's just me. :-)

    1. I actually feel your sentiment right there. Most of the younger guys and gals seems to do that, which is both sickening and disappointing.

  2. Hmmm... I don't think I can do this at all. As you mentioned this got you physically exhausted, and you're a runner. I can only begin to imagine what an activity like this will do to someone, like myself, who lives a sedentary lifestyle. Hehehe! :D

  3. Wow! You're incredible! I admire your courage & sacrifices. Congrats! because you have completed the challenge for yourself & you did it because of your faith..Happy Easter bro! :)

  4. nung nakatira pa ako sa pasig binalak kong sumama diyan pero tamad talaga ko....hay pero isasali ko yan sa bucket leist ko..promise heheh

  5. It has been a while since I last did something like this. It is very tiring.

  6. I'm not sure if they also call it Alay Lakad but every Holy Week, we also walk from the St. Vicente Church in Lipa. We have to walk barefoot - from the church then around the entire Banay Banay.

    After the walk, it feels good to realize that through that walk, you were able to sacrifice. And it's also a good realization how much sacrifice Christ gave in order for us to be saved.

  7. Great job of going the distance for a pilgrimage. Antipolo is even a hilly route.

  8. I have experienced this since I grew up in the provinces. This is a usual scenario during holy week in our locality.

    Although right now, I have become practical, as I can no longer go home every time, I do manifest my faith by my daily worship and tell the One up there, I know He got me covered every time, so I am living my life, the best I can, as a form of testimony and worship to Him. :-)

    I do pray though that the people who participated in such a sacrificial endeavor realize the value and meaning of what they are doing. :-)

  9. I too admire your determination. You set the goal and you didn't let fatigue or muscle ache stop you. Much can be said about life no matter the obstacles stay focused and you can achieve what you may have doubted. Way to go :)

  10. Wow that's a lot of walking.. but if you got to do it then u got to do it right!

  11. Don't be offended if I say some of your photos look as if it was going for Halloween! Haha... I can see how it will be super tiring, but with so many people accompanying you, I guess it's most probably motivating?

  12. Well done! I could never have done this although I am aiming to speed up my sedentary lifestyle (in between running after my little ones). You have great faith!

  13. Wow, I am so proud of you that you made it! It is a great tradition that commemorates Christ's sacrifice for the whole mankind. It seems really exhaustive and tiring, though, the route is challenging and reaching the final destination is a test of will and persiverence.

  14. At my age, miles of walking can really take its toll on me. I'm not that fit these days. Congrats on finishing your objective.

  15. Haven't tried to join alay-lakad in quite a while now. I admire you for this!

  16. Wow, dedication. I'm always amazed when this alay lakad gets covered in the news. I'm a runner too, but I don't think i'll be able to survive that long of a journey. Good thing you took a ride home.

  17. I always wanted to join this Alay Lakad. But for several years, it still on my plan. I am devout catholic and I felt that O must experience such sacrifice to give thanks to the One up there. I hope next year wpuld be my year to participate.

  18. Faith conquers all worldly sufferings.
    Congratulations on your walk and indeed an eye-opener to such an activity outside Singapore.

  19. Great job and congratz on your walk~~~~ I never been to this kind of walk before.

  20. I had experienced it myself walking from Marikina going up to Antipolo and boy, was it indeed exhausting. But it's amazing that I have walked that far walking back and forth. Along the way you wouldn't notice the distance since there are many people going with you. It even felt like it was a fun walk rather than a 'penitential' walk.

  21. I did it once, twice, wait... I actually lost count. I did it many times especially in college. I missed it as it gave a lot of good memories. And, of course, Alay Lakad is for a cause.

  22. Wow. You've gone through lot of walking. But, I think, it's all worth it! God bless you always!

  23. I have seen this Holy Week Alay Lakad, but I was just watching not walking. Hehe. I was surprised when I saw this just now. I thought you did it just this All Saints Day!

  24. This was a fascinating read. We did the stations of the cross but we didn't have to walk to a distant church. I applaud you for completing the pilgrimage and sharing your experience.

  25. You got home at 3:30. Whew. This is something. It's inspiring that you are doing this and sharing it on the blogosphere! This post might compel others to do the same.

  26. My friends do this traditionally, I haven't join them yet, dahil sa madalas na sprained ankle eh hindi ko pa kaya maglakad ng malayuan.. Im hoping Id be able to join the pilgrims someday! :)


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