Our first Pilgrimage in Bicol

Honestly, I have never been on any of those Holy Pilgrimages in Europe. We dream of going one day – visit Rome, France and Medugorje – and experience the sort of spiritual high that you get when you go to those places rich in history, culture and faith. World Youth Day here in the Manila, in Cologne and in Sydney is the closest I’ve been to being a pilgrim. Young girl on a journey far from home, and into the churches of places far, far away. Amazing faith experiences – but still, I questioned whether those were pilgrimages. What exactly is it that we want to offer?

I have been tying myself down, trying to find a legit definition of “pilgrimage”, which I’ve come to realize, perhaps need not be defined.

In the general sense of the term, a pilgrimage is a journey. It is closely associated with those in search of some deep, spiritual experience, where they can find themselves and the higher Being that they believe in. At least for us, it is journey with God, particularly for God.

When we started playing around with the kind of enterprise we wanted to invest in – we knew it had to be something we were passionate about. It had to be something we could talk endlessly about, and do over and over again. Our direction started to focus on travel and somehow, the ideas of sharing our faith got into the picture. We decided that if our business was to have a patron – it was to be Ina. What better offering could we have for her than to work on pilgrimages that would deepen our understanding and love for her?



It was pure serendipity though that our first tour was to be a Pilgrimage – A Eucharistic Pilgrimage (the term used by Dong Rama, the coordinator from Manila) and timely, as we celebrated our one year back in the country. It was to be the perfect thanksgiving for everything that we have received, and humble offering to thank Him for what has been provided.

There were sixteen that jumped off the Bicol Express last Holy Thursday (5 April), tired from the long journey, but spirits seemed still seemed high. They belonged to different parishes, some older friends and others new acquaintances, but all devoted Catholics looking for a meaningful way to spend their Holy Week. Thanks to Kuya Dong, they decided to spend it with us in Naga. Tita Yay De Guzman and her family joined the pack, making it a solid twenty pilgrims.


Thanks to Ms. Zayda Sancho-Rifareal, the tourism officer of the city, the Naga City Youth Center was made available to the group. It was their home base after spending the day going around, seeing the different churches, and participating in the different Holy Week activities.

What really made this tour extra special for Tom and I was the fact that our families and friends also made such an effort to make the trip a wonderful experience for our pilgrims. We can’t thank them enough – but we’ll attempt to shout-out here!

Lola, Mother and Father: Thank you for having our pilgrims over for lunch! Fresh buko + turon = winner!
Tita Josie: Thank you for the refreshing moringa juice and binanban baon!
Tita Jean and Fr. Jovic: Thank you for having us at Our Lady of the Gate Parish for lunch.
Fr. Arkie, Fr. Toots, Fr. Andrew, Fr. Louie, Fr. Rex, Fr. Eugene, Fr. Aba, Gerard: Thank you for welcoming the pilgrims and helping us with our research and itinerary.
Tita Yay: Thank you for giving us this chance to take care of a group – our very first!

There are a few things that we did right. And many things that we know we may not do a second time. We learned a lot and are looking forward to trying again. We hope that it was a fruitful trip for those that came – that they found peace, friendship and a deeper love for the Lord, reflected in the faith experience of the local churches.


The end of this pilgrimage is definitely just the beginning of a longer, more meaningful journey. It may take a while before Tom and I get to Rome – but we know that we can find God here as well.