March 19, 2015

One day wander in Lucban Quezon

"Kamay ni Hesus"  

After in hiatus for several months on the road I finally had this opportunity again to hit the road last February 21.  It was officially our first road travel this year after I had my C-section operation last December so I have to confine myself at home most of the time to recuperate.  But of course I was not 100% at home because confinement will kill me to death.. ha ha! It would already be a pleasure for me if I go walking the streets around the neighborhood to grasp fresh air, but once in a while I’m still longing for nature, clear skies, and travelling the road.

Green fields view along Rizal hi-way

We planned a day tour out of town which could be easily reached by car where we have not explored yet.  There are many to choose from actually, either North or South.  But we have decided to go to Lucban, Quezon to visit “Kamay ni Hesus Shrine” while the weather is still cold, because in summer it would be too hot and humid as you have to ascend the long stretch of steps to get to the top.  Kamay ni Hesus is a pilgrimage site and mostly visited during Holy Week. 

It was a three hours travel with short stop-overs to stretch out our muscles and to confirm direction from bystanders if were heading the right direction as it was our first time to take the Rizal-Laguna route going to Quezon.  We missed our target departure of 5:00 a.m. because I couldn’t get my kids to wake up at 4:00 a.m. specially my toddler, and I had to fix her up and get her to take a shower so we were able to leave the house by 6:00 a.m., but actually we departed at 6:20 a.m. because we had to fill up fuel and checked our tires at the nearest gasoline station from our house.

At around 7:00 a.m. we were already in Pililia, Rizal, the weather is still cool as the sun hasn’t beaming yet because it was covered by clouds.  It was the view we were seeing as we were on top of the mountain.  The view below from above was refreshing, the greenery of rice fields at the grounds and trees on the mountain, the cloudy skies with sparks of rays that shines through in between them and the far-flung view of Laguna Lake.  I feel relieved and breathless seeing this wonderful nature around me. 

I wasn’t able to take a nice shot of the view because I was at the backseat of the car holding my sleeping toddler beside me, and my husband was driving so fast and I don’t want to disturb his momentum in driving and we want to get to Lucban as early as we can so we can return back home not too late in the evening for the next day is Monday. 

St. Louis Bishop church in Lucban

Inside view of St. Louis Bishop

At around 10:00 a.m. we were at Lucban town plaza. We knew that we were in Lucban when we saw longganiza in most stores along the road.  We headed first at Lucban church, St. Louis Bishop which followed the baroque design and one of the oldest churches in the Philippines that was established in 1743.  There was no mass going on when we got inside, but a lay minister was arranging the few people seated on the pews near the altar for the christening ceremonial at 11:00 a.m.

Our stomachs were growling because we didn’t have a decent breakfast that morning we only had a sandwich which we ate along the way.  With little knowledge where to eat we asked a peddler and a bystander which restaurant serves the best Lucban longganiza, they both pointed us at Buddy’s restaurant which was located in front of Lucban Plaza, two blocks away from Lucban church. 

The famous Longganisang Lucban in Lucban, Quezon

After having our brunch, we headed to Kamay ni Hesus which was not that far from the town, it only took us 15 minutes drive to get there.  Because it was Sunday, there was a mass going on at the church, on top of the church is the “Kamay ni Hesus” (Hand of Jesus) Shrine.  A long stretch of stairs going to the top where Jesus large statue was built can be seen from below and even from the highway.  Ascending the stairs wasn’t that easy, the first few steps were steep.  The stairs are made of stones and some edges are sharp, taking extra care in taking a leap is a must.  

View from below "Kamay ni Hesus" Shrine
My daily walking routine was a great help, as I was able to reach the top without fainting although sometimes I need to stop and rest for a while to catch my breath.  It was a relief and fulfilling when I was on top and the amazing view below is breathtaking!  I'll be posting a separate blog on what to do and see in "Kamay ni Hesus Shrine", watch out for it! 
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