Local Calvary braces for thousands of devotees

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BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: The passion, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ come alive again this Holy Week at the scenic Bangan Hill here – the favorite destination of Catholic devotees.

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Overlooking the capital town, Bangan Hill—or “Mount Calvary” as residents call it—also goes by the name of “Golgotha” just like the fabled hill resembling a skull outside Jerusalem where Christ was crucified more than 2000 years ago.

Every year, families flock to this government-protected area to pay homage to their savior, especially on Good Friday.

The Bayombong Catholic diocese led by Bishop Ramon Villena is at the forefront of the annual Good Friday spectacle at Bangan Hill.

“My family will visit Bangan Hill which is really a perfect place for meditation. At the same time, we will take this opportunity to renew our faith and strengthen our family bond,” said Andrea Orcales, a resident of Bambang town 15 kilometers away.

Her sentiments are shared by Lorenza Aguinaldo of Solano town who said the hill has the right ambiance for spiritual renewal.

“I can really feel the presence of the Lord there,” she said.

Another favorite meditation site during Lent is Santiago City in Isabela where you will find Dariok Hill in the village of Balintocatoc.

In 2001, the place was transformed into a religious site by the city government under the leadership of Mayor Amelita Navarro.

It has over 80 religious statutes depicting the Last Supper up to Christ’ resurrection and ascension into Heaven in a 50-meter uphill trek.

Up north in Iguig town is Cagayan’s own version of Calvary Hill where oversized statutes depicting the Stations of the Cross attract the Catholic faithful.

Piat town, also in Cagayan, is the site of Our Lady of Piat Church or Nuestra Señora de Piat.

Venerated as Basilica Minore Nuestra Senora de Piat in 1999, the church’s altar houses the 16th century Roman Catholic “miraculous icon” of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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