The Alay Lakad from Ortigas to Antipolo Cathedral is a yearly thing for many. It wasn't my kind of thing before, finding it silly and nonsensical. It was a form of repentance as well as sacrifice to commemorate the suffering of Christ. But I knew only the minority of those who do have the true intentions.
I knew it's better to just go to church or read the Bible and ask for forgiveness of your sins through sincere prayers, than to show the world you're doing a pilgrimage just for the purpose of showing off.
I must admit I did the Alay Lakad last year just for the fun of it, but halfway through the walk, I realized sore feet and aching leg muscles make you more in touch with what Jesus Christ had to go through to save us. Not that we had to go through the same physical pain like those who choose to be nailed to the cross, but a little bit of pain makes your faith stronger (at least in my own experience).
We were still in Antipolo last year when I made the vow to do it again this year, and the years to follow as long as my feet and legs could still carry me. The people who joined me last year even promised that we'd do the Alay Lakad together. But something happened that I ended up cramming the last minute to invite people to go with me. And thank you to these people for joining me this year:
It was a small group, but I love small groups better than big unruly ones. And besides, it's easier to move from one place to another when you're not that many.
We arrived at the Antipolo Cathedral 1 AM, but since the church was still closed, we spent the night at Via Dolorosa. The toll of walking got to us the minute we laid our backs on the sapin na sako we bought for 10 pesos each.
We woke up quite late so we reached Antipolo Cathedral around 7 AM, which was a good thing because the campers in front of the church were already gone. After saying a quick prayer, I decided to bring my group to the Mystical Cave which was a few kilometers away from the church.
None of them have been there yet so I figured it would be fun.
We had to climb these steps in order to get to the opening of the cave, which was in the middle of the hill. I heard it's seven storeys down but people only go to the main cave.
We climbed the hilltop first. There are three crosses there where people, well, take pictures. I bet they used to pray up there but we didn't see anyone who did. Aside from the scorching heat of the sun that morning, there's really no place to kneel and pray. It's all rough stones and blaring sun.
After the hilltop, we entered the cold sanctuary of the Mystical Cave. It's supposed to have stalactites and stalagmites forming religious figures but honestly, I find it not as convincing. And besides, we found a part of the cave manually altered. I just forgot to take some pics cuz it's at that part where you have to duck/crawl in order to get to the other side.
No offense, though, to those who believe. But really...
And I'm not sure but the below photo is supposed to be like the Holy Family or something.
So you can get a guide to show you around and explain what certain formations are, but there's no fixed guide fee. "Bahala na po kayo." And I really shy away from those kinds of arrangements. I just know I'd end up paying more than the normal.
How to get to Inday Nelly Deles Mystical Cave (our way)
- walk from SM Megamall to Antipolo Cathedral :)
- from the church gates, hire a tricycle to take you to the Mystical Cave (P150.00 as of Lent 2011)