CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, PHILIPPINES — Despite the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the number of religious pilgrims flocking to Cagayan de Oro’s two major Holy Week pilgrimage locations dropped by 80 percent.
On Maundy Thursday, April 14, and Good Friday, April 15, over 4,800 religious devotees walked 4.5 kilometers to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine at Igbalalay Hills in the town of Balubal, including nine river crossings, according to Major Ivan Vias, the Cagayan de Oro police spokesperson.
5,000 people visited another popular pilgrimage site in Malasag, Barangay Cugman, for the traditional Stations of the Cross visit, according to Mario Diaz, a village councilor.
Mayor Oscar Moreno of Cagayan de Oro has reopened the city’s pilgrimages and public beaches to the public, a year after declaring them off-limits during Holy Week to prevent crowding due to the COVID-19 threat.
Even on Good Friday, the city’s beaches, recreational areas, and tourism spots attracted a large number of visitors.
On Good Friday alone, 1,600 people visited the Seven Seas Waterpark and Resort in neighboring Opol, Misamis Oriental, for its swimming pools.
As of now, the city hall approved the opening of these locations to those who are fully vaccinated and not at least 18 years old. – WhatALife!