The drive from Batangas to Antipolo was smooth and quick. The traffic started as we approached the church. Parking was really tough. A guy in a white shirt helped us secure a parking slot in one of the nearby streets. He ran along side our van as we made several rounds in the area. He must be really fit to be able to endure all that running. To my surprise, he politely declined the tip from my brother-in-law. He just requested that we go to his food stand if we decide to buy suman and casuy (rice cake and cashew nuts) after the mass. Suman and casuy are popular products of Antipolo.
The sight of the huge crowd made my knees weak. I doubted if we could get inside the church.
Slowly we inched our way near the church entrance. It was still early but the sun was already beaming its hot rays down on us.
We eventually managed to go inside the church. Luckily, my hubby, son and I were able to get some seats. Other family members had to go back outside because there were no more seats available. There were so many church goers that day.
Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, popularly known as the Virgin of Antipolo (Birhen ng Antipolo) rests above the pedestal. Many church goers ask Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage for blessings for a safe journey or passage (especially those who are going to another country). The image was brought to the Philippines by Don Juan Niño de Tabora in 1626. It was sculptured by Mexican craftsmen using dark hard wood similar to the Black Nazarene in Quiapo.
The Antipolo church has been a center of religious pilgrimages for three centuries. One of the popular annual pilgrimages is the "Alay Lakad" from Quiapo Church to the Antipolo Cathedral.
There are LCD screens placed in strategic areas of the church so that people outside can still see and hear the on-going mass.