Hijos Tours launches e-Pilgrimage for the Holy Week




Father Earl Allyson Valdez led the prayer and reflection during Hijos Tours’ first e-pilgrimage attended by 99 pilgrims from the different provinces of Luzon.

Hijos Tours, the tourism arm of CARD MRI, launched its first virtual pilgrimage with 99 participants via Zoom on April 1, 2021, Maundy Thursday.

The “e-Pilgrimage”, facilitated by the tour company, talked about the history behind four churches in Laguna which are St. Paul the First Hermit Cathedral in San Pablo City, St. John the Baptist Church in Liliw, St. Bartholomew the Apostle Church in Nagcarlan, and St. Augustine Parish Church in Bay.

Hijos Tours captured a 360° view of the different churches that featured the facade, interior, and other amenities found within the area. The tour also comes with a kit that includes a prayer book, a pen, and a notebook for taking down notes, as well as snacks during breaks.

Every discussion, Father Earl Allyson Valdez would lead a prayer and share his thoughts and reflections based on the history of the churches; relating what lessons from the past could be adapted to the present.

The idea for the online pilgrimage came from last years’ start of the pandemic. The tour company surveyed its Facebook followers on where they would like to go after the pandemic, which resulted to “visiting churches to offer their thanksgiving” emerging as the top answer. As a tour company that aims to give meaningful tours, Hijos Tours came up with the online pilgrimage.

Part of the reflection was the history and life of Franciscan friars. The religious order followed the beliefs of St. Francis of Asisi, the patron saint for ecology. Their lives served as examples of community building, helping the poor, and taking care of the environment which are advocacies of Hijos Tours for the country’s development.

Gerard Batarlo, one of the participants, enjoyed the tour and reflected on what the experience has been and the things he learned. “Just like what the history behind the churches are, I would keep on strengthening my faith and be of help to others,” he said.

Participants’ general reflections mirrored the goal of the tour as they point to a stronger faith and a greater sense of community as aids in going through adversity, such as the current pandemic.

Hijos Tours President Marilyn M. Manila speaks on the pilgrimage’s purpose and importance in time of the Holy Week. “What we would like to impart to our pilgrims is that for us to build a better community, listening to those in need is a must. Caring for our common home, which is the environment, and others is very important, especially during these hard times,” she explained.

To show commitment to their purpose, Hijos Tours also plans to host a tree-planting activity of fruit-bearing trees for the pilgrims who attended the tour. Proceeds of the harvest will go to CARD MRI’s mission of providing quality education. The location of the said activity will be in an organic farm in Bae, Laguna.

Hijos Tours plans to expand the scope of their tours and include notable locations with rich history and meaningful lessons. In the future, the tour company also hopes to offer a physical pilgrimage tour.

The next sessions of the e-Pilgrimage are scheduled on May 29 and June 26. For more information, visit Hijos Tours’ official Facebook page.