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A man and a boy on a boat visit a giant cross that serves as marker for the sunken public cemetery in Barangay Bonbon, Catarman, Camiguin. The old cemetery sank when Mt. Volcan erupted in 1871. The island-province is expected to see an influx of visitors, many of whom will take part in the annual “Panaad” during the religious holidays this week. (Jigger J. Jerusalem)

Thousands expected to visit N. Mindanao religious sites during this week’s holidays

By JIGGER JERUSALEM
Correspondent .

MORE than half a million people are expected to visit the various pilgrimage sites in northern Mindanao, especially in Misamis Oriental, during the Holy Week, a tourism official said.

The Divine Mercy Shrine in Barangay Ulaliman, El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental, is projected to have the most number of visitors, said provincial tourism officer Jeffrey Saclot.

Last year, more than 200,000 Roman Cathilic devotees visited the shrine’s 50-foot statue of Jesus Christ, the most prominent structure at the Divine Mercy Hills, and the figure is seen to increase this year, Saclot said.

The statue is considered as one of the largest and tallest religious structures in the region.

Aside from the Divine Mercy site, many devotees are also expected to visit the Our Lady of Lourdes church, known for its “healing pool,” in Binuangan town; the Sipaka Heights in Talisayan town; and soon-to-be finished Christ the King shrine in Gingoog City; and Medina town where “Hinuklog” (reflection), a street play depicting the passion of Jesus Christ, will be held on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

In the city, two pilgrimage locations are expected to draw in Roman Catholics: the “via cruzes” (station of the cross) in Malasag, Barangay Cugman, and Guadalupe in Barangay Tablon.

The “Panaad” (vow) is one of the reasons why Camiguin’s tourists swell during the summer. Already practiced for decades, devotees walk around the island’s 64-kilometer circumferential road as part of their annual penance.

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