The Intramuros (IA) administration is preparing for an increase in visitors this Holy Week, with the pandemic alert level now reduced to 1.
AI Administrator Guiller Asido told BusinessMirror: “For the first time in two years, the procession of saints will take place at San Agustin Church on Good Friday.” The carozas, which carry the statues of the crucified Christ, his grieving mother (Our Lady of Solitude), as well as other saints, will circle the main streets from General Luna St. to Muralla and A. Soriano, and back to General Luna.
In addition, on Maundy Thursday, “eight churches/chapels will be open for the Visita Iglesia, and the entire stretch of General Luna Street will be closed to car traffic; pedestrians will be allowed for Stations of the Cross facilities,” he added.
The churches or chapels that will be open to the public are Manila Cathedral; San Agustin; Sanctuary of Jesus, the Chapel of the Divine Master at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila; the Santa Rita Chapel at the University of Mapua; the Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the University of the Philippines High School; Chapel of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran; the Saint-Matthieu chapel in the BIR building; and the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Fort Santiago.
The Via Crusis or Stations of the Cross facilities will be located along the stretch of General Luna Street from Beaterio Street to Muralla (Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila side) from Maundy Thursday to Good Friday, according to the head of the AI.
Before the pandemic, in 2019, Intramuros attracted nearly one million visitors during Holy Week, up 11% from visitors in 2018.
“We are working hard to prepare for Holy Week 2022 given the current health situation and we urge the public to follow the rules set by the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases]POINT [Department of Tourism]and AI to ensure a safe, organized and meaningful celebration of Lent,” Asido said.
He stressed that visitors to the walled city must wear masks, observe physical distancing, follow queues and line up properly, as well as respect traffic, mobility and parking rules.
“Lent is an important time for Filipinos, whether for reasons of faith, to rest or to bond with family, friends and community,” Asido said. “Pilgrims and tourists are all welcome during Holy Week in Intramuros and invited to experience this important Filipino tradition.”
Only Fort Santiago and Baluarte de San Diego will be open during Holy Week. Other Intramuros attractions such as Rizal Shrine, Casa Manila Museum, San Agustin Museum, Destileria Limtuaco Museum, National Commission for Culture and Arts Museum, Fr. Willman Museum and Instituto de Cervantes will have variable hours for the week. Check out the AI’s Facebook page or website (https://bit.ly/3O7QKqI) for more details.