We started our Holy Land Pilgrimage from Tel Aviv, to Mount Carmel in Haifa, to Nazareth, and finally to Tiberias in the Sea of Galilee, which was where Jesus started His early ministry with His disciples.
Israel has a population of 9 Million, with 6 Million Jews, 1.5 Million Muslims, and about 150,000 Christians. It is bounded by Lebanon in the north, by Syria in the northeast, by Jordan in the east, by Egypt in the southwest, and by the Mediterranean Sea in the the west.
Here’s a photo essay of Day 1 of our Holy Land Pilgrimage with Bro. Bo Sanchez…
After a long trip, the water closets are always a blockbluster with very long lines. 🙂
We were advised by the tour guide to reserve our shopping in Cana or in Jerusalem for quality and better priced products.
We went to the rooftop for the vantage point…
…and our first orientation about the 4 geographical regions of Israel — the Coastal Plain, the Mountain Ranges, the Jordan Valley, and the Negev Dessert.
The view from the Mt. Carmel Hill.
This is the Valley of Armageddon, which is the location of the last battle as prophesized in Revelation 16:14-16.
Trivia: The Israel Airforce strategically setup their airforce base here and you can see the runway in the distance.
Our Jewish tour guide Ronin was awesome, providing just the right info at the right time, with good jokes and trivia to give us a good perspective of the place.
All of us were equipped with the headset so that we could hear the tour guide clearly. Check out Ronin in action in the video above.
This is the small chapel where we reflect on the triumph of Prophet Elijah.
Rache and Elijah in the distance.
Meet the awesome people of the Blue Bus group. 🙂
After Mt. Carmel, we drove for another 45 minutes to reach Nazareth in time for lunch.
You have to pass through this tunnel to reach the town of Nazareth.
Welcome to modern city of Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus.
Most of the houses use limestone to preserve the look and feel of the city.
It is the largest city in the north and considered to be the Arab Capital of Israel.
The bus dropped us off and we had a great opportunity to walk along the town of Nazareth.
It was very interesting to see Arabic bread cooked on the street.
There were a lot of shops that sell religious items and souvenirs…
…like these Camel stuffed toys. But we’re glad we waited to buy in Jerusalem.
One of the things we love on this trip is the freshly squeezed pomegranate juice.
Pomegranate is a superfruit naturally high in polyphenol antioxidants, which is good for the heart, aids in resisting damage from free radicals, and helps prevent cancer.
One fresh cup sells for 15 Shekels or 4 Dollars. It was a bit expensive in Nazareth and in other touristy locations. It’s better to pay in dollars since they round off the amount equivalent in Shekels.
As we were walking to the restaurant, it was pleasant to see lemon-bearing trees along the way.
HOLY LAND RESTAURANT
The Holy Land Restaurant is the most popular restaurant for Holy Land pilgrimage groups visiting Israel.
The restaurant is 20 years old, but the building has been there since 1860.
It was able to accommodate the 140+ pilgrims. They serve the same yummy menu everyday for $15/person.
Meet Allan, Irma, Werner, and Luz Torress, the happy Filipino family based in Australia who were celebrating Irma’s 50th birthday. They visited Rome in Italy before this pilgrimage and came via a direct flight to Tel Aviv.
I love the cute nooks…
…and the antique memorabilia throughout the restaurant.
Every meal we had in Israel starts with a thick Arabic Pita bread.
They serve a simple lentil vegetable soup that is light and a bit bland.
Make sure to buy Pomegranade juice for your lunch.
The sodas sell for $3 each.
The restaurant is known for serving the best Spaghetti pasta in town. 🙂
We had a great lunch with the Torres Family. I must say, it’s best to go to the Holy Land Pilgrimage with your entire family. 🙂
A vegetable plate before the main course.
The Jabali family who owns the restaurant are Christians and they serve meat. 🙂
Beef with carrots and potatoes on the side.
For dessert, they serve Cocos, which taste like big macaroons.
It’s great to celebrate your birthday during the pilgrimage and get a nice birthday cake. 🙂
The cakes in Israel are just OK.
Don’t forget to visit the nice clean water closets here.
A happy and satisfied Blue Bus group. 🙂
After lunch, we walked to the Basilica of the Annunciation.
P.S. The Next Holy Land Pilgrimage by Bro. Bo Sanchez is on February 10-19, 2015. For more info, you can email Tita Beckie at Beaconlighteventsfirstname.lastname@example.org
P.P.S. The pilgrimage tour costs P340,108 (exchange rate P44.65 – $1) for a couple, broken down into the following:
Tour Cost: $2,995.00 x 2 = $5,990
Airline/ Other Taxes: $495 x 2 = $980
Tip Fund: $100 x 2 = $200
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: $130 x 2 = $260
Travel Insurance: $45 x 2 = $90
Philippine Travel Tax: P1,620 x 2 = P3,240
Airport Tax: P550 x 2 = P1,100
Note: There’s a $300/person non-refundable reservation for the trip, which is deductable from the total amount.
Overall, the Pilgrimage tour with Bro. Bo Sanchez is relatively more expensive than the other pilgrimage trips organized with Executive Resources. But it is the best experience for us because of The Feast (Community Worship Gathering) and the Feast Builders who make the trip awesome. 🙂
TIP: You can decide to book your own airfare if you plan to visit other countries after your pilgrimage.