Holy Land Pilgrimage: Following the Footsteps of Jesus (Photo Essay)

About 85% of Filipinos are Christians and the Philippines is considered to be the 6th largest Christian country in the world. Which is why it only makes sense that a lot of Filipinos dreams of visiting the land of the Bible. To some, traveling to the holy land is considered to be the final step to fulfill their Christianity. But for most, traveling to the holy land means giving their life a far greater meaning. At least that was true back in the day. Sadly, nowadays only a few remaining devoted Christians would want to visit the land of the bible. As our generation gets younger and other travel destinations become cheaper, fewer tourists and pilgrims no longer consider the Holy land their “bucket list” destination. Lucky for me as a young “Millennial,” I was blessed to be offered to join a group of pilgrims bound for the holy land. Join me, as we embark on a journey to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Tripventures Int’l Travel & Tours 2/F Pascual Bldg., 894 Quirino Hwy., Gulod, Novaliches, Quezon City Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/TripventuresTravel/ Email: rsvn.tripsaverstravel@gmail.com Mobile: +6391509371385, +63933-8771038 Tel: 936-0300, 419-0553, 418-7538 https://flic.kr/p/28L8Nku Our holy land experience is a 14-day tour to 3 different countries where Jesus walked, lived, preached and performed miracles. Day 01 | Amman (Arrival) https://flic.kr/p/LS3zTU Arrival at Amman airport and rest after our 12-hour flight all the way from Manila. Day 02 | Amman – Jordan https://flic.kr/p/27sDbdD Our journey started on top of the iconic Mt. Nebo in Jordan. https://flic.kr/p/27K3aiE The place where the Lord showed Moses a view of the Promised Land or the land that was promised (also known as “The Land of Milk and Honey”.) https://flic.kr/p/27sDbPi The land which, according to the bible was given by God to Abraham and His descendants. Also, the land where Moses is said to have died. Hence, the remains of a memorial Church built in honor of Moses. https://flic.kr/p/28L8JBC After our mass at Mt. Nebo, we then went to the Basilica of Saint George (sometimes called the “Church of the Map”) in the nearby city of Madaba to see the very first 16-century map of the holy city, Jerusalem. https://flic.kr/p/LGKrBw Beautifully crafted in 2-million colorful mosaic tiles, the map provides important details about the holy city. Today, anyone who wishes to visit can now view the original map on the floor of the Basilica of Saint George, sometimes called the “Church of the Map.” Day 03 | Petra – Jordan https://flic.kr/p/KbAiZ2 Although it’s not really considered to be a part of the holy land, Petra or also known as the “Red Rose City” is a very popular tourist destination due to its rich and beautiful history. https://flic.kr/p/27K3qcN This 2000-year-old Nabatean capital, now one of the 7 world wonders is truly a site that should not be missed by all pilgrims and tourists. https://flic.kr/p/27K39TS And of course, Petra’s most elaborate ruin, the Al Khazneh (the Treasury) A rose-colored monumental building artfully carved out of sheer rock. Truly a once in a lifetime sight to witness! Day 04 | Israel – Jericho – Qumran – Dead Sea https://flic.kr/p/LGzCtS We then continued to Allenby border to cross into Israel and drove through the desert highway till we reach “Bethany beyond the Jordan.” The actual baptism site of Jesus in the Jordan river by John the Baptist. https://flic.kr/p/KbAdJc While we were there, we had our ceremonial renewal of Baptism by our guide priest who baptized us with the water from the Jordan river.

 It was amazing to see how that single line in the river separates Jordan and the Israel border. https://flic.kr/p/265zuy9 After our baptism, we then went straight to Jericho, the city that Joshua destroyed and the Oldest city in the world. https://flic.kr/p/27K3pgj We also rode a cable car all the way up to Mt. Temptation. The mountain where Jesus was said to have been tempted by the devil on His way up. https://flic.kr/p/27sD8yk After lunch, we then drove to Qumran where the dead sea scrolls were found inside a cave. https://flic.kr/p/27sDbxX Then on to the dead sea, the lowest point on earth where we had a quick bath and relaxation. Day 05 | Mt. Tabor – Galilee Area https://flic.kr/p/27K3qDQ During our first day in Galilee, we drove up the scenic route to Mt. Tabor and visited the place where Jesus is believed to have transfigured in the New Testament. https://flic.kr/p/KbAiLM As I can remember, Jesus performed many miracles but for us Filipinos, the Transfiguration is one of the most well known and celebrated so it was one of the places that I instantly connected with. https://flic.kr/p/27K3b85 We had the church to ourselves and had a really solemn morning mass that day. https://flic.kr/p/28Qz5uD Right after the mass, we headed straight to the Galilee area to visit the Beatitudes church where Jesus preached the sermon on the mount. https://flic.kr/p/27sD9bT And the nearby Church of the primacy of St. Peter which commemorates, and allegedly marks the spot, of Jesus’ reinstatement of Peter as chief among the Apostles. https://flic.kr/p/28L8M2h Also, the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish in Tabgha, the place where the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes happened and the fourth resurrection appearance of Jesus after His Crucifixion. https://flic.kr/p/28L8FW7 Right around the area we also visited the “Capernaum” where we saw the 4th synagogue and remnants of what is believed to be St. Peter’s house. https://flic.kr/p/27sD91T We then ended the day by sailing along the majestic sea of Galilee on an old fishing ship. It was a very emotional day because as we sailed along the historic Galilee river we were all sharing our stories with everyone. Day 06 | Tiberias – Nazareth – Haifa https://flic.kr/p/28L8LFC The next day, the couples in the group celebrated their renewal of marriage and vow in the Church of Cana. The place where Jesus performed one of His miracles where he changed water into wine. https://flic.kr/p/265zvcJ Next stop is Nazareth. The home of the family and the place where the angel Gabriel appeared before Mary. https://flic.kr/p/27K3pQW Scattered all over the church ground you’ll see different mosaic versions of the Annunciation from different countries. Ours is a mosaic depicting the Annunciation in the image of a Filipino. https://flic.kr/p/27K3bWj Considered to be one of the holiest sites in the Nazareth. The church of Annunciation was built over the house of the Virgin Mary, where angel Gabriel appeared to her and announced that she would conceive and give birth to Jesus. https://flic.kr/p/KbAdXD An event known to us as the Annunciation. https://flic.kr/p/28L8R33 And located right beside the Church of Annunciation we also visited the small cave where Joseph’s carpentry workshop once stood. Today, you can only see remnants of the cave as they have already built a church on top of it to honor him. Day 07 | Jerusalem https://flic.kr/p/28L8NGG Outside of the old city of Jerusalem, we visited the Pater Noster Church also known as the “Our father Church located near Mt. Olives. https://flic.kr/p/28QzfGx In here we saw another mosaic aimed towards Filipinos, a version of the “Our Father” written in Kapampangan. https://flic.kr/p/27K3ce3 And of course, the Grotto that is believed to be the place where Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer to His disciples. https://flic.kr/p/28Qz2fn We also visited the “Church of All nations” also referred to as the “Church of Agony” or most famously known as the Agony in the Garden. In here enshrines a section of bedrock where Jesus is said to have prayed before His arrest. https://flic.kr/p/28L8H3f Next to the church of Agony is the Garden of Gethsemane, a garden often mention in the bible when we were young. More importantly, it was known as the place where Jesus prayed to His disciples and slept the night before His crucifixion. https://flic.kr/p/KbAjtZ After Mt. Olives, we then went to another chapter in Jesus’s walk of life, Mt. Zion and Abbey of the Dormition. https://flic.kr/p/27sD9sV Inside we visited a tomb which according to local tradition, was the site where the Blessed Virgin Mary died or at least ended her worldly existence. https://flic.kr/p/27K3d3h In the same area, we also visited one of the most famous events in the life of Jesus, The Cenacle or the room where Jesus and His disciples celebrated “The Last Supper.” https://flic.kr/p/28L8GcN After visiting many of Jesus’s journey in Jerusalem we also visited one of Mother Mary’s contribution to that still exist to date. https://flic.kr/p/28Qz2B4 Located in Ein Karem, the Church of Visitation honors the visit by the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. This is the site where Mary recited her song of praise, the Magnificat, one of the most ancient Marian hymns. Day 08| Jerusalem Old City – Bethlehem https://flic.kr/p/27sD8hP Entering the old city of Jerusalem was never on my travel list, but to finally see the city up close and let alone enter it is definitely something that I’ll always remember. https://flic.kr/p/265zpVb Our first stop is the Pool of Bethesda, The Pool of Bethesda is a pool of water in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem. It is said that Jerusalem has been built and rebuilt countless times that you can no longer see the first or original ground because of all the rubble. But the Pool of Bethesda is a good comparison chart to show how deep is the ground level in Jerusalem. https://flic.kr/p/27K3cFW And right beside the Pool of Bethesda is the Church of St. Anne.  A Roman Catholic church, located at the start of the Via Dolorosa or the path believed that Jesus walked on the way to His crucifixion. https://flic.kr/p/KbAjVF In here pilgrims start their walk and prayers as they follow the footsteps (14 stations of the cross) of Christ to His crucifixion. https://flic.kr/p/28L8Kfb Today, The Via Dolorosa street is marked by nine Stations of the Cross; with the remaining five stations being inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. https://flic.kr/p/27sDc22 Pilgrim and tourist alike regularly ply these streets while praying until they reach the top where the crucifixion happened. https://flic.kr/p/265zuaU And at the end of the Via Dolorosa is the Calvary or the site where Jesus was crucified. https://flic.kr/p/KbAjJ8 Located in the Cavalry is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, possibly the most important site in the Christian faith. The place where Jesus died and was crucified. https://flic.kr/p/KbAmun There is also a slab on top of the original slab where Jesus is said to have been laid down and cleaned off His wounds. SNY09338 Also, located inside the church is an empty tomb where Jesus was said to have been buried and resurrected. https://flic.kr/p/265zweo Of all the places that we visited, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was by far the most memorable and momentous part of my tour. Simply seeing the place where Jesus died and was buried was definitely something that I will always be thankful for. https://flic.kr/p/28Qzg2v After our visit to Jerusalem, we then paid a visit to Bethlehem, the Birthplace of Jesus. https://flic.kr/p/27K3bxU The grotto inside the Church of the Nativity is said to be the oldest worshipped site in the Christian faith and the basilica is the oldest major church in the Holy Land. https://flic.kr/p/265pt2b In here we were able to feel and touch the grotto where Jesus was said to have been born. Day 10 | Egypt – St Catherine https://flic.kr/p/265zwCE After our lengthy stay at Israel, we then crossed into Egypt via the Taba border and then went straight to Mt. Sinai where the Ten Commandments were given to Moses. https://flic.kr/p/27sD5ri Located near Sinai, the Saint Catherine’s monastery is the world’s oldest continually operating library in record. https://flic.kr/p/KbAwb6 But most importantly this is the site where Moses is supposed to have seen the burning bush. https://flic.kr/p/28QzbNF What is even more amazing is that the living bush in the picture is said to be the actual burning bush the was seen by Moses. Day 11 | Egypt – Cairo https://flic.kr/p/27sD9Rv Last but not the least, we also visited the world famous Hanging church. The oldest church in all of Egypt. It got its name because the church itself is uniquely elevated above the ground. https://flic.kr/p/28L8HzN After the Hanging church, we then visited the only holy place in Egypt that is considered to be part of the holy land. The Church of Abu Sergah or the Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church. https://flic.kr/p/28L8MHh Believed to be built on the cave in which the holy family (Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus Christ) rested at the end of their journey into Egypt. https://flic.kr/p/28L8HU5 It is regarded by visitors as a source of blessing and is the perfect place to end the holy land tour. Day 12 | Egypt – Cairo https://flic.kr/p/28L8V5m And of course, a trip to Egypt would be incomplete without the world-famous Pyramids of Giza. https://flic.kr/p/27K3e3y Up close and personal the pyramids of Giza are a marvel of engineering! The sheer scale architecture alone still makes me wonder how the ancient world was capable of building such a huge indestructible structure. https://flic.kr/p/LGKyTL After the Pyramids, we also visited one of the most famous museums in the world, The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. It is famous for its wide range of ancient artifacts and the gold treasures of Tutankhamen that are thousands of years old. https://flic.kr/p/KbAmbr We then ended the day with a relaxing river cruise on the beautiful Nile river. And thinking about it now, I still wish that we should’ve kept our rivers clean like the Nile. That way our generation and the future generation will be able to enjoy something like this. Day 13 & 14 | Cairo Egypt | Free & Easy | Departure https://flic.kr/p/LWhdGU Final Thoughts https://flic.kr/p/265zvtL Overall, my journey to the holy land would forever be remembered as my most memorable and life-changing in all of my years of travel. Never in life have I imagined that I would be worthy of seeing let alone following the footsteps of Jesus Christ in a trip like this. Holy land may not have lavish architectures or “Instagram-worthy” places as other countries but what I really liked about it is the rich history that has been passed on for centuries. Churches may not be as beautiful or as big as other countries but they are original and are the actual places of miracles in the bible. Althroughout out the experience, I’ve met many wonderful people and they have guided me and showered me with care. Without them, I would never have understood the real meaning of the holy land, without them I would never have experienced what Jesus and the holy family have gone through. At the end of the day, we all went to the holy land as a tourist but came back to the Philippines as Pilgrim and for that, I will always forever be thank full. For a complete hassle free Holy Land tour package please contact: – Complete with Guided Tours + Filipino Priest / Chaplain – All-Inclusive Round Trip Airfare + Baggage Allowance – Private Van, Hotels and Transfers – 4 to 5 Stars Hotel Accommodations – All Meals included | Buffet – Inclusive of Visa Fee Tripventures Int’l Travel & Tours 2/F Pascual Bldg., 894 Quirino Hwy., Gulod, Novaliches, Quezon City Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/TripventuresTravel/ Email: rsvn.tripsaverstravel@gmail.com Mobile: +6391509371385, +63933-8771038 Tel: 936-0300, 419-0553, 418-7538 Live an Awesome Life,

abi signature NICO of Team Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Our trip to Holy Land was courtesy of Tripventures Travel & Tours. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.

7 thoughts on “Holy Land Pilgrimage: Following the Footsteps of Jesus (Photo Essay)

  1. we will be coming from the US what is the total package without airfare. We will just meet the group on your first stop.

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