Today we explored a barangay, which can be thought of as a large neighborhood and community, at the beautiful Mt. Banahaw. This impressive mountain is about two and a half hours outside of Manila (with no traffic) and it was refreshing to be in such a peaceful place. We interviewed three spiritually influential people within the community, all of whom have personally experienced in some way the natural and powerful healing powers of Mt. Banahaw. Many Christians throughout the Philippines and those who live within this area have a strong mystical-based faith in which they believe that certain people have been granted the power by God to be spiritual healers. It was very interesting and eye opening to learn more in depth about this belief as well as others that characterize the different types of mystical Christianity that are present in this region and the Philippines in general.
While walking through the barangay, we were led to a special place that is believed to have a footprint of Jesus. Local members of the community had lit candles near the footprint which was imprinted in a rock and submerged in a small river. As we continued to walk through this lush forest, we were able to hike through a cave that is recognized as part of a religious pilgrimage though Mt. Banahaw. The cave was lit with candles and Christian figurines, allowing us to have a quiet moment to reflect and spiritually connect.
Something special about today that I noticed was that we were welcomed onto the porches of these people’s homes and were given their time as if it was nothing. I feel inspired by the level of commitment those that we interviewed have for their faith and personal beliefs and it has caused me to contemplate my own.
That’s all for now! Tomorrow we travel on to Baguio City, the last leg of our seminar! I am looking forward to learning about another piece of the Philippines while delving deeper into this culture and environment.
Thanks for reading!