Photo taken during the 2019 Maundy Thursday at Mt. Calvary (Photo from Mt. Calvary Puerto Princesa Facebook Page)

Mount Calvary in Barangay Sta. Lourdes, a pilgrimage site of Catholic faithful, will be temporarily closed to devotees this Holy Week to avoid flocking of pilgrims and visitors that could trigger the spread of COVID-19 in Puerto Princesa City.

Fr. Jasper Lahan, parish priest of Barangay Tagburos, which covers the management of the Mt. Calvary said Tuesday (March 30) that this move is an initiative of the parish in response to the sudden spike of COVID-19 cases in the city.

“Hindi naman talaga siya as in sara, kung hindi nag-request kami sa barangay at ‘yong PNP ay nag-volunteer din na kung kailangan ay magtatao rin, maglalagay din ng personnel para walang makapasok,” he said.

“Ito ay initiative na rin natin para makatulong sa ating lungsod, gayon din sa probinsya ng Palawan na sana ay hindi mapalaganap o hindi tayo mag-create ng kadahilanan na ang mga tao ay magkaroon ng influx baka katulad noong sa Acacia Tunnel ay kumalat ang COVID,” Fr. Lahan added.

Devotees usually flock to Mt. Calvary every Maundy Thursday and Good Friday before the time of pandemic, where thousands of locals pray and visit the stations of the cross as part of the observance of Holy Week.

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Lahan said this is also to inspire devotees to strengthen their faith until things go back to normal after the effect of pandemic. He added that they even prepared for two months but due to the observed spike of cases, they did not pursue the opening of Mt. Calvary to the public.

“Isa rin sa talagang naging impact nito sa bawat tao ay meron silang routinary na buhay kung saan ay hindi na nila nagagawa ngayon pero ang good thing sa pangyayaring ito ay ‘yong kanilang continuous desire ay mas lalong umaangat ng umaangat. Hindi ito tinitingnan na setback at nawawalan na sila kung hindi ito ay nagdadala pa sa kanila na mangarap ulit na sana dumating na ma-normalize ang lahat,” he said.

“Ang tinitingnan namin ngayon ay ang mga deboto ay marami na kaparaanan ngayon hindi katulad dati na na-caught off guard na hindi nila napaghandaan. Ngayon na isasara ang Mt. Calvary, sila ay nakapag-prepare na rin marahil dahil sa nakaraang experience,” he added.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.