AAP Travel Organizes 2nd Pilgrimage for Portuguese Devotees


Members of the Grandevasion Philippine Tour pause for a souvenir photo in front of the carved wooden doors of the San Agustin Church. 


Last year, Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) Travel organized a pilgrimage, “Grandevasion Philippine Tour” for a group of Portuguese devotees.  The Portuguese visitors experienced a meaningful spiritual tour and told others about it.  Result: AAP Travel conducted the “Grandevasion Philippine Tour 2017” for another Portuguese group from June 12 to 14.

“The group we toured around Manila and Cebu last year found the experience quite profound.” AAP Travel operations manager Michael Quitorio said.  “They liked the religious tour so much that some of them even came back to be a part of this year’s group.”

He said that this year’s group was traveling to holy places around the world, starting with the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima last May.

AAP Travel took the participants to some of the most visited churches in Metro Manila and nearby cities. On the first day, they were brought to the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Sta. Rosa Bulacan.   Replicas of signficant places in the lives of Polish saints are found at the Little Poland Museum, including the model home where St. John Paul II grew up.

Next, the group attended Holy Mass at the Diocesan Shrine of Mary, Mother of Eucharist and Grace. The shrine’s administrator, Brother Carmelo Cortez, conducted a healing session and distributed the blessed rose petals. The participants experienced deep religious emotions when they saw holy images manifested on the petals.

On the second day, Padre Pio’s “Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry” greeted the group at the National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. Though the open structure of the church allowed bustling crowds to enter and exit as they please, the pilgrimage site maintained a solemn atmosphere which the guests appreciated.

Afterwards, the group headed to Lipa, Batangas to visit the site where Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace showered the ground with rose petals to bless the convent. Due to this miraculous event, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church has been visited by many pilgrims.

On the last day, AAP Travel brought the group to the St. Joseph Parish in Las Pinas where the famous Bamboo Organ, the only one known to be existing in the world, is located. Here, the group listened to inspiring music coming from the largest and over 200-year-old bamboo organ. Declared a National Cultural Treasure in 2003, the bamboo organ is sometimes played during Sunday Mass as well as during the annual International Bamboo Organ Festival.

After Las Pinas, it was back to Manila to tour the Walled City of Intramuros, the Minor Basilica, the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Concepcion and the San Agustin Church.

“Many people make pilgrimages to other countries,” AAP Travel head Mina Gabor says. “Why not the Philippines? Our history and culture are very much influenced by our religion and we have a lot of sacred sites here. We should welcome more people to make their pilgrimages here.”

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 A church volunteer talks about the renowned Bamboo Organ of St. Joseph Parish in Las Pinas.    A Portuguese couple admires the masterful woodwork on the big cross at the entrance of the Manila Cathedral that depicts the different scenes of the Way of the Cross.  The tourists view the wooden frame, ivory parts and intricately sewn dresses of the statues of the saints.