Apart from Christmas, Holy Week is THE major event for practicing Catholics. As we’ve said countless times in the past, there is an abundance of the latter (sincere or not) in the country, so you can expect a rather quiet week up ahead.
If you grew up Catholic, you probably have an itinerary already. Visit seven churches, pray at each Station of the Cross, abstain from meat, possibly fast, and so on.
On the other hand, there have also been an increasing number of people who don’t identify with any religion, and that’s fine too.
Let’s say you belong to the previously-mentioned group, and are at a loss for what to do during the long break. Here are just a few ideas that might just help you attain an equally relaxing and reflective time:
If You’re Staying Put
- Go for a drive around the city.
- Catch up on shows and movies.
- Practice your long-forgotten or long-abandoned craft.
- Check into a nice hotel for a couple of days.
- Reflect on what you’re thankful for.
When else can you get Manila to yourself? With almost everyone gone, you can check out usually jam-packed thoroughfares like EDSA (sans Carmageddon hell), Ayala Avenue, and even Binondo or Divisoria.
Simply marvel at how things could be if we managed the local traffic situation better. Or simulate what life in the capital would be like in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Whichever floats your boat.
Even us remote workers get at least Maundy Thursday and Good Friday off (most of us anyway). So, if you’re not really religious, use that time off to give your overworked mind a rest. I’m talking about binge-watching your favorite TV series, of course.
I mean, come on, the final season of “Game of Thrones” premiered this week. If you haven’t gotten on that bandwagon, you’ve got till this weekend to watch all seven seasons so far and see what the fuss is all about.
Belong to the 1% that’s never seen GoT? Whatever. (Kidding!) Netflix is bound to have something up your alley, at least.
Not a fan of staring mindlessly at a screen? Why not try picking up the guitar, a paintbrush, or a notebook again? Many of us had to give up our creative sides for the sake of “more practical” endeavors as adults. Now that adulting is on hold for the week, we can re-explore these, eh?
Alternatively, you can also try out a hobby you’ve always been curious about. Youtube is rife with how-to videos on everything from knitting to “no make-up” make-up application and whatnot. Feel free to knock yourself out.
A hotel staycation is a wonderful alternative to a weekend out of town. This lets you change the scenery around you with considerably less effort and expense.
As a bonus, booking a room at a decent hotel ought to be easier this time, what with Manila’s current lack of inhabitants. Heck, you’ll probably have the pool to yourself a couple of times this week.
Retreats aren’t exclusively for the religious and/or the moneyed. As silence falls over the city for the next few days, take the opportunity to think about what you appreciate most. Is it waking up this morning? Good health? The presence of your family?
Whatever it is, you’re bound to come up with quite a list, I’m sure. Plus, a grateful heart will help you retain peace of mind once the grind starts all over again next week.
If You Feel Like Going Out of Town
- Camp out at the unspoiled beaches near the city.
- Cool off underneath a waterfall.
- Climb a mountain.
Nearby provinces like Quezon, Batangas, and Zambales all have beaches with clear waters and white beaches. No need to book in at a fancy resort too. Just bring your own tent and food supplies.
The ocean is great and all, but waterfalls are vastly underrated gems. Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan are but a few hours’ away from Manila, and theirs are simply breathtaking.
But hey, don’t take my word for it. Go on a day trip and experience the waterfalls for yourselves.
In addition to bodies of water, the nearby provinces are home to magnificent mountains. You would need to be in good shape for the trek, but lots of them have scenic trails that make the hike feel less grueling.
Furthermore, the view from the top is always incomparable, and could probably qualify as a spiritual experience.
Whether you believe in God or not, a bit of breathing space amidst this world’s chaos is always good for the soul. Let’s all put this week’s well-earned break to good use.