Antipolo Church is the home of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, a dark brown image of the blessed Virgin Mary whose history dates back during the spanish era. It is a common practice among folks from Metro Manila and neighboring provinces to bring newly bougth cars to Antipolo to have these cars blessed by a priest from Antipolo church. This rite of passage for new cars was believe to be necessary to avoid future accidents from happening to the car and the car owner. An old Filipino ancestral belief which was transferred from generation to generation.
There are various ways of getting to Antipolo church. The most busy one and frequently used by travellers is via Sumulong Highway. Coming from Ortigas/Makati area, you will have to traverse Marcos Highway and turn right to Sumulong Highway in Barrio Mambugan, Masinag. Sumulong Highway is not as stiff as Kennon Road in Baguio, but you’ll encounter a few curving sports along the way. You’ll never get lost, as long as you don’t turn right or left in any corner. Without traffic and road accidents you’ll reached the main road leading to the church for about 20-30 minutes from Masinag.
As soon as you reached the main road that leads to the church, you will be greeted by men who will make the “praying gesture”. These men make a living out of people who are in Antipolo for car blessing. They will guide you to various narrow side streets that will eventually lead you the the parking area of the Church. As soon as you parked, they will ask you to wait for awhile for the priest to come out. They will ask you to prepare a “donation” which serve as the payment for the priest’s service. While waiting for the priest, expect “hecklers” of old ages literally begging you to buy something from them or give them alms. From small kids selling scapulars, rosaries and other religious stuff, to a family begging for alms, to a man selling suman and other delicasies of Antipolo.
When the priest comes out, be ready to open your car hood, start the engine and open the doors of your car. The priest will then do the “blessing ceremony”. After pouring “holy water” all over you car, time to give the priest the “donation”. You’d also notice a new over an inch in size, image of the Lady of Peace and Good Voyage on your dashboard. No, it doesn’t come free with the donation you gave. It costs P380 pesos plus a rosary and a scapular. To avoid further expenses leave your car and visit the church first and pay homage to the Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. Then leave immediately after and prepare for the next biggest “extortion scheme” you’ll ever encounter.
Before your car can leave the church vicinity, you have to pay P15 pesos for the parking fee. Yeah, even church have parking fees in our dear beloved country. Now, you can drive back home in peace knowing that your car is already blessed by Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage despite being literally robbed with almost a thousand bucks.
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