According to the Department of Tourism (DOT), Filipino religious traditions and devotional practices around this predominantly Catholic country are increasingly attracting international and domestic tourists.
Recently, over 7,000 Catholics joined the 4-kilometer procession from the Quirino Grandstand to San Sebastian Basilica to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel de Sebastian arrival to the Philippines.
Marian devotee Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo welcomed the image of Mt. Carmel which arrived at 5:00 am on Friday at the Manila Bay.
The traslacion started at 8:30 am from Quirino Grandstand and passed through Quiapo Church. It arrived at San Sebastian Basilica at 11:00 am and was welcomed with fireworks.
The image was a gift from the Discalced Carmelite Nuns from San Jose Monastery in Mexico City, brought to the Philippines by the third group of Augustinian Recollect Missionaries on May 4, 1618.
The image was first enshrined at the Recollect Church of San Juan de Bagumbayan, but was later enshrined at San Sebastian Basilica in 1621.
The Marian celebration is a good indication that faith-based tourism destination contribute significantly in the country’s tourism industry, as stated by Teo.
“Filipinos find comfort to the image of Mt. Carmel and it is a beautiful scene to witness. In addition to the scenic sites of centuries-old churches all over the country, our devotional practices are attracting more and more faith-based tourists,” she added.
According to Rev. Fr. Robin Plata, one of the event organizers, Filipinos must be reminded that we have a Mother, under the title of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, who always guide us under her maternal protection.
Thanking the DOT for promoting faith-based tourism in the country, Plata said “it is a good avenue to promote our rich religious culture” and that “our faith as Christians gave us the iconic places and memorials that we have that will attract pilgrims and tourists.”
Images courtesy of the Department of Tourism