Sunday, November 15, 2015

Catholic School & Israel 1

February 2017: It is taking me forever to update my Holy Land series. I have no excuse. 
Our second country in this Holy Land trip is Israel. After we crossed from Jordan, we had a new bus, and a new guide in this leg. His name is Zohar. He used to be part of a paramilitary group, and he has been to the Philippines to a couple of times. He had a handful of Filipino phrases that he used just when needed. He says "walang bibili" whenever we have a limited time in a stop. Mabenta tuloy sya samin.

We had a quick stop at the Mount of Temptation before Zohar herded us to a touristy center. We met the feta cheese and falafels again. Can't really complain though.  

In the bible, there's a story about Zacchaeus, the tax collector. He climbed up a sycamore tree to see Jesus (he was a short man). Now this was not the real sycamore tree (or I think this isn't even a sycamore tree) but just a "symbol" for that tree in the story. 


From this point, it was almost a one-hour drive going to Nazareth. The weather turned on us...for a time. We entertained by introducing ourselves to the group. There were 20+ of us and since we would be travelling for the rest of the trip, it would be good to know each of their names. (I was the youngest, hihi).

No rains when we arrived in Nazareth. Our first stop: a souvenir shop. We stayed here for AN HOUR. I bought nothing. I stopped my parents from buying a lot - one of my roles as a parent manager for this trip.

We had a manageable uphill walk to the Church of the Annunciation

At the gate

Find this painting from the Philippines
I've seen a handful of pretty churches: the Duomo of Sienna, Sagrada Familia, and the Duomo of Florence (just from the outside).  The Church of Annunciation falls in that same awesomeness level. I cannot explain the inspiration for the artwork nor the architecture. I lack the keywords for art appreciation. All I can say it that it was really very beautiful.

We were supposed to just go around the church for 15 or so minutes but I liked it that Tita Meds (our tour leader) requested for additional time so that we could go over the artwork of each station.

This is a lousy photo. Better in reality.

Fantastic art here. Take some time to appreciate each station.

The stations of the cross showcased fantastic art. These weren't classical but they weren't screaming contemporary-hipster-you-can't-understand-me either.

The magnificence of the church was difficult to capture in photos.

We had our mass in one of the chapel rooms in the church (remember, this was a pilgrimage tour and we had mass everyday). It wasn't as awesome as having mass in a pretty church but I felt really privileged to have mass in-a-room-near-this. 

Bonus: there was a free organ concert when we were there! We stayed for 15 minutes or so before were tried to quietly sneak out of the church. The concert was intense. As much as I like music and I love watching concerts, the sound of the organ brought too much...intensity.

Then we checked-in our hotel in Tiberias for the night. I was so tired from the entire day.

We had a regular-early day (read: I get up at 6:30AM). We took a cruise from Tiberias to Nof Ginosar. Our boat displayed a Philippine flag and our national anthem boomed.

Dancing around!!!

Group photo without me!

Back to the bus, we went to the Mount of Beatitudes. It is believed that Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount here.

Lots of tourists and pilgrims. The place had tents outside this building wherein we had our mass for that day. 

I had a flashback of my Catholic education when I read these beatitudes. 

View of the ocean from the fenced area

Tweetums on the rocks

Lunch time here!

One of the reasons this Holy Land series takes me a long time to post is because I simply cannot remember all these places where. I guess part of being in a tour group is just relying on the tour leader where to bring you. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Can't recall the place but this one burned and they had to rebuilt it again. 

We also went to this beach wherein it was believed that the water had healing capacities. 

Parents going to the water.

A friend's comment: "It is a sad thing to be on a beach but wearing long sleeves and high boots". True dat. 

We spent 6 nights in Israel. I'll continue blabbing in the next post...

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