We finally made it to Monasterio de Tarlac, a retreat place and monastery for the “Servants of the Risen Christ” monks and nuns atop the San Jose mountain which is shared by Tarlac and Zambales, PH and we really enjoyed the serenity and beauty of the place. I almost gave up on making the trip as some of the ladies were reluctant to go because they think the transportation fees being charged by the owner of the van is too high. But there was that whispering voice telling us to go and accounts by friends who have been there that the place is really lovely pushed us to make the trip. The first time we tried to go there, about 5 years ago, we didn’t make it even though we were almost there. Sis K, who owns the van we were riding in panicked when she realized that we have reached an isolated area. She was afraid that lawless elements could be hiding ready to pounce on pilgrims and there would be nobody to help us. And then again, there was no gas station, and if we ran out of gas, we will be stranded. We didn’t expect it to be so far, the driver didn’t go for a full tank.
Outings like this make us closer as we reveal more of ourselves by the stories we tell during the long ride, the shared meals and picture taking. We feel so blessed to be part of the community and to be able to travel together that we the others have started to make plans to visit a similar place in the South. Those who didn’t go with us were filled with regret as they saw our pictures on Facebook.
The Church keeps a relic of the cross of Jesus from Mt. Calvary which every pilgrim is allowed to touch after every Mass. There was a healing session by the priest and I felt blessed and grateful as any cancer survivor can only feel, when complete healing becomes more possible because of these two acts.