The Stations of the Cross is a special type of devotion among Catholics and is typically associated with the Holy Week. It is also known as the Via Crucis or way of the Cross and the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows. Cebuano Catholics normally take part of this 14-step devotion commemorating the last day of Jesus Christ on Earth as a man. While churches have the fourteen Stations of the Cross depicted on small images or icons, there is a park in the Queen City of the South where these stations are depicted in life-size statues. The Cebu Celestial Garden brings the Stations of the Cross to a new level since devotees would have to walk quite a distance to complete all fourteen stations
The Cebu Celestial Garden nestled on the hills of Banawa comes alive, in a manner of speaking, during the Holy Week. During this time people from all over the city flock to the 12-hectare property owned and managed by the Tanchan Foundation for this annual devotion. While many of the devotees go to the garden on Good Friday, a number visit the place a day or two days earlier to avoid the crowd.
An arched gate greets visitors as they enter the Cebu Celestial Garden. A poster set up by the Tanchan Foundation on the entrance gives the reason why they established the garden, which essentially serves as a reminder for everyone to carry their own cross. The garden is also a testimony of the faith of the family.
Completing all fourteen Stations of the Cross typically takes around two hours when the place is not quite crowded. But, it can take around four hours if the place is teeming with devotees. The place also has a small cemetery surrounded with plants, trees and a grass-filled lawn. The facility is open to the public and does not collect any entrance fee.
Since the Cebu Celestial Garden is located on top of a hill, visitors without any vehicles can either hike all the way to the facility or they can hire a motorcycle to bring them to the place. The place is also often mistakenly referred to as Good Shepherd since the convent of the Good Shepherd Sisters is located close to the entrance of the Cebu Celestial Garden.
Have you visited the Cebu Celestial Garden already? Tell us about your experience.
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