Friday, March 13, 2009

A Visit to Petra

Petra is indeed an adventure. Travelled south to the Wadi Musa where you can enjoy a horse/donkey cart ride through the rose colored canyon to Petra, a city dating back 300B.C. A city which was literally cut into the cliff sides. Enjoyed the tour of various temples, the Amphitheater, the Monastery, the Streets of Columns and the Treasury...and of course a sumptous dinner after the tiring walks and rides.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jerusalum, Bethany and Bethlehem

Glimpsed the city Jesus knew when you view the model of First Century Jerusalem. In Bethlehem, we explored the cave revered as the place where Jesus was born. The church, which has been constructed on the site, is the world's old functioning church. Standing atop the Mount of Olives as Jesus did and enjoyed a remarkable view of the "Golden City" of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock. Visited the Garden of Getshemane where Jesus prayed for God's will to be done. Visited the Chapel of the Ascension, Pater Noster Monastery and the Church of Dominus Flevit. Also travelled to Bethany, where Jesus raised Lazarus and to Ein Karem where Mary visited Elizabeth.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

To Qumran, Jericho, Dead Sea and Jerusalem

Travelled to Qumran, Jericho and the Dead Sea - In Jericho, we visited the ruins of ancient city which was conquered by Joshua. We continued to the Dead Sea where we had a quick deep in the salt and mineral laden waters. Accordingly, water here is about six times saltier than our regular table salt. Amazingly, you need not be a swimmer for you can just float freely. Making sure that no sea water gets into your eyes, for it stings so badly. Good thing Father Angelo was there with us always ready to pour clear water to rinse your affected eye/s. Everyone was busy at the water, no one was available to take pictures, as we all wanted to take a good dip at the water.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Let's Jump to Cairo and the Pyramids

Touched the earliest history of Egypt as we visited the ancient capital of Memphis (not the Tennessee). The original form of pyramid is the Step Pyramid which can be seen at Sakkara. It's an amazing and owerwhelming experience to visit the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sphinx, the colossal monuments to the former power of Egypt.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Mount Sinai - 11th Day

A climbed atop Mount Sinai that early one o'clock morning was really an experience. Assisted by a guide while riding a camel 2/3 of the height as we ascent to the summit for a spectacular view of Southern Sinai. Mt. Sinai is believed to be the location where the children of Israel received the law. We had the view of Byzantine Chapel and a Moslem Mosque at the summit before descending. A chance to visit the famous St. Catherine's Monastery, built in the sixth century to protect what was believed to be the Burning Bush to St. Catherine's when Egyptian martyr's body was found nearby. Renowned for the unique collection of precious art objects, and the library with its collection of old manuscripts.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Highlights of Our Pilgrimage

Hello! Please allow me to share with you some highlights of our pilgrimage.

I had a wonderful time in this trip. Seeing those places where we only read about in the bible and in books, and knowing that the incidents actually happened there many thousands of years ago, really gave us goose bumps. Our tour guide was really great – a Filipino Franciscan Priest, who has been there for 20 years (speaks Hebrew, Arabic, Italian, German & French). Under his guidance, I came out of there knowledgeable, holy, and enlightened. We crossed the Sea of Galilee and arrived at Capernaum, traveled to Mount of Beatitudes and Cana and Nazareth. We had masses and prayers said in some of the sites, like the Nativity, where Jesus was born (the cave where Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were). We had the Via Cruzes (Stations of the Cross), where Jesus was actually flogged, crowned with thorns, fallen three times, crucified, and died on the cross. We also traced the flight from Bethlehem to Egypt by the Holy Family because the babies where being killed by Herod’s soldiers. We went from Israel, Jordan, and then Egypt. It took the Holy Family three and a half years to get to Egypt. The travel was desert and barren. We were thinking they must have lived with the Bedouins, (Muslim nomads). We had visited a tent, on our own, one night, while in Egypt. We were also offered their herbal tea, brewed in a pitfire. They sang and danced and we danced with them. We had a special bonding with their family, who treated us like a their own real family. All those for free. One of the brothers said, next time you come with your family and I will tour you, promise, you will not spend one fourth of what you spent now. They said we were their brothers because Moslems, Christians, and Jews came out of the same father, Abraham. This is true. Abraham had a son with Sara; his name was Isaac, and another son with his slave, Hagar. The son’s name with Hagar was Ishmael. This is written in the Bible. We visited the place where the Holy Family stayed in Egypt. In Jordan, we saw ruins of a Roman Empire. The ruins date back 3,350 years B.C. We also went to the Egyptian Museum, saw tombs, work of arts, jewelry, statues, dating back 3,350 years B.C. We saw Ramses II statues – huge. Amazing how great the civilization was already at that time. So precise; amazing indeed! We also visited the pyramids. Anyone who have the opportune time would enjoy this portion of the trip (Egypt) plus some of the beautiful scenery from Israel, Jordan, to Egypt. We had so many holy sites visited, even Mary’s sepulcher, it will be hard to write all of them here. Nazareth, Bethlehem, Getshemmane, the Red Sea, the Dead Sea, Mt. Sinai, Jordan River, the nile valley of Egypt and more. Places that I only heard, saw on t.v. read on books and stories I heard from the elders. Who would not be amazed.
Try, and am sure you can talk more about these places than I could.