Freedom, here we come—for four consecutive days, at least, this coming Holy Week.
We simply cannot wait for a glorious respite from the daily grind and indulge in some free time to do something out of the ordinary, whether that is catching up on sleep—which we find is just so underrated in this day and age—going away on a holiday or spending it in prayer.
So we asked some of our friends aged 16-37 what they had planned for the upcoming break, and they bared their plans, all of which are atypical for them. Unless of course, you’re a hotelier and it’s your job to allow people to do something special.
For the four-day long weekend, I will stay in Cebu, spending time with my family and meeting up with friends. Island hopping will definitely be in the itinerary as there is nothing better than to relax on the beautiful beaches of Cebu and its equally beautiful neighboring islands.—Ann-Sophie Müller, 16, high-school student/model
I will be spending the long weekend in Sydney, Australia, where I am based for school. This is the first time I will spend Holy Week away from my family in Cebu, but I will be seeing my cousins and my sister who are all here in Sydney as well. I will also be going to Bondi Beach with friends and to church on Sunday.—Mark Lotzof, 19, college student/athlete/model
Off to Australia
I’m a music lover, so I’ll be watching the 24th Annual Byron Bay Bluesfest, Australia’s premier blues and roots music festival. This year it will be held at the festival home of Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, just outside of Byron Bay in New South Wales.—Pia Congmon, 32, Song Hits! Family KTV proprietor
I’ve been crazy busy ever since the year started, so for Holy Week I’m looking forward to lots of R&R in an idyllic resort in Dumaguete with my friends. It will be such a treat to just lie on the sand, sip cocktails, do some meditation, read a good book, enjoy long talks—and maybe even see a dolphin or two!—Mia Zamora, 32, HR manager/lifestyle columnist
Knowing my family, we’ll definitely be busy participating in different religious festivities during the four-day long weekend. Every year my family spends Maundy Thursday and Good Friday in Carcar for processions, and then comes back to Cebu City for Good Saturday and Easter Sunday. I’m especially excited for this year’s Holy Week because it will be my first time spending it here in Cebu.—Martina San Diego, 19, singer/songwriter
No better place but home
Although it’s pretty tempting to take advantage of the four days off work and spend it leisurely in a resort or traveling abroad, I will spend mine at home. Come to think of it, there is something not so alluring about packed beaches, seaports/airports during this peak season.
With the daily pressures brought about by deadlines and work meetings, there is so much joy and beauty to be found in being able to stop, breathe and simply have nothing to do. Best of all, I can finally bond and enjoy the company of my three little girls and husband. And to hold true the essence of Holy Week, every year we visit churches, pray the rosary and do the Stations of the Cross. I will attempt to fulfill my duties as a Catholic by repenting for my sins and more importantly, by reflecting and thanking Him for His abundant blessings.—Cheryl Pages-Alba, 28, Bright Academy creative consultant
I’m planning a beach escape to Bali with a group of family and friends.—Rafael Fernandez de Mesa, 33, Aboitizland commercial business unit head
I will be in Oslob for Holy Week with my wife Monique and kids, Tamara and Gael. Some of our friends are coming along with their kids as well. We will be staying in the beach house of a close friend and we plan to visit the nice old churches in the south. Hopefully, we’ll get to see the whale sharks again and enjoy the sandbar by Sumilon Island.—Paco Jarque, 35, businessman
I will most likely just relax at home with my fiancé, Liza. We plan on watching DVDs, playing PS3 (we like to race each other in Gran Turismo 5), and just lazing by the pool with some drinks.—Nico Atillo, 37, businessman/investor
This upcoming four-day long weekend, I will be master cleansing. My body isn’t even close to “beach-ready” for the long weekend and I’d like to use the time to prep for the summer. I used to go to Bantayan for their annual festival—mostly for the huge party by the beach, but in recent years I’ve been using the time to clean up my work and personal spaces, and this year, I’m focusing on my body.—David Jones Cua, 22, Zee Lifestyle assistant editor
On Easter weekend, I work! That’s what I get for taking off on a two-week holiday to Italy and Switzerland the week before for some fantastic food, unbelievably picturesque landscapes and prosecco for breakfast! The trip has given me the much needed time for reflection that the season usually brings.
While it may be unthinkable for some, working on this weekend has actually been my annual sacrifice of sorts. Since I’m a hotelier, it is quite normal to work on Holy Week as we make sure that travelers and holidaymakers enjoy their vacations and stay-cations.—Rica Renee Rellon, 30, Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu marketing and communications director
Cherry blossom festival
I have always wanted to experience hanami, or the Japanese traditional custom of simply basking in and enjoying the beauty of the cherry blossoms, Japan’s iconic yet very elusive flower. Luckily this year, the long weekend falls on the dates when the sakura, as locals call them, are forecasted to be in full bloom in Tokyo, so that is where I will be spending my long weekend. By then, the city would be once again covered in white, not by snow or ice, but by the tiny, delicate flowers whose trees dominate the landscape.—Gilryan Nario, 29, engineer
No hitting the beach yet for me. As my mom always intones this time of the year “Holy week is for all things holy,” so I’ll be lazing under the sun after Holy Week. In the meantime, it’s church services with my family, catching up on movies and hoarding on sleep.—Gretchen Lu, 23, The Northwing at SM City Cebu Events marketing officer
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always spent Holy Week with my family, and a lot of this family time is spent in prayer. We attend all the Holy Week festivities starting with the Holy Thursday Mass (with Bisita Iglesia in the evening), then Good Friday Mass, and Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday. Of course, Easter Sunday culminates with a nice feast or beach outing. I reemerge not only with a happy stomach and well-rested body, but with a renewed heart and spirit!—Jose Franco Soberano, 27, real-estate developer