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Young pilgrims stand out during walk

Two twelve-year-olds show up their elders by completing 14km pilgrimage

Abe Cerojano, Manila

April 26, 2011

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Two boys who set their hearts on an exhausting trek on foot took part for the first time in the annual pilgrimage to Antipolo Shrine last week.

Though diminutive and reed-thin, 12-year-olds Dante and Joey, who both hail from Makati City, stood out among a group of taller and heftier men when the duo walked barefoot for 14 kilometers under a blistering sun to reach the famed Antipolo Cathedral, the sanctuary of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.

"They made seasoned pilgrims like me wearing top-of-the-line running shoes or signature sandals feel like vile sinners," said Gus Ignacio, 45, of the two young pilgrims.

“Those boys have a sense of commitment rarely seen from today’s Filipino youth,” he added.

Pilgrimage to Antipolo on foot is an annual tradition by some Filipino Catholics living in Metro Manila during the Holy Week.
During the month of May, Filipino devotees to the Blessed Virgin from different parts of the country flock to the hills of Antipolo to make a pilgrimage at the shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.

Dante, carrying a backpack and lugging a water jug, said walking to Antipolo has been his dream since he was 10. Asked why he was not accompanied by his parents or relatives, he said they went to work.

Joey, also traveling with a backpack, said he joined the penitentiary walk to Antipolo because he wanted to make a sacrifice for Christ.

“I wanted to understand the suffering of Christ,” he said.

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