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Travel

PADRE PIO PLACES: Exploring San Giovanni Rotondo

The best thing about setting off to explore all the Padre Pio places in San Giovanni Rotondo is that each of them is just a few steps away from each other. Yep, you don’t have to consult your map every five minutes or so. This is the first thing I noticed because I am always, always, geographically-challenged! Take me to a mall, blindfold me, spin me around, and it will surely take me a lot of time to figure out where I am. Lol! I guess I should watch more of that Brainy Baby DVDs that help develop your brain and prepare you for things like this. Hehehe!

Ok, so back to our topic…all in all, there are five must-visit places in San Giovanni Rotondo. Each of these places has its own story to tell. If you go with a pilgrimage tour group, you usually just have half a day to visit all these…or maybe a day at most. But in my own humble opinion, you should take at least two days in this mountain to experience its wonder and the different vibe that it has. If you often wonder why a lot of people have decided to abandon their old lives and stay in this mountain for good, it would be really good to come at a time when you are giving yourself a spiritual recharge and not merely vacationing. That way, you can stay longer and experience this place fully. Their cuisine is something to enjoy as well! And mind you, this mountain is not lacking in souvenir shops. I must have spent hours going through all the nice items they have on display…hehehe!

Below is my attempt to give you a preview of the must-visit places in San Giovanni Rotondo. I have not indicated addresses because you’re not going to need them; trust me. When you get to one of these places, the others will be just a few steps away. And yeah…just follow the crowd! Padre Pio had always been a crowd drawer. Even now (year 2009), 40 years after he died, 7 million people visit his mountain every year…and the number continues to grow as the families of his faithful devotees continue to expand.

ONE: Santa Maria Delle Grazie (Our Lady of Grace Church) Read more »

Italy: Planning Your Trip to Padre Pio’s Mountain

As mentioned in my previous post, I made a promise to visit Padre Pio’s beloved San Giovanni Rotondo to thank him for his countless intercessions on my behalf. And so I did…from September 5-9, 2009, with my wonderful hubby (a.k.a. financier) in tow. Hihihi!

I am writing this post to share with all of you who want to go there on your own, without having to sign up for a whole pilgrimage tour across Europe. Please know that we worked on a very limited budget when we took this tour…so you can rest assured that we took pains to economize. I hope that I will be able to help you get the most out of your visit to San Giovanni Rotondo through our experience.

HOW TO GET TO SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO

When we took this trip, our point of origin is Paris; but no matter where you are coming from in the world, the nearest airport to San Giovanni Rotondo is the Bari “Karol Wojtyla” International Airport (Aeroporto di Bari in Italian). We took a Lufthansa flight to go there, which lasted approximately 5 hours because we had to catch a connecting flight in Milan.

Upon reaching the Aeroporto di Bari, you are only 2 hours away from San Giovanni Rotondo! Yey! You have three options to get there: Read more »

Philippines: Padre Pio Church in Libis, Quezon City

I guess each one one us has his/her own sanctuary — a place you go to when you just want to keep still and be quiet. Having to live in a city, I sometimes find it hard to even hear myself think! Even the gazillion Starbucks spread across Metro Manila does not provide a breathing space since they are usually crowded with students and professionals alike. And no, I am not a homebody, so my room does not count as a sanctuary for me. I like the idea of driving towards a certain place that is not home, but feels like home to me. I was looking for a place where I can stay for as long as I want until I am finally able to sort myself out. Believe it or not, I finally found my sanctuary…and surprise, surprise — it’s not a spa, it’s a church! :) Read more »

Italy: The Padre Pio I Know

Padre Pio is my spiritual giant. He is my one and only favorite saint! :)

I came across Padre Pio’s life story one stormy night in Manila, Philippines. They have just suspended classes in all levels the next day, and since I work in a school, that means I have a free day too! Yey! So I decided to curl on my bed and devour a new book I was reserving for the weekend, which apparently, mentioned Padre Pio several times. Too many times, actually, that I decided to make a little research on who this man was. From then on, I have never forgotten this holy man, nor his story, nor what he has done in my life. Read more »

Fireworks Display at the Eiffel Tower!

Fireworks1

I remember being misinformed about two years ago…someone said that there will be fireworks at the Eiffel Tower on New Year’s Eve…and so, my hubby and I braved the winter chill and camped near the beloved tower in anticipation of the fireworks display. Unfortunately, there was none. Hehe. But we weren’t too disappointed, though, because dear Eiffel was decked with a million lights that blinked to the tune of Auld Lang Syne (if my memory serves me right) at the stroke of midnight! It was definitely one of the most memorable New Year celebrations of my life. :) Read more »