Around 30,000 pilgrims and visitors are expected to trek the highest point of the province of Guimaras, popularly known as the Balaan Bukid, in Barangay Balcon Melliza in the municipality of Jordan on Good Friday, April 7.

Balaan Bukid is the last stop of “Ang Pagtaltal sa Balaan Bukid”, a street play that will start at the town plaza of Jordan, re-enacting the passion and death of Jesus Christ every Good Friday of the Lent season.

“This is a street play, a reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is a street drama starting from the smallest plaza in Jordan and will end with the crucifixion at the Balaan Bukid,” said Jordan Mayor Cresente Chavez in an interview.

Chavez said people look forward to visiting the Holy Week destination since it was closed to guests for the past two years due to the health pandemic.

The site was only opened to residents of Guimaras in 2022.

“Two years ago, there were around 20,000. This year, we expect 30,000 or even more since visitors are already coming in since Monday. So they are expected to climb Balaan Bukid on Friday,” Chavez said.

Starting from the foot of the mountain in Barangay Hoskyn, pilgrims can pass by the Stations of the Cross going up to the mountain peak.

Chavez said the street play starting from the town plaza will be passing various visiting points including the church, municipal hall, Barangay Hoskyn and the Balaan Bukid stretching to about four kilometers.

The mayor said witnessing the Pagtaltal and trekking the Balaan Bukid give one the feel of the Holy Week, which is a time to reflect on the sacrifices of Jesus Christ.

However, as per the advisory of the local government, the 60-foot concrete cross on top of Balaan Bukid is still not open to the public for the duration of the Holy Week.

Chavez said the Pook Area of the Balaan Bukid has been temporarily closed to the public for safety and security reasons.

Instead, from Iloilo City’s parola wharf, modernized boats will berth directly at the Jordan wharf.

He added liquor and bladed weapons are prohibited and there will be over 400 police personnel and force multipliers that will be deployed to ensure peace and order.

Parents are also advised to have their children wear identification cards with their information details for easy identification in case they get lost.Perla Lena/PNA