Riding On A Prayer - Padre Pio Shrine Ride

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It has been my long wish since I seriously started biking again, to reach Padro Pio Shrine in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.  Its a 42km ride from where I live and I always have reasons to postpone it many times.  Friend of mine went here already and I was wondering when would they come back to this place so hopefully I can join them.  Its been months since they did go and it seemed that they have lost interest in going back.  Maybe not in the near future but somehow I felt the urge to do it already.

So eventually I did go, alone.  I woke up, knowing I would ride that day.  My body was egging to do don my bike jersey and just pedal away.  For this particular day, I had no clear destination.  I thought of just going about my usual Victoria Daang Reyna route when I suddenly had the urge to turn left at our main road instead of right.  Turning left means I'm on my way to the National Highway, upon reaching this point, I decided to go Calamba instead.  



Trying to size up my strength, upon reaching Calamba, I was still pumped up, will I go straight for Los Banos or turn rignt towards Sto. Tomas, Batangas?  I pondered for a while then by sheer force of nature, my body was telling me to choose right.  It was lunch that time and I said I'll take my meal somewhere near Turbina.  Lo and behold I can't see an eating place aside from Jollibee.  I don't want to chain my bike, I was hoping I can dine in with it in front of me.


I was tired, hungry and thirsty (I used up my water already by now) , with no restaurant in sight, and I went for a long uphill ride.  After 3 kilometers finally I saw a lot of people coming off from a small side street along the highway.  I wondered why there were a lot of people walking from it?  Its along an industrial highway with no residential houses nearby?  I slowed down a bit and ventured that said street.  Lo and behold maybe a 100 meters or so, I found an open air restaurant where I can park my bike and eat.  Good thing food is cheap here, costed me 50 pesos, a cup of rice, a pork dish and a banana and a soda.  Wow, talk about cheap.  Plus I got to refill my water bottle to continue my ride.


Off I went again to Padre Pio amidst all the provincial buses whizzing (literally) by me.  I just pedalled as close to the gutters as I can to avoid being hit.  On this route I have taken, there were not much bikers as I see, much different with that if I have chosen Los Banos.  The roads were uphill climbs going there and these were long stretches.  Maybe this is the reason why people here don't use bikes.


Just a few kilometers thereafter, I found the Padre Pio Shrine.  You won't miss this as lots of directional signs point to this place.  A landmark along the highway will tell you its time to turn left into the side road leading there.  Jollibee Padre Pio is that landmark.


There are two entrances to the shrine, the first one is a private road so expect a parking fee here if you chose this one.  The second entrance, which is a bit more along the same road, this one has free parking.  It will have a bit more walking from the carpark but hey its free.

For bikers like me, fret not, pass through the second one and there are lots of parking for bikes and for free.  The first one they don't allow bikes to pass through the church so no choice for you there.



The 2 and a half hours ride was worth it I tell you.  Reaching the place on a weekday?  The place is open actually with a handful of visitors or tourists were at hand.  The place is spacious and serene and quiet.  I was able to rest a little, then said my prayers not only in one, but two churches (maybe one was a big chapel).  Both are situated in the same compound so I did pray to both.

After all that biking in the heat, I thought I had no strength left to power me back home.  I will be going through some uphill rides again, 42 kilometers of it.  Prayers can get answered I guess when going to Padre Pio.  I was able to nurse my health back plus more.  I was able to pedal back much faster than I first did and with less rest stops.

Prayers do make wonders and literally I was riding on a prayer in this trip I have made.

For those who would like to try this destination, I used google maps locating the place and its so easy anyway to follow its directions.