San Jose Things to Do
Monasterio de Tarlac is run by the Servants of the Risen Christ Monastic Community. At an altitude of 300 meters above sea level, one can get a bird's eyeview of the plains and the western portion of the province. At the edge of the hill is the 30 foot Risen Christ statue, likened to that of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.more
It was summer time, and thought of things to be done, I asked colleagues to locate us a body of water so we can immersed ourselves and fight the summer heat. Since we visited the Monasterio de Tarlac that day, we explored the terrains of San Jose to look for the beach that is not a beach but rather a river.more
The monks do not solicit donations, but you can show your support to the Servants of the Risen Christ by buying things at their religious store, or buying some souvenir calendars and fans. You may also give voluntary cash donations together with your prayer intentions envelope.more
You'll have the best picnic at the Monasterio de Tarlac Picnic Grove, whether you eat on the picnic benches in the sprawling garden or at the Picnic Gazebo. You'll have a better appetite because of the cool climate despite a sunny day, with the wind kissing your cheeks as you feast your eyes on the beautiful rolling terrain of San Jose.There are...more
A towering 30-ft statue of the Risen Christ serves as centerpiece of a garden in the sprawling Monasterio de Tarlac overlooking the town of San Jose. From the country road, this white statue serves as guide to motorists going to Tarlac Eco-tourism Park. Upon reaching the Park, it is usually the first destination of tourists/pilgrims/photographers.more
Monasterio de Tarlac was entrusted to be the home of a relic of the true cross of Jesus Christ. The relic is kept in a silver reliquary enshrined in a glass case set in the middle of the altar of the church. How the relic was handed down to a budding monastic community in the Province of Tarlac is a touching anecdote, a test of "faith and...more
San Jose Transportation
Bring Your Own Vehicle
The park is accessible by private or rented vehicles, about 3 hours drive north of Manila and more or less 2 hours from Clark. The concrete roads leading all the way to the park make the travel easy and enjoyable. On the road uphill, I saw some jeepneys and tricycles which, according to locals come from Tarlac City, about 32 to 36 kms away. I haven't seen any mode of public transportation go up to the park from the countryroad, so I doubt if the jeepney or tricycle can bring you up to most popular spot, the Monasterio de Tarlac. It is the centerpiece of the Tarlac Eco-tourism park located atop one of the hills (Mount of the Risen Christ).
How to go: From Manila-NLEX, exit at Dau (Mabalacat, Pampanga) and proceed to SCTX. Exit at San Miguel (Hacienda Luisita) toll gate. From Clark, enter SCTX though Clark South Toll Gate and exit at San Miguel. I prefer recommending that you exit at San Miguel instead of Tarlac City because it is the most convenient place for pitstop (food,and personal necessities). Next, proceed northbound (toward Baguio) through McArthur Highway until you see Hon Kee Tea House (at the right side of the road of Brgy. San Sebastian). Across Hon Kee Tea House, you'll see the Tarlac-Pangasinan bypass road and a billboard with arrow sign to the Monasterio de Tarlac. Turn left to this bypass road; just follow the directional signs (so many) to the Monastery and you won't get lost.
Sighting of a white statue and white spires of the monastery jutting out of the mountain is an indication that you're already near the Tarlac Eco-tourism Park.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
San Jose Local Customs
Touching & Kissing Religious Relic &...
Some foreigners are surprised/curious why Filipinos touch and/or kiss religious icons and miraculous relics. Such practice is biblically based; believers trust touching and/or kissing the religious icons/relics is like touching God Himself who will grant healing or deliverance from suffering.
At Monasterio de Tarlac, pilgrims line up under the sun to be able to venerate the miraculous relic of the true cross of Christ. When it's finally their turn, they kneel before the reliquary, touch and/or kiss it and pray. Sometimes, they get so rapt in their prayers that a monk has to ring a small gong to indicate that it is time to move on to give others a chance. From the reliquary, pilgrims make an about face and kneel before the Blessed Sacrament before finally leaving.Related to:
- School Holidays
- Family Travel
- Religious Travel
San Jose Warnings and Dangers
Don't Get Lost!
Going to the Tarlac Eco-tourism Park and Monasterio de Tarlac is easy, but retracing your way back to McArthur Highway bound for Manila can be tricky. I must confess we got confused and got "lost" for a while. We reached Tarlac City proper instead of the Bypass Road. There are so many one-way streets, and we couldn't find "To Manila" signs to guide us out of Tarlac City.
So you won't encounter the same problem, I suggest that on the way to San Jose, you take notes or better yet, take snapshots of all landmarks (e.g. store, gas station, name/color of building) in all the turns you make.Related to:
- Road Trip
San Jose What to Pack
Bring Your Comfort Items
Luggage and bags: Small backpack and/or beltbag will do, so your hands are free to hold your camera properly.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Decent summer dress (NO flesh-showing attire please if you will go to the monastery), light windbreaker, sandals, hat (remove while inside the church)/scarf, umbrella
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Wet wipes to freshen up, plaster strip to keep handy for possible bruises in case you slip in the sloped terrain, personal maintenance medicines, sunblock
Photo Equipment: camera/videocam, lenses & filters, tripod, spare batteries (fully charged) and memory cards (cleared)
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: picnic mat, small folding chair
Miscellaneous: Bring lots of bottled water and/or your favorite drink. If you're not having a picnic, bring power cookies or sandwiched to fight pangs of hunger. If diabetic, bring hard candy for anti-hypoglycemia.Related to:
- Road Trip