Fr. Melvin Castro
November 19, 2019
Egypt, Holy Land, Jordan
Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in Africa. It is located along the River Nile near the delta, about 165 km from the Mediterranean Sea. Although...Cairo
Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in Africa.
It is located along the River Nile near the delta, about 165 km from the Mediterranean Sea. Although the area has been settled for thousands of years, the city was founded in 969 AD. Over the centuries it has been ruled by the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, Romans, Turks, French and British.
Cairo is known as being a very densely populated city as well as being the center of Egypt’s culture and politics. The city’s most famous landmark is the Great Pyramid of Giza. The structure was built about 2500 BC, covers an area of 53,000 square metres and is 140 metres high. Over 2 million huge stone blocks were used to build it, some of which weigh over 72 tons. It’s estimated that 40,000 people took 10 years to build it.
Cairo is home to the oldest university in the world, and one of the largest mosques. It is often known as the city of 1,000 minarets, because of its Islamic architecture.
Mount Sinai is venerated as the mountain on which Moses spoke with God and received the Ten Commandments. But it may have been called Sinai (“mountain of God”) even before...Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai is venerated as the mountain on which Moses spoke with God and received the Ten Commandments.
But it may have been called Sinai (“mountain of God”) even before the time of Moses, and it has attracted pilgrims since the 4th century AD. In Arabic it is called Jebel Musa (“mountain of Moses”).
Mount Sinai has deep significance for Christians, Jews and Muslims.
Near the foot of the mountain is St. Catherine’s Monastery, built over the traditional site of the burning bush from which God called Moses to lead his people out of Egypt. It also contains a treasure trove of icons and ancient manuscripts.
The Dead Sea, also known as the Salt Sea, is the lowest point on earth. The Dead Sea in Hebrew as Yam Ha-Melakh (the Sea of Salt) is the lowest...Dead Sea
The Dead Sea, also known as the Salt Sea, is the lowest point on earth.
The Dead Sea in Hebrew as Yam Ha-Melakh (the Sea of Salt) is the lowest point on earth in any land mass (417 meters below sea level, to be exact), surrounded by stunning landscape of the Negev Desert.
The quantity of water that evaporates from it is greater than that which flows into it, such that this body of water has the highest concentration of salt in the world (340 grams per liter of water).
It is called the Dead Sea because its salinity prevents the existence of any life forms in the lake. That same salt, on the other hand, provides tremendous relief to the many ailing visitors who come here on a regular basis to benefit from its healing properties. All these and more make the Dead Sea so fascinating, so different and so interesting.
Jericho is believed to be one of, if not the oldest cities in the world. According to Jewish tradition, after the Israelites’ 40-year sojourn in the desert, Joshua decides the...Jericho
Jericho is believed to be one of, if not the oldest cities in the world.
According to Jewish tradition, after the Israelites’ 40-year sojourn in the desert, Joshua decides the first city in Canaan he will conquer is Jericho. God tells him that he will be victorious and instructs Joshua to have his troops march around the walls of the city once a day for six days.
On the seventh day, the troops are supposed to circle the city seven more times, then the priests are ordered to blow their horns and the soldiers to shout, and the walls of the city, God tells Joshua, will tumble down. This is precisely what happens according to the Bible (Joshua 6).
Jericho sits between Mt. Nebo in the east, the Central Mountains to the west and the Dead Sea to the south.
Nazareth is the cradle of Christianity. Nazareth, or Natsrat as its name is pronounced in Hebrew, is the city where, according to tradition, the angel Gabriel told Mary that she...Nazareth
Nazareth is the cradle of Christianity.
Nazareth, or Natsrat as its name is pronounced in Hebrew, is the city where, according to tradition, the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the place where Jesus spent his childhood and youth. Nazareth, in the lower Galilee, is located in the heart of a valley surrounded by mountains that embrace several of the most important Christian sites in the world. This is a city of religion and faith, of spirituality and holiness, but also a city with a rich history, fascinating archaeology, modern culture and Middle Eastern charm.
The city of Tiberias is known as the “City of Water.” Built along the shore of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), near 17 natural hot springs, the northern Israeli city...Tiberias
The city of Tiberias is known as the “City of Water.”
Built along the shore of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), near 17 natural hot springs, the northern Israeli city of Tiberias is known as the “City of Water.” It was named in honor of the Roman Emperor Tiberius
Tiberius is one of the four Jewish Holy cities, and the capital of the Galilee. It has a long history since it was established in the early Roman period. It was the Jewish people’s political and religious hub as well as the center of Jewish spiritual creativity. Tiberius has historically been known for its hot springs, believed to cure skin and other ailments, for thousands of years.
In the Bible, much of the ministry of Jesus occurred on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee lies roughly 650 feet below sea level and...Sea of Galilee
In the Bible, much of the ministry of Jesus occurred on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
The Sea of Galilee lies roughly 650 feet below sea level and is 14 miles long and 7 1/2 miles wide at its widest point. The Sea is the major source of fresh water for the entire country. The Sea, really a lake, lies on the ancient “Via Maris,” a route that linked Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Jesus recruited four of his apostles – Peter, Andrew, John and James – from the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Many of his miracles are also said to have occurred here including his walking on water, calming the storm, the disciples and the miraculous catch of fish, and his feeding 5,000 people in Tabgha. In the gospel of John, the sea provides the setting for Jesus’ third post-resurrection appearance to his disciples.
Capernaum became Jesus’ home town and the scene of many of his miracles. Capernaum is an ancient fishing village on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel....Capernaum
Capernaum became Jesus’ home town and the scene of many of his miracles.
Capernaum is an ancient fishing village on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. It is also the home of the first disciples Jesus called – the fisherman Peter, Andrew, James and John, and the tax collector Matthew.
It is home to a celebrated Byzantine-era synagogue as well as the house where Jesus healed a paralytic and St. Peter’s mother-in-law.
Capernaum is frequently mentioned in the Gospels and was Jesus’ main base during his Galilean ministry. It is referred to as Jesus’ “own city” (Mt 9:1; Mk 2:1) and a place where he lived (Mt 1:13). He probably chose it simply because it was the home of his first converts, Peter and Andrew (Mk 1:21, 29).
The Mount of Beatitudes is the setting for Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:1-11). Overlooking the north western shore of the Sea of Galilee, the Mount of Beatitudes is...Mount of Beatitudes
The Mount of Beatitudes is the setting for Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:1-11).
Overlooking the north western shore of the Sea of Galilee, the Mount of Beatitudes is one of the most beautifully serene places in the Holy Land. Pilgrims have been drawn to this scenic place since at least the 4th century.
Designed by the architect A. Barluzzi, the Catholic Church on the Mount of Beatitudes is Byzantine in style. Its octagonal shape represents the eight beatitudes. It has a marble veneer casing the lower walls and gold mosaic in the dome.
The chief attraction here, though, is the setting. The cool and quiet gardens overlooking the Sea of Galilee and the landscape where Jesus conducted his ministry make an excellent place to contemplate some of the best-known Christian teachings.
Mount Tabor is the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Mount Tabor rises 575 meters above sea level at the eastern edge of the Jezreel Valley. Also known as the...Mount Tabor
Mount Tabor is the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus.
Mount Tabor rises 575 meters above sea level at the eastern edge of the Jezreel Valley. Also known as the Mount of Transfiguration, it is the traditional site of the Transfiguration described in the Synoptic Gospels, when Jesus became radiant, spoke with Moses and Elijah, and was called “Son” by God (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:1-8, Luke 9:28-36.). Two churches on top of the mountain commemorate the Transfiguration– an impressive Franciscan church built on the ruins of Byzantine and Crusaders churches, and a modest Greek Orthodox church named for the prophet Elijah.
Cana in Galilee is celebrated as the scene of Jesus’ first miracle. Cana is the traditional site of the wedding feast where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water...Cana
Cana in Galilee is celebrated as the scene of Jesus’ first miracle.
Cana is the traditional site of the wedding feast where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine (John 2:1-11). It is also mentioned later in John as a place where Jesus heals a royal official’s son (John 4:46) and the hometown of disciple Nathaneal (also called Bartholomew) (John 21:2).
The Franciscan Wedding Church was built in 1879 on the traditional site of the wedding feast where ancient stone jars were discovered. It is possible for couples to renew their wedding vows here, with a certificate available in a variety of languages.
Tabgha is best known for Christ’s miraculous multiplication of loaves and fish to feed a multitude. (Matthew 14:13-21) But it is also remembered for Jesus’ third appearance to his disciples...Tabgha
Tabgha is best known for Christ’s miraculous multiplication of loaves and fish to feed a multitude. (Matthew 14:13-21)
But it is also remembered for Jesus’ third appearance to his disciples after his Resurrection, when he tested and commissioned St. Peter as leader of his Church.
Two churches commemorate these events, and pilgrims find the place a serene location for meditation, prayer and study.
Tabgha is at the foot of the Mount of Beatitudes, about 3km south-west of Capernaum. This was a favorite spot for fishermen from nearby Capernaum, and its beach was familiar to Jesus and his disciples. It is easy to imagine Jesus speaking from a boat in one of the little bays, with crowds sitting around on the shore.
The Jordan River is the scene of Jesus Christ being baptized by John the Baptist. The Jordan River originates approximately 200 meters above sea level on the slopes of Mount...Jordan River
The Jordan River is the scene of Jesus Christ being baptized by John the Baptist.
The Jordan River originates approximately 200 meters above sea level on the slopes of Mount Hermon, Israel. It ends its course at the lowest spot in the world, the Dead Sea, at 420 meters below sea level.
John the Baptist prepared the people for the coming of the Messiah when he baptized them in the waters of the Jordan River (Matt 3:5 ff; Mk 1:5 ff).
Jesus Himself was also baptized by John in the Jordan River near Bethany (John 1:28-33). Hence, it is considered to be one of the world’s most sacred rivers.
Ein Karem is the birthplace of John the Baptist. In a peaceful valley between mountains and hills, surrounded by the beauty of natural groves, nestles one of Jerusalem’s most...Ein Kerem
Ein Karem is the birthplace of John the Baptist.
In a peaceful valley between mountains and hills, surrounded by the beauty of natural groves, nestles one of Jerusalem’s most picturesque neighborhoods – Ein Kerem.
Ein Kerem is a pilgrimage site for many Christian visitors, who come here year after year. According to Christian tradition, this is where Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, miraculously became pregnant. This is also where he was born. Tradition teaches that during her pregnancy, Elizabeth was visited by a family relative – Mary, who was also pregnant, with Jesus. The two women met beside the village well and Mary drank from its cool waters. That place is now called Mary’s Well.
The Church of the Visitation is reached by steps up from the main road through the village. In the church courtyard, one wall is covered with ceramic tiles bearing the words of the Magnificat in 42 languages.
Said to be built over the home of John the Baptist’s parents, the Church of the Visitation stands high up on the hillside of Ein Kerem in Jerusalem.
Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus Christ. The city of Bethlehem is located about six miles, southwest of Jerusalem. Meaning “house of bread,” Bethlehem was also the renowned City of...Bethlehem
Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
The city of Bethlehem is located about six miles, southwest of Jerusalem. Meaning “house of bread,” Bethlehem was also the renowned City of David. It was there in young David’s hometown that the prophet Samuel anointed him to be king over Israel (1 Samuel 16: 1-13) And in Micah 5, the prophet foretold that Messiah would come from the small and seemingly insignificant town of Bethlehem.
Bethlehem is home to one of the most sacred Christian sites in the world. Built by Constantine the Great (circa 330 AD), the Church of the Nativity still stands over a cave believed to be the very spot where Jesus was born. The place of the manger is marked by a 14-pointed silver star, called the Star of Bethlehem.
Jesus Christ fulfilled his divine mission in the city of Jerusalem. In Jerusalem’s heart is the Old City, which is surrounded by a wall and divided into four quarters –...Jerusalem
Jesus Christ fulfilled his divine mission in the city of Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem’s heart is the Old City, which is surrounded by a wall and divided into four quarters – Jewish, Armenian, Christian, and Muslim. Inside the walls are the important holy sites of the three major religions: the Western Wall, which is holy to the Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount.
Jerusalem is also very important to Christianity, as Jesus Christ lived and died here. One of the most prominent and important sites in the Christian quarter is the Via Dolorosa, the “Way of Sorrows,” Jesus’ final path, where he was crucified and buried.
Amman is the capital and most populous city of Jordan. Today, Amman is considered to be among the most liberal and westernized Arab cities. It is a major tourist destination...Amman
Amman is the capital and most populous city of Jordan.
Today, Amman is considered to be among the most liberal and westernized Arab cities. It is a major tourist destination in the region. New resorts and hotels dot the city and there are many things for the traveller to see and do in and around Amman.
Downtown Amman, the city center area (known in Arabic as Al-Balad), has been dwarfed by the sprawling urban area that surrounds it. Despite the changes, much remains of its old character. Jabal Amman is a well known touristic attraction in old Amman, where the city’s greatest souks, find museums, ancient constructions, monuments, and cultural sites are found. Jabal Amman also contains the famous Rainbow Street and the cultural Souk Jara market.
Literally carved directly into vibrant red, white, pink, and sandstone cliff faces, the prehistoric Jordanian city of Petra was “lost” to the Western world for hundreds of years. Located amid...Petra
Literally carved directly into vibrant red, white, pink, and sandstone cliff faces, the prehistoric Jordanian city of Petra was “lost” to the Western world for hundreds of years.
Located amid rugged desert canyons and mountains in what is now the southwestern corner of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Petra was once a thriving trading center and the capital of the Nabataean empire between 400 B.C. and A.D. 106.
The city sat empty and in near ruin for centuries. Only in the early 1800s did a European traveler disguise himself in Bedouin costume and infiltrate the mysterious locale.
In 1985, the Petra Archaeological Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, and in 2007 it was named one of the new seven wonders of the world.
Madaba is the capital city of Madaba Governorate in central Jordan and is known as “The City of Mosaics”. It is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially...Madaba
Madaba is the capital city of Madaba Governorate in central Jordan and is known as “The City of Mosaics”.
It is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially a large Byzantine-era mosaic map of the Holy Land. At the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, visitors may view the earliest surviving original map of the Holy Land which was made around 560 AD. In addition, there are other mosaic floors preserved throughout the town, as well as a fine local museum.
Madaba is located 30 kilometers (19 miles) south west of the capital Amman.
Mount Nebo, according to ancient tradition, this is the mountain from which Moses saw the Promised Land before he died. Rising over 700m above the Jordan Valley, Mount Nebo offers...Mount Nebo
Mount Nebo, according to ancient tradition, this is the mountain from which Moses saw the Promised Land before he died.
Rising over 700m above the Jordan Valley, Mount Nebo offers spectacular views of the Promised Land as seen by Moses. On the platform at the summit is a modern sculpture by an Italian artist representing Moses’ staff and Jesus’ words in John 3: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”
In 1933, a monastery was uncovered on Mount Nebo. It is believed that it was built late in the 4th century to memorialize the place where Moses died. Pope John Paul II visited this site in 2000, during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land and planted an olive tree beside the Byzantine chapel for a symbol of peace.
Today, Mount Nebo is considered one of the most important Christian sites in Jordan.
Experience holy moments in the holy places where our faith began. Embark on a 13-day Pilgrimage to the Land of the Bible (Egypt, Holy Land and Jordan) with Fr. Melvin Castro leaving on November 19, 2019. Let this unique spiritual journey bring you closer to God.
Begin your pilgrimage in Cairo, Egypt, the cradle of civilization and beacon of religion. Step back in time to the days of ancient Egypt on your visit to the Great Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Peruse through one of the world’s most important collections of ancient artefacts, including the glittering treasures of Tutankhamun and other great pharoahs at the Egyptian Museum.
Retrace the steps where Mary and Joseph walked thousands of years ago. Visit the 4th century Saints Sergius and Bacchus church, which sits above a cave where the Holy Family is believed to have stayed at the end of their flight into Egypt. Hike into the sunrise at Mount Sinai, also known as the Mountain of Moses, believed to be the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God.
Cross the Taba Border into Israel. Drive to the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on earth. Enjoy a dip in its salty waters, where you will float endlessly. Cover yourself with mud steeped with minerals and good for the skin. Onwards to Nazareth, where Jesus spent his childhood. Drive to Mount Tabor, site of Jesus’ transfiguration.
While on pilgrimage, pilgrims will have the chance to renew their baptismal vows at the River Jordan and married couples-pilgrims will renew their marriage vows at the Church of First Miracle in Cana. Travel onwards to the holy town of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. Touch the silver star which marks the exact place where He was born in the Church of the Nativity.
Head off to Jerusalem, a city holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. A high point of the pilgrimage takes place when the Stations of the Cross are prayed at the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows) in the Old City of Jerusalem. Here, pilgrims walk the route that Jesus took between His condemnation by Pilate and His crucifixion and burial.
Wind down your pilgrimage with a visit to the ancient lost city of Petra, Jordan. Literally carved directly into vibrant red, white, pink and sandstone cliff, this UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the world’s most stunning archaeological sites. Visit Mount Nebo in Jordan, the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land by Yahweh. See the Moses Sanctuary, a memorial of Moses on the site of his death and burial place.
Embark on a unique spiritual journey. Join a Pilgrimage to the Land of the Bible with Fr. Melvin Castro leaving on November 19, 2019. As a true pilgrim, walk prayerfully and devoutly in the steps of the Lord with openness to the movement of the Spirit of Jesus in your life.
Our pilgrimage was worth all the hardships (I was having leg pains). We had an excellent leader in the person of Adrian, two priests Fathers Val and Ron, who gave us very nice pieces of advice and homilies, and of course the members of the group who were all very nice. Looking forward to join another pilgrimage.Emily Bautista
It was the most profound experience I had in my whole life....Walking with the Footsteps where Jesus walked made my life more grateful and humble....My faith become stronger as I express it...A growing faith is a sharing faith....TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!! SHALOM!Carmen Nierra
Vir & I would like to express our gratitude for a wonderful pilgrimage we had from Sept 5-18. From checking-in last Sept 5 & all during the tour, we felt the care from a family. No words can ever describe how thankful we are.I almost cried last Sept 8, (my birthday) when we (2 of us have the same birthday) were given a surprise mini celebration when after our dinner, we were given a cake. I really felt the love of a family then.All these things made possible because of your capable coordinator Ms. Ging Igual. She's such a wonderful leader. Kudos to her.Rest assured that i will refer your company to all my friends who are planning to go on pilgrimage .Good day & may God always guide & protect all of you in the Pilgrims' Center/ Executive Resources, Inc.Cora FrancaPilgrimCora and Vir Franca
Dear Pilgrims' Center:My husband Aldo & I would like to praise & commend our Pilgrim Chaplain Fr. Dante Venus & our Tour Leader Bro. Monty for the very successful & memorable pilgrimage to Italy & the Holy Land we were very fortunate to join on March 26-April 8, 2018.It was very hectic to be sure, but still they managed our time very well that we were able to visit more places than was promised in the itinerary, and we are very appreciative of that. Likewise, the solemnity of the whole pilgrimage experience was still observed despite many of us in the group, myself included, often forgetting that we were pilgrims & not tourists 😉😉, taking photos, selfies, etc. instead of, or before focusing on what the local guide was explaining or on the scripture readings. I cannot fault us pilgrims on this because for many of us seniors, and I speak for my husband & I, that trip might be our first & last time to visit those places, so we made sure they were properly documented. Nonetheless, it was a truly spiritually uplifting & life-changing experience for us. We continue to thank our Lord for making that experience of a lifetime possible. Indeed, nothing is impossible for God! Thank you very much to Fr. Dante, Bro. Monty & to each of us pilgrims in the group for the prayers, love, care & concern shown to each other. Let us continue to pray for and with each other. It is my hope that we meet each other again soon, to strengthen our bonds of friendships.Most sincerely, Leclec CabusoraLeclec Cabusora
I am honored to be included in this pilgrimage. The Pilgrims' Center has very good itineraries worth remembering. No hours wasted. They took very good care of us in spite of our big number of 47 people. The daily mass and homilies of Fr. Manny Cruz held in different shrines and churches were very inspirational and transforming. Accommodations were nice most especially the one on top of the Mountain with an awesome view built in 1909. It's like travelling back in time. I definitely would want to do it again with Pilgrim Center.Peter Joseph Mapua
The Pilgrims' Center always gives you the best. They let you feel like an Executive in terms of personal service & attention especially during pilgrimage. Their choices of pilgrimages and pilgrim chaplains are outstanding. You go back home very fulfilled and immersed...Marlene Silvestre
No Visa is required for PH, US or EU citizens going to the Holy Land.
Jordan and Egypt Visas will be prepared for you.
A Passport with 6-month validity is required.
1) US$ 500.00 deposit is required upon reservations together
with a photocopy of a passport (valid for 6 months from the date of
departure) and Pilgrim’s Profile.
2) Full payment in U.S. dollars is required before ticketing but
in no case shall it be later than thirty (30) days before departure
3) The following cancellation charges will apply:
> 45 days before departure date – US$ 300.00
> 30 days before departure date – 50% of the Tour Cost
> 20 days prior to departure date – Full tour cost will
TOUR DOES NOT INCLUDE Philippine Travel Tax of PHP 1,620.00, airport taxes, visa fees and documentation expenses, insurance, hospitalization and other medical expenses, tours and transportation during free periods, porterage of extra pieces of luggage in excess of maximum allocation (20 kgs.), drinks and beverages taken during meals, items of personal nature such as laundry, telephone, fax, room service, and other expenses not mentioned in the itinerary terms and conditions.
EXECUTIVE RESOURCES, INC. has arranged for the various tour services to be performed under the responsibility of various contractors. Executive Resources, Inc., its employees or its subagents therefore only act as agents for the contractors providing the various services described in the tour and accept no responsibility or liability in connection with losses or accidental expenses due to delays of schedule, overbooking, defaults or “force majeure”. All tours and arrangements are subject to the general conditions specified by each contractor. Tour itineraries and prices are subject to change without prior notice. When making a tour booking, the passenger acknowledges and accepts the foregoing conditions.