A bit of a late post given that Lenten season is already over in the Philippines, but then again this place is one of those hidden gems in the city that most people don’t know about or take for granted just because, well, just because it’s there.
The Tan Chan Celestial Gardens is owned by a Chinese family and nestled in a hilly portion of Banawa. It actually serves as a mausoleum as the family members are buried right in the middle of the gardens.
What makes the garden a tourist spot are the life sized tableaux depicting the passion of the Christ (more commonly known as the Stations of the Cross) spread across the property. During lent, pilgrims make their way to the place to offer a novena while some bring their picnic baskets for a meal after the prayers.
Expect the usual proliferation of vendors selling their wares and the trash that comes along with it. If you just want to experience the trek, go there some other time and avoid Holy Thursday or Good Friday. And do bring your own trash bag and don’t litter. After all it is a private property but the owners allow people to enjoy the scenery.
The best time to go is early morning, preferably before 6am as it can get hot though there are trees that line the path. Or alternately, try to visit at around 4pm onwards. Try to read up on the station of the cross so you also appreciate the work and series, even non Christians will enjoy the story.