Records at the secretariat of the barangay council showed that most of the visitors came from Kidapawan City, Makilala, Tulunan, Mlang and the neighboring town of Columbio in Sultan Kudarat province.
Despite the muddy terrain caused by torrential rains shortly before the Holy Week the visitors still decided to climb towards the shrine which lies atop the Nueva Bida Mountain.
The cross was discovered by the residents in the early 1970's.
The Diocese of Kidapawan declared the mountain sacred sometime in 1990. The first mass there was officiated by then Kidapawan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos.
College students Dave Erwin Asuncion and Hectore Caduyac claimed they felt renewed upon reaching the mountaintop to pay homage to the cross.
The duo also joined the Church workers from the Diocese of Kidapawan in praying and holding the Stations of the Cross that ran from the mountain base to the top.
"I felt tired while walking up the mountain but when I saw the Holy Cross I was overwhelmed and became tireless," Hectore said.
The two also enjoyed the beautiful view and fresh air on the mountaintop, where one could also see parts of Kidapawan, Makilala, Mlang and the Liguasan Marsh.
Some visitors stayed in the area until Easter Sunday.
Meantime the Barangay council of Nueva Bida imposed strict policies on security for visitors of the shrine during the Holy Week.
This resulted in the confiscation of hundreds of bladed weapons and liquor by members of the 38th Infantry Battalion and Mlang police.
The Diocese of Kidapawan said it would not tolerate desecration of the shrine.
Chairman Socrates Piñol, president of the North Cotabato Association of Barangay Councils, said he will sponsor a resolution supporting the Kidapawan diocese on the preservation of the sanctity of the place. (MindaNews)