Lens Talk about Visita Iglesia 2012

Another fulfilled journey this year was my Visita Iglesia experienced. It took me to 3 different provinces close to my heart, Cavite, Manila and of course Laguna. A tiring yet humbling experience walking the way of the cross and during this journey I also let my camera talk.

So here’s what it has to say, listen as my lens talk about my Visita Iglesia experience.

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish
Rosario, Cavite

Located in the town of Rosario, Cavite, it houses the image of their beloved patron saint Nuestra Señora Virgen del Santissimo Rosario, Reina de Caracol. Their feast which is celebrated every October includes the “Caracol”, a ritual dance-procession done in honor of their patron saint.

St. Mary Magdalene Parish
Kawit Cavite

Situated in Kawit, Cavite, this church is considered as one of the oldest churches in the country. It was said to have been built of wood in 1638 and in 1737 its cornerstones and present structure were constructed. But due to some strong typhoon it was damaged in 1831.

The church was first handled by the Secular priests in 1786 and then followed by the Recollects in 1894. There are stories attributing that the installation of St. Mary Magdalene as their patroness was because Kawit then was considered as a Red Light District, thus in bringing back the townfolks to religiosity the Archbishop of Manila ordered to place St. Mary Magdalene as their patroness.

Shrine of Jesus The Way The Truth and The Life
Pasay City

Located at the Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City, this church is a project of the late Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin. It also house the Pope John Paul II Youth Center which is a dream of late Pope John Paul II expressed during the World Youth Day celebration in 1995. The church was dedicated and consecrated on July 9, 1999 by his Eminence the late Cardinal Sin with then Papal Nuncio Antonio Franco. The land and the church building was donated and built by Mr. and Mrs Henry Sy of the SM Group of Companies.

Nuestra Señora de Remedios Parish
Malate, Manila

Also known as the Malate Church it is also considered as one of the oldest churches in the country is the Malate Church. It was the Augustinian friars who established it  on September 8, 1588 with the image of Virgen de los remedios being brought from spain in 1624. The church has gone also to many calamities and destructions caused by eathquakes and war.

At present the church is being managed by the Columban fathers who took over from the redemptorist fathers in 1929.

St. Paul the Hermit Cathedral
San Pablo City, Laguna

Known also as the San Pablo Cathedral of the Diocese of Laguna, this church was first established in 1586 by the Augustinian friars. Its present structure meanwhile was constructed in 1714. It has the simple neo-classic design on its facade with a 4 storey octagonal bellfry on its side. And is has notable Romanesque touch by its large dome at the back end of it.

The Church is dedicated to St. Paul the Hermit who is its Patron Saint.

St. Bartholomew the Apostle Parish
Nagcarlan, Laguna

This Baroque style tiered wall church was first established in 1578, at that time it was still made of light materials though the supervision of Fray Tomas de Miranda. This present structure which is made by bricks and stones was constructed in 1583 via the helm of Fray Cristobal Torres. In 1781 it was damaged by fire thus making it reconstructes and erecting another structures with the addition of its muslim inspired crenellation bell tower.

This church is dedicated to St. Bartholomew the Apostle.

St. Gregory the Great Parish
Majayjay, Laguna

Declared as one of the National Historical Treasures in the Philippines by the National Historical Commision, Majayjay Church is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Dedicated to St. Gregory the Great as its patron, this church have gone though different milestones and controversies.

The church was first established in 1571 by the Augustinian Missionaries and was made of bamboo. It was damaged by fire thus several reconstructions of church was made in 1576,1578 and 1606. The present stone structure was built in  1616 (which according to stories was done through force labor of the locals) and was finally completed in 1660.

This church also became controversial in the late 80′s and was in fact featured in several documentary reports by ABS-CBN when the townfolks charged then Parish Priest Jack Diaz of selling the antique pieces of the church which in the end seemed to be forgotten.

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Cavite-Manila-Laguna Visita Iglesia

After experiencing it for the first time last year, I made a commitment to myself that it will be my yearly devotion from then on. And I am very happy that this year I was able to fulfill it again.

Walking the Way of the Cross is such a humbling experience for me. Knowing how Jesus walked and carried the cross to Calvary is a testament of how He really loved us to do it in such a way. My Visita Iglesia experience this year which took me from Cavite to Manila and all the way to my very own Laguna cannot be compared to what Jesus experienced in His time. Although the travel that I took was long and tiring it was still incomparable with the pain and hardships that He experienced. And the fulfillment and the experience of somehow imitating His journey with the cross is very spiritually rewarding.

So here’s my Visita Iglesia journey this year that took me to the 3 provinces of Cavite, Metro Manila and my own Laguna.

1st and 2nd station :

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish (Rosario Church)
Rosario, Cavite

3rd and 4th station :

St. Mary Magdalene Parish (Kawit Church)
Kawit, Cavite

5th and 6th station :

Shrine of Jesus The Way The Truth and The Life (MOA Church)
Pasay City, Metro Manila

7th and 8th station :

Nuestra Senora de Remedios Parish (Malate Church)
Malate, Manila

9th and 10th station :

St. Paul the Hermit Cathedral (San Pablo Cathedral)
San Pablo City, Laguna

11th and 12th station :

St. Bartholomew the Apostle Parish (Nagcarlang Church)
Nagcarlan, Laguna

13th and 14th station :

St. Gregory the Great Parish (Majayjay Church)
Majayjay, Laguna

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“The Way of the Cross is the same way to Resurrection”

CuaRESTma

Aside from Christmas, Holy Week is another holiday break that many Filipinos are waiting. Although it’s an official break for the students, working people are the most eager because it’s a long weekend for those who are following Philippine Holiday Calendar (sorry to those working in Call Centers). For many Pinoys this is a great opportunity for reunions, family get together, barkada gimiks, beach outings and or just plain home rest. This is a great time also for resorts and hotel owners for the large number of bookings brought by flocking local and foreign tourists. Boracay in Aklan and Puerto Galera in Mindoro are the most popular holiday getaway destinations during this time of the year.

For the past years, I also spent the holy week break either by having family swimming on the nearby ‘ilog’ (Mangulila Falls or Dalitiwan River) or just staying at home watching movie or TV series marathon. Lenten break for me were always like that ever since, but this year was a different one, I finally had my first ever Visita Iglesia experience. It was a great first time, having to share Visita Iglesia with different Catholic faithfuls who flocked to different churches in the metro. It was nice seeing families along with their kids doing the Way of the Cross. There were also couples who are very solemnly praying (maybe their praying for their relationship to last). It was also characterized by those ‘Teen Barkadahans’ who are sporting party like clothes while doing Via Crusis, there are also Chruch and Barangay groups who came in their uniform shirts. And there are also those who decided to make it more solemn by going solo (like me). Different faces, different backgrounds and or different orientations, but one intention and that is to reflect on the passion of Christ.Here is the list of Churches that I went on this first Visita Iglesia experience last Maundy Thursday (April 21,2011).

First stop is the National Shrine of our Mother of Perpetual Help (also known as the Redemptorist Church) or most commonly known as Baclaran Church.The shrine is a Roman Catholic parish church under the vicariate of the parish of Santa Rita de Cascia in the Diocese of Parañaque. It is situated along Roxas Boulevard in Baclaran, Parañaque City. Considered as one of the largest churches in the country, it also houses the image of the most venerated Marian Image which is the image of  Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

Next stop was Our Lady of Pilar Parish Church commoly known as the Sta. Cruz Church.

Located at Plaza Lacson in Sta. Cruz, Manila, it was originally built in 1608 by the Jesuit Priests but later on governed by the Dominicans. The original church was damaged by earthquake and war, that’s why the present church structure was rebuilt in 1957.

Just walk way from Sta. Cruz Church is the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (St. John the Baptist Church) or the very well known Quiapo Church.Located in the district of Quiapo, Manila, this church is considered as one of the most popular churches in the country. It is the home of the most venerated image of Jesus Christ, the Black Nazarene. This church is flocked by thousands of devotees during its feast day every January.

Taking a jeepney ride from Quiapo, I then went to Basilica Minore de San Sebastian, better known as San Sebastian Church.

Located also in the Quiapo district, this church is boasting its title as the first and only neo-gothic steel church in the country and in Asia. The church was completed in 1861 and said to be designed by Gustave Eiffel, the same person behind the Eiffel Tower.

Not too far from San Sebastian is the National Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus or the St. Jude Church. This church is the most close to my heart because this has been my resident church when I’m still living in Sampaloc, Manila. Having it close to my boarding house, I constantly attended mass and novena here during Thursdays and Sundays (whenever I didn’t got to the province on weekends). Located in Malacañang Complex in San Miguel,Manila, this church is flocked by different devotees praying for their intentions on health, education and popularly love matters.

Just outside the gate of Malacañang Complex is the San Beda Chapel formerly known as the Abbey of Our Lady of Monserrat.


Located inside San Beda College in Mendiola Manila, the church was built in 1925 and supervised by the Benedictine Monks. It houses the image of Santo Niño de Praga and Our Lady of Montserrat.The chapel is renowned for its wonderful interior paintings by Fr. Lesmes Lopez (OSB) and Bro. Salvador Alberich (OSB).

Also a walk away from Mendiola area is Our Lady of Loreto Church or Sampaloc Church.

It is located along the busy streets of Bustillos in Sampaloc, this church was originally built in 1613 and was rebuilt in 1666 by the Franciscan priests. It was also known as “The Twin Church” being adjacent with St. Anthony de Padua Church also in the same compound in Bustillos area.

Last but not the least is the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish or the Sta. Mesa Church. Located in Sta. Mesa district, it is very familiar to students who are studying and have studied in PUP since it is very near there. I also used to passed by this church when I was still studying at PUP.

Lenten Holiday maybe an opportunity to relax from months of loaded office works, a time to chit-chat with friends we didn’t see for a long time, bonding moment for families and relatives who didn’t have much time to talk about anything or just plainly relaxing at home, but this should also be used as an opportunity to bond with the Lord. We can use this time to renew our personal relationship with Him, talk to Him, say our prayers and our confessions. As what the saying goes “Nasa Tao ang Gawa nasa Diyos ang Awa”, God is so merciful and forgiving that He always forgive all our trespasses. His generosity in spite of our misdeeds and sinful ways is so great that He still blesses us with His grace. My visita iglesia experience this year is one of the best if not the best Holy Week experience in years. Praying and following the Way of the Cross is a humbling and learning experience of how Jesus suffered and died for the sake of saving mankind. May we also learn to have courage to carry other people’s burdens, there are many people who are suffering and in need of help. Let us use Christ example of sharing His life to us by sharing also our life to people who are burdened by the crosses their currently carrying. May we become an inspiration for them to take up their crosses and win over all their challenges in life. And may His resurrection on Easter Sunday be the signal and challenge for us to rise from our own sufferings, to combat all our atrocities and rejoice in never ending faith and trust to our Lord Jesus Christ.

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“Rest and vacation are not bad, but don’t also forget to reflect on the passion of Christ”

*Credits to the owners of the pictures. Photos courtesy of flicker.com, and through google search.