Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Visita Iglesia: Visiting The Most Outstanding Churches in Manila

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Aside from Palm Sunday and Easter, the Visita Iglesia is another festive occasion often practiced by faithful Catholics who consider it as a sacrifice similar to how the pilgrims visited the seven basilicas of Rome as penance on a Maundy Thursday.

More than just a religious practice, the Visita Iglesia is also a chance for us to imbibe culture and history, as many of these churches are redolent of our colonial past.

Many have even made the practice socially fun by organizing group tours to the many churches of the country. It also becomes an ideal photo session for photographers who adore street photography, taking photos of mainly the churches, but also including everything else that strikes their fancy, while they visit the churches.

The Visita Iglesia evolved into another well-appreciated art form and tourism event where both photography newbies and oldies can travel together and even teach each other the art. Most would shoot as many images as possible while others would prefer to be selective and take their time identifying the best angle, and lighting.

The Visita Iglesia tradition usually calls for a visit to seven churches on Holy Thursday where the faithful will pray seven repetitions each of Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, However, others visit 14 churches to correspond with the 14 Stations of the Cross, and prays at one Station in each church.

Below are the highly recommended churches in Manila that you may opt to visit during your Visita Iglesia.

San Agustin Church
Church of St. Augustine, Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila; built in 1571; Baroque

Manila Cathedral
Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Cabildo cor. Beaterio Sts., Intramuros, Manila; 1581; Neo-Romanesque

Sto. Niño de Tondo Church
Church of the Holy Child, 600 Lorenzo Chacon St., Tondo, Manila; 1572; Neoclassical

Quiapo Church
Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, or Church of St. John the Baptist, Plaza Miranda, Quezon Boulevard, Quiapo, Manila; 1586; Baroque

San Sebastian Church
Minor Basilica of St. Sebastian, or Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Pasaje del Carmen St., Quiapo, Manila; 1891; Gothic Revival

Sto. Domingo Church
Church of St. Dominic, or National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila, P. Florentino Street, Quezon City; 1954; Baronial-Modern

Malate Church
Church of Our Lady of Remedies, 2000 MH del Pilar St. Malate, Manila; 1588; Baroque

Baclaran Church
National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, or Redemptorist Church, Baclaran, Parañaque; 1958; Neo-Romanesque

Las Piñas Church
Church of St. Joseph, or Bamboo Organ Church, Fr. Diego Cera Avenue, Las Piñas; 1795; Baroque

Paco Church
Church of San Fernando de Dilao, 1521 Paz St., Paco, Manila; 1580; Neoclassical

Sta. Ana Church
Church of Our Lady of the Abandoned, New Panaderos Street, Sta. Ana, Manila; 1720; Baroque

Guadalupe Church
Church of Our Lady of Grace, 7440 Bernardino St., Guadalupe Viejo, Makati; 1601; Renaissance-Baroque

San Bartolome Church
Church of St. Bartholomew, Rizal Avenue, Malabon; 1614; Greco-Roman

San Juan del Monte Church
Santuario del Sto. Cristo, F. Blumentritt Street, San Juan; 1602; Baroque

Edsa Shrine
Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace, or Our Lady of Edsa, Ugong Norte, Quezon City; 1989; Modern

Mt. Carmel Church
Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Mariana, New Manila, Quezon City; 1954; Modernist

UP Chapel
Church of the Holy Sacrifice, Parish Office, Apacible Street, UP Diliman, Quezon City; 1950; Modern

Ermita Church
Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guidance, Antonio Flores Street, Ermita, Manila; 1606; Modernist

Parañaque Cathedral
Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew, Quirino Avenue, La Huerta, Parañaque; 1580; Baroque

Santuario de San Antonio
Church of St. Anthony of Padua, 3117 McKinley Rd., Forbes Park, Makati; 1975; Mission Revival

Pasig Cathedral
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Plaza Rizal, Malinao, Pasig; 1573; Baroque

Dambanang Kawayan
Church of St. John the Baptist, Maestrang Pinang Street, Ligid-Tipas, Taguig; 1969; Neo-Romanesque

Since the churches are scattered both via location and transportation (in)conveniences, you should plan the visitation depending on which church is nearest your starting point. It is up to you where to start depending on probably the accessibility, or your special preference.

Some would just visit the churches near their residence, while others would travel even a great distance to do their Visita Iglesia at churches they've never been to, or even go out of town taking the effort to travel by road or plane to get to to a starting point of their adventure, and continue with the rest of the churches nearby.

What is most important is the opportunity to solemnly offer even a small prayer at every church visit. There may have been a lot of people already questioning their faith and the validity of churches as a true temple of the religious, still it somehow puts people in the right path towards living a life in harmonious relationship with his or her fellowmen.

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