Monday, March 17, 2008

Visita iglesia to our heritage churches

As Holy Thursday draws near, Filipinos are planning their annual visita iglesia. I've always been asked what are some of the best heritage churches to visit in, around and close to Metro Manila. Here are my picks:

City of Manila - Manila Cathedral, San Agustin, Binondo, Sta. Cruz, Quiapo, San Sebastian, Malate and Sta. Ana
Metro Manila - Malabon, Concepcion (Malabon), San Pedro Makati, Guadalupe (Makati), San Francisco del Monte (QC), Pasig, Redemptorist Baclaran (Paranaque) and Las Pinas
Pampanga - Apalit, Bacolor, Betis, San Luis, San Fernando, Lubao, Angeles City, Sta. Rita and Minalin
Bulacan - Barasoain (Malolos), Malolos, San Rafael, Angat, San Miguel, Calumpit and Pulilan
Laguna - Pila, Longos (Kalayaan), Paete, Pakil, Mabitac, San Pablo, Nagcarlan, Majayjay and Luisiana
Rizal - Tanay, Baras, Morong and Boso-Boso (Antipolo)
Quezon - Lucban, Tayabas, Sariaya, Pagbilao, Atimonan and Gumaca
Batangas - Lipa Cathedral, Carmelite Convent (Lipa), San Jose, Immaculate Conception Basilica (Batangas City), Taal Basilica, Caysasay Shrine (Taal), San Juan, Balayan, Calaca and Ibaan
Cavite - Maragondon, Silang, Kawit, Tanza, Gen. Trias and Naic

For several churches in the nearby provinces, we can cluster them together into convenient routes. Here are my favorites:

Pampanga Day Trip
First stop would be the church in Apalit which is the silver dome you see from the North Luzon Expressway. To get there, exit at San Simon and backtrack towards the town of Apalit. From Apalit, you could choose to go to either San Luis or Minalin. San Luis is a bit far but worth the visit but Minalin is along the route. From both churches, the route is the same. Visit the San Fernando Cathedral, and the churches of Bacolor, Betis, Guagua and Lubao. If you still have time, you can visit Sta. Rita and Angeles City.

Laguna de Bay Loop
This is a straightforward route and you simply follow the National Highway along the towns of Laguna de Bay. You can start either in Laguna via the South Luzon Expressway or in Rizal if you go through the Antipolo side. The town churches to visit are Pila, Longos (Kalayaan), Paete, Pakil and Mabitac in Laguna; and Tanay, Baras, Morong and Boso-Boso (Antipolo) in Rizal. You should also drop by Antipolo. Although a new church, the Antipolo Cathedral houses the centuries-old image of the Nuestra Senora de Paz y Buen Viaje.

Mount Banahaw Loop
It's the Viaje del Sol route but not quite since it's a full loop of Mount Banahaw. You start in San Pablo followed by Nagcarlan and Majayjay in Laguna; Lucban, Tayabas and Sariaya in Quezon; and finally San Juan in Batangas

Related entries
Visita iglesia routes for Holy Thursday
Pisamban... the churches of Pampanga
Visita iglesia aroung Laguna de Bay

Metro Manila and its old churches
Visita iglesia Bohol
Holy Week practices in the Philippines
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