Visita Iglesia 2016: Recommended Churches To Visit

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Over the years, I've been doing Visita Iglesia with my family and sometimes with my friends during the Lent. This ancient Roman Catholic Lenten tradition has been our practice to reflect about the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As a customary in the Philippines, we visit seven churches and pray before the Blessed Sacrament on each church come Maundy Thursday. Two stations of the cross will be recited on each, but those who are able and pious, can recite all fourteen stations on one church. To some, a handful of churches is enough to do penance, while some others are doing the whole fourteen churches in one day.

We have plenty of options in the Philippines as there are many churches and cathedrals around Manila and nearby provinces. Sometimes, it is also a startup activity for reunions of our relatives in the province as Holy Week is one of the longest holiday in the country.

If you are looking for churches, cathedrals or holy gardens where you can do this year's Visita Iglesia to pray solemnly and reflect, here are some of my recommendations.

1. Serene Hill of Regina Rica

Regina Rica is popular for its Our Lady on top of the Hill, which stands 71 feet on top of a lofty hill. It is located at Sitio Aguho St., Sampaloc Tanay, Rizal. The place is run by the nuns and some volunteers who made sure that all visitors coming in have organized visit.

There is an orientation before you can climb the hill. It's a sacred place where silence is utmost required. There's a dress code and they lend wraps if visitors are inappropriately dressed. It should never be treated like a park, which made our visit very solemn and serene.

More of my experience on our visit HERE.

2. Experiencing the Carrying of the Cross at Padre Pio, Libis, Quezon City

Padre Pio Parish Church is located in Libis, Quezon City. A lot of Catholic church goers line up to their very unique and meaningful Visita Iglesia as they will hand you a wooden cross to follow the actual marching of Jesus Christ before He was nailed on the cross. It was a humbling experience although we we're caught by surprise because we were not aware of how they do it. It was under scorching heat from summer sun, which will made it more humbling to have shared the physical pains of Our Lord even our few minutes of sacrifice cannot be compared to what He had gone through to save us.

It was one for the books experience. We had our funny tale HERE.

3. Visiting 14 Churches in One Day at Batangas-Laguna Route

And lastly, for this community of Batanguenas and neighbor provinces, here's my 14 Churches in One Day experience around the province of Batangas and Laguna. We started at about 7:30am and finished at past 8pm. It's about 12 hours or so round the clock touring, which we hired an experienced driver to take us to all the churches listed here. It's a real act of sacrifice and repentance but we welcomed the experience with happy heart.

This story is also shared on my blog HERE.

Top Row, L-R: 1. San Sebastian Cathedral, Lipa City, Batangas
2. Shrine of Padre Pio, Sto. Tomas, Batangas
3. Our Lady of the Pillar Church, Alaminos, Laguna
4. San Isidro Labrador Church, Calauan, Laguna
Bottom Row, L-R: 5. La Resurecion, Victoria, Laguna
6. Immaculate Concepcion, Sta. Cruz, Laguna
7. San Antonio de Padua, Pila, Laguna
Top Row, L-R: 8. Nuestra Sra. de Guadalupe Parish Church, Pagsanjan, Laguna
9. Saint Mary Magdalene Parish, Magdalena, Laguna
10. Saint John the Baptist Church, Liliw, Laguna
Bottom Row, L-R: 11. San Bartolome Church, Nagcarlan, Laguna
12. St. Paul Cathedral, San Pablo City, Laguna
13. St. John the Baptist Parish, Tiaong, Quezon
14. San Juan Nepomuceno, San Juan, Batangas

That's my top picks. I hope you'll find peaceful time this Holy Week to medidate. May you have a meaningful but safe Visita Iglesia this year!

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