In my 20 years of existence and being a Catholic, I must say that I haven’t done a Visita Iglesia before or the Catholic Lenten tradition of visiting and praying in at least seven churches on Maundy Thursday. Thus, when I tried and succeeded in visiting all seven churches last Thursday, there was a delight in me brought by a fulfilled desire to discover both old and new things and, of course, the fulfillment of finally doing a Visita Iglesia.
For this year, I decided to visit some of the oldest and historical churches in the country particularly here in Metro Manila. From Quiapo in Manila to Baclaran in Parañaque, here are the churches where my feet took me for my Visita Iglesia this year:
1. San Sebastian Church
If there was a church that I was looking forward to see in person for my Visita Iglesia this year, it would be the San Sebastian Church in Quiapo, Manila. Rumor has it that Gustave Eiffel –the engineer of the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris– was also the one behind this historical church that withstood every earthquake it has experienced since day one.
2. Quiapo Church
This has probably been my third or fourth time of visiting the home of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila but it was only recently that I finally got the chance to capture the beauty of its architecture minus the huge number of devotees who flock to it.
3. Sta. Cruz Church
West of Quiapo Church and a little walk from it is a 17th century old church found in the heart of Sta. Cruz, Manila, the Sta. Cruz Church. This was actually my first time to visit the church and to reach this part of Manila so I also grabbed the opportunity to marvel at some of the remnants of the Spanish era in the said place.
4. Binondo Church
Another church which amazed me with its beauty is the Binondo Church found in Manila’s Chinatown. Same as Sta. Cruz Church, this was my first time to visit the landmark and true to the pictures I’ve seen, the place was remarkably beautiful with its ceiling paintings.
5. Manila Cathedral
Another first for me was visiting the Manila Cathedral. Located inside the walls of Intramuros, the renovated cathedral has a simple yet beautiful interior that makes one (it made me) consider it as a venue for his/her future wedding.
6. San Agustin Church
My second time of visiting the oldest recorded church in the country, San Agustin Church looks very different when its doors are open under the bright sunlight. I was able to visit this historical landmark during my first year in college but its doors were closed during that time and we were only able to enter the church through the museum. Still, I did not know how beautiful the church’s interior was until my recent visit.
7. Baclaran Church
To end my Visita Iglesia, I decided to go a bit to the south and visit the Baclaran Church in Parañaque City. Same with most of the churches in this list, this was my first time to reach the place and I have to say I was surprised on how big the church was.