During Maundy Thursday, the traditional Visita Iglesia (visiting and praying in seven churches) is observed here in the Philippines. This year, my mom and I have done the Visita Igleasia in Good Friday instead of Maundy Thursday. We started our journey in the morning. We make ourselves prepared because we know that it will be a long, tiring journey throughout the day. Here is my Visita Iglesia in Manila.
Things we prepare for our Visita Iglesia
- Way of the cross booklet, prayer booklet
- list of the seven churches to visit
- Bottled water
- crackers/ biscuits
- hand towels
- hand fan (pamaypay)
- flat shoes
The things listed above are important to prepare so it will be a successful, comfortable journey for the visita iglesia.
Here are the seven churches for our Visita Iglesia in Manila.
1. Quiapo Church is the first church that we visited and prayed. It took us at approximately 15 minutes to reach inside the church from the gate because there are truly large number of people. When my mom and I was able to get inside, we stayed in one place then prayed. Aside from the numerous people visiting the church that keeps the place crowded, many sidewalk vendors outside the church causes the place to be tight crowded.
2. Santa Cruz church located on the right bank of Pasig river in Manila is the second that we visited and prayed. My mom and I decided to pray and reflect the way of the cross here. They place the Station of the Cross outside the church. Although it is really hot because it is already noon time, we felt comfortable to do the way of the Cross there because it is not that crowded compared to Quiapo Church.
I have a beautiful, sweet memory of this church. Back in my college days, my boyfriend and I always attend the morning mass here before we go to school since we both studied in Manila. I also prayed a lot of things here in the hopes in my college struggles and family. I am thankful that I graduated BS Computer Engineering. Now my boyfriend is my husband. Imagine in five years Santa Cruz Church has been a beautiful place for us where our faith, dream and love grew to succeed in our goal to finish our studies.
3. Manila Cathedral is the third church that we visited and prayed. The church is truly beautiful inside and out. It looks like a castle and a structure that usually seen in the European countries. The Manila Cathedral is also well-known as the wedding church of some popular showbiz personalities like Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion. The church is equipped with air conditioner. I think they use the air con in special events and occasions. There are many tourists and foreigners that I have seen in Manila Cathedral.
4. The San Agustin Church is the fourth that we visited and prayed. Outside the church I found it simple, but when you go inside you will be amazed with the beautiful architectural/ structural designs especially at the ceiling.
I remember I attended a wedding ceremony on one of my close friend in college here. My observation on the wedding ceremony at San Agustin Church is that the ceremony is very short.
5. San Roque Church in Blumentritt Manila is the fifth. This is the first time that I visited this church. The church is located at the upper floor I think it is because the place is situated where there is usually floods when there is heavy rains. The church is not that big but I have noticed that it also has a beautiful ceilings.
6. Our Lady of Grace in Caloocan City is the sixth. I found this church really big and I like the way they manage the church. They are very organized and the place is not too crowded because of the big space.
7. St. Joseph “The Worker’s Parish” Church in Balintawak, Caloocan City is the seventh. This church is very simple. When we arrived here the place is really solemn and they have “The Seven Last Words Reflections” with film showing of the most important scenes.
This is the wedding church of my parents way back year 1975 (I think the year was right).
Lastly, we also visited Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bagong Barrio Caloocan City. This is our parish church. So in total we have visited eight churches. It is really tiring but we are truly happy that we were able to complete the Visita Iglesia. In my opinion, the important value of visita iglesia is about giving yourself a time to repent, pray, reflect, learn and sacrifice with God’s embrace. The Visita Iglesia also help us to be updated with the current happenings in the church communities nowadays as a Catholic. It is only once in a year so why not give a day for a Visita Iglesia.
My Visita Iglesia in Manila is worth the experience. It keeps me updated with the churches in Manila. It strengthens my faith as a Catholic member. I had a wonderful bonding with my mom.