Like in the past years, the Lenten Season again brought me around the city of Manila to visit 14 churches. I didn’t deviate much from my Visita Iglesia last year, but I did it this year on a Good Friday.
This is the first time that I did my Visita Iglesia on a Good Friday and it’s a lot different from previous years. Whereas you can hardly spot other people on my pictures of churches from previous years, it is the total opposite this year.
1. UST Chapel (Santisimo Rosario Parish)
Like last year, I started my Visita Iglesia with the UST Chapel (Santisimo Rosario Parish). A procession was about to start when I arrived, but I didn’t have much time to wait and watch. After asking for some divine guidance, I was on my way to my next church.
2. Sampaloc Church (Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto Parish)
3. Saint Anthony of Padua Shrine
A huge procession greeted me when I arrived on my second and third churches, the Sampaloc Church (Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto Parish) and Saint Anthony of Padua Shrine. It’s my first time encountering such on a Visita Iglesia, and I’m glad to see younger generations show interest in this tradition.
4. San Sebastian Church (Basílica Menor de San Sebastián)
I caught the last light of day as I arrived at San Sebastian Church (Basílica Menor de San Sebastián). As with the churches I’ve seen so far, there were so many people in and around the church at the time so I’m glad that the tradition of visiting churches is still very much alive.
5. Manila Abbey (Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat)
I didn’t have to go that far to reach my fifth church, the Manila Abbey (Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat). It doesn’t really look like the usual church, but it has one of the more beautiful interiors. A mass was taking place when I arrived so I didn’t take a picture.
6. Saint Jude Parish (National Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus)
It’s strange that I lost my sense of direction getting to Saint Jude Parish (National Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus), but thank goodness for technology as I found my way! It’s a Good Friday but it kind of feels a bit like Easter Sunday already with all the activities around this church.
7. San Miguel Church (Regal Parish and National Shrine of Saint Michael and the Archangels)
I was running out of sunlight, fast, when I arrived at my seventh church, San Miguel Church (Regal Parish and National Shrine of Saint Michael and the Archangels). A friend of mine recently got married in this church so I have another memory associated with this church.
8. Quiapo Church (Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene)
It’s a relatively long way to Quiapo Church (Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene) and the darkness of night had fallen over. As expected, there were a lot of people in and around the church. It took me a very long time to get to my next destination from here due to the number of people.
9. Santa Cruz Church (Our Lady of the Pillar Parish Church)
Taking a photo of Santa Cruz Church (Our Lady of the Pillar Parish Church) became a bit of a challenge as it had gotten dark already. Nonetheless, people still flock the church.
10. Binondo Church (Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz)
Surprisingly, I got through Manila Chinatown in a breeze to get to Binondo Church (Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz). It’s probably the first and only time that I was able to run in the area without much hindrance! And I think I got a better shot of the church this time, albeit it’s quite dark.
11. Manila Cathedral (Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception)
Manila was really quiet as I observed while crossing to the other side of the Pasig River. Like most of Metro Manila, there’s hardly any traffic but aside from that there aren’t that many people on the streets too, apart from the vicinity of the churches. The vicinity of the Manila Cathedral (Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception) is no exception.
It again felt like Easter Sunday as I walked along General Luna St. to my next church. There were so many items on sale, mostly food and drinks, that I felt tempted to stop for a while. I was already on my way to my twelfth church so I resisted, and continued.
12. San Agustin Church (Immaculate Conception Parish Church of San Agustin)
There was a huge tent in front of San Agustin Church (Immaculate Conception Parish Church of San Agustin) when I arrived so it’s practically impossible to take the shots that I used to take. Nonetheless, a gentle breeze lifted up the tent ever so slightly to get me the shot above.
I’m, as always, amazed by the trompe-l’œil ceiling of the church. Not sure though if it’s my new eyeglasses, but I seem to be able now to somehow distinguish better which are illusions and which ones are real carvings. Nonetheless, they are as impressive as the first time I saw it!
13. Ermita Church (Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guidance)
Ermita Church (Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guidance) is my lucky 13th church! This was the last stop of my Visita Iglesia last year, but I took a detour skipping St. Pancratius Chapel (Paco Park) as I knew it would be closed already. Immediately upon arrival, I noticed the words Nuestra Señora de Guia atop the church façade. I thought I just wasn’t that mindful that’s why I didn’t notice it until now, but it’s actually new, relatively speaking, as it wasn’t there on my pictures last year. Other than that, I didn’t notice anything different.
14. Malate Church (Our Lady of Remedies Parish Church)
Completing my Visita Iglesia this year is the Malate Church (Our Lady of Remedies Parish Church). I couldn’t remember when the last time I was here, but I’m certain that it was before the restoration was completed. Now, the façade has been restored (although it now doesn’t look old) and I got a shot from a different angle.
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My Visita Iglesia this year took a little over two hours and about 11.4 kilometers, all still on foot. I started a little too late to get daylight pictures of the churches I visited, but having seen some processions and lots of people in and around the churches was a totally different experience. I’m not sure if I liked the crowd or the solemnity of my past visits, but I sure would like to keep doing this for as long as I can.
I hope you all had a fulfilling Lenten Season!