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Friday, April 22, 2011

Visita Iglesia | Way of the Cross in 14 Churches in the City of Manila

Visita Iglesia is a religious tradition practised by Filipino Catholics mostly on Maundy Thursday as part of their Holy Week Celebration. It involves visiting churches and praying the Stations of the Cross.

The Visita Iglesia to some degree is a pilgrimage, believed to grant favors from God and even miracles. Others do it annually as a panata or vow because a special wish came true.

In the tail end of my college years, Joey become a friend. He was the one who introduced to me and our other friends the concept of Visita Iglesia.

Our Visita Iglesia involves visiting 14 churches in the City of Manila on foot. No, we are not barefooted. In each church, we pray one station of the Catholic prayer Stations of the Cross. We go to the designated area inside the church for the specific station. But because there are so many people doing this tradition, we try to be as close as possible.

Our journey begins, ideally after the Last Supper Mass in Tondo, to Intramuros, to Quiapo and into the Sampaloc district of Manila.

The churches that we visit for our Visita Iglesia are in the following order:

St. John Bosco Parish Church (Tondo, Manila)
[No Church Photo yet]

Sto. Niño de Tondo Parish
Sto. Niño de Tondo Parish Church
Sto. Niño de Tondo Church
Image from

Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Parish (Delpan, Tondo, Manila)
Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Parish - Delpan, Tondo, Manila
Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Church
Image from

Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
Manila Metropolitan Cathedral
The Manila Cathedral - Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
The Manila Cathedral

San Agustin Church
San Agustin Church - Intramuros, Manila

Santa Cruz Parish Church
Santa Cruz Parish Church
The Sta. Cruz Church
Image from

St. John the Baptist Parish
Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene

The Quiapo Church
Image from

Shrine of the Holy Face of Jesus

Shrine of the Holy Face of Jesus Church
Image from

Minor Basilica of San Sebastian
Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The San Sebastian Church
Image from wikipedia

National Shrine of St. Michael and the Archangels
Villa de San Miguel

San Miguel Church near Malacanang
Image from Joseph Nepomucin N. Niez

St. Jude Archdiocesan Shrine
St. Jude Archdiocesan Shrine - Manila
St. Jude Church near Malacanang
Image from

Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat
Church of the Benedictine Monks

San Beda College Chapel
Image from

Saint Anthony 0f Padua Shrine

St. Anthony of Padua Church
Image from

Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto Parish

Our Lady of Loreto Church
Image from flickr - Loewe Lagdan's Photostream

As this kind of activity also serves as a barkada kitakits, chatter and playful banter is evident as we go from church to church. But that would gradually fade in the latter churches as tiredness slowly crept among our legs.

But after finishing our Visita Iglesia, we are all smiles, feeling rejuvenated from within. And perhaps, each of us are hopeful that our special request would be granted.

I can't see how this tradition will cease. There is even an online visita iglesia now. I believe that this activity is a perfect combination of prayer and sacrifice. A great experience to share with the family or friends during the Holy Week. And of course, there is the tourism aspect of knowing more about the City of Manila through its churches and streets.


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