Category Archives: religion

Bataan Pilgrimage Tour

Just a week before the Holy Week, our church (San Roque Parish of Cavite City) organized a pilgrimage tour in Bataan as part of their annual lent activity. Last year, I was part of the Pilgrimage tour held by San Isidro Labrador Parish in Naic, Cavite where we visited five churches in Zambales (Check : Zambales Pilgrimage Tour).  This year, we went to explore the province of Bataan. I’ve been to Bataan several times last year and I instantly fell in love with its beauty. I went to Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar in Bagac and I saw the Dambana ng Kagitingan in the town of Pilar. I also marveled the beauty of Mariveles Bataan after seeing the breathtaking Panoypoy Cove and the rock formation in Sisiman Bay.

This Bataan tour, however, has nothing to deal with beaches and hiking but merely a religious one. It is a visita iglesia, a Catholic tradition to visit seven or more churches every Lent season (particularly during Holy week). In each church, we have to recite one or two Stations of the Cross. So without further ado, allow me to list down all the churches we visited in Bataan. This is just a prologue entry so expect me to post more details and pictures about each church soon.
IMG_0651tWe actually started the tour by visiting the Shrine of Valor (Dambana ng Kagitingan) in the town of Pilar, Bataan. We went there on April 8th so we caught their staffs preparing for the the Araw ng Kagitingan celebration for the next day (April 9th). It’s  the 75th year celebration and the Araw ng Kagitingan rites were lead by our president Duterte. Unlike my recent trip to the shrine (Check : Dambana ng Kagitingan in Bataan), we went here around 9 am so both Museum and the actual Shrine were both accessible. I’ll post more details about them soon.
IMG_0790t1. San Miguel Arcangel Church / Orion Church in Orion, Bataan – Our pilgrimage officially started in Orion and first on our list is the San Miguel Arcangel Parish Church or better known as the Orion Church.  Orion was established by the Dominican Priests on April 30, 1667.  I was actually expecting to see a pink facade but it seems like they have changed it to beige. We were lucky enough to catch their Lenten exhibit that day.  A mass presided by Fr Virgilio Parades were held as well.IMG_0893tt2. Our Lady of the Pillar Parish in Pilar , Bataan – We went back to the town of Pilar and went straight to Our Lady of Pillar Parish (Nuestra Señora Del Pilar Parish). The town is considered as one of the oldest towns in Bataan and I just learned that it was previously part of Pampanga. The town was named in honor of Our Lady of the Pillar. It was established in 1801.
IMG_0936t3. Diocesan Shrine and Cathedral Parish of Saint Joseph / Balanga Cathedral in Balanga, Bataan – We headed to Balanga to visit the Cathedral. We were greeted by a great crowd because apparently, there was an ongoing confirmation so we had to wait for a little while for our turn. We were given few minutes to recite the two Stations of the Cross as there will be another batch of kids to receive their confirmation that day. What really amazes me are the buildings in front of the Cathedral. The Balanga City Hall and even the Robinsons Mall (Galleria Victoria) have a Venice-inspired  architectural design.
IMG_1080t4. Saint Dominic Parish Church / Abucay Church in Abucay, Bataan – Another old and historic church can be found in the town of Abucay. The parish church, founded by the Dominican Missionary Friars in 1588 and is dedicated to Saint Dominic of Guzman. The church housed one of the earliest printing presses in the Philippines and also witnessed massacre of hundreds of Filipinos and Spaniards by the Dutch Invaders in June 23, 1647.
IMG_1086t5. Saint Peter of Verona Parish in Hermosa, Bataan – Next on our list is the stunning church in Hermosa Bataan which is dedicated to Saint Peter of Verona. Here, we are warmly welcomed by their parishioners and shared us a brief history about the miraculous image of Saint Peter. They even gave us details on some of the images that can be found on their retablo. The church features a baroque-style façade with stained-glasses windows. The major retablo of Hermosa is made more attractive by the variations of saints placed in it amid its dome.
IMG_1206t6. Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish Church/ Orani Church in Orani, Bataan – Located on the town proper of Orani is another historically significant church dedicated to Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. It is simply and more popularly known as the Orani Church.  The church was also declared as a pilgrim shrine in 2004. Located beside the Church is an ecclesiastical museum dedicated to Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.
IMG_1289t7. Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes In Bacolor, Pampanga – Okay, this is technically not in Bataan. We were supposed to visit the Saint Catherine Parish in Samal but the bridge going there was under construction and I don’t think it can handle 15 huge buses! So we were all settled to hit Pampanga for our last church destination. Aside from the half-buried church of San Guillermo, The Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes is also popular pilgrim destination in Bacolor. We were warmly welcomed by their parishioners despite of arriving late and unexpectedly. They told us about the miraculous image of Our Lady of Lourdes. I also agree when he said that there is probably a great reason why we were brought in this church!

After spending some time in Bacolor, we all headed back to Cavite. I am going to post more details about each destination in my blog soon.

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You Can also check these recent Pilgrimages
►Western Cavite Pilgrimage Tour
►14 Churches in A Day : My Visita Iglesia 2017
►Batangas Pilgrimage Tour
►Zambales Pilgrimage Tour
►Manila Pilgrimage Tour
►Jubilee Churches In Manila / Pilgrim’s Passport

14 Churches In A Day : My Visita Iglesia 2017

Visita Iglesia is one of the traditional religious activity done by Filipinos every Lenten season especially during the Holy Week (particularly done every Maundy Thursday or Good Friday). Visita Iglesia is basically a Spanish term that means “to visit  church”, a Roman Catholic Lenten tradition in which Catholics are encouraged to visit seven churches but sometimes it could be 14 much like what my family did this Holy week.

They said that this tradition originated in Rome as early pilgrims visited the seven basilicas as penance. This tradition was adapted in many countries. During the Visita Iglesia, pilgrims will visit one church after another and in each church, they will recite one or two Stations of the Cross (depending on the number of churches). In our case, we were able to visit 14 different churches in Cavite in one day so we just had to recite one Station of the Cross per church.

Visiting fourteen churches in Cavite in one day is not really a new challenge for us. We actually took the same route last 2015 (Check My Visita Iglesia 2015). We took the Southern Route of Cavite (you can also check Cavite Pilgrimage Tour Western Route) and allow me to share it with you. I have blogged almost all the churches on this list so I’ll provide the link below each image so you can get more details about them.

IMG_1364t1. Saint Mary Magdalene Church in Kawit, Cavite – The church was built in 1737 making it one of the oldest churches in Cavite. The church was also located few blocks away from the historical Aguinaldo Shrine (Check: Exploring Aguinaldo Shrine).  On its convent, you’ll find an ecclesiastical exhibit featuring some relics and items related to their patroness, Saint Mary Magdalene and also some historical items related to Emilio Aguinaldo (Check : Saint Mary Magdalene Exhibit) . You can check more details about this church in this post Saint Mary Magdalene Church ~ More Photos Here
IMG_1396t2. Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Binakayan, Kawit, Cavite – Another church in Kawit Cavite which is relatively new but distinctively beautiful. It features a very serene atmosphere with an open altar showing a huge grotto of Our Lady of Fatima along with the three children Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco. The church was built in December of 1996. Check : Our Lady of Fatima Parish of Binakayan ~ More Photos Here
IMG_1414t3. Saint Michael Archangel Parish in Bacoor Cavite – The new addition in our list is the Parish of Saint Michael Archangel in Bacoor. It was another historically significant church which was built since 1669. The first church was initially built with Bamboos and nipa leaves until it was renovated in 1824 to 1872 with adobe and tegula as main materials. The renovation took 48 years before achieving its current state.  The church was located on the former Bacoor City Hall which is just few blocks away from the Famous Digman Halo-Halo (Check: The Famous Digman Halo Halo of Bacoor) and also the historical Bahay na Tisa~ More Photos Here
IMG_1417t4. Imus Cathedral (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar) in Imus, Cavite – The seat of the bishop of the Diocese of Imus, the diocese that has jurisdiction of all the Catholic parishes in Cavite. The parish is under the patronage of two. First is the Our Lady of Pillar and Saint John the Baptist who is considered as the patron saint of the city. The present church was constructed in 1823 when the town proper was moved to Brgy Balangon. The Cathedral is just in front of the Imus Plaza (Check : General Licerio Topacio Plaza in Imus). Check more details about this church in this post : Revisiting Imus Cathedral ~ More Photos HereIMG_1484t5. Immaculate Conception Parish in Dasmariñas, Cavite – . The Immaculate Conception Church is actually the first Catholic church established in the city of Dasmariñas The stone church was constructed right after the establishment of Dasmariñas as a separate parish in 1866. Check: The Immaculate Conception Church in Dasmarinas, Cavite ~ More Photos Here
IMG_1507t6. Our Lady of Candelaria Parish in Silang, Cavite – The parish was first established on February 3, 1595 where they initially built a small chapel made of light materials under the patronage of St. Diego of Alcalá and a small school and took charge of Silang until 1611. The stone church was built from 1637 to 1639 and was placed under the patronage of Nuestra Senora de Candelaria (Our Lady of Candelaria) in 1640. Check : Our Lady of Candelaria Parish in Silang Cavite  ~ More Photos Here
IMG_1547t7. Pink Sisters Convent in Tagaytay –  Pink Sisters or officially known as Adoration Convent of Divine Mercy is a chapel of a cloistered order of nuns wearing pink habits, thus they were called the pink sisters. Check : Pink Sisters Convent in Tagaytay ~ More Photos Here
IMG_1564t8. Angels Hills Retreat Center in Tagaytay -It’s getting dark and we still have 7 more churches to visit. Angels Hills is basically a Retreat and Formation center which is  just few walks away from the Pink Sisters convent. It is founded in 1999 and covers a total of 2 hectares of land. Check : Angels Hills in Tagaytay, Cavite ~ More Photos HereIMG_1588t9. Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Tagaytay – Another church in Tagaytay is the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.  Known as the Healing Church, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church in Tagaytay City is administered by the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. The church’s reputation as a miraculous and healing shrine is favored for Catholic weddings. It is said that couple who hold their weddings here will be granted healing and blessing right from the very moment they say their “I Do’.  Check : Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Tagaytay  ~ More Photos Here
IMG_1598t10. Saint Augustine Parish in Mendez , Cavite – The small and peaceful town of Mendez has St Augustine Church which is really accessible as it can be found at the highway across the town plaza. One thing I love about visiting this church is the overwhelming greetings from their parishioners. We are always warmly greeted by them and they even offer free meals to the pilgrims.  Mendez Church or officially known as St. Augustine Parish was was established in 1881 although other sources were claiming that it was established around 1712 but the church was destroyed during the second world war. Check: Saint Augustine Church in Mendez   ~ More Photos Here
IMG_1345t11. Saint Gregory the Great Church in Indang, Cavite – Indang Church was originally a chapel established in 1611 but later became a full pledged parish in 1625.  The church was impressively restored capturing the 18th century atmosphere with highly articulate and decorated ceilings and walls that reminds me of those churches in Batangas (Check Batangas Pilgrimage Tour).  Check : The Stunning St Gregory The Great Parish of Indang. ~ More Photos Here
IMG_1628t12. Saint Jude Thaddeus Parish in Trece Martires , Cavite – Saint Jude Thaddeus Parish has a very interesting facade. They have a huge balcony on top with a life-sized image of Saint Jude. It has an arch-shaped facade facing in four different direction forming a cross-like shape if you viewed it from top. Check : Saint Jude Thaddeus Parish in Trece Martires, Cavite ~ More Photos Here
20170413_22550213. Saint Francis of Assisi Church in General Trias, Cavite – History wise, the first church in General Trias was established under the Franciscan orders in 1611 and it was just a subparish of Kawit Cavite. In 1753, Saint Francis of Assisi Parish became a separate parish and the first stone church was erected in 1769. Outside the church lies a small building that is almost identical to building that houses the Magellan’s Cross in Cebu. It houses  a sculpted image of Saint Francis of Assisi from a century old Acacia tree. Beside the church is a convent musuem  (Feel free to check – Museo De San Francisco de Malabon, The Porziuncola-Inspired Adoration Chapel and the Historical Acacia Tree). Check: Revisiting the Saint Francis of Assisi Parish / San Francisco De Malabon Church in General Trias, Cavite ~ More Photos Here
20170413_23432114. San Roque Parish Church in Cavite City ~ Of course, we concluded our Visita Iglesia in our very own parish church in Cavite City, the San Roque Parish church where the miraculous Nana Choleng (Our Lady of Solitude of Porta Vaga) is currently enshrined. Check : Feast of Our Lady of Porta Vaga

Unlike our last Cavite Pilgrimage, we managed to complete all the 14 churches a little early despite of some accidents we encountered along the way. We are so grateful that we managed to visit all the 14 churches in Southern Cavite and went back home safe and of course, spiritually enlightened.

You can also check the complete List of Churches in Cavite For Visita Iglesia

The 43rd Live Via Crucis in Cavite City (2017)

IMG_1648tThe people of Cavite City are naturally religious. They got so many festivities which are done in celebration of their patron saints. There’s the much awaited Regada Festival in celebration of Saint John The Baptist every June and the grander Feast of Our Lady of Solitude of Porta Vaga every November. For the Lenten Season, there’s an annual cultural and spiritual tradition known as “Live Via Crucis“. It is basically the Cavite City’s version of “Senakulo“.  If there’s a Moriones in Marinduque and Pagtaltal in Iloilo, then Cavite City has its own Passion Play which is better known as the Live Via Crucis.1797330_10202773033200233_4165628477011976607_ntVia Crucis or “Station of the Cross” is a passion play done during the Holy Week (Holy Tuesday to be specific) in which participants (a group of local residents of Cavite City) wear biblical costumes and take the center stage of the town plaza to dramatize the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This is already an old tradition which can be traced back since 1974. The picture above features my late grandpa portraying one of the centurions or Roman Soldiers. This year marks the 43rd year of Live Via Crucis and they notably made some changes this year1800437_10202773033400238_7509013980156151892_ntMy late grandma as one of the Ladies of Jerusalem during her younger years.IMG_1441tThis year’s Live Via Crucis was still based on the Passion Play written by Antonio Galura under the direction of Charlemagne Tyrone Gopez, Leo Ponseca and Narciso Lamberte Jr and Asst Director Edwin Monton under the supervision of their Chairman Aldous Guiao and Michaelangelo Camilo (Vice Chairman).
IMG_1452ttThe event started around 2pm. A special mass was held prior to the actual play presided by Fr Virgillo ParadesIMG_1564tLive Via Crucis  showcases different acts stated in the written Fourteen Stations of the Cross where one station usually last for 15-20 minutes (including the prayers). The Play will pass through fourteen different Stations. Unlike last year, however, they changed the settings , moving the 9th to 14th stations from Montano Hall field to San Roque Parish Church.
IMG_1589tIMG_1573tThe Last Supper marks the first station of the Cross, the final meal that Jesus shared with his Apostles before his crucifixionIMG_1466tWhile the Last Supper is being held in San Roque Parish Church, another scene was taking place somewhere else. The Centurions and the Roman Soldiers armed with their weapons, horse carriage and armors.IMG_1493tAlong with the people of Jerusalem are the thieves who will play greater roles on the later part of the play.IMG_1516tHestas, the Penitent Thief
IMG_1559ttThe Washing of the Feet
“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14
IMG_1592ttJudas identified by Jesus as the Traitor.IMG_1595tJohn 13: 26-27 ” Jesus states: “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.”
IMG_1612tThe Second Station : The Agony of Jesus in Gethsemane IMG_1621tJesus was accompanied by the Apostles Peter, John and James, whom he asked to stay awake and pray. He moved “a stone’s throw away” from them, where He felt overwhelming sadness and anguishIMG_1630tJesus was then confronted by the devil to tempt him while prayingIMG_1637tThe demon tempting Jesus during his agonyIMG_1664tHe was also confronted by an Angel IMG_1688tJudas and Roman Soldiers arrived in Gethsemane to capture Jesus and bring Him to the Sanhedrin.IMG_1716tThird Station: Jesus Before the Sanhedrin
IMG_1749tJesus was brought to Pontius Pilate  by the SanhedrinIMG_1786rtPilate handed Jesus over to Herod Antipas but Jesus was just mocked by him and he sent Jesus back to Pilate for the trial
IMG_1835ttMatthew 27:24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”IMG_1865tJesus was crowned with thornsIMG_1348tJesus was Crucified
IMG_1356tThe penitent thief
IMG_1381ttMary and John at the Foot of the CrossIMG_1415tJesus said that He was thirsty, one of the last seven words he said before dying on His crossIMG_1428tJesus dies on the crossIMG_1494tMary cradling the dead body of JesusIMG_1511ttMary holding the crown of thorns after Jesus was laid on His tombIMG_1533ttAn Angel came to Mary Magdalene to inform her that Jesus is alive!IMG_1558tThe Resurrection of Christ!

You can check the rest of the pictures of the 43rd Live Via Crucis Here!

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[Events] Pasion Y Gloria Exhibit in Manila Cathedral

Manila Cathedral (Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception) is currently hosting an ecclesiastical exhibit known as the Pasion Y Gloria. The exhibit will showcase different Filipino Religious images that are usually used during Lent or the so-called cuaresma (forty days of Lent, fasting, reflecting, and penitence) . These images include antique pieces from family collections which date back from as early as the 17th century, as well as newly crafted images by talented Filipino artists.
IMG_1530tThe exhibit started since March 19 and will conclude this coming April 2 so you still have enough time to visit the Cathedral and witness these wonderful images.
IMG_1390tThe exhibit covers three chapels of the Cathedral but I was only able to visit one 🙁IMG_1393t
IMG_1412tThe first chapel welcomes you with some of the religious artworks made by a well known sculptor Isabelo Tampico. We have seen most of his works on display at National Museum (Check : Things You Should Not Miss When Visiting National Museum)IMG_1398tAnother Tampico’s masterpiece entitled “Ecce Homo” a Jesus sculpture made from Cold cast Carrara Marble and is made since the late 19th century.IMG_1408tNuestra Señora Delos Dolores De Turumba on Oil Canvas. The image belongs to John Felix-Santos CollectionIMG_1419tMater Dolorosa Ora Pro NobisIMG_1421tAnother antique Marian image on displayIMG_1430tSeñor Dela Pacencia , a 17th century old sclupture depicting the image of Jesus seating after being scourged at the pillar.IMG_1437tLa FlagelacionIMG_1450tScourging
IMG_1451tAnother Señor Dela PacenciaIMG_1469tSan Pedro Apostol (Saint Peter)
IMG_1472t