15 April 2012

Visita Iglesia de Paa 2012: My 6th Year (yes!!)

My 6th year of traveling on foot only to visit these churches & parishes, imagine that! And a total of 15 for this year, I decided to add 2 more. =)

I thought this annual visita iglesia would not push through..Papa has church obligations and my brother has work at the hospital that day.  It would've have sucked big time if this did not happen as I'm trying not to miss it, but thank goodness, my friend Melvin agreed to accompany me. I told him what the itinerary is and we would be walking for 8-9hrs, under the scorching uber-intense heat of the sun, but he still said yes. That made me so happy. And excited.

We agreed to meet at Claret Church by 6am. But it was already 7am when we met, not a huge letdown, just a bit of a delay so no worries.

I had the time set up shown on my photos so I would know our time progress and length of the trip. Documented much. So here goes our very eventful day:

Address: 31 Madasalin St. Sikatuna Village, QC
It was still closed when I got there but I could see that they are getting ready for a procession. I wondered why I haven't included this place to my previous year. Maybe because we just chose to stick to the original itinerary of my dad.

Address: Mahinhin St. cor. Mayumi St. UP VIllage Diliman, QC
The church from my childhood. Where I was baptized and where, for 10 years of my childhood life, we attended mass

Address: Sct. Ybardolaza Kamuning QC
This parish was established on October 3, 1941. My reaction whenever I visit was that of coolness in terms of humidity. This parish is nestled in between big trees. It has a very peaceful ambiance despite being located in a main road where this is a part of passenger jeepneys route going to Cubao.
I noticed that this was a new structure. It was not here, I think, last year.
They have a grotto to do some praying and meditating.

1st stopover: Had some Royal Tru Orange at a store beside Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish
The Boy Scouts rotunda was practically deserted. A rare view.
Address: Sct. Rallos cor. Timog Ave. Brgy. Laging Handa, QC
Our sked was a bit delayed so this was the first time for me to see many people at this parish, mostly those who finished already the procession for the Stations of the Cross.
2nd stopover: Got to rehydrate! Had 1 bottle of Propel to wet my somehow parched throat. By the way, these are my Visita Iglesia de Paa essentials: fan, towelette, liquids, umbrella and a wide hat. Actually, one should bring less if they can because as walk the day away, the stuff that you bring weighs a ton after some time. But for me, I always risk it because these are what I consider my 'safety blankets'. =)

Address: Quezon Avenue, QC.
A very big church with ample parking space ready for anyone who wants to visit and pray.
This is one of the churches that many people frequent for their visita iglesia itinerary because of what it has: the century-old image of Our Lady of La Naval that was credited for having saved a city from invasion during the 1600s. Despite the buzz of people reciting the Stations of the Cross, on the other hand, TV staff and crew prep up for the broadcast of the Siete Palabras to be shown on GMA 7.
Stained glass artwork like these surround the church.
This is one of the few great churches in Quezon City.
You will see a lot of devotees of the Black Nazarene walking the length of Quezon Avenue and Espana, some of them barefoot and some of them bringing an image of the Black Nazarene. It sure is fascinating to see people from all walks of life doing their panata in their own ways. Filipinos are truly religious and show no qualms how to express it. Remarkable!

Usually, I feel already so tired upon reaching the gates of UST. Coming from Santo Domingo, it takes around 40mins of walking before reaching UST. And I tell you, it's not easy because the sidewalks of Espana are not even. Its not a straight walk, you have to go up and down on sidewalks so its a bit of a challenge. Good thing, UST grounds is a welcome respite, its visually appealing and gives a peaceful vibe.
Of course, I can never get tired of posing around when I see picture-worthy sceneries. =)

Me and my friend Melvin. First time I did the Visita Iglesia de Paa with a friend. For my first 4 years, it was with my dad and bro. 5th year was with my bro only. So this was a pleasant first.
Address: inside University of Santo Tomas grounds

Saw this huge yet cute bullfrog, I think. Some boys stepped on it, I thought they were going to kill it but fortunately, just to stop it from hopping so they could get a closer look. I was about to say something to them, to take pity on this living creature, until I realized and saw their playful intent.
3rd stopover: Mini-Stop near UST. I was slowly developing a migraine and I said to Melvin that I should stop for a break. I ordered water and their Tuna Kariman so I could take my Dolfenal. The airconditioning was working so fine that I did not want to leave. But of course, after 15mins, we had to go on.
Devotees flocking to Quaipo Church.This photo did not do justice to the number of people heading towards the church.
I took a stolen photo of this group and when they saw what I did, they good-naturedly posed and shouted to me to take their picture again. But I had to be cautious so I just said 'thank you' and went forward. No harm in being extra alert. This is Quiapo after all.
Address:  Plaza Miranda along Quezon Boulevard, Manila
The church's facade is very beautiful! Quiapo Church is the most jam-packed church from my entire list. Our target was to get here the earliest that we can but since we got delayed, we had to deal with the masses. Going down the underpass was quite a bit of a suffocating experience for me. The heat of the weather then add the heat coming from the bodies of the devotees who were resting there was too much for me. Too humid!

8th church: SANTA CRUZ CHURCH 
Address: Plaza Lacson Sta. Cruz, Manila
Per http://travel.aol.com, The first Santa Cruz Church (often abbreviated to Sta. Cruz Church) was erected in 1608 by the Society of Jesus, better known as Jesuits, as a parish church for the swelling ranks of Chinese immigrants to Manila, many of whom had converted to the Catholic faith. The original structure was twice damaged by earthquakes, and totally destroyed in World War II. The present building, completed in 1957, is essentially Baroque and somewhat reminiscent of the Spanish-built mission churches in southern California.

I really love this classic European-design fountain just in front of the church. I just wish people would stop throwing litter in the water. And for whoever is in-charge of this area, to keep it clean. It's a very nice photo-worthy tourist place, both the church and the fountain, let's not disappoint.
Before entering Chinatown, we saw this statue that looks very Singaporean and we just got to have our photo taken.
Finding a Chinese resto to have lunch was not easy. We were looking for, of course, Chinese and something that would fit our budget. It was not easy. Almost all places along Ongpin St. was packed. Good thing, Four Season Cuisine still had available tables so we grabbed it. Whew! I know it's bad, but I had 2 orders of Coke Sakto. So refreshing! The food that we got was great too, way better than my order last year.

Address: Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz, Manila
This church is one of the oldest places of Christian worship in the Philippines. It was said that earthquakes and natural disasters has badly damaged the original edifice, so today, the octagonal bell tower is all that remains of the 16th century construction.
I find the church very grand. The ceiling paintings are very beautiful. The effort put in was superb. This is definitely one of the churches that is a must-visit. Include it on your list!

Exit Chinatown, hello Jones Bridge!
Crossing Jones Bridge at this hour is a challenge. The heat was so..so intense! But the sight was still something to behold, with old architecture and structure everywhere.
Scorched friends!
Confirmed! Definitely Singaporean. I read the tab on the statue. This also looks like the statue that I had my picture taken with before we entered Chinatown.
Statue of Queen Isabel II in Intramuros.
Address: Gen. Luna St. Intramuros, Manila

Sadly, Manila Cathedral is closed for a year to give way to a much-needed renovation in their structures. For those 200+ couples who were set to wed in this church during its temporary closure, they are being assisted by the Wedding Task Force to find a new church to their liking. It is better this way than suffer the consequences later in the end. But despite being closed, people still flock here to do their Via Crucis outside the church. It was a real sacrifice because the sun was up in all its glory and you can feel it searing your skin.

I have not noticed before that the wood works on the doors of the cathedral is so beautiful. Glad to have seen it closely now.
My first time to try a yellow watermelon. The taste was between a melon and the red watermelon variety. Refreshing!
 11th church: SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH
Address:  Gen. Luna St. cor. Real St. Intramuros, Manila
This UNESCO World Heritage Site Baroque church is the oldest stone church in the Philippines that was built in 1589. So many stories this church has witnessed for more than 300years. If only the walls could talk.
I recited 1 station of the Cross here.
2 influences?

My first time! I was so excited to be here. Entrance fee is P5 only.

The now empty niches where the olden city's elite people interred the remains of their loved ones.
Even though it is, or was, a cemetery, this place has a very relaxing vibe. The breeze was cool and one can just sit around and feel relaxed and at peace with one's self. But I don't know if that is still the vibe during nighttime. Haha!
This was where Dr. Jose Rizal was interred after his execution at Bagumbayan (now called Luneta or Rizal Park)
Address: Paco,Manila
Sadly, the chapel was closed. Luckily the park was not. The chapel is managed by the same group who cares for  Adamson University.
Definitely! More fun in the Philippines. =)
 13th church: ERMITA CHURCH
Address:  M.H.del Pilar St. cor. A. Flores St.Ermita, Manila
Per www.lonelyplanet.com, a modern construction that replaced the original hermitage destroyed during WWII, is home to the widely venerated Nuestra SeƱora de Guia (Our Lady of Guidance). Legend has it that this richly robed image of the Virgin Mary was found by Legazpi on 19 May 1571, the day the Spanish forces took over Manila.

Address: M.H. del Pilar St. Malate, Manila

Filled to the brim during the Siete Palabras

A beautiful Baroque-style church

15th church: BACLARAN CHURCH
Address: Redemptorist Road Baclaran, Paranaque
Yes! Done. Whatta feeling!
Though for this last leg, Malate Church to Baclaran Church, we rode a jeepney. My headache was very persistent even after 1 dose each of Biogesic and Dolfenal. I did not push it because the consequences might be much harder.
We finished at 5:00pm.

For a short backgrounder, my papa did this for more than 20yrs already if I'm not mistaken, and it was high time that we joined him as he is not getting any younger and the streets, and the heat, could do unpredictable things to a man who walks alone. Thus, the start of our own panata.

This is something that I truly look forward to every year. A truly satisfying spiritual and physical experience. I will do this as long as I can. God willing. =)

Special thanks to my friend,Melvin, for joining me. Hope you enjoyed the sights, the exercise and spiritually enhanced your faith.


  1. Wow! You walked from QC to Baclaran? Tibay! ;) Glad to see my alma mater here (UST). :) Na-emo ako bigla. :)


  2. Hi Michy, yup, exercise ito. Haha! It's my panata kasi. UST is always a pleasure to visit, love the peaceful vibe upon entering the gates. =)

  3. Reading your post makes me miss QC and Malate! I haven't been there in a long time. Grabe, andami mo ng churches na-visit. Kudos to you Lovelee! :) Keep it up!

  4. WOW!you amazed me!walking for 8-9 hours? my goodness!you're awesome <3
    I've never been to a lot of churches in the Philippines..hopefully one day!

  5. It's great to know that there are still many people who follow the visita iglesia tradition. I used to do this, too, before I became a Mom. :)

  6. Wow! Beat that! 8 to 9 hours of walking from QC to Baclaran! Nakakabilib! Aja!

  7. I've never been to any of these churches before hahaha pero grabe!!! You walked from QC to Baclaran??? Oh my! Amazing!!! :D

  8. Wow! I only know a few people who religiously do Visite Iglesia, especially traveling on foot. Nakakabilib kayo! :)

  9. We always do this but we do not walk literally. Why we didn't bump with each other? We are fascinated with the Walk of Life in Bonifacio High Street. The stations of the cross are interactive. It's like you're on a retreat. Try it next Holy Week. :)

  10. I enjoy every picture that you have posted here, it seems like I was with you that time

  11. This seems one of the most important and interesting part of the year.

  12. I have never done that before ... i can't imagine my self walking on foot in the sidewalk of the great metro ... whoaaa!

    1. Hi lovemindanao, it's like extra challenge but at the end of the day, when you finish, the sense of fulfillment is so overpowering that you don't notice much the difficulty of walking on foot under the scorching heat of the sun. Then the next day you feel it! =)


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