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I love to travel just to explore new things in life from breathtaking natural wonders, interesting historical sites, delicious food, friendly people and colorful culture. I treasure every moment in traveling by writing in my journal, taking photos and publish it in my travel blog.
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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Heritage Nostalgia: A Free Tour in the National Art Gallery

As I walked in the scorching heat of the metro along with the heavy traffic on the streets, I decided to visit the National Museum of Fine Arts or the National Art Gallery where I need to celebrate the Heritage Month. In addition, the said institution has a promo where there was a free admission for the whole month of May.

The current museum was the Old Legislative Building (Old Congress Building) which is located in Padre Burgos Avenue, Ermita, Manila located near the Manila City Hall. The building was planned based on the design of Ralph Harrington Doane and Antonio Toledo for the National Library in 1918 but it was changed into a legislative building based on the plan of Juan Arellano in 1926. Some of the historical events happened in this building such as the Constitutional Convention led by Claro M. Recto in 1934 and the presidential inaugurations of Manuel L. Quezon in 1935, Jose P. Laurel in 1943 and Manuel A. Roxas in 1946. It was destroyed during the Second World War and it was restored which was turned into Congress Building in 1949. During the declaration of Martial Law in 1972, it was the office of the Prime Minister and it returned back into Congress Building in 1987. On February 12, 1998, the building was declared as the National Museum and it became a National Historical Landmark on September 30, 2010.

The National Museum was divided into three buildings - the National Art Gallery or the National Museum of Fine Arts which was located in the Old Legislative Building, National Museum of Anthropology or the Museum of the Filipino People which was the old building of Department of Finance and the National Museum of Natural History which was occupied by the Department of Tourism.  
The facade of National Art Gallery of the National Museum.
When I entered the institution and left my stuff in the baggage counter, I brought my tablet to take notes for important details to study the art and history of our country. First, I visited the Old House of Representatives Session Hall where the famous artworks such as "Spoliarium" by Juan Luna and "The Assassination of Governor Bustamante" by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo are found in this area. In fact, I also had the chance to see another popular work of Juan Luna "The Parisian Life" in the GSIS Hall.
"Spolarium" by Juan Luna
"The Assassination of Governor Bustamante" by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo
"The Parisian Life" by Juan Luna in the GSIS Hall.
After visiting the Spoliarium Hall, I went to Ablaza Hall whersome Christian themed masterpieces from 17th to 19th century. There are different wooden retablos and religious relics found in this hall. Then, I also had a chance to have a glance of our rich flora in FCCP Hall where the paintings by Juan Perez de Cuellar which focused on the Philippine plants are located. 
The FCCP Hall which features the botanical art works which are done by Juan De Cuellar. These drawings are featured in the Royal Botanical Garden n Madrid, Spain.
A retablo.
There is also a gallery dedicated for Dr. Jose Rizal which showcases the different portraits of our national hero which was done by different artists and his sculptural works such as "El Ermitano" and "Mother's Revenge."
The portrait of Dr. Jose Rizal
A portrait of Dr. Jose Rizal, Ermitanyo (upper right) and Mother's Revenge (lower right). The two sculptural art works are examples of terra cotta.
In MFP Hall (Gallery X) you can find the series of paintings which was done by Carlos "Botong" Francisco entitled "The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines." These masterpieces were found in the Philippine General Hospital and today, it has a new home in the National Art Gallery. 
"The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines" by Carlos "Botong" Francisco. 
I also had a chance to visit Silvina and Juan C. Laya Hall where some artworks which was made during the World War II was displayed in that gallery.
Some of the art works that depict the life and historical events during World War II.. 
oAnother set of artworks that feature the life during the World War II.
You may also visit the galleries which feature the works of Fernando Amorsolo, Guillermo Tolentino, Vicente Manansala, Jose T. Joya, Hernando Ocampo and Carlos "Botong" Francisco as well with the masterpieces of contemporary artists such as Benedicto "BenCab" Cabrera, Arturo Luz and Mauro "Malang" Santos/ In addition, there are also masterpieces from local artists which feature the historical events and tackled on  political and social status of our society from 1960's to the early 1990's. 
The masterpieces of Guillermo Tolentino featuring the arch of the Commonwealth of the Philippines.. The works of Guillermo Tolentino can be found in  Gallery XII or Security Bank Hall.
Artworks of  Hernando Ocampo
"Fishes" by Vicente Manansala
"Pagkain" (Food) by Vicente Manansala. These paintings by Vicente Manansala featured transparent cubism.
"Plantng of the First Cross' by Vicente Manansala
Artworks with the theme of restoration of democracy during the EDSA Revolution..
The art works of Benedicto Cabrera, also known as BenCab .
Portraits of prominent politicians, celebrities and business figures in a hallway.
As you walked inside the historical building, passing the dim aisle teemed with the cool air, you can see various artworks that reflect in the history and culture of our country. You can travel back in time as you see the different masterpieces that showcase the life during the pre-colonial period, seeing the Romantic paintings during the Spanish era that depict religious and patriotic themes, the historical struggles which are reflected in the paintings during the World War II, Martial Law Era up to the EDSA Revolution and the creativity of artists in the modern and contemporary period which proved that visual art, painting and sculpture has a place in the world full of technology and digital information.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that you need to visit museums in order to take a glance of our history through art and the appreciation of the works of our national artists who shared their God-given talent in order to enhance the richness of culture and talent in our art. 

The National Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is permanently free of charge effective July 1, 2016. The National Art Gallery can be found in Padre Burgos Drive, Rizal Park, City of Manila. 

Website: http://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph/

Date of Travel: May 25, 2016 and December 17, 2016

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Tickling Yet Relaxing Experience in Tagaytay Fish Spa

In the highland city of Tagaytay, there is a place where you can experience healthy relaxation which tickles your feet in a cold water. Your pedicurists are numerous tiny fishes that will suck and bite any dirt in your feet which make you feel relaxed for twenty minutes followed by ten minute foot massage by our expert therapists. Recently, fish spa has become a popular trend in our country like in Manila Ocean Park. Here in Picnic Grove, you may visit in Tagaytay Fish Spa.
You may enjoy the fish pedicure treatment for 20 minutes which was done by Garra rufa or simply Doctor Fish. You may pick between the sucking type where you can have a stimulating feeling in your feet, the biting type where the fish will remove some dead cells and dirt in your feet or you may try both types where you need to transfer to another seat for ten minutes.
These small fishes help to remove the dry skin cells. You may pick between the biting or sucking type. 
Interesting facts about Fish Pedicure,
For me, having a fish pedicure is a habit for me where I visit this place once in two to three months to feel relaxed and having a foot spa in a natural way. This type of foot massage is proven very effective and feeling pleasured in a sense that small fishes will tickle your feet and the staff of the Tagaytay Fish Spa are truly accommodating and friendly.

Tagaytay Fish Spa is located within the vicinity of Picnic Grove. The entrance fee for Picnic Grove is worth P 50.00 and Fish Spa is worth P 199.00

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Culture and Faith: A Discovery on Churches (Reflections on the Visita Iglesia Journey)

Filipinos are known for being religious and having a strong faith in God. It is depicted through the solemn observance of Lenten season through religious customs and practices held in churches and communities during Holy Week. These practices are observed by the Catholics which serve as their “panata” or a solemn vow devoted to God as a sign of faith. In the observance of Lent, I always do the Visita Iglesia as devotion to my faith. “Visita Iglesia” also known as the Seven Churches Visitation is an ancient Roman Catholic tradition to visit seven churches on the evening of Maundy Thursday. During the Visita Iglesia, the devotees visit seven to fourteen churches to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.
The Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours in Taal, Batangas, the largest Catholic church in the Far East.
I started last 2010 and it is my vow for the past six years. I began this practice with my family and the following years, I traveled on my own to devote in the Seven Churches Visit. I went to different provinces and cities from the highlands to the coastal areas, from the busy urban streets to the simple, rural countryside. Every place that I’ve been for Visita Iglesia is leading to the discovery of our heritage, the unique culture and the interesting history as well with the reflection of the challenges and blessings that I’ve experienced which help me to become a better person and having a closer ties with God. Therefore, Visita Iglesia is also one of the favorite topics in some travel blogs and many people are interested in this religious activity. It also taught me to explore the interesting tidbits of our culture and history where I need to travel in neighboring towns and provinces to visit the churches.
Our Lady of Assumption Parish Church in Maragondon, Cavite
During my Visita Iglesia, the first thing that I have done is to pray for forgiveness, thanksgiving and supplication. I never forget to reflect on personal experiences that I’ve had during the journey. In addition, I also checked the historical markers in the churches that I’ve visited. Many churches witnessed relevant events in history. For instance, Cavite has many Spanish-era churches which became the place which played a significant role in our history. Emilio Aguinaldo and Mariano Trias took their oaths in Santa Cruz Church in Tanza which led to the organization of Revolutionary Government.
Saint Mary Magdalene Church in Magdalena, Laguna. The church where Emilio Jacinto sought refuge after being shot.
On the other hand, churches have an interesting story to share in the lives of some historical figures. For example, the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz in Binondo was the church where Andres Bonifacio and Gregoria de Jesus tied the knot. On the other hand, Father Mariano Gomez of GOMBURZA became a parish priest in Saint Michael the Archangel Parish Church in Bacoor and Emilio Aguinaldo was baptized in Saint Mary Magdalene Church in Kawit. In addition, Emilio Jacinto sought refuge in Saint Mary Magdalene Church in Magdalena, Laguna after being shot near the Maimpis River. The marker where his blood stains are covered with glass along with his hat and bolo.
Minor Basilica of San Sebastian in Quiapo, Manila. The only all-steel church in the Philippines.
Visita Iglesia is also an opportunity for travelers and bloggers to explore the cultural heritage of our country. First, there are churches that show an astonishing artistry in the field of architecture. For The Minor Basilica of San Sebastian in Quiapo which is the only church in Asia made up of steel. There are stories that Gustave Eiffel made a participation in the creation of the church. On the other hand, you may find the largest Catholic Church in Asia, the Basilica of Saint Martin de Tours located in the heritage town of Taal, Batangas. The province of Laguna also features Spanish-era Baroque churches which can be found in the lakeshore towns of Paete, Pakil, Kalayaan and Lumban as well with the churches in Liliw, Nagcarlan, Magdalena and Majayjay which are located in the foothills of Mount Banahaw. These churches are still standing for many centuries and survived natural disasters and wars.
Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo.
Saint James the Apostle Church in Paete which is known for its woodcarvings of religious images.
These churches also show participation in some cultural events in their place. They have a significant role in the preservation of traditions, customs and religious practices of the people. In fact, the Saint James the Apostle Church in Paete was a gathering area of wooden sculptures of images of Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary and the saints. The adjacent town of Pakil has the Saint Peter of Alcantara Church where it played an important role in the celebration of Turumba Festival. The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or Quiapo Church is much known for its Feast of the Black Nazarene where millions of devotees are attending every year to have a spiritual blessing.
Saint Gregory the Great Parish Church in Majayjay, Laguna.
Lastly, churches serve as national treasures. It is a reflection of culture and tradition of the Philippines and the heritage that was influenced by Spain who administered our country for more than three hundred years. We also preserve these churches even there are many natural disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes that destroyed the earlier structures. However, there are old churches that are still existing and showcase the cultural heritage of the Filipinos. Some of the churches that I’ve been are included as National Cultural Treasures by the National Historic Commission such as Saint Gregory the Great (Majayjay, Laguna), Our Lady of Assumption Parish Church (Maragondon, Cavite) and Immaculate Conception Parish Church (Balayan, Batangas) to name a few.
Nuestra Senora de Candelaria Parish Church in Silang, Cavite.
Therefore, Visita Iglesia is a yearly activity should be treasured. Our country has a lot of heritage churches that can be visited in different parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. In addition, you will come back and visit again the churches that you’ve been there and try a new route to explore more. It can be accomplished on your own or with your friends and family to explore the cultural heritage of our country in religious aspects and to reflect on our experiences in life that we become a better person with the help of our God. 

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This article was published in the March issue of Glabella Magazine which is an online magazine in Issuu.Com. The online magazine is a pet project of Carl Lorenz Cervantes, an actor, blogger, vocalist and a reality show contestant. 


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Travel Guide | Top Ten Interesting Facts and Exciting Things to do in Tagaytay City

"A wise traveler never despises his own country." 
- William Hazlitt

This quotation was proven true, Before you explore other places, you must learn to travel on your own hometown. I was born in Cavite and I grew up visiting one of the most popular tourist destinations in the province - Tagaytay. I always visiting that place every year with my family, friends and even I travel on my own in this summer destination.
The breathtaking scenery of the Taal Lake and Volcano Island overlooking from Tagaytay City.
The city is known as "The Second Summer Capital of the Philippines" because it is the city in the highlands with cool altitude and outstanding scenery which provides the view of Taal Lake in Batangas. It is an iconic trademark in our country where the Taal Volcano is located in the middle of the lake where you can see from different portions in Tagaytay. 

Tagaytay is relatively close to Metro Manila where the people took their vacation here in order to escape the urban hassles of city life and to experience relaxation. 

1. How Tagaytay got its name?
The view of Taal Lake from the ridges of Tagaytay City.
The word "Tagaytay" came from two Tagalog words "taga" meaning to cut and "itay" which means father. Legends said that there were a father and son who were hunting for a wild boar, but they were attacked by that animal. The son cried"taga itay!" where the phrase was echoed over the alleys of the ridge and it was heard by the residents, hunters and wood gatherers. Another version of the story where a daughter shouted in their house in the ridge because her father would not allow any suitor to see her. The father was driving away the suitors and the daughter participated with her father in discouraging suitors by shouting "Taga Itay!" Because of that, the place where the shouts came from is known as Tagaytay. In addition, it is a Tagalog word for ridge. 

2. Reflect on the different churches and prayer houses

A panoramic view of Pink Sisters Chapel taken from my mobile phone.
Because of the cool climate and the beauty of nature in the highlands, Tagaytay is also a home of various churches, chapels, convents, seminaries and retreat houses. As you entered the city, you may visit the Pink Sisters Convent where you can experience the solemn ambiance and the faith and devotion of the nuns who are wearing pink uniforms. You can also experience the beauty of nature in this place where you can see tall pine trees, verdant shrubs and lovely flowers as you go around the place. 
The facade of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church.
The old building of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church.
Our Lady of Manaoag at Tierra de Maria
When you passed the Tagaytay Rotonda, you may take the Tagaytay - Nasugbu Highway and visit the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church which was established in 1940. In addition, when you take the Tagaytay - Calamba Highwat (going to Picnic Grove and People's Park in the Sky), you may also visit the Ina ng Laging Saklolo Church (Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church) and the Our Lady of Manaoag at Tierra de Maria. Therefore, Tagaytay is also an ideal place for spiritual retreat and reflection because of the churches and prayer houses existing in the area.

3. Tour the Iconic Tourist Spots 
The people are flying kites in the rolling hills of Picnic Grove which also known for its cozy cottages.
If you are going to Tagaytay City, the first thing that is coming to the mind of the tourists is to visit the two popular tourist spots - Picnic Grove and People's Park in the Sky. I remember that I visited the People's Park in the Sky when I was a kid (maybe I was in third or fourth grade during that time) and the notable things that I remembered in the place were the bean-shaped fish pond and a bridge, the breathtaking scenerey of the verdant fields, tall mountains and the panoramic view of Tagaytay City and the huge pineapple in a playground. I will visit that place again one of these days.

Most of the time, I visited the Picnic Grove where you can enjoy horseback riding, walking in the canopy trail, buying souvenirs and spending time with your family and friends in cottages while you are enjoying the ambiance in the highland city. There are also other activities to be enjoyed in Picnic Grove which will be discussed in the next items.

4. Visit Sky Ranch and Try the Sky Eye
The Sky Eye is one of the newest attractions in Tagaytay City.
A new attraction in Metro Tagaytay, Sky Ranch is a leisure park which is a five hectare project of the SM Prime Holdings Inc., SM Group's real estate company. There are many thrilling rides to take in this park including the Sky Eye. one of the biggest Ferris wheels in our country. It lifts you up 63 meters above the ground and there are 32 air conditioned gondolas that can accomodate 3 - 4 passengers per gondola. It gives you a panoramic view of Tagaytay City and its neighboring provinces and towns, Taal Volcano and Taal Lake.

5. A Tickling yet Relaxing Experience in Picnic Grove
Doctor fish or Garra rufa
One of the new and interesting activities added in Picnic Grove is the Tagaytay Fish Spa. You may experience 20 minutes of foot spa with the help of Doctor Fish (Garra ruffa) and a foot massage for 10 minutes by the resident therapists. It's been a fun experience to stay in Tagaytay Fish Spa and actually, I prefer to have a fish spa as a form of foot massage.

6. Enjoy the Horseback Riding
Horses in Sky Ranch - Tagaytay.
One of the most popular activities in Tagaytay that you shouldn't miss is the Horseback Riding. It is offered in Picnic Grove, Tagaytay Highlands, Residence Inn and Skyranch. You may feel the life in a countryside by horseback riding while enjoying the view of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano in the cool highlands.

7. Thrilling Adventures on a Cable Car and Zipline
When a family relaxing inside the cable car meets a person who is enjoying the thrill in a zipline in Picnic Grove.
You may also experience the thrill in riding a cable car and zipline.  You may take these adventures at Picnic Grove, Sky Ranch and Tagaytay Highlands for an affordable price. These packages give you an exciting thrill while viewing the breathtaking scenery of Taal Lake and its neighboring towns.

8. Visit the Mansion with the Largest Collection of Jigsaw Puzzles
Gallery of solved jigsaw puzzles with the different landmarks and artworks.
You may also visit the Puzzle Mansion located within Barangay Asisan where you can see thousands of jigsaw puzzle collections in any form like wooden, crystal and even artworks and landmarks. You may also buy your jigsaw puzzle and have a mind challenge in solving puzzles in the fastest time. This house owned by Gina Lacuna is the current record-holder for the largest collection of jigsaw puzzles which was recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records.

9. Have a Culinary Trip in the Finest Restaurants
One of the interesting restaurants in Tagaytay if you want to experience meals with mushrooms. 
Mushroom meals - Mushroom burger with cheese, Mushroom fries and Mushroom sisig ang patties - are good for our health.
Don't miss to have a gastronomic trip in Tagaytay. You may try their hot, appetizing bulalo from the affordable eateries of Mahogany Market to the stylish restaurants along the highway. There are also various coffee shops from Starbucks franchises to local cafes which offered brewed coffee from Amadeo. You may also experience the rondalla singing while having your meals and experience international delicacies. In addition, you may experience healthy meals in Sonya's Garden and Mushroomburger. Therefore, Tagaytay is an ideal place for culinary excursion to experience different kinds of food.

10. Experience Nature and Wildlife

You may explore wildlife and nature trip in Tagaytay from walking in the canopy trail in Picnic Grove and visiting animal farms and zoos in Residence Inn and Paradizoo in Mendez, Cavite.

Nowadays, Tagaytay made recent innovations in the place especially in establishing condominiums and tall buildings in the highlands. Real estate companies picked the city because of its cool climate and panoramic sceneries. I missed the cool, green ambiance of the city when I was a kid while my family is having a picnic in viewing decks along the highway. Therefore, Tagaytay is still a beautiful place for me where I am proud of having the Second Summer Capital in my province, Cavite where I can travel and enjoy here anytime.

Date of Travel: A frequent visitor in Tagaytay, so I can explore more about the place :) 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Visita Iglesia: An Ecclesiastical Journey to the Churches in Batangas

BATANGAS. The first things come in our mind  when we hear that province are the tropical beach resorts, towering verdant mountains and progressive urban cities. Last year, I've made my Visita Iglesia in this province where I visited eight churches which played an important role in the history and culture of Batangas. I made a day tour from the highlands of Nasugbu to the urban cities of Lipa and Batangas. Let us explore the churches as we go on a pilgrimage and spiritual reflection in Batangas.
The Dominicum's grand stairway.
The Transfiguration Chapel
The Transfiguration Chapel in Caleruega
Nasugbu

From Cavite, I took a bus going to Batangas where I made my first stop in Nasugbu. From the highway near the boundary of Cavite and Batangas, I took a 10 minute tricycle ride going to the highland chapel. Caleruega was named after the birthplace of St. Dominic de Guzman, father of the Order of the Preachers. In order to honor and remember the legacy of their founder, the Filipino Dominicans established Caleruega that hopes it will be like the town of Caleruega in Spain. 

In this church, you may appreciate the beauty of nature and the verdant ambiance due to the richness of trees, flowers, and shrubs, the scenery of the mountains, and the solemn atmosphere of the place where you can reflect and relax to gain spiritual strength. The place is also an ideal venue for weddings and you may attend the Sunday mass here. Caleruega Church is located near in Mt. Batulao and in Evercrest Golf Course.
Immaculate Conception Parish Church, Balayan, a National Cultural Treasure.
Immaculate Conception Parish Church
Balayan

From the highlands, I took a forty-five minute jeepney ride to the historic, coastal town of Balayan. There are plenty of heritage houses in the town proper and a few walks within the Plaza Mabini, you may visit the Immaculate Conception Parish Church. The church is listed as a National Cultural Treasure because it was built and supervised by the Filipino seculars during the Spanish colonial period. The church was constructed in 1591 and it was blessed by Father Pedro Chirino. In 1795, a new stone church was blessed in honor of the Immaculate Conception, the Patroness of Balayan. Today, the church is still standing and reflects the history and culture of Balayan.
The newly renovated St. Rafael Archangel Church in Calaca.
St. Raphael the Archangel Parish Church
Calaca

After the visit to Balayan, the adjacent town of Calaca is next where I visited the St. Rafael Archangel Parish Church. It was a historical church but it was renovated recently. The devotees believed that the image of St. Rafael the Archangel in the church is miraculous and he is also the patron saint of healing.

The facade of Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours, one of the heritage sites in Taal.
Minor Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours
Taal

After two or three years, I came back to Taal and it is the same heritage town that I've seen a few years ago where the Spanish era houses are still there and gives you the feeling of traveling back in time. I visited the "Biggest Catholic Church in Southeast Asia", the Basilica of Saint Martin de Tours. The first church was built in 1575 and it was located in the shores of Taal Lake which is the present town of San Nicolas. It was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1754 and built in its present location in 1755. The church was damaged by a strong earthquake in 1852 and it was restored which is the present church from 1856 to 1878. A small tower at the left side of the facade which contained the large church bell was destroyed by an earthquake in 1942. Recently, there are renovations made in the church.
The Our Lady of Caysasay Church which houses the Marian image of Our Lady of Caysasay.
Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay
Taal

A few walks away from the Basilica, you may take the San Lorenzo Steps and it will lead you to the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of  Caysasay. It is a coral-hewn chapel located in Barrio Caysasay which was built in 1639. The first church was built around 1611 by the Chinese which was made of light materials. In 1754, the roof of the church was destroyed by boulders and ashes of Taal Volcano and in 1852, the walls were destroyed by an earthquake. Therefore, the church has been renovated ever since and the convent was converted into an orphanage. The church is also the home of the image of Our Lady of Caysasay, one of the oldest images of Immaculate Conception, which was discovered by a fisherman in 1603 and it was canonically crowned in 1954 as "Queen of the Archdiocese of Lipa." The church is also near to the miraculous Saint Lucia Well and there are apparitions happened in Caysasay during the Spanish era.
The Immaculate Conception Parish was transferred for three times before it stood on its present location.
Immaculate Conception Parish Church
Bauan

From Taal, I took a jeepney ride going to Bauan where I've visited the Immaculate Conception Parish, a Neo-Classical church in the town. It was administered by the Augustinian priests from 1596 to the end of nineteenth century. The church was transferred from the shores of Bombon River to a place called Durugto in 1662, as well in the place called Lonal up to its present site in 1692. After transferring to a new location, it was destroyed by typhoons and fire but they are trying to build with strong materials until the present church was completed in 1894. The church also houses the Holy Cross of Bauan, the patron saint of the town.
The Neo-classical architecture of Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
Batangas City 

After a five to ten minute jeepney ride from Bauan, you can visit the province's capital city where you can find the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. It was first built in 1581 which was dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and it became an independent parish in 1614. It was originally made of light materials but the church was destroyed by a fire in 1615 and in 1686, it began laying the foundation of the new stone church. The church was destructed by fire again in 1747 and repaired in 1756. The church went to several restorations during the Spanish era and in 1945, the church was declared as the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
The miraculous Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Lipa City.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church
Lipa City 

After one hour of travel from Batangas City, I visited the progressive and ecclesiastical city of Lipa. In the busy town proper, you can find the the Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace. The church was built in 1946, one year after Lipa was damaged by the Japanese forces during the Liberation. In 1948, a miracle was reported in the grounds of the church with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, made an apparition on a nun named Teresita Castillo. However, the Catholic church declared that the apparition is fraudulent and Castillo left the convent. In 1990, a new apparition happened again where the Blessed Virgin Mary requesting that the statue destroyed should be displayed again and in 1991, the miraculous shower of rose petals happened in the grounds of the monastery.

Supposedly, I would like to visit the San Sebastian Cathedral in Lipa but it was past six o'clock in the evening so I rode a jeepney going to Calamba City and I took a ride from Calamba City going back home to Cavite. It has been a provincial round trip from the western mountains, reaching the southern coasts and heritage towns up to the urban cities for a pilgrimage which devotes my faith in God.

It was proven that Batangas is also an ideal place for Visita Iglesia because the churches have an interesting story to share from the miracles, restorations and historical events. There are many churches and places of worship in Batangas that I've never been visited yet and definitely, I will come back next time for another Visita Iglesia post featuring the different churches in the province.

Date of Travel: April 1, 2015
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