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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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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Visita Iglesia: Pilgrimage at the Highlands

I always have my Visita Iglesia or Pilgrimage in my home town, Cavite. This year, I decided to explore the churches in the highlands. In fact. I went to seven churches located in the upland towns of Cavite namely Alfonso, Mendez and Tagaytay City. 
The belfry of the church.
The facade of San Juan Nepomuceno Parish Church located in Alfonso, Cavite
San Juan Nepomuceno Parish Church

The first church that I visited this year was the San Juan Nepomuceno Parish Church located in the poblacion or town center of the highland town, Alfonso. It became a town in 1859 and the church was established in 1861 where Rev. Fr. Jose Sta. Maria was the first parish priest of the town. It is one of the oldest churches in Cavite which is depicted in its architecture. 

The facade of Saint Augustine Parish Church in Mendez.
Saint Augustine Parish Church

The next church that I visited is the Saint Augustine Parish Church. It is located in the center of the small yet peaceful town of Mendez, Cavite. Its notable feature is the twin bell towers and the only one in Cavite.  It was established in 1881 and it celebrated its 300th anniversary last 2015. 
The facade of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Tagaytay City.
Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church
Tagaytay City 

It is known as the healing church, it was established in 1940 by the Order of Friars Capuchin. The place is very ideal for weddings because of its beautiful landscape and cool climate. The parish is located in the heart of Tagaytay City along the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway.
The facade of Tierra de Maria with the image of Our Lady of Manaoag. 
Our Lady of Manaoag at Tierra de Maria 
Tagaytay City 

The Tierra de Maria was established twenty years ago by the late Bro. Jiggers G. Alejandrino. The church now is run by his widow and their children and it is also a place of healing and worship for Catholic devotees of the Our Lady of Manaoag. 
Ina ng Laging Saklolo Parish Church
Tagaytay City

A few minutes away from Tierra de Maria, the Ina ng Laging Saklolo which is located along Tagaytay-Calamba Highway. The church is also operated with Order of Capuchin Friars, the same with Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. 
Angels Hills Retreat and Formation Center
Angel's Hills Retreat and Formation Center
Tagaytay City

It is one of the prayer houses located in Arnoldus Road and this is the sixth church that I visited. It is located near various religious centers including the Pink Sisters Chapel. 
The Pink Sisters Adoration Convent of Divine Mercy
Tagaytay City 

A few minutes walk from the Angels Hills, I went to the Pink Sisters Convent located in Tagaytay City. It is a very popular convent which was visited by tourists and religious devotees, the place is known for nuns who are wearing pink uniforms and a relaxing place filled with trees and plants. 

I also want to visit the Saint Mary Magdalene Church in Amadeo, Cavite but it was already late due to the approaching evening. Therefore, it is always a pleasure and religious practice to do the Pilgrimage to the Seven Churches even in our hometown in order to profess our faith and reflect to all the things that we have done that God saved us from challenges and the fact that we are blessed with opportunities in life. 

Date of Travel: April 12, 2017

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Travel Throwback: A Visit to the Iconic Churches of Metro Manila

Metro Manila is known as the place where there are plenty of traffic jams, busy metropolitan scenario, hectic schedule of the people and the urban atmosphere. Despite of the city ambiance in the Metro, there are preserved religious treasures that played an important role in the history of the region and the fact that National Capital Region (NCR) is an ideal place for Visita Iglesia. The urban area is populous yet accessible to transportation modes.
The San Sepulcro Parish Church in Laguna was visited by many devotees during Holy Week.
The first church that I visited which is located outside the south of Metro Manila is the San Sepulcro Parish Church in San Pedro City, Laguna. The church is near in my home town. In addition, the church is popular among religious devotees especially during the Holy Week where the miraculous Jesus in Holy Sepulchre, also known as Lolo Uweng can be found here. It is a pilgrim's place for healing since some devotees believed that Lolo Uweng may grant your wishes and heal your illnesses through praying.
Saint Peregrine Laziosi Church
I also visited the Saint Peregrine Laziosi Church in Tunasan, Muntinlupa City. Saint Peregrine is the patron saint of the cancer patients. It became a parish on 1985 and it is under the pastoral care of the Order of Servants of Mary. In addition, there are many testimonies of healing happened in this church.

Saint Joseph Parish Church, the home of Las Pinas Bamboo Organ
From Muntinlupa, I went to Las Pinas City to visit one of the historical churches, the Saint Joseph Parish Church. It houses the cultural treasure, the Las Pinas Bamboo Organ a pipe organ made mostly with bamboo pipes. It was completed by Father Diego Cera in 1824, the builder of the town's stone church and the first resident Catholic parish priest. It was shipped to Germany in 1972 for restoration because it was unplayable for a long period of time due to ages and numerous disasters. The organ was returned in 1975 and it became a National Cultural Treasure in 2003.

The Las Pinas Bamboo Organ, a National Cultural Treasure.
The Saint Andrew Cathedral in Paranaque City is the next stop for this pilgrimage. Built in 1590, it is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. The church is the seat of Roman Catholic Diocese of Paranaque that comprises the cities of Paranaque, Las Pinas and Muntinlupa.
Saint Andrew Cathedral
A few minutes away from the town proper, the National Shrine of Our Mother or Perpetual Help also known as the Redemptorist Church located in Baclaran. It is a prominent Catholic national shrine located in Roxas Boulevard, it enshrines the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. It is also historical where the late Pope John Paul II visited the church on 1981. Prior to that, he first celebrated the Holy Eucharist here as the Cardinal - Archbishop of Krakow as Karol Jozef Wojtyla on 1973.
Baclaran Church
I visited again the Malate Church, Santa Cruz Church and Binondo Church after two years which was my first Visita Iglesia in Manila. There are renovations made in the church especially in Malate and Binondo as part of the restoration program of the heritage sites in Manila. In addition, I also walked from Santa Cruz Church passing the Chinatown in order to make it in Binondo Church.
Malate Church

The facade of Santa Cruz Church 
The Binondo Church with its renovated facade.

Lastly, I also visited the San Sebastian Church in Quiapo. Recently, the church has encountered threats to structural integrity where there are rust and corrosion in its steel structure due to sea breeze near the Manila Bay. In fact, the San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation Inc. holds day tours in the church. During the visit, there are tour guides who tell us the story of the church and the advocacy of preserving the National Cultural Treasure.
The Basilica Minore de San Sebastian is the only steel church in the Philippines.
The tour guide is telling the advocacy of preserving the San Sebastian Church.

The interior of the steel church.
Despite of the urban life in the Metro, these religious structures are still treasured by the local government and the Catholic church. They went to restoration programs by doing major renovations in their structure because they want to preserve these cultural treasures in order to save our heritage not just from natural disasters but also to continue the Filipino cultural legacy in our society up to the future. 

You may also read this article Visita Iglesia: Heritage Churches in Manila 

Date: March 24, 2016
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