Holy Week is upon us, which means some of us will be participating in the tradition of visiting churches with our families for Visita Iglesia. With that said, we’ve compiled a list of places to drive to for your spiritual holiday road trip endeavors. Are there any other places you can suggest?
1) Rizal Province (22+km from Metro Manila)
Rizal is a short drive from Metro Manila compared to the other places on our list. Here, you can visit the Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary located in Antipolo, known for its green surroundings, clean design, and sunlight-friendly dome. You can also visit the Bosoboso Church (also in Antipolo) and the San Ildefonso De Toledo Parish in Tanay.
2) Lipa City, Batangas (84+km from Metro Manila)
If you plan to head down south for your road trip, consider dropping by Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Chapel in Lipa City. This solemn chapel has a garden, centered with the statue of Mother Mary, signifying the time she was said to have appeared there. Other tourist attractions around the city include the Milea Bee Farm and the Casa de Segunda ancestral house.
3) Nasugbu, Batangas (95+km from Metro Manila)
Located on top of a hill, the Caleruega Church in Nasugbu has a beautiful countryside view. It’s surrounded by gardens and is a popular destination for retreats and weddings. This Church offers a wonderful sunset view overlooking mountains on the horizon. Nasugbu is also known for its beach resorts, so that’s one more thing to look forward to as well.
4) San Fernando, Pampanga (80+km from Manila)
For the extremely devoted or those just curious, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning San Fernando, Pampanga—specifically, Barangay San Pedro Cutud. This is where the famous re-enactment of the carrying of the cross and crucifixion takes place. Some participants have their hands and feet temporarily nailed to a cross for about 10 minutes as an act of penance, while others act as Roman soldiers, the three Marys, and other roles during the ceremony.
5) San Jose, Tarlac (167+km from Manila)
Located in San Jose, Tarlac, the Monasterio de Tarlac has a statue similar to that of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro (but smaller, of course). It has a beautiful view and a church, too. Tourists often describe the place with two words—refreshing and solemn.
6) Ilocos Norte (500+km from Manila)
The St. Augustine Church or ‘Paoay Church’ in Paoay, Ilocos Norte is a historical landmark and one of the oldest churches in the country. The majestic tower was used by Katipuneros during the revolution and by guerrillas during the Japanese occupation as observation posts. Other beautiful attractions you can pass by on your trip to Ilocos Norte include the La Paz Sand Dunes in Laoag and Saud Beach in Pagudpud. Oh, and don’t forget to try the Ilocos empanada!