Visita Iglesia via Motorcycle

Holy week in Manila is great. There’s no traffic on the roads, making it an ideal time for road trips. This year, we decided to do a “Visita Iglesia” via motorcycle to several churches, targeting the Rizal/Laguna area.

The tradition of visiting seven churches on Holy Thursday is said to have originated in Rome when early pilgrims visited seven pilgrim churches as penance. The ride itself in the morning was pretty good, but towards noon, the scorching heat going back (especially through Cogeo and Marikina) did feel like penance.

We only got to visit three churches (Tanay, Baras, and Morong in Rizal) on our Easter Sunday ride since Art had work in the afternoon but I’ve included four more churches (Pakil, Paete & Mabitac in Laguna and Binangonan, Art’s hometown) from previous rides to compile seven for this list.

Tanay Church, Rizal

  • Patron Saint: St. Idlefonso
  • Travel time: 1.5 – 2 hrs.

Tanay Church

Trivia: Tanay Church is the second oldest church in the province and is listed as a National Cultural Treasure.

Baras Church, Rizal

  • Patron Saint: St. Joseph
  • Travel time: 1.5 – 2 hrs.

Baras Church

Note: Baras Church was completed in 1686, making it one of the oldest churches in the area. The design is relatively simple, but with a homey feel typical of small provincial churches.

Morong Church, Rizal

  • Patron Saint: St. Jerome
  • Travel time: 1.5 – 2 hrs.

Morong Church

Note: The first church was built by Chinese craftsmen in 1615 but was destroyed in a fire shortly after. The 17th century church is a popular attraction in Morong, Rizal. 

Pakil Church, Laguna

  • Patron Saint: St. Pedro Alcantara
  • Travel time: 2 – 2.5 hrs.

Pakil Church

Pakil Church

Note: In terms of design, this is one of the more interesting churches I’ve seen. It’s said to be one of the best-preserved churches in the Laguna area. If you only have time to visit a couple of churches in the area, I’d recommend you visit this one. 

Paete Church, Laguna

  • Patron Saint: St. James the Apostle
  • Travel time: 2 – 2.5 hrs.

Paete church

Paete Church interiors

Note: The facade and interiors of Paete Church are a great example of Spanish colonial architecture. However, a town plaza/grandstand blocks the view of the church. 

Mabitac Church, Laguna

  • Patron Saint: Our Lady of Candelaria
  • Travel time: 2- 2.5 hrs.

Mabitac Church stands on a hill

Note: Mabitac Church sits on top of Kalbaryo Hill. Be prepared to climb over 100 steps to get to the church from the main road. The church itself is relatively sparse but its dramatic location makes it worth a visit. 

Binangonan Church, Rizal

  • Patron Saint: Sta. Ursula
  • Travel time: 1 – 1.5 hrs.

Binangonan Church by Night

Note: Binangonan church has a similar design to a lot of other churches. Aside from visiting the church, during Holy week, residents of Binangonan usually hike up to “Krus sa Kalbaryo,” a hill passing through the different stations of the Cross. The hike takes about 30 mins.

Note: Photos are all mine except for Binangonan Church and those I’m in (by Art Fuentes).

NOTE: A longer version of this blogpost was published as “A Spiritual Journey” in Zest Inflight Magazine, April 2013 issue.

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