Combining Visita Iglesia, the Holy Week tradition of visiting seven churches, and the sport of biking is a unique way to mix faith and fitness. While most tourists would prefer to visit churches by motorized transport, there’s something about pedaling your way around under the heat of the sun that makes visiting churches feel like an actual sacrifice or penance rather than just sightseeing by car.
The Holy Week exodus has started, with thousands of Filipinos heading from Manila to their home provinces and popular vacation destinations around the country this Lenten Break. With the streets in the metro practically empty, this is the perfect excuse for cyclists and riders to gear up and ride to churches and pilgrimage sites. Here are a few suggestions for religious-themed rides relatively near the metro.
While most people are probably heading out to their home provinces or hitting the beaches this Holy Week, riders are probably looking for their next destination. With the streets in Manila virtually devoid of traffic during the Lenten Season, this is just the perfect excuse to gear up and head to religious destinations. Riding to visit churches and sites of religious significance can be a meaningful way to celebrate the Holy Week.
Last year, I found myself motorcycling a total of 232 kilometers South of Manila for a Holy Week themed ride, passing through the churches of Pakil and Paete and the Tatlong Krus a pilgrimage site in Paete, where three crosses sit atop a hill.
It’s Holy Week once again, and no doubt many Filipinos will be visiting seven (or 14) churches to pray the Stations of the Cross and reflect. Visita Iglesia or church visits are customarily done during Maundy Thursday, though they are commonly practiced during any day of the Holy Week.
Over the years, I’ve visited a lot of churches and sites of religious significance in different provinces around the Philippines. Though I’m not really an expert on heritage sites and churches, I thought it would be timely to come up with a virtual tour of seven churches and pilgrimage sites popular during Holy Week around the Philippines based on recent trips.
1) Paoay Church, Ilocos Norte