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Virtual Visita Iglesia

Part of the Holy Week Tradition is the Visita Iglesia, where Catholics visit different churches and pray the Way of the Cross. But because of the Enhanced Community Quarantine implemented in most towns of the Philippines, Catholics are expected to stay at home but still encouraged to pray the 14 devotions or stations to reflect on the events of the Passion of Christ.

We shifted to online masses, and recordings can be played anytime at our convenience. Last Palm Sunday, I joined the holy mass of Pope Francis at St. Peter's Basilica. This advantage of online feed enables us to join masses from different places and celebrants.

Visita Iglesia can be done online too. Here are the 14 churches to aid you on your online pilgrimage amidst this pandemic. No altar pictures added because, during Holy Week, the Holy Cross, saints, Mary, and Joseph are covered with purple cloth.

This blog entry is not in coordination with the Church. Just a guide to some churches that we can visit, and some side trips around the area.

1. Paoay Church

Patron: St. Agustin

Location: Paoay, Ilocos Norte

The church brings back the Hispanic era feels. Its facade and green landscape make this church instagrammable. After the visit, drive 30 mins going north to try the carrot cake of La Preciosa.

2. National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio

Patron: St. Padre Pio

Location: Santo Tomas, Batangas

"Pray. Hope. Don't worry". The quote is Padre Pio's message of love for us. Notice the roof structure? It was patterned from 'Salakot', which is a native Filipino hat. In the area, try Batangas Lomi from any Lomi Hauz along the way. Yes, we spell it Hauz in Batangas.

3. Caleruega's Transfiguration Chapel

Location: Nasugbu, Batangas

Every church is solemn, especially if not crowded, but in this chapel, you will feel the intimacy. No wonder couples choose to book their weddings here. After the visit, continue to Tagaytay and try Bulalo at Mahogany. But if you abstain from meat, try the crispy Tawilis or just Kapeng Barako.

4. Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod

Patron: San Pedro Calungsod

Location: Cebu City, Cebu

San Pedro Calungod is the second Filipino saint. This chapel across SM Seaside is dedicated to him. In this area, try the seafood dishes at Lantaw.

5. Simala Shrine

Monastery of the Holy Eucharist

Location: Sibonga, Cebu

From San Pedro Calungod Chapel, drive to the south going to Simala. You may stop by at Carcar to try their lechon or Matmat's chicharon. But since this is pork, go straight to the next church.

This shrine is known because of miraculous claims from devotees and its castle-like structure. You will see written testimonies, wheelchairs, and crutches inside as donations from healed people.

6. Bacolod Cathedral

Patron: San Sebastian

Location: Bacolod, Negros Occidental

The city is known for its Masskara Festival held every October. After visiting the cathedral, walk your way to Manokan Country and try their famous Bacolod Inasal. If you want to skip chicken too, try the cakes of Calea located along Lacson St.

7. Lazi Church

Patron: St. Isidore de Labrador

Location: Lazi, Siquijor

Do not worry about the hearsay of witchcraft and sorcery on the island. It would be best if you tagged it as one of your next destinations than 'aswang' and 'mangkukulam'. But it is just funny that voodoo dolls and miniature 'walis tingting' are the souvenirs from this island. The old churches here were built during the Spanish era, so Christianity is older than any of your worries. After the church visit, try the pastries of Larena Triad Coffee Shop located in the elevated area of Larena. There, you can enjoy the view of Siquijor.

Now let's fly to other countries and visit their churches

8. Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica

Patroness: Our Lady of Immaculate Conception

Location: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

This church is in the center of Ho Chi Minh and one of the suggested destinations when in Saigon. Its orange-ish and gothic structure capture the eye of every tourist. The first meal to try in Vietnam is their Pho, pronounced as Fa, and of course, the Vietnamese coffee!

9. St. Mary's Cathedral

Patroness: Our Lady of Immaculate Conception

Location: Yangon, Myanmar

With almost 90% of Burmese people are Buddist, I was grateful to see a Catholic church while roaming around Yangon. Its structure has a significant resemblance to that of Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. If in the area, try their shan style noodle or just their famous tea leaf salad.

10. Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount

Patroness: Blessed Virgin Mary

Location: Mumbai, India

The majority of Indians are Hindu; next are Muslims. I noticed that when some Catholics attend the mass, they will leave their sandals outside before entering the church.

Don't miss the curry meals when in India to taste their authentic spices!

11. Myeondong Cathedral

Patroness: Blessed Virgin Mary

Location: Seoul, South Korea

Catholicism in South Korea is a small portion of the population. Kpop and CLOY fans probably know this. The Cathedral is in the busy streets of Myeondong. After the church visit, samgyupsal might be on your mind but mind your abstinence and fasting. Tteok-bokki or Toppokki can be a good alternative.

12. St. Patrick's Cathedral

Patron: St. Patrick

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Visit this church in the afternoon, right before sunset, because the afternoon sun lights up the interior with yellowish to orange rays. You will feel like you are in a movie set. After the visit, flat white. Simple as that.

13. St. Paul's Cathedral

Patron: St. Paul

Location: London, U.K.

This church is popular in movies that directors always bomb and destruct this icon, if not, hostage-taking. But when you are inside, you'll feel safe and astonished of the interior. After the visit, walk past Millennium Bridge and try fish and chips in the area.

14. Holy Hill Basilica

Patroness: Blessed Virgin Mary

Location: Wisconsin, U.S.A

Google this church and see how lovely its location is. I didn't try any food in Wisconsin, but I headed to Chicago and tried their deep-dish pizza. If you want to skip their mouthful pizza, Garrett popcorn is a must. Try their Chicago mix (cheese and caramel), and once you pop, you can't stop.

Now you've reached the other part of the globe. The food trip is just a suggestion so that when you are within the area, you know what to eat. With virtual Visita Iglesia, you can make your pilgrimage anytime, anywhere.

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Jadecel Jagmis
Jadecel Jagmis
Apr 17, 2020

🥰😍 so proud of you brother! Love you ❤


Thank you Keen for this very timely post. This came in handy specially now that I’m avoiding the toxicity of Facebook... keep wandering..xx


Ann Jagmis
Ann Jagmis
Apr 08, 2020

Thank you for putting this together! Very helpful during this challenging time. :) Keep blogging! :)

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