Visita Iglesia has been a tradition in the family every Holy Week. We used to visit 14 churches: One station per church. But this year, we visited only seven churches in Laguna together with the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals-Calamba, the religious organization of my parents.
First stop was the Immaculate Concepcion Parish in Brgy. Timugan in Los Banos, Laguna. It is near the Municipal Hall of Los Banos. Los Banos is about three hours away from Manila. At around 8:00 am in the morning, the church was still half empty.
From Los Banos, we proceeded to the St. Augustine Church in
Bay, Laguna, Church of San Antonio de Padua in Pila, Church of
Sta. Cruz, Church of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe in Pagsanjan,
Church of St. Gregory in Majayjay, and the Saint John the Baptist
Parish of Liliw.
Travel time from one church to another took about 30 to 45 minutes except for the church in Majayjay. It was a long drive from Pagsanjan to Majayjay as the church is situated amidst the lush green forests of Laguna.
It took us about an hour and a half.
Baroque architecture can be observed from the facade of the churches.
They have that “old look”. But when you get inside these churches, you would notice how the interiors were renovated.
Among the churches, the red brick church of Liliw was the most visited.
Vehicle owners had a hard time looking for a parking space. Liliw became famous because of its “tsinelas” (slipper/flipflops) industry and its cool river resorts. Maybe, these were the other reasons why the town was jampacked with vehicles in its narrow roads.
For Roman Catholics, the Holy Week is supposed to be a time to reflect how
life is lived. It is a time for God. But others use this for vacations.
If you’re planning to visit churches, it is advisable to bring your own vehicle. Wear light clothes. Bring packed food and water so you won’t have to stop and buy. Thus, you save time and effort. In our case, we ate our packed food at Japanese Garden near Lake Caliraya in Caliraya, Laguna. Entrance fee for adults is Php 10 while the fee for children is half the price.
If you happen to forget the New Way of the Cross booklet, you can buy them from vendors outside the church.
Visita Iglesia created different meanings for every individual. For church goers like us, it’s a tradition. For vendors, it means business.
You can view more photos here: