5 Pilgrimage Destinations for Visita Iglesia

If you’re still planning where to go for Visita Iglesia during the Holy Week, why not visit these pilgrimage destinations around the Philippines. Traditionally, Filipino devotees go to seven or 14 churches during Maundy Thursday, but some Filipinos opt to do it during Good Friday to avoid the crowd.

There are people who only go to one church to visit all the Stations of the Cross, while some prefer to go to different churches. Here are a few pilgrimage sites you may want to go to during the Lenten season in the Philippines.

1. National Shrine of St. Padre Pio in Batangas

Photo courtesy of It’s Me Gracee

St. Padre Pio is one of the popular saints in the country because of his miraculous story and its first shrine or chapel in Libis. There’s another shrine at Sto. Tomas, Batangas, which Filipinos can visit. It’s bigger than the one in Libis but it’s also beautiful. A lot of people visit this place but it’s worth it despite the crowd.

There are different structures where you can pray like the open air gazebo chapel or an air-conditioned prayer room, which has the Holy Door (there are a couple of churches with this type of door that’s part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy). You can also visit the Mary Mother of Mercy Belfry where you can climb up and see the view of Batangas.

2. Regina Rica

It’s one of the most beautiful places to visit during Holy Week because it’s a sprawling 13.5-hectare pilgrimage site in Tanay, Rizal. It was founded by the congregation of the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii.

What set’s it also apart is the 71-foot statue Our Lady on top of the hill. Visit the chapel, a labyrinth walk and the Way of the Cross. There’s also a small restaurant offering fresh food, wherein they get the produce directly from their organic garden. You can explore the garden too so you can see where your food came from.

3. Marian Orchard

Photo courtesy of Marian Orchard

A picture-worthy pilgrimage destination is Marian Orchard in Balete, Batangas. It’s a colorful garden of bougainvilleas that has a small white chapel and statues of saints and the Virgin Mary. It was inspired by the religious architecture in Europe. Check out also the famous replica of the Christ the Redeemer In Brazil. The orchard also boast of the view of the Taal Volcano.

4. Calaruega

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

It’s one of the well-known churches in Tagaytay that’s worth visiting during the Lenten season. It’s a bit of a walk going up the chapel itself but you’ll enjoy it since it’s quite picturesque because of the garden, the beautifully-designed structures and of course, the view of Tagaytay. Contemplate at the chapel located at the entrance or the smaller chapel on top of the hill.

5. Cutud flogging and crucifixion site

Holy Week in the Philippines isn’t complete without the flogging and crucifixion tradition (also known as panata), as part of the tradition by some Catholics. Go on a road trip to San Pedro Cutud in San Fernando, Pampanga.

You’ll be able to watch the re-enactment of the passion and death of Christ. Filipinos carry and are crucified on a huge cross and do self-flagellation. If you want to experience something different then this should be part of your itinerary.