Monday, March 25, 2013

Visita Iglesia - Manila Route

It has been our (neighborhood friends) tradition to do an act of sacrifice during holy week. During Maundy Thursday we gather and visit 14 churches in Manila. I was only 12 when we started and for more than 20years I only missed 1 year (that was last year when I was advised to take bed rest for my delicate pregnancy). Although we started young (my oldest companion was only 7 years my senior) we took it seriously and passionately. From Bulacan, we commute up to Blumentritt and WALK all the way up to Intramuros for our Visita Iglesia:

1. San Roque de Manila Parish (Blumentritt Church): we usually arrive here around 6-7 PM. The station of the cross is at the 2nd floor of the church, it is actually the main church. There was 1 year that the stations were placed at the basement but it was not repeated again. There’s a mass at 6pm, if you want to celebrate mass to jump-start your Visita, better be there at 6, otherwise come before or after that time. From there we take a short walk along the JP Rizal Ave. to Tayuman for our 2nd church which is the

2. Espiritu Santo Parish Church: the Stations were located either inside the church or at the parking lot (between the church and the school). Then we take the road to San Lazaro Hippodrome going to UST for the 

3. Santisimo Rosario Parish Church (UST Chapel): after a long walk, the airconditioned UST Chapel, where the Stations are situated, gives a comforting relief. Then we take the Espana Exit gate, cross the footbridge, squeez ourselves in the inner streets for our next destination in Bustillos, the

4. Our Lady of Loreto Parish (Loreto Church): the other half of the Bustillos’ Twin Churches, the way of the cross is stationed at the aisle of the church. We then take a few steps to 

5. San Antonio de Padua Shrine: a bonus round for us due to proximity. Their Stations are located at the garden side (right side facing the altar). Then we head to Mendiola for the

6. Our Lady of Montserrat (San Beda Chapel): they have organized pathways for entrants. The left (facing altar) is to enter and the right is to exit. Be very cautious though because they only open a small door which gives the pick-pockets an easy opportunity to sneak in. We had 1 companion who went out of the church cellphone-less. Then head Mendiola St. to

7. National Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus: Jesus’ Way of the Cross is conveniently stationed at the Shrine’s parking area only. St. Jude is known as the Patron of Hopeless Cases and fishballs to die for. From there, we walk along the Malacanang Complex for our next stop, (there was 1 time, during Arroyo Administration, that the PSG re-routed visitors to Arlegui St.)

8. National Shrine of St. Michael and the Archangels (San Miguel Church): the Station of the Cross is actually challenging to locate but it is usually stationed outside the church, the garden if I may call it. There are many food stalls available outside the church, this is where we usually stop and rest our feet and recharge for the last half of our Visita. Although there are foods available at St. Jude Church, San Miguel food vendors offer chairs to sit-in while you eat. Then we take the side-street of Conception Aguila to

9. Basilica of San Sebastian: their stations are both at the parking lot for easier access and inside the church for more solemn visit. From there, we walk a few miles to Hidalgo St. for the 

10. Holy Face of Jesus Chapel: entering this small chapel is a sacrifice in its own rights. You'll crawl your way inside, but like magic, the crowd disappears at the foot of the door. Then will test your endurance with the humidity inside. The Stations are at the 3rd floor/mezzanine, but we usually stay on the 2nd since it’s also visible from there. Then we walk straight to Hidalgo St. and take the Carriedo underpass to the

11. Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church): the Station is inside the spacious Church. After, we'll take Carriedo St. going to

12. Our Lady of the Pillar (Sta. Cruz Church): their stations are situated within the Church vicinity. Then comes the longest distance of all, we take the Ayala Bridge, pass the Philpost and walk all the way to Intramuros for

13. Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Concepcion – Manila Metropolitan Cathedral (Manila Cathedral): the Cathedral closes its doors at 12 midnight sharp, so we make it a point to be there before the clock hits that time. The Stations are inside the Cathedral. A few miles away is the last church which for me is the farthest, the 

14. San Agustin Church: like the other churches, they also have Stations at the parking lot and inside, we always choose the latter, since this is the last church this is where we say our personal intentions.

Over the years, we already mastered this route and discovered a lot of shortcuts. During our Visita, we carry along a booklet which guides us in our reflections. We read the designated reflection on each church we visit. Our route maybe a little too tiring considering the distance, but it is just our little way of paying back, sacrificing, reflecting and doing penance. After all God is sinless yet suffered a lot more for us. But confession is much encouraged.


  1. oh, daming church nito ah
    you just walk? how many hours?

    1. Yes, walk all the way. Traditionally 14 churches talaga dapat, but it's really up to you. Mga 5hrs siguro, mabilis na kami kasi memorize na namin yung route and we already discovered shortcuts and we seldom rest.

  2. its good u manage to the visita iglesia tradition.. it is something that i really want to do but i cant for now.. hopefully in the ear future..happy easter..

    1. The feeling is fulfilling, try it.

  3. wow.. you go for 14 churches? that was a lot.. hehe thanks for sharing the churches here in manila :)

  4. what a great offering of sacrifice. impressive and inspiring. :)

    1. And tiring. hehe But it's all worth it.