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Holy Week 2024: Heritage church buildings beckon for ‘Visita Iglesia’


Holy Week 2024: Heritage churches beckon for ‘Visita Iglesia’

HERITAGE CHURCHES COMPOSITE IMAGE FROM INQUIRER, NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES, CBCP FILE PHOTOS

MANILA, Philippines—As Semana Santa might be noticed subsequent week, panata, or sacred vows, which Filipinos decide to and heed, might be extremely seen once more—reciting the Pasyon, practising penitensya, and most of all, the Visita Iglesia.

The Worldwide Catholic Biblical Society, or SOBICAIN, mentioned that the Visita Iglesia, or church go to, is a pious Holy Week custom within the Philippines, which is the stronghold of Catholicism in Asia with over 85 million Roman Catholics.

Visita Iglesia is alleged to have been began by St. Philip Neri within the Sixteenth-century and was introduced by Spanish missionaries to the Philippines. It was, nonetheless, initially meant as a approach to adore the Blessed Sacrament on the Altar of Repose on the night of Holy Thursday.

READ: ‘Visita Iglesia’

However as years handed, the apply turned a type of pilgrimage, particularly on the times of the Holy Week, with individuals visiting seven or 14 church buildings to mirror on Christ’s ardour and loss of life, and search penance for the sins they’ve dedicated.

Apparently, as SOBICAIN identified, the variety of church buildings to go to, be it seven or 14, corresponds to the seven final phrases or seven sacred wounds of Jesus. Some determine to go to 14 church buildings to match the 14 Stations of the Cross.

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With this, as most Filipinos now consider the place to go this Holy Week, INQUIRER.internet lists down some heritage church buildings within the Philippines—church buildings which might be well-known both for his or her nice structure or for being “dwelling” to revered photos to which miracles are attributed.

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‘World heritage’

Again in 1993, the United Nations Academic, Scientific and Cultural Group (Unesco) declared 4 Baroque church buildings within the Philippines as “world heritage” for his or her excellent “Philippine interpretation of the Baroque type.”

“[They] symbolize the fusion of European church design and development with native supplies and ornamental motifs to type a brand new church-building custom,” it mentioned on its web site.

Heritage churches

Heritage churches

GRAPHIC: Ed Lustan

These church buildings—in Luzon, Manila and a part of the Visayas—are the Miag-ao Church, Paoay Church, San Agustin Church, and Santa Maria Church.

The Santo Tomas de Villanueva Parish in Miag-ao, Iloilo is taken into account as top-of-the-line examples of a “fortress baroque” structure. It was accomplished in 1797, over 10 years since development began, in response to the web site of the native authorities of Miag-ao.

The church, finest identified for its “native type,” has a creative facade adorned with a reduction sculpture of St. Christopher carrying the kid Jesus, and coconut, papaya and guava shrubs within the background.

The picture of its patron saint, St. Thomas of Villanova, carved on a big stone, is on the middle of the “Baroque-Romanesque” church that “sinks six meters deep into the bottom with partitions one-and-a-half meters thick and buttresses thrice thicker in measurement.”

It withstood pure disasters, like earthquakes, however not the ravages of the revolution in opposition to Spain in 1898 and the Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1944. The individuals, nonetheless, labored on rehabilitating the church, which was finally acknowledged as a Nationwide Cultural Treasure by the Nationwide Museum of the Philippines (NMP) in 2014.

To succeed in Miag-ao Church, which is barely 30 to 45 minutes from Iloilo Metropolis, the web site Discover Iloilo mentioned that one can take a “Miag-ao” or any south-bound jeepney from Mohon Terminal or from the Iloilo Terminal Market.

Established by Augustinian missionaries in 1593, the St. Augustine Parish was accomplished within the early 1700s and has since been well-known for its distinctive architectural design, which is a mix of baroque, gothic, Chinese language and Javanese.

Its three-story bell tower was constructed in 1793 and served as an commentary publish for Katipuneros in opposition to the Spaniards in 1898 and by Filipino guerrillas throughout World Warfare II.

Paoay Church, the NMP mentioned, is understood for its distinct options such because the volutes of buttresses and pyramidal finials of its wall facades.

Its facade is wealthy with carvings depicting nature corresponding to flowers, leaves, stars and human-faced solar. “Whorls that resemble these of conus shells may be discovered on the facade, however are most outstanding on the aspect buttresses.” It was declared a Nationwide Cultural Treasure in 1973.

To succeed in Paoay Church, which is lower than an hour from Laoag Metropolis, one can take a bus from Metro Manila to Laoag Metropolis after which journey a jeepney to get to the poblacion of Paoay, and stroll or take a tricycle to the church.

The San Agustin Church—Immaculate Conception Parish and Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Woman of Comfort and Cincture—is situated in Intramuros, Manila. As described by the NMP, the church has an “excellent common worth […] as a cultural and creative monument.”

This all-stone church complicated, accomplished in 1607, is the oldest stone church within the Philippines, staying comparatively the identical since its development. San Agustin is constructed out of domestically quarried adobe stone and lime mortar, and is designed within the Neoclassical-Baroque type.

The inside of the church incorporates a number of distinct architectural options. For one, the central nave of the church is topped by a barrel vault , damaged by wall separations that divide the nave into six sections, and because the NMP mentioned, the church is acknowledged as one of many few buildings within the Philippines constructed with true barrel vaulting.

“A novel characteristic of the structural inside are the collection of chapels lining each side of the nave, these are initially fourteen cryptocollateral chapels, seven on both aspect of the nave; the partitions separating these chapels act as buttresses (or structural helps), in the identical method as wandpfeiler (wall pillars) of German Baroque church buildings,” it mentioned.

Many of the inside area of the church is painted in creative trompe l’oeil, together with all the inside wall surfaces, ceiling, and dome soffit. The San Agustin Church, the place Miguel Lopez de Legazpi has been laid to relaxation, was declared as a Nationwide Cultural Treasure in 1973 by the NMP.

As acknowledged within the web site The Poor Traveler, for those who take the LRT 1, alight at both Carriedo Station or Doroteo Jose Station to achieve San Agustin Church. Journey might be about 10 to fifteen minutes.

From Carriedo Station, take a Pier-bound jeepney and inform the driving force to drop you off at Manila Cathedral. From Doroteo Jose Station, journey a Baclaran/Mabini jeepney and disembark at Intramuros.

The church of Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur was initially constructed as a chapel by the Augustinians in 1765, it turned a parish church in 1769 having Our Woman of Assumption as its patroness.

It sits atop a hill and could also be reached by climbing 85 steps made out of imported granite rock. In 1810, its tower was constructed and was furnished with a bell the next 12 months. Its thick buttresses on each side present safety from earthquakes, the web site Philippine Religion & Heritage Tour acknowledged.

To get to Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur, one can take a bus to Vigan Metropolis from Metro Manila, after which take a journey to Sta. Maria, which is barely lower than an hour away. The Santa Maria Church was declared as a Nationwide Historic Landmark in 1974. It’s thought-about as a Nationwide Cultural Treasure as nicely.

Nice treasures

The Philippines, based mostly on an inventory printed by the Official Gazette, has nearly 50 “nationwide cultural treasures,” or “distinctive cultural propert[ies] discovered domestically, possessing excellent historic, cultural, creative and/or scientific worth which is extremely important and necessary to the nation and nation.”

Heritage churches

Heritage churches

GRAPHIC: Ed Lustan

A number of the buildings on the record are the 4 Unesco World Heritage Baroque Church buildings, the Namacpacan Church in La Union, Manaoag Church in Pangasinan, and Betis Church in Pampanga.

The St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish in Luna, La Union province is taken into account as an “earthquake baroque church.” It turned the house of the revered picture of Our Woman of Namacpacan in 1871.

The picture was mentioned to have been initially commissioned for the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, however the galleon carrying it was diverted to La Union by a powerful storm.

A number of miracles attributed to the picture, together with Pope Pius XII having a dream of Our Woman of Namacpacan, led to its canonical coronation in 1959 by then-Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Salvatore Siino.

To succeed in Luna, one can take a bus sure for Balaoan, La Union from Cubao. From Balaoan, journey a tricycle (pink or blue in colour) to Luna and disembark on the plaza. Journey will take about six hours.

The Minor Basilica of Our Woman of the Holy Rosary of Manaoag is without doubt one of the most visited within the Philippines. Positioned on high of a hill, the church, which was declared a minor basilica by the Vatican in 2014, is dwelling to the Ina’n Birhen na Manaoag or Apo Baket, which was canonically topped in 1926.

Based mostly on the church’s web site, custom holds that the identify of the city, Manaoag, got here from the story of apparition of Mary to a farmer on a treetop, the place the Virgin of the Rosary and the kid Jesus appeared on the middle of a cloud.

“She expressed her want {that a} shrine be erected in her honor in that very same place, the place her devotees may go sooner or later, to implore her maternal safety,” it was acknowledged within the web site.

To get to the minor basilica, one can take a bus sure for Manaoag, Pangasinan from Metro Manila. Journey will take about three hours.

The Santiago Apostol Parish in Guagua, Pampanga, which is known as the “Sistine Chapel of the Philippines,” was constructed within the 18th-century by Augustinian monks.

Because the NMP mentioned, the structure of the church is within the Baroque type with a cruciform plan. It measures 50-meters lengthy, 12-meters large, and 10-meters excessive.

The church partitions had been fabricated from lime and reduce stone (de cal y canto) in cement plaster and completed with paint. Within the 1870s, Simon Flores y de la Rosa acquired a fee to color on Betis Church. The work on the partitions and ceilings are additionally attributed to Maximo Vicente, and to Martin and Severino Gozum Pangilinan.



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“Its ceiling was constructed primarily of picket planks with trompe l’oeil work, an artwork method that makes use of sensible three-dimensional photos. These work are characterised as optical catechism because it visually narrates biblical and historic excursions of the Catholic gospel,” the NMP mentioned.

To succeed in Betis in Guagua, Pampanga, one can journey a bus sure for San Fernando, Pampanga, Mariveles, Bataan, or Olongapo Metropolis, after which disembark in San Fernando Metropolis, the place jeepneys to Guagua go by. Journey will take about two hours.

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