Laguna is a province located in Southern Luzon which is known as the birth place of Dr. Jose Rizal. It is also the place where you can explore the natural wonders such as the Pagsanjan Falls and Caliraya Lake which are popular tourist spots and the home of products such as woodcarvings, slippers and homemade sweets. The province is also the home of majestic and ancient Baroque churches which was constructed and preserved from the Spanish period. Recently, I decided to have my Visita Iglesia (the tradition of pilgrimage to different churches in order to commemorate the Stations of the Cross and giving our prayers) in this province.
Previously, I visited the churches in Sta. Rosa, Binan, and San Pedro. This year, I decided to travel the Laguna Loop (classified into Laguna de Bay Loop and Mount Banahaw Loop) in order to visit the Baroque churches in the area. These churches were built since the Spanish era and preserved for many centuries which depicted through impressive architecture and strong foundation. I also appreciate the decorations, the belfries and the interior of the churches. In addition, most of these churches are located in the town plaza and adjacent to the municipal hall which reflected the society during the Spanish era and showed the unity of Church and State. Therefore, the most important thing that I accomplished in this pilgrimage is to reflect in our lives, and saying our prayers to the Lord by asking forgiveness, thanksgiving and appreciation.
I left our hometown at 6:00 a.m. where I traveled for almost two hours from Cavite and rode a jeepney in Calamba going to the first town. I visited the heritage town of Pila where Pila Church or the Diocesan Shrine of St. Anthony de Padua which is located in the town plaza. Then, I went to a ten minute jeepney ride from Pila to the busy provincial capital of Santa Cruz to visit the Immaculate Conception Church. Then, I took my snack in a fast food chain in this town.
I went to a fifteen minute ride to the historical town of Magdalena which is known for the St. Mary Magdalene Church. It is the church where Emilio Jacinto sought refuge after he was wounded in the war. From Magdalena, I went to the neighboring towns of Liliw and Nagcarlan. First, I went to the town of Liliw which is popular in their native products especially slippers and local sweets. Adjacent to the native products stores the bricked Saint John the Baptist Church was located in the town proper. Then I took a five minute ride to the rustic and verdant town of Nagcarlan to visit the St. Bartholomew Church which served as a location of the defunct fantasy series "Kampanerang Kuba".
I waited for almost one hour in jeepney from Nagcarlan going to the highland town of Majayjay where the St. Gregory the Great Parish Church was located. It is one of the oldest and tallest churches in the country and one of the National Heritage Treasures. Then I had a thirty minute ride passing the slopes and curved roads to Luisiana where I visited the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish. I went to a thirty minute ride to Cavinti where the 400-year old Parish of Transfiguration of Our Lord Church was located in the town proper. I also visited the neighboring town of Pagsanjan where the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish was located here.
I also visited the lakeshore town of Kalayaan where you can found St. John the Baptist Church in Longos which is near to the Laguna de Bay. I proceeded to the towns of Paete and Pakil where they had the beautiful and artistic woodcarvings. In these two towns you can found the old Baroque churches of Saint James the Apostle in Paete and St. Peter of Alcantara Church in Pakil. After we visit the town of Pakil, I decided to go home and I enjoyed the Visita Iglesia in Laguna because of the majestic churches and the ambiance of natural wonders in the place from passing the towns where you can see mountains, rivers and lakes where you can appreciate the beauty of nature and reflect to our lives.
You can also try to visit the Nuestra Senora de Candelaria Church in Mabitac where you are going to take the 126 steps to the hilltop church, San Sebastian Church in the embroidery town of Lumban and a center of missionary activities, and the Saint Paul the Hermit Cathedral located in the City of Seven Lakes in San Pablo City. Below are the pictures of the belfries, markers and the interior of different churches I visited:
|Shrine of Saint Anthony de Padua, Pila|
|Immaculate Conception Parish, Santa Cruz|
|St. Mary Magdalene Church, Magdalena|
|St. John the Baptist Church, Liliw|
|St. Bartholomew Parish, Nagcarlan|
|St. Gregory the Great Parish Church, Majayjay|
|Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish, Luisiana|
|Transfiguration Church, Cavinti|
|Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Pagsanjan|
|St. John the Baptist Church, Longos|
|St. James the Apostle Church, Paete|
|St. Peter of Alcantara Church, Pakil|
|Nuestra Senora de Candelaria Church, Mabitac|
|San Sebastian Church, Lumban|
|San Pablo Cathedral, San Pablo City|