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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Visita Iglesia: A Pilgrimage to the Baroque Churches of Laguna

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.

Shrine of Saint Anthony de Padua, Pila
Immaculate Conception Parish, Santa Cruz
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 plazaThen, I went to a ten minute jeepney ride from Pila to the busy provincial capital of Santa Cruz to visit the Immaculate Conception ChurchThen, I took my snack in a fast food chain in this town. 

St. Mary Magdalene Church, Magdalena
St. John the Baptist Church, Liliw
St. Bartholomew Parish, Nagcarlan
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". 

St. Gregory the Great Parish Church, Majayjay
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish, Luisiana
Transfiguration Church, Cavinti
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Pagsanjan
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. 

St. John the Baptist Church, Longos
St. James the Apostle Church, Paete
St. Peter of Alcantara Church, Pakil
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.

Nuestra Senora de Candelaria Church, Mabitac
San Sebastian Church, Lumban
San Pablo Cathedral, San Pablo City
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:

Pila Church
Santa Cruz Church
Nagcarlan Church
Cavinti Church
Longos Church
Pakil Church
Magdalena Church
Church Interiors:
Santa Cruz


melandria said...

such beautiful churches. i remember my high school days were me and my friends went for visita iglesia.

visiting from prayer- why do you pray?

Robi Marapao said...

You've got beautiful pictures bro; I so miss Laguna, stayed in Los Banos for almost 5 years.

Have a blessed holy week...

Gil Camporazo | RandomThoughts! said...

Churches are built majestically. Just like the faith of the followers. Beautiful churches indeed.

Danilo Samson said...

I really love to do the visita eglesia., I have searched for ways on how to and I found out that churches in Laguna are offering one round trip travel to different shrines and churches.,.,

I deeply appreciate your passion on blogging some wonderful experience regarding this matter specially now a days that we must repent for our enumerable sins and ask for forgiveness.,

Just to add up I hope that you can also add some historical review about each of the church or shrine or some deep description, this will also make your blog more interesting .,

nice pictures but It will be nice if you use your own captured photo or nevertheless you should put proper credits to the photographer., we dont want any copyright infringement to happen .,

but over all sentences wise indeed another nice blog coming from you as expected :) keep it up my friend hope you can become bigger somedat

TheJonDiesta said...

Thanks for the comments. It will serve as my guidelines to improve my blogging and photography next time. You can also follow my blog at joniskratspaper.wordpress.com =)

I love to take pictures (esp in Visita Iglesia) and I am overwhelmed that I improve a lot in terms of photography.

bless said...

nice job skulm8 continue ur passion :)

john said...

nice blog post jonathan!

it's very informative & insightful especially this time of the year where most people are planning for an activity that would make their lent season meaningful.

i went also on a pilgrimage(aka visita iglesia) sometime last month in the old churches of cavite organized by our parish & just like in laguna - the churches are also magnificent due to their old structures and history. I also took tons of pictures of them but sad to say i wasn't able to blog it. I bet you enjoyed your visita more than we did cos you have have all your time stay longer or not to each church & town. But I just wonder how were you able to go to these 15 churches all in a day.

BTW among the fifteen - the most beautiful for me are the Pila & Magdalena, they are as if already there during Spanish era. I wish to go there someday.

Again, this is a very nice post of yours and I'm looking forward to read more articles & see more photos from you my friend. Keep it up!

Ivan Stewart Saldajeno said...

I haven't been in these places, except for San Pablo City. I hope I could visit these places.

Anonymous said...

You’re certainly posting some great photos and it is really nice and enchanting if we could visit on that place

IsisEvasco said...

These are really nice churches! You can try to "cut" the articles and pictures my adding captions after each picture. This way, the reader can envision the picture that you're creating without scrolling down at the end of the article. =)

IsisEvasco said...

these are very nice pictures! what you can also do is you can put captions under each picture to "cut" the article into sections. this way, the readers won't need to scroll down at the end of the article to envision what you're writing.

marri said...

We, Filipinos are truly in GOD's watchful eyes.
We are blessed with many traditions that strengthen our FAITH and heighten our spirits.

redamethyst said...

thanks for the wonderful photos. I hope I can do visita iglesia there also.

Budget Biyahera said...

Wow! I didn't know Laguna had so many baroque churches. So I would love to see these firsthand as well. Oh by the way, you have an ad banner on the left side that is too big. It managed to eat up some space, restricting me of seeing one of your church photo's.

athena said...

the exterior of the St. John the Baptist Church looks amazing. the color is just wonderful.

i've never done visita iglesia before though.

mary jane said...

I'm hoping to do those visit iglesia in philippines as well i I've know that philippines has all the amazing church structures I've known! nice photos also! xx

unsugarcoatedreviews.com said...

beautiful churches! It was nice of you to include pictures of so many in just one post.

Elal Jane Lasola said...

I don't know but something about churches and its architecture attracts me. Very nice compilation. Envy much. Gusto ko matry to kaya lang di kami natuloy ng friends ko last weekend :D

Traveling Morion said...

familiar skin ang mga churches na to for sure nadaanan o napuntahan q na to lhat,, unlucky indi q nakunan ng shots---nice collection of church photographs!

violy vallester said...

wow ganda ng mga churches! I love visiting old churches, they have a different "feel" than the new ones. thanks for this post, hope to be able to visit those churches too.

Joy Calipes-Felizardo said...

Kudos to you for posting all those. There is always that mystifying feel on these old churches, though we don't do VI anymore, just amazed by how artistically magnificent they are.

joan | the backpack chronicles said...

Those are interesting group of churches. Hindi ko alam na marami palang Baroque Churches sa laguna. Thanks for sharing ha, dami ko natutunan.

Blanca said...

Wow, these are very nice churches Jonathan. Great shots and I love reading your tidbits of infos about these churches. I will try to visit some of these since I am fascinated with old and historical churches.:)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...

This is a post that foreign tourists (Pinoy tourists too) should read!!! If our SEA neighbors got temples, we boast majestic churches! Gotta travel south someday soon.

Cha said...

Nice photos of churches! I hope maka visit din ako dyan someday! Happy Easter

Cha said...

Super ganda ng mga churches sa Laguna sana maapasyal din ako dyan someday!

Francis Balgos said...

Wow! You certainly knew what to shot.
Its an incredible feat, one that I hadn't done so far..
Fascination with churches hasn't hard that hard on me yet..
I will eventually!

Nico Gonzales said...

It's more fun here in the Philippines talaga. Ang ganda ng mga simbahan natin dito pero di ko pa sila napuntahan. But I'm looking forward to visit them.

Myk Malag said...

stnI didn't know that Laguna alone have lots of churches, so the visita Iglesia in this place will always be complete and not to go back and forth to the same churches...

Nicoleta_B said...

Such a great post. Love it!

Would u liek to follow each other?
Have a great week!



New post - Bonton Look!

Franc Ramon said...

These are really beautiful churches for Visita Iglesias.

FoxyReign said...

You have an interesting point of view of collecting and taking pictures of different churches you have been to. This can be added to my itinerary whenever I travel.

Journey Ni Ikoy said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful churches, now I know where to find it when I am arround the place =)

YANI said...

Inspired by your faith and strength to take yourself on a pilgrimage like this. I appreciate you Church photos too as if I traveled there with you :)

Sky Summer said...

We love visiting churches especially the old ones.

Francis Balgos said...

back here again!
maybe I should try to plan my own visita iglesia soon. :)

Mai Flores said...

Really need to make a trip to Laguna soon.. so near yet so far! I would really love to see the Baroque churches in actual. Hope you'll be free to tour me around sometime, Jonathan! :)

MaryJane Tauyan said...

i would like to visit all of them and get married again with one of the church! xx

jsncruz said...

I'm not a hardcore faithful, but I couldn't help but feel touched seeing these images of our historic churches. Many of them look to be in a bit of a sad state - I can only hope they are taken care of to last another of the lifetime they have already gone through. Thank you for sharing this.

ralph said...

such old but magnificent churches. Yahweh bless.

nanardxz said...

Whooa that's a lot of old Catholic churches in Laguna.. i hope i could visit one..

marri said...

These churches survived the ages and should be well preserved for more generations to visit.

You really exerted so much effort in this and I'm sure you had great time even tired.

markpogi said...

That's an adventure you got there. I was able to visit some of the churches in 2010 and I hope I could do the same like you did soon ^_^

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