Every Maundy/Holy Thursday, many devoted Catholics in the Philippines carry out the tradition of Visita Iglesia. Visita Iglesia are Spanish words which mean Church visits. During this time, Filipinos visit seven churches, some even extend it to fourteen churches. They recite one or two parts of the Stations of the Cross in each church. The Stations of the Cross depicts the final hours of Jesus Christ before he was crucified. This tradition is practiced as an act of penance during the Holy Week, which is a big holiday in the Philippines. It is said that the tradition of Visita Iglesia originated from Rome, where ancient pilgrims went to the seven pilgrim churches to show their penance.
This tradition is also practiced by my family every year. My mom makes sure that every available member of the family will participate. So last Thursday we woke up at 5:00am to start our Visita Iglesia. Although I was a bit lazy to get up early, I forced myself to join because I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to bond with the whole family. Usually, we do the Calauan-Victoria-Sta.Cruz-Pagsanjan-Nagcarlan etc. route but this year we started at San Pedro, Laguna.
St. Therese, UP Los Baños
Brgy. Del Remedio, San Pablo
We were supposed to visit 14 churches but after visiting Calamba church, we encountered a traffic jam in Pansol due to the vacationers headed to the swimming pools. Hence, we just opted to do two stations per church from Los Baños to San Pablo. Our last stop was the chapel in Brgy. Del Remedio because we already dropped by at San Pablo Cathedral in the morning. It was a long day for us but I had a good time doing Visita Iglesia with the whole family. Furthermore, it’s nice to remember the Stations of the Cross every once in a while and visit the churches in each town that serve as a temple of worship for the Filipinos.