Visita Iglesia 2016

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Konnichassu,

Its time Mei shares something completely different since this is still a blog and I have so much on pending T_T Two projects are still on pending and three incoming. One busy writer/blogger this one is.

However, for today’s entry, I will show you my Holy Week pilgrimage photos for Visita Iglesia 2016. For those who don’t know, Visita Iglesia is often done every Maundy Thursday from 7 pm to 12 midnight in seven (sometimes nine or fourteen) different churches and pray before the Holy Sacrament as part of their penance. It is said that if you complete the churches, one can ask for a wish and it will be granted.

Last year, my family went around Metro Manila as part of our Maundy Thursday/ Visita Iglesia pilgrimage and I shared it here for you guys to see. This year, we decided to go to the South, specifically to Batangas, to do our pilgrimage. I hope you guys find this guide helpful and know that even if you visit a place ever so often, there will always be places you haven’t seen which I experienced in this trip.

Tips before you go on a Visita Iglesia:
– Make sure you bring food and water on your trip because it is most often that you will encounter heavy traffic when going in churches.
– Wear your most comfortable clothing and shoes which you can wear in the Church. Some Churches often have other areas you can check out to complete your reflection.
– Always plan ahead since some churches are far from one another, while others have shortcuts you can take to bypass traffic
– Bring some loose change for restroom use (see it as a donation to help maintain the place) or entrance fees.
– Pray before you take photos and also be quiet.
– Ask church organizers on how you can get your confession done.
– Bring coffee, especially if you will be travelling for your Visita Iglesia so you or your driver can stay awake throughout the journey.

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Let’s begin the countdown!!! Photos are down below for your viewing.

1. Caleruega Church
Location: Nasugbu, Batangas
Entrance Fee: 30 pesos
For retreat schedules, mass inquiries and the like: You guys can call +63 921 270 9890 and +63 921 830 4226 or email them at caleruega_philippines@yahoo.com.

The first church we went to is Caleruega Church in Nasugbu, Batangas; an hour drive from Tagaytay Proper. The church complex and its facilities are in a hill hidden in Nasugbu and you will encounter rough road to get to the place. However, the trip is well-worth it because you get transported in a different world once you enter Caleruega’s gates. The place is handled by the Dominican Order – same ones who handles University of Santo Tomas and Colegio de San Juan de Letran – and modeled after Caleruega, Spain where St. Dominic was born. The entire complex actually boasts quite a lot of areas where retreats, pilgrims and visitors could go for their reflection and prayer. They have an open trail for the Stations of the Cross, a koi pond, a Japanese garden, hanging bridge, farms and even a mini trek to the tent chapel of Transfiguration. The main Chapel of Transfiguration is in another hill and you have to go in the cenaculum (the main facade you see when you enter the Caleruega complex) and walk your way to the Chapel.

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The main facade of Caleruega or the Cenaculum

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One of the Stations of the Cross.

Mei’s top tip is be prepared for the downhill/uphill walk because the First Station of the Cross is on top of the hill then the last one is on the bottom. There are places in some intervals of the Stations for rest should in case you need to rest a bit.

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They give out brochures of the Caleruega complex (with a mini-map as to what you can find within the complex, its history and contact details) in the entrance gate.

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One part of the koi pond where you can throw coins for your wishes.

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Hanging Bridge which will lead you to the pathway to the Tent Chapel of Transfiguration. My niece found this place traumatizing since it kept shaking about. All of us found ourselves trying to stabilize our shaky selves each time we crossed it. First time for everything

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Tent Chapel of Transfiguration

To get to this place, you will have to climb at least 100 steps to the top of the hill from the hanging bridge and boy oh boy was it very high! There are some mini stores where you can buy drinks should you find yourself thirsty on the climb and places to rest on. I got sorely reminded of our trip in Baler’s hidden watchtower which has the same pathway (minus the climbing a cliff bit).

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My mum praying in one of the stained glass panels in the chapel.

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To get to the main Chapel of Transfiguration, you enter this place and go to the right which would lead you to the pathway to the Chapel.

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Main Chapel of Caleruega

We managed to catch the mass here and mind you, this chapel is very small so many were outside when we went to listen to the mass. Many retreat participants, weddings and special events are done here so it is guaranteed to be very solemn in those occasions.

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Main altar within the chapel

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Altar of Repose, Caleruega

We were very fortunate enough to join the procession when the Holy Sacrament was brought to this place. On normal occasions, this place is used for recollections and retreats but for that night, it became a solemn place for prayer and reflection. Best remove your shoes here when you visit it.

To go to Caleruega:

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"] Location Map to Caleruega (Thanks to boyplakwatsa.wordpress.com for this map)

2. Chapel on the Hill
Location: Nasugbu, Batangas
Entrance Fee: None

In the same path to Caleruega, you will find Chapel on the Hill first and as the name implies, it is situated on top of a hill. To get to the church, you have to climb a path of stairs. I don’t have much photos inside the place, but the place is reminiscent to UP Church in QC considering the design of the place. It is the modern version though since it has quite a lot of window panels and aircon.

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Chapel on the Hill Altar

3. Our Lady of Lourdes Parish
Location: Tagaytay City, Batangas
Entrance Fee: None

Our Lady of Lourdes Parish or simply Lourdes Parish is close to Tagaytay City proper and is one of the major churches in the area. The church is dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes in France and it is quite big. One of the places I liked here is the mini grotto (unfortunately didn’t take photos since we left almost immediately after our prayer) and the fountain (Which my niece loved).

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Lourdes Parish

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This is where the Holy Sacrament was placed inside the Parish.

4. Pink Sisters Convent and Church
Location: Tagaytay City, Batangas
Entrance Fee: None

I know you guys would mostly think Pink Sisters is in Baguio and i would normally agree with you on that. But, to my surprise they do have a second convent and church in Tagaytay. I do warn that the entrance to the place is quite steep, especially if you are walking since the convent/church is below a hill of some sort.

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Inside Pink Sisters Church.

5. Angels’ Hill Chapel
Location: Tagaytay City, Batangas
Entrance Fee: None

In the same area as Pink Sisters Convent and Church is this chapel called Angels’ Hill Chapel. This chapel is quite small and in front of it, you will see a statue of St. Michael the Archangel. Inside, it will remind you of English castles due to the ornaments and style of the main altar. The area is also quite extensive with a mini tower close to its main entrance.

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Angels’ Hill Chapel

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Inside. I have to say this is very beautiful and it feels like a castle inside.

6. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish
Location: Tagaytay City, Batangas
Entrance Fee: None

Our sixth church was this very solemn church which is the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish. This place is very close to the main city and is also close to Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine.

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Shaky photo outside Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish… I was moving when this was taken

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Inside the Parish. I have to admit is simple, but solemn. They have a mini garden in the sides of this Parish

7. San Antonio de Padua Parish
Location: Silang, Cavite
Entrance Fee: None

Our visit to San Antonio de Padua was a special one because we intended to complete the entire Visita Iglesia in Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine. However, when we got to the place, it was close. So since we still had 30 minutes left, we dashed off to this jewel church in nearby Silang to try and complete the seven and make it. We did get to the place just before the Holy Sacrament was removed from the Altar of Repose. And I have to admit, this is one of the most beautiful churches i have seen since it has super cool ceilings (made from wood), marble and a very beautiful altar. According to one of the church staff there, the Parish is often used for weddings and special events but they also hold regular masses. My parents loved the place because before you can get to the main chapel, parking is far away so you really would get more from the experience.

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When you arrive in San Antonio de Padua, you are greeted by Him immediately.

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Inside the very huge Parish. Its a bit dark because it was already closing time when we got there. It is very solemn too.

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I won’t say what I prayed for this year since i believe in the saying, if you have a wish or a prayer, best not tell it to people because it might not come true. However, I did take time to thank Him for everything and prayed for His continued love, guidance and forgiveness.

If you got any questions regarding this post, or if you will recommend a place for me and my family to try out for next year, just comment below.

I hope you guys have a blessed Holy Week.

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