Thursday, May 11, 2017

Visita Iglesia 2017 (Part 2)

I have been meaning to finish this part 2 for days now. But this blazing summer heat is brutal. Temperatures soaring to over 36 degrees Celsius which means the heat index (or what it really feels like) is 41 degrees Celsius. Early evenings there would be localized thunderstorms, heavy downpours with thunder and lightning to boot, Then humidity would set in and phew the perspiration would soak your entire body, you'd think I danced in the rain. No siree it's sweat not precipitation! 

But what else can I do?  Tune it out, block it off and learn to grin and bear it as beads of sweat pour down my back and form on my forehead. Eat ice cream to cool down my body temperature and my scrambled brain cells.  

Ok on to the main topic of this post.

It was already lunch time so we decided to eat first before proceeding to the next church. We were now at the Remedios circle which is surrounded by several restaurants. We found a suitable parking slot a few meters away from the eateries and waited for a few minutes at Max's (all the restos in the area were filled to the rafters with other hungry visita iglesia churchgoers). The sun was scorching hot so it felt really nice as we were seated in the air conditioned restaurant to savor our 'sarap to the bones' chicken meals.

The Malate Church which is dedicated to the Nuestra Senora de los Remedios (Our Lady of Remedies) was just a few steps away so we headed there after lunch. The last time I laid foot in this really old church (built in 1588) was in the 1980s when I was still in high school. It was a regular stop on our Visita Iglesia list. Decades ago when my father could still drive at night and the streets of Metro Manila were not as traffic jammed as they are nowadays. 

Main altar of the Malate Church

Slats of stained glass

Adoration chapel



Baroque style Malate Church
A short drive along Roxas Boulevard would take you to the Baclaran Church. The National Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help has a special place in my heart as my mother and I would go there during Wednesdays for the Perpetual Help Novena + Holy Mass. Well decades ago when it was much easier to go around using public transport, less crowded and generally safer. Times are different now. 

When we got to the Baclaran area, there were a lot of cars and a traffic jam had formed before you could even catch a glimpse of the church. So we parked at the first available slot and walked, walked, walked and walked some more. Phew it was far and the heat was pricking at your skin even if you used an umbrella. By the time we reached the church I was all sweaty and needed a cool drink to freshen up, the pews inside were full so we stood near the entrance where a very light breeze would sometimes ease the stifling heat.

Main altar of the Redemptorist church

Baclaran Church
It was time to proceed to the last two churches on our list. We decided to park at this vacant lot near the Manila Cathedral then walk over to the San Agustin Church on the famed cobblestone path linking both churches. The San Agustin Church is the oldest stone church in the Philippines and its elaborate interior design is a magnificent sight to behold. It was named as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993.

The pulpit

Main altar

beautiful ceiling

intricate chandelier

Baroque style architecture

Stone facade of San Agustin Church
A few years ago, the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception or the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros was painstakingly restored. It was closed to the public for two long years as they renovated it from top to bottom. The basic structure is still the same but I notice the interiors are much brighter and more airy now. It still retains its solemnity and its certain peaceful vibe when one is inside the Manila Cathedral.

Main altar

the crucified Christ

Manila Cathedral
Manila Cathedral from another angle
This year, we visited 8 churches. Well 9 if we include the San Nicholas de Tolentino church in Quezon City where we heard mass. I was really tired from the Visita Iglesia, I forgot to take pictures and just wanted to go home and take a refreshing shower. I am glad though as this is our second year to continue this tradition, together. Unfortunately, my parents cannot join us as they get tired easily but they are glad D and I now maintain this annual Holy Week tradition.

2 comments:

Photo Cache said...

The long walk coupled with searing heat added to the "penitensya" to Baclaran church.

I've never been to Malate church. In the metro alone there are so many churches worth visiting.

DaPHne LAura said...

Yes I agree with the penance part hehe. Since we are mostly a Catholic nation, there is no shortage of churches, some of them existing since the Spanish times. I hope they do preserve these old churches which are a vital part of our heritage. I was crestfallen when I learned that several old churches were damaged during the recent earthquakes in Bohol. But I do understand they don't have extra funds for proper restoration which is really sad and just rely mostly on donations from parishioners.