Thursday, May 19, 2022

Visita Iglesia: A pilgrimage tour of 7 old churches in Bulacan

It's no secret that Bulacan is the nearest province in Metro Manila. Its proximity to bustling cities makes it a popular Visita Iglesia pilgrimage choice in times of Holy Week for devotees living in the concrete jungle of the metropolis. Visita Iglesia is a seven-churches visitation, usually done every Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday, and Easter Sunday of the Lenten Season. The province, which is bordered by the cities of Valenzuela and Caloocan and another province Rizal in the southern part, is not only accessible to the city but also a fun destination that offers magnificent architectural designs of old churches to church-goers.

Bulacan is composed of 21 municipalities and 3 cities, each subdivided into 6 districts, signifying that devotees will never run out of churches to visit, retreat, explore, see, and enjoy. Its capital is the city of Malolos, where the well-known Barasaoin Church was erected. The province is unequivocally rich in history, cuisine, culture, tradition, natural beauty, and old churches. Although there are so many old churches to see in Bulacan, I have only prepared 7 for your Visita Iglesia pilgrimage tour.

The Parish of San Pascual Baylon and National Shrine of Nuestra Señora Immaculada Concepcion de Salambao

The Parish of San Pascual Baylon and National Shrine of Nuestra Señora Immaculada Concepcion de Salambao is also known as Obando Church. Built on April 29, 1754, by the Franciscan Order, headed by Rev. P. Manuel de Olivencia, the Obando Church was destroyed in World War II during the fight for liberation from Japanese rule. Similarly, its exterior was compared to that of Marilao’s church.

The Parish Church of Saint Francis of Assisi

The Meycauayan Church or Simbahan sa Bayan is a Roman Catholic church in Meycauayan, Philippines, dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi. It predates the Malolos Cathedral, which was built in 1580, and the Barasoain Church, which was built in 1589. With an estimated population of over 80,000 parishioners, it is also the province’s largest parish. The vicariate of St. Francis of Assisi in the Diocese of Malolos has its headquarters in this church.

The San Miguel Arcangel Church

Located at Brgy. Poblacion I in Marilao, Bulacan, the San Miguel Arcangel Church, also Marilao Church, is a 19th-century Roman Catholic Church. With its two storeys and triangular pediment, the church facade is reminiscent of a typical Barn-style Baroque church. The main gateway is flanked by niches of Saint Peter and Paul, which are presently covered by a concrete canopy. Except for the pilasters rising to the bottom of the pediment, panels with embossed eye-shaped elements and reliefs of heart sand the Franciscan seal, the second level has three openings and is devoid of any detailed adornment. 

Saint Martin of Tours Parish Church 

The Diocese Shrine of the Holy Cross of Wawa, also known as the Saint Martin of Tours Parish Church, is a Roman Catholic Church in Bocaue, Bulacan, Philippines. The church was founded by Franciscan missionaries in 1606 and is one of Bulacan’s oldest. It is home to the Holy Cross of Wawa, a wooden relic revered by devotees and the focal point of the annual Bocaue River Festival.

The San Lorenzo de Roma Parish Church

An 18th-century Baroque-styled church erected in Balagtas, Bulacan, the San Lorenzo de Roma Parish Church is more commonly regarded as Balagtas Church. The recessed arch that dominates much of the front of the church and the lack of pilasters that divide the facade into various segments are the most prominent aspects of the church facade. Semicircular arch windows and a rose window above and beside the arch bring light into the choir loft interior.

The San Ildefonso de Toledo Parish Church

Guiguinto Church, also known as the San Ildefonso de Toledo Parish Church, is an 18th-century baroque-styled church in Guiguinto, Bulacan. The structure of the church has four sets of Doric columns split the facade into three vertical portions. The column supports a triangular pediment with an oculus and volutes on the end, which is supposed to have been added for ornamental purposes. The plastered side entrances have econometric designs.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish or more popularly calld as Barasoin Church is a Roman Catholic Church in Malolos, Bulacan, built in 1888. Manila is roughly 48 kilometers away. The church is known as “the cradle of democracy in the east,” “the most important religious building in the Philippines,” and “the birthplace of the Philippines’ first republic.”

May these old architectural churches in Bulacan serve as a reminder to us, Filipinos devotees, that this Lenten Season, this Holy Week, is yearly remembered because of the sacrifices that Jesus made for us to save us from our sins.

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