How to prepare for a Visita Iglesia family trip in Metro Manila

Monday, 25 March 2019

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Visita Iglesia (church visitation) is an age-old tradition that most Filipino Catholics look forward to during the Holy Week.

Visita Iglesia at Nuestra Senora de Gracia Church

Aside from the chance to strengthen faith, Visita Iglesia is a good bonding activity for families and even groups of friends. What’s more, Visita Iglesia is a great opportunity for some art and heritage appreciation. Churches, most especially those that are very old, are treasure troves of history, art, and architecture. These are heritage structures that befit admiration throughout generations.



    How and when is Visita Iglesia done?

    Visita Iglesia is traditionally done either on Holy Thursday or Good Friday with the goal of visiting seven churches to complete the 14 Stations of the Cross. That is also how our family practices Visita Iglesia. However, there are individuals who have made it their vow to visit 14 churches in a single day.

    For some people, opting to go out of town to visit churches in nearby provinces such as in Bulacan, Laguna, Pampanga, Cavite, or Batangas is the norm. Of course, that is not to say that Metro Manila does not have its fair share of stunning churches to boast of.

    Stained glass window of a church

    If you have not yet fully explored Manila, you would be surprised to find out that it is home to many beautiful and historic churches. However, with the heavy traffic in MetroManila, going around the city can be full of challenges so people just choose to go somewhere else to escape the chaotic roads.

    If you are considering to complete your Visita Iglesia in Metro Manila, you might want to consider going out of your house extra prepared so your drive or commute remains blissful and comfortable all throughout.

    What to keep in mind before heading out to your Visita Iglesia family trip

    Before leaving for your Visita Iglesia family trip, here are a few practical suggestions that you might want to consider to avoid hassles along the way:

    1. Have your car checked or tuned up

    If you are bringing your family car, be sure to have it checked before you go out for your Visita Iglesia trip. Making certain that your vehicle is in tip top condition is a must especially because of the challenging drive around the metro. The last thing that you would want is your car breaking down in the middle of traffic and in the midst of all the heat.

    Visita Iglesia tip: check your car

    Some of the important components that you may want to have your trusted mechanic check would be the car breaks, air-conditioning (it’s summer in the Philippines!), oil, and tires.

    Needless to say, make sure that you have enough fuel before you go out. And don’t forget to bring an extra jug of water in your compartment just in case your engine overheats.

    In the end, if you begin to see the signs of wear and tear in your car that is getting harder to repair, you might want to consider converting your car into fast cash by selling it and getting a new one for your family travels.   

    2. Wear comfortable clothes

    Whether you are commuting or bringing your own vehicle, remember to wear light and comfortable clothes. Forget about being too fashionable; wear something that will allow you to freely move around in the summer heat. Also, put on something modest and subdued because you are going to visit religious places after all.


    Wear comfortable clothes when you go out for your Visita Iglesia

    3. Bring extra food

    Not surprisingly, you do not want to pass out because of hunger when you are outside. However, there may not always be a restaurant or convenience store around, especially in places that are unfamiliar to you. As such, bring food with you like sandwiches, biscuits, fresh fruits, and a bottle of water.

    4. Bring extra clothes

    If the churches that you are visiting are adjacent to each other, take advantage of the opportunity to take a leisurely walk. However, with the summer heat, it is but inevitable that you would get all sweaty and grimy. Hence, having an extra shirt with you will come in handy. Bring a t-shirt made of light fabric so that you can change into this when you have the chance.

    5. Pack lightly

    When you are packing for a trip, it is most likely that a good number of the items that you are stuffing your bag with are not really essential. Packing lightly is always a good idea because you bring only the things that you need without being burdened by extra weight as you move around.

    Visita Iglesia tip: bring a medicine kit

    6. Bring medicine

    Take with you a small medicine kit containing medications for mild illnesses such as headache, toothache, allergies, stomachache and diarrhea, as well as treatment for insect bites. If you are taking maintenance medication, then it follows that you should not forget your medicine case.

    7. Bring extra cash

    Aside from your budget for, say, a family dinner after your Visita Iglesia trip, you might want to consider bringing an extra amount of cash for unforeseen expenses that may come up during your trip.

    8. Secure your belongings

    Always make sure that your bag, purse, or wallet is secure when you are outside. During holidays such as the Lenten season, a lot of people are outside. Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals take advantage of this occasion to pick pockets or snatch bags.

    Visita Iglesia tip: bring a power bank

    9. Bring a battery pack/power bank

    Smartphones are quite handy because, with it, you do not have to always bring a camera to document your family trips. You can also easily share your photos and updates through popular social media apps. The trade off, however, is shorter battery life. Good thing there are battery packs and power banks that can solve this dilemma. Invest in a good quality brand of power bank but don’t forget to fully charge it before going out.

    Visita Iglesia: bring a baby bag with all the essentials

    10. Have a dedicated bag for your baby

    It’s a whole different story if you are bringing an infant with you, say a small baby or toddler. You have to bring a dedicated bag containing your baby’s diaper, baby wipes, diaper cream, distilled water, milk, and feeding bottles (if you are not breastfeeding anymore). Bring medication like Probiotics (for diarrhea or upset stomach), and anti-allergy medications (provided these are cleared by your baby’s pediatrician). If you can, bring a stroller or a carrier so that you and your baby can both comfortably move around.

    Churches around Metro Manila for your Visita Iglesia

    Here are suggested churches around Metro Manila that you can include in your Visita Iglesia itinerary with your family. These are near each other and can be reached either by private vehicle or public transportation.

    Churches in Quezon City

    Visita Iglesia to Sacred Heart Parish Church in Kamuning, Quezon City
    Sacred Heart Parish Church in Kamuning

    1. Sacred Heart Parish Church

    Address: 28 Scout Ybardolaza St., Quezon City

    The Sacred Heat Parish Church is a baroque church located in the old district of Kamuning in Quezon City and is part of the Diocese of Cubao. Construction of the church was completed in 1941.

    Mass Schedules: 

    Monday to Thursday, and Saturday: 5:15 AM, 6:00 AM, 7:00 AM, 6:00 PM

    Friday: 12:15 PM, 6:30 PM

    Sunday: 5:30 AM, 6:30 AM, 7:30 AM, 8:30 AM, 9:30 AM, 10:30AM, 11:30 AM, 4:30 PM (Children's Mass), 5:30 PM, 6:30 PM (Youth Mass), 7:30 PM, and 8:30 PM

    Visita Iglesia to the Parish of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
    Parish of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary

    2. Parish of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary

    Address: Daily Mirror, Quezon City

    Compared to many churches around the Philippines, or even just in Quezon City, the Parish if the Hearts of Jesus is relatively new. It was, in truth, completed in 1988. However, that does not discount the fact that this is a beautiful church that is worthy of admiration

    Mass Schedules: 

    Monday to Thursday: 6:30 AM and 6:00 PM

    Friday: 6:30 AM, 12:15 PM, and 6:00 PM

    Saturday: 6:30 AM, 6:00 PM, and 7:15 PM

    Sunday: 6:00 AM, 7:30 AM, 9:00 AM, 10:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 6:00PM, and 7:15 PM

    Churches in Makati City

    Visita Iglesia to Guadalupe Church also known as Nuestra Senora de Gracia Church
    Guadalupe Church

    1. Guadalupe Church (Nuestra Señora de Gracia)

    Address: 7440 Bernardino, Makati City

    The baroque-style Guadalupe Church or Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church is considered as one of the most beautiful churches in Metro Manila. As a matter of fact, it is a sought after wedding ceremony venue by many couples who are about to get married.

    Mass Schedules: 

    Monday to Sunday: 06:00 AM - 07:00 AM

    Monday to Saturday: 06:00 PM - 07:00 PM

    Sunday: 07:15 AM, 08:30 AM, 09:45 AM, (Tagalog, Children's Mass), 05:00 PM, 06:15 PM (Tagalog), and 07:30 PM

    Also read: Heritage Series: Nuestra Señora de Gracia (Guadalupe Church)

    Visita Iglesia to Sts. Peter and Paul Church
    Sts. Peter and Paul Church

    2. Sts. Peter and Paul Church 

    Address: 5539 D.M. Rivera St., Poblacion, Makati City

    The Baroque-style Saints Peter and Paul Church is the oldest building in Makati and is designated by the government as an important cultural structure. San Pedro Church was built by the Jesuits in the 1600s to be the religious center of San Pedro de Macati.

    Mass Schedules:

    Monday to Sunday: 06:00 AM and 07:00 AM

    Monday to Saturday: 06:30 PM - 07:30 PM

    Sunday: 09:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 05:00 PM, 06:00 PM, 07:00 PM, 08:00 PM, and 09:00 PM

    Also read: Heritage Series: Poblacion, the Old District of Makati

    Visita Iglesia to St. Andrew the Apostle Church
    St. Andrew the Apostle Church

    3. St. Andrew the Apostle Church 

    Address: 62 Constellation, Bel-Air II, Makati City

    St. Andrew the Apostle Church is a beautiful little church in Bel-Air, Makati City. It features a contemporary design courtesy of National Artist for Architecture Leandro V. Locsin. St. Andrew the apostle Church was officially opened to the public on November 30, 1968.

    Mass Schedules:

    Monday to Sunday: 06:30 AM and 08:00 AM

    4. National Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

    Address: 4 Sacred Heart St, San Antonio Village, Makati City

    It may not be as popular as the other churches in Makati but the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is worth visiting. Sure, the exteriors are not as grandiose as other antique churches around the country but its interiors are definitely breathtaking. The National Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus holds its own charm in the midst of the urban jungle. The church was founded on February 14, 1976.

    Mass Schedules: 

    Monday to Sunday: 06:00 AM - 07:00 AM

    Monday to Thursday: 06:45 AM, 07:30 AM, 12:15 PM, and 06:00 PM

    Friday: 12:00 AM (First Friday only), 06:00 AM, 06:45 AM, 07:30 AM, 12:15 PM, 06:00 PM, and 07:00 PM (First Friday only)

    Saturday: 06:00 AM, 06:45 AM, 07:30 AM, 05:00 PM (Anticipated Mass), and 06:30 PM (Anticipated Mass)

    Sunday: 07:30 AM, 09:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 12:00 PM, 02:30 PM, 04:00 PM, 05:30 PM, 07:00 PM, and 08:30 PM

    Churches in the City of Manila

    Visita Iglesia to San Sebastian Church
    San Sebastian Church

    1. San Sebastian Church

    Address: Pasaje del Carmen St, Quiapo, Manila

    San Sebastian Church, also known as Minor Basilica of San Sebastian and home of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Shrine, is an all-steel structure, the only such church in the Philippines and one of the few structures in the world that are made almost entirely out of metal. The pre-fabricated steel segments were made in Belgium, shipped to the Philippines, and assembled by Belgian engineers.

    San Sebastian Church was included as one of the National Shrines, Monuments, and/or Landmarks in President Ferdinand Marcos’ Presidential Decree No. 260 in 1973 and a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines on August 15, 2011.

    Mass Schedules: 

    Monday to Sunday: 06:00 AM - 06:30 AM

    Monday to Friday: 07:00 AM and 06:00 PM

    Saturday: 06:00 PM (English, Anticipated Mass)

    Sunday: 07:00 AM, 08:00 AM, 09:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 04:00 PM, 05:00 PM, 06:00 PM (Tagalog), 07:00 PM, and 08:00 PM

    Also read: Heritage Series: the all-steel San Sebastian Church

    Visita Iglesia to Quiapo Church
    Quiapo Church

    2. Quiapo Church

    Address: 363 Quezon Blvd, Quiapo, Manila

    Quiapo Church, also known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, is one of the most prominent churches in the country. Devotees of the miraculous image of the Black Nazarene flock to Quiapo Church every Friday (also known as Quiapo Day) in observance of the novena in honor of the image of the Black Nazarene. Quiapo Church, which features a Mexican Baroque design, was founded in 1581.

    Mass Schedules:

    Monday to Thursday: 05:00 AM, 06:00 AM, 07:00 AM, 08:00 AM, 09:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:15 PM, 05:00 PM, and 06:00 PM

    Friday: 04:00 AM, 05:00 AM, 06:00 AM, 07:00 AM, 08:00 AM, 09:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 04:00 PM, 05:00 PM, 06:00 PM, 07:00 PM, and 08:00 PM

    Saturday: 05:00 AM, 06:00 AM, 07:00 AM, 08:00 AM, 09:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:15 PM, 05:00 PM, 06:00 PM, and 07:00 PM

    Sunday: 05:00 AM, 06:00 AM, 07:00 AM, 08:00 AM, 09:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:15 PM, 04:00 PM, 05:00 PM, 06:00 PM, and 07:00 PM

    Also read: Commemorating Holy Week 2011 through age-old traditions

    Visita Iglesia to Binondo Church
    Binondo Church 

    3. Binondo Church

    Address: Plaza L.Ruiz,Binondo 1006, Manila, Binondo, Manila

    Binondo Church is also known as the Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish. The Church was founded in 1596 by Dominican priests. What is unique about Binondo Church is that here, some masses are held in Mandarin and Hokkien. The first Filipino saint, San Lorenzo Ruiz, trained at Binondo Church before embarking on a mission to Japan.

    Mass Schedules: 

    Monday to Friday: 06:00 AM, 06:45 AM, 07:30 AM, 08:15 AM, 12:15 PM, and 05:30 PM

    Saturday: 06:00 AM, 06:45 AM, 07:30 AM, 08:15 AM, 12:15 PM, and 05:30 PM

    Sunday: 05:30 AM, 07:00 AM, 08:30 AM, 10:00 AM, 04:00 PM, 05:30 PM, and 07:00 PM

    Also read: Away for the Weekend: Exploring the streets of Binondo

    Visita Iglesia to Manila Cathedral
    Manila Cathedral

    4. Manila Cathedral

    Address: corner Cabildo St. and Beaterio St., Intramuros, Manila

    Manila Cathedral is also known as the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Manila Cathedral has also a papal endorsement from Pope Gregory XIII, and was visited by Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Francis.

    It was founded in 1571 and features Romanesque Revival architecture. Today, the extravagant Manila Cathedral is a favorite wedding venue among soon-to-be-married couples.

    Mass Schedules:

    Monday to Saturday: 07:30 AM - 08:30 AM

    Monday to Friday: 07:30 AM - 08:30 AM, 12:15 PM - 01:15 PM

    Sunday: 07:00 AM, 08:30 AM, 10:00 AM, 11:30 AM, and 06:00 PM

    Also read: Away for the Weekend: Intramuros Photo Trip

    Visita Iglesia to San Agustin Church
    Interiors of San Agustin Church
    Intricately-designed door of San Agustin Church
    San Agustin Church door

    5. San Agustin Church

    Address: General Luna St, Manila

    San Agustin Church, officially known as the Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustin (Manila), is one of four churches in the Philippines to be designated as World Heritage site by UNESCO. Completed in 1607, San Agustin Church features a baroque architectural style and is the oldest church in the country.

    Mass Schedules: 

    Monday to Friday: 06:30 AM, 07:00 AM, 05:30 PM

    Saturday: 07:00 AM and 05:30 PM

    Sunday: 08:00 AM, 10:00 AM, and 06:00 PM

    Visita Iglesia to St. Jude Church
    St. Jude Church

    6. St. Jude Church

    Address: Dr. Jose P. Laurel Sr. St., San Miguel, Manila

    Officially known as the National Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus, St. Jude Church is best-known for its novena every Thursday to St. Jude. I was told by a friend that the church is popular among students taking board examinations or individuals who are afflicted with illnesses as St. Jude is recognized as the patron saint of hopeless cases. My friends and I actually went to St. Jude Church after our board exams in 2002.

    Mass Schedules:

    Monday, Tuesday, and Friday: 06:30 AM and 06:00 PM

    Wednesday: 06:30 AM, 12:00 PM (Mass/Novena), and 06:00 PM

    Thursday: 05:00 AM (Tagalog Mass/Novena), 06:00 AM (Mass/Novena/Confession), 07:00 AM (Mass/Novena/Confession), 08:00 AM (Mass/Novena/Confession), 09:00 AM (Novena Only), 10:00 AM (Novena Only), 11:00 AM (Novena Only), 12:00 PM (Mass/Novena), 03:00 PM (Novena Only), 04:00 PM (Novena Only), 05:00 PM (Mass/Novena), 06:15 PM (Mass/Novena), and 07:15 PM (Mass/Novena)

    Saturday: 06:30 AM and 06:00 PM

    Sunday: 06:30 AM, 08:00 AM, 09:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 05:00 PM, and 06:00 PM

    Other Visita Iglesia destination ideas

    1. Heritage Series: Visita Iglesia in Sta. Ana Church, Pampanga
    2. Heritage Series: Visita Iglesia in Arayat, Pampanga
    3. Heritage Series: Churches in Nueva Ecija 
    Enjoy your Visita Iglesia family trip!

    *stock images are courtesy of www.pexels.com
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