Visita Iglesia, which translates literally to “church visit” in Spanish, means to explore churches with prayer, meditation and full acknowledgement of Jesus’ sufferings. It is a Holy Week tradition of Roman origin, which is practiced by a number of Filipino Christians
by visiting at least seven churches usually starting Maundy Thursday.
The province of Rizal, which is situated at the east of Metro Manila and subdivided into thirteen municipalities and a city, is named after the country’s national hero Jose Rizal. This place evokes simple, provincial charm with small dashes of Manila-like urbanity
scattered all over its generally mountainous terrain.
St. Michael the Archangel Parish – Jalajala, Rizal
A bamboo church was constructed by Franciscan Father Saro where people could gather for catechesis and worship in 1676. The bamboo church was replaced by a church of stone more than half a century later, in 1733, and it was around this time that the parish is said to have welcomed the patron for their church and community-St. Michael the Archangel, protector of the people and of the land. The devotion to St. Michael is so strong to this day that the municipality of Jalajala is practically synonymous to St. Michael.
Parokya ni Santa Maria Magdalena – Pililla, Rizal
The first Pililla Church was erected through the help of the townspeople using nipa and bamboo for building material. It was a humble beginning yet filled with awe as the early people of Pililla have shown their great desire to encounter God amidst their community.
But the first church was burned down after sometime. The missionaries decided to put up a stone church in 1670. It was completed in 1673, and this church was dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene.
San Ildelfonso de Toledo Parish – Tanay, Rizal
The first stone church of Tanay was built in 1680 in the location of Tanay Park today. The present church was built and constructed in 1773 and was completed in 1783. It is an example of early Renaissance Architecture. The church is famous for its beautiful ‘retablos’ (altars) and 14 ‘Via Crucis’ or Station of the Cross curved in bass relief of wood and other antiques. It is also famed as one of the very few churches in the country that features Rococo Artwork, a style popular during the 18th century characterized by curves and
Regina RICA Sanctuary – Tanay, Rizal
Sitting at the peak of the mountains of Tanay, Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia or Regina RICA (which translated means “rich lady”) is home to the 71 ft-tall statue of the Regina Rosari i (Queen of the Holy Rosary), also known as “Our Lady on Top of the Hill”. Masterfully sculpted by Jose Barcena Jr., the icon’s construction started on October 7, 2009. It was blessed on March 19, 2010. The 13.5 ha land, which is managed by the Dominican sisters of Regina Rosarii, holds the second of three Regina Rosarii statues in the Philippines and is blessed with three waterfalls, organic gardens, a creek, an endless view of blue skies, gorgeous flowers and greenery, rolling hills and a huge chapel on the road to completion (and lots, lots more). This sanctuary is held to be a place reserved for retreats and healing.
St. Joseph Husband of Mary Parish – Baras, Rizal
St. Joseph Parish is one of the oldest churches in Rizal, having been completed in 1686. The Franciscans started to build the church in 1595. The town was transferred to Ibayo in 1636 but returned to the present site in 1682. The Jesuits administered the parish from 1616 to 1679. The altar and lectern were constructed with stones that were unearthed from beneath the site of the church. The present church was completed in 1686. Its distinct Baroque Architectural design distinguishes Saint Joseph Parish from other churches in Rizal.
St. Jerome Parish – Morong, Rizal
Saint Jerome church was built by Chinese artisans in 1615 with stone and mortars. Its design was distinct from Chinese-Baroque Architecture. It has two Chinese lion sculptures at the entrance that serve as the storey façade and the octagonal bell tower of the church. There are pock marks on the walls and surroundings of the church caused by bullet holes indicating fights between Katipuneros and Guardia Civils during the revolt of the Filipinos against the Spaniards in the later part of 19th century.
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish – Cardona, Rizal
The parish of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Cardona was founded in 1872 by Franciscan missionaries who had been stationed in Morong since the 16th century and who had established mission centers along the shores of Laguna de bay, which eventually
developed in two parishes. It is said that when Cardona was still a sitio of Morong, there was an image of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary kept in the main church, which would sometimes mysteriously disappear. Each time the statue would just mysteriously return to
the church and caretakers would always find amorseco, a grass weed that grows abundantly in the area known as Sapao. They conclude that the Blessed Mother herself had chosen where her image should be enshrined.
St. Rose de Lima Parish – Teresa, Rizal
The Parish of St. Rose of Lima is situated in the valley of Teresa formerly called Oroquieta, and used to be part of the municipality of Morong before it was annexed to Antipolo. The town’s name Oroquieta was later changed to Sta. Rosa in honor of the Patroness. For the third time, Sta. Rosa was finally moved to the jurisdiction of Teresa in honor of the mother of Don Mariano Rodriquez Candelaria, a spanish lawyer who labored for the independence of the town. In 1903 a chapel, a camalig style building was erected to honor Sta Rosa.
Our lady of Peace and Good Voyage Shrine – Antipolo City, Rizal
The Antipolo Cathedral is home of Antipolo’s renowned miraculous icon, the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. Historians say that this miraculous image has sailed back and forth between Manila and Acapulco eight times, and on several occasions, was credited
with saving her galleon from destruction by pirates and Dutch and British blockades. The galleon’s safe arrivals were attributed to the miraculous power of the statuette. This church was established in 1578. When the image was brought to the town of Antipolo on
November 26, 1926 by Archbishop Michael o’Doherty, it was then, that the pilgrimage to Virgin Mary started. Thousands of devotees especially those intending to travel abroad come to pay homage to Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage to ask for safe voyage.
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