VISITA IGLESIA Text: Rachel Kwek
THREE SITES FOR During Holy Week, Filipinos practise Visita Iglesia — the act of visiting and praying in at least seven churches that was introduced to the Philippines by Augustinian missionaries in the 1560s. Asiangeographic takes a look at three popular
MONASTERIO DE TARLAC
Tarlac, Central Luzon Perched atop Mount Resurrection, part of the Zambales Mountain Range is Monasterio de Tarlac – home of the Relic of the Holy Cross. It was enshrined in the chapel in January 2007 in a ceremony officiated by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the then papal nuncio to the Philippines. The cross is believed to be one of three used in Jesus’ crucifixion that Saint Helena excavated in Jerusalem. Pilgrims can touch it at 3pm on Sundays and 10.30am on other days.
Constructed for use as a hermitage for monks, the monastry is now a popular place of worship for Catholics. Its founder Reverend Archie Cortez desired a place where the new community of believers known as Servants of the Risen Christ could dedicate themselves to a life of prayer and solitude, and shared this with the then governor, who later granted a piece of land for this purpose. Its foundation was laid in 2000 and hermitages for the monks were completed three years later. Besides a nine-metre-high statue of Jesus, a 12- room dormitory and a columbarium are also built in the compound. Holy Week, when special services and rituals are held, is a popular time for pilgrims to visit.
OUR LADY OF LOURDES GROTTO Bulacan, Central Luzon An exact replica of Lourdes Grotto in France, this well-known religious venue features a reconstruction of the 14 Stations of the Cross with life-size statues and Rosary Hill with 155 huge concrete beads. Opened in 1965, it was built by the Guanzon family as an act of thanksgiving after Anita Guidote-guanzon was miraculously cured from cancer after pilgrimaging to Lourdes in 1961. The privately owned property is now run by the eldest child of Anita, who passed away in 1990. It is also known for a spring that runs below the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes whose water is believed to have healing powers.
Where: BANAL NA BUNDUK DALAN NING KRUS Where:
Pampanga, Central Luzon Located at the foot of Mount Arayat, this is a popular site where local Christians like to visit, especially during Holy Week. It is the brainchild of Soroptimist International (SI) of Magalang, a voluntary organisation of women from 21 countries founded in 1921 to better the lives of other women. Banal na Bunduk Dalan Ning Krus draws pilgrims from the Philippines and beyond with its life-sized statues that replicate the Stations of the Cross, including a 12-metre- tall statue of Christ, erected in 2015, which marks the 14th station. Moving sequentially from one station to the next takes you on a 1.6-kilometre trek to the summit, where you can get a bird’s-eye view of Pampanga. ag
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