The Bisita Iglesia (Church Visitation) is a Catholic Filipino tradition observed during Holy Week (mostly Maundy Thursdays and Good Fridays). Over the years, we usually visit 14 churches around Metro Manila, and say one station of the Way of the Cross at each church. Last year, we visited 7 churches in Batangas (doing 2 stations per church).
This year, we visited 3 churches and made the entire Way of the Cross on each of them. Along the way, I managed to take some pictures on 2 other churches.
1st Stop: Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face
The church is about a couple of years old and is located at the back of the Total Gas Station (across from the NAIA Terminal 3). The interior is huge and the design of the structure allows the entry of available lighting.
The altar is very beautiful mostly in earth tones and gold. At the center is the crucified Christ and the Holy Spirit (in the form of a dove) on top.
Each station of Way of the Cross is included in the beautiful stained-glass windows depicting moments in the life of St. Therese.
The dome above the altar is 60 feet in diameter and adorned with stained-glass windows depicting 9 popes and 7 saints in relation to the life and sainthood of St Therese. I was able to get all the images (except two): Popes Leo XIII, Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II; Saints Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Joan of Arc, Edith Stein, and Mother Teresa.
The main doors (both closed during our visit) depicts the carved image of the Holy Face, and St Therese. Each image is surrounded by 12 roses depicting the 24 years of St Therese’s life.
The Right Transept
In church architecture, the recess on either side of the altar is called a transept. On the west wall (towards the rear) of the right transept is a gigantic illustration of The Lady of All Nations. Across (on the east wall) is the reliquary, where donated relics are kept at a tabernacle-like housing (covered in the picture).
The Left Transept
Above the North Entranct (door on the left transept) is a stained-glass window showing Our Lady of Victories. When Therese was a child, she was struck by an unknown illness. Her father made novenas to Our Lady of Victories for the healing of the child Therese. In response to his prayers, Our Lady of the Smile (on the east wall of the left transept), appeared to Therese and heal her.
To the left of the entrance is an illustration of Jesus, King of Mercy. On the west wall is a life-sized Crucified Christ.
Outside the door (elow the 1st Station) is a statues of Our Lady of Good Voyage (I think)
The Multi-purpose Hall and Photographers’ balcony
From the altar, I took this shot looking towards the entrance. Above the main doors is the Multi-Purpose Hall, a statue of the Resurrected Christ (the 15th Station), and the photographers’s balcony above that.
Above the entrance of the church is an enclosed hall (Multi-Purpose Hall) where parents may take crying children. The glass partition allows those within to view the inside of the church, and prevents the sound of crying children from disrupting the mass/ceremony. On on side is a circular stained-glass window with 24 roses signifying the 24 years of St Therese’s life.
2nd Stop: Redemptorist Church (Baclaran)
Otherwise known as The National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, this popular religious site draws thousands of devotees from all walks of life and is almost never empty (even in the wee hours between midnight and dawn). If you want to know more about the shrine, visit http://www.baclaranovena.org/
It was dark inside so I wasn’t able to take pictures of the stations as we said the Way of the Cross.
This last picture I took captures a message of God’s mercy as uttered by Jesus on the Cross: Ama, patawarin mo sila sapagkat hindi nila alam ang kanilang ginagawa (English translation: Father, forgive them for they know not what they do). Truly reflective of Christ’s love, mercy and compassion.
1st Segway: Malate Church
As it was lunch time, we decided to take our lunch at the Max’s Restaurant near the Malate Church. While waiting for our order, I took the time to take pictures of the Malate Church and the park in front.
The Rajah Sulayman Park is between the Malate Church and Roxas Boulevard (formerly Dewey Boulevard). In the middle of the park is a lark sculpture of Rajah Sulayman, last ruler of Manila. He was defeated by the Spanish forces led by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi.
Before reaching the church, there is a sculture of the patroness (above).
The church was established by the Augustinian friars on September 8, 1588. The image of the Virgen de los Remedios was brought from Spain to Malate by Friar Juan de Guevara, OSA, in 1624. (For more details, please visit www.malatecatholicchurch.org)
The church is relatively small, making it a little cozy. I guess that’s why the parish organization decided to erect stations of the Cross outside the church to accommodate the crowds. Here’s a shot of the interior.
I also took pictures of the stained glass windows around.
Mary’s Different Titles
Here are the rest of the pictures I took:
Of course, the patroness of the Malate Church:
2nd Segway: Binondo Church
After lunch, the 3rd (last stop) was Quiapo Church, we decided to loop by Binondo (to buy some hopia from Eng Bee Tin) enroute . This year, it was crowded around Binondo Church so I had to loop back until I chanced on a parking space.
The nave of the church (where the parishioners are seated) is expanded (combined with the aisles on either side).
The ceiling panels along the nortn (left) side depict scenes from Christ’s Passion: The Agony in the Garden, Scourging, Pilate presenting Jesus (Ecce Homo), Carrying of the Cross, and Crucifixion.
The ceiling panels along the south (right) side of the building depicts scenes from the Joyful Mysteries. The central ceiling panels depict scenes from the Glorious Mysteries.
3rd Stop: Quiapo Church
The last stop in this year’s Bisita Iglesia is the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene.
The interior was packed with devotees praying the rosary, saying the stations of the cross, and long lines to the confessional.
The Stations of the Cross are of modern metallic art motif.
These are the other shots I took of the images inside the church.
It was hot and a little tiring but it was worth it. The next day we go to Manaoag!