Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Bulacan Visita Iglesia

The province of Bulacan, home of many old churches and a lot of history. This is became the destination of my Visita Iglesia for 2011. The Visita Iglesia or church visit, goes way back when the early Christians visit the 7 great basilicas in Rome for the adoration of the blessed sacrament. For convenience, usually one goes to churches within the immediate vicinities. This is my attempt to go out of convenience.

First stop, the Barasoain Church in Malolos. This church housed the first Philippine Republic and the site of the Constitutional Convention. It is a popular tourist destination, and one of the most beautiful churches in the province.

The second church on the list is the Santiago de Apostol in Paombong, Bulacan or St. James and it was along the way to Brgy. Kapitangan, Paombong. The attempt to go to the Bisita(chapel) at Kapitangan was cut short because of the narrow roads and no parking space. This is where the Hampas Dugo are and a reenactment of the crucifixion takes place. Unfortunately, these penitents all go out during Good Friday.

So after abandoning the search for the Hampas Dugo penitents, Hagonoy is next where the National Shrine for St. Anne stood. This century-old church is the only place in the Philippines where the relics of St. Anne and St. Joachim, parents of the blessed Virgin Mary, are kept.

Here is a shot of the beautiful interior of the Shrine of St. Anne. The ceiling is made of real wood and the local artisan's artworks are impressive.

After the shrine, we head back to a church we skipped. The seat of the Diocese of Malolos, The Basilica Minore of the Immaculate Concepcion. Located at the center of Malolos, this was the seat of executive power of Emilio Aguinaldo for a few years.

Sta. Isabel was the next stop. Partially hidden from the high volume roads of Malolos and not as big as Barasoain and the Basilica, this church boasts of a greener patio and courtyard.

A view of the interior of Sta. Isabel.
After Sta. Isabel, the next stop was Sta. Rita de Cascia. It wasn't a church that might get awarded with heritage benefits, but the church is known for its unique design during the Holy Week. Arriving at the church, the design is still being put up, yet in its assembly stage, it already looks good. I skipped the part of taking photos of this church, since its setup wasn't completely done yet.

The seventh stop of the Visita Iglesia ended in the oldest church in Plaridel, the Santiago de Apostol. According to records, this church had stood for 400 years.

Altar of Santiago de Apostol in Plaridel