Eight Churches in Batangas for Visita Iglesia

The Visita Iglesia is a religious tradition to visit seven churches on the evening of Holy Thursday to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. If you’ve chosen Batangas as your next destination to visit this Holy Week, read on for these suggested churches for Visita Iglesia in Batangas, Philippines.

 

Visita Iglesia in Batangas

In the Philippines, where more than 86% are Christians, it has been a tradition for devotees to do Visita Iglesia during Maundy Thursday. The practice is to visit at least seven churches and recite the Stations of the Cross in the churches to be visited. Others would visit fourteen churches to complete the fourteen stations.

Two years ago, I joined a group of parishioners from St. Joseph Parish in Balintawak in their Visita Iglesia in Batangas. One of my friends is a parishioner here. The group started off very early morning at St. Joseph the Worker Parish. I was coming from south of Manila that time so I opted to join them in their first stop in Batangas. Here are some of the many churches you can visit in Batangas.

 

1. St. Thomas Aquinas Parish

210 General Malvar Avenue, Sto. Tomas, Batangas

St. Thomas Aquinas Church It’s surprising to know that this church has been built around 1800’s because looking at the church then (two years ago), it looked like newly built. Obviously, it has been extensively renovated. I actually like the façade of the church.

2. National Shrine of Padre Pio

San Pedro, Sto. Tomas, Batangas

National Shrine of Padre Pio, Batangas

The National Shrine of Padre Pio is a newly built church made with indigenous materials such as wood, bamboo and sasa. Padre Pio, an Italian priest, is known for bearing the stigmata, the five wounds of Christ, for 50 years until his death.

I love the concept of the church’s salakot-shaped (Salakot is a traditional Filipino wide-brimmed hat usually made of rattan or reeds) roof. According to the church’s dedicated website, the salakot symbolizes God’s protection to its people, just like how the salakot protects the farmers and fishermen from the weather.

National Shrine of Padre Pio, Batangas

The church’s traditional design makes coming to church feel like going home in the province. It’s also breezy inside due to natural ventilation.

National Shrine of Padre Pio, Batangas Visita Iglesia in Batangas

A separate structure form the church is the Mother of Mercy Belfry. In the 1st floor of the belfry rests the Chapel of the Living Water, where water flows in a fountain. The water is believed to be miraculous.

National Shrine of Padre Pio, Batangas National Shrine of Padre Pio, Batangas

3. Tanauan Church/ St. John the Evangelist Church

A. Mabini Avenue,Brgy. 1, Poblacion, Tanauan, Batangas

St. John the Evangelist Church, Batangas The original church made of wood dates back to 1690, and is built at the edge of Bombon lake, now called Taal Lake. The church was replaced with stone structure in 1732. However, it had to be relocated to where it stands now, after Taal Volcano’s eruption in 1754 sank the church. The church was built in 1881, but was again destroyed in 1944 during the World War. It was rebuilt again in 1948, with the façade closely resembling the original.

St. John the Evangelist Church, Batangas

4. Nuestra Senora de la Soledad Parish

Darasa, Tanauan, Batangas

Nuestra Senora de la Soledad Parish

This church was built in 2008 on a parcel of land owned and donated by Mr. Danilo Dolor, in memory of his mother Doña Soledad Lirio Dolor. Mr. Dolor is a devotee of Nuestra Senora de la Soledad.

 

5. Cathedral of Lipa or San Sebastian Cathedral

G. Solis St., Lipa, Batangas

San Sebastian Cathedral, Lipa The Cathedral of Lipa is also named as San Sebastian Cathedral, the patron saint of soldiers and athletes. This historical church shares a similar built-destroyed-rebuilt-restored story as the Tanauan Church. It was likewise submerged by Taal Volcano after its eruption in 1754, and rebuilt to its current location. Again, it was heavily damaged during the World War and was restored later.

San Sebastian Cathedral, Lipa, Batangas

The most striking characteristic of this church is the impressive domed ceiling, its grand altar and colorful paintings around the church. I was actually staring at the intricate ceiling for the most part that I was inside. There’s just a different tranquil atmosphere inside, like being transported to Europe. Imagine the air was cool and the only illumination comes from streak of light passing through several small windows of the dome.

San Sebastian Cathedral, Lipa, Batangas

6. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish

P. Torres Street, Poblacion, Lipa City, Batangas

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, also called the Monastery of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace, albeit its relatively modern architecture compared with the century-old Batangas churches, also has an interesting history to tell. In September 1948, two years after the church was built, story has been told that the Blessed Virgin Mary has appeared to a Carmelite nun named Teresita Castillo inside the church grounds.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, BatangasOther miracles occurred including the showering of petals inside and out of the convent. However, the apparition was not officially recognized by the Church as a supernatural intervention. This decision is not entirely free of controversy as some bishops were allegedly forced to sign the declaration disfavoring the apparition.

It’s hard to judge if the apparitions are authentic or not. The fact is that I’ve witnessed how a lot of devotees flock into the chapel on a Holy Week when we did the Visita Iglesia.

 

7. Parish of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace

P. Torres Street, Antipolo del Norte, Lipa, Batangas

Parish of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, BatangasQuite confusing because #6 and this parish are similarly named. These two are actually located close to each other. It turns out that the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, also named as Monastery of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace is a convent, while Parish of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace is a church built in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary who appeared to the Carmelite nun in the monastery.

Parish of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, Batangas

Parish of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, Batangas

The lot where the church now stands is donated by the family of Mr. Danilo Dolor. Yes, it’s the same family as the one who donated the land in Church #4. The church grounds is very spacious with a green park fronting the church’s entrance. The church was interestingly designed by a priest architect, Rev. Fr. Alex Bautista.

8. St. Joseph the Patriarch Church

Poblacion, San Jose, Batangas

St. Joseph the Patriarch Church, BatangasThis is another century-old Augustinian church in Batangas, dating back to 1762. The architecture features Baroque and neo classical design built in the honor of St. Joseph Marello. The domed ceilings above the altar are also impressive.

St. Joseph the Patriarch Church, Batangas St. Joseph the Patriarch Church, Batangas St. Joseph the Patriarch Church, Batangas

Holy Week is a much awaited time of the year in the Philippines. For Filipinos, it equates to long vacation off the daily grind. For Christian devotees, it’s a time for spiritual revitalization, meditation and activities like Visita Iglesia, mountain climbing, Stations of the Cross, etc. Whatever your plans are this Holy Week, be mindful of your garbage from your outdoor activities. More crowd = more wastes. Be a responsible traveler, reduce waste at source and properly manage your wastes.


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St. Joseph the Patriarch Church, Batangas

15 thoughts on “Eight Churches in Batangas for Visita Iglesia

  1. travellingdany

    St. Thomas Aquinas Parish is I think my favorite, but what made me curious is the National Shrine of Padre Pio! I don’t live too far away from Pietralcina and here he’s pretty well known and loved. I had no idea there were worshippers so far away from home, too!

    1. findingjing Post author

      Nice to hear about Padre Pio from his home country. I guess St. Pio’s message of hope and healing resonates well with the Filipinos. In fact, there are miracles of healing here attributed to the Saint’s devotion.

  2. Dave (Silverbackpacker)

    I Like to visit Philippine churches but still havent made it to Batangas yet. I have made a note of National Shrine of Padre Pio. That church looks amazing. Justsad about the earthquakes in Batangas this week and damage to some churches there.

    1. findingjing Post author

      Hi Dave! It is unfortunate that an earthquake did partially damaged some of the century-old houses in Batangas. Still checking though if the churches listed here are safe to visit at this moment.

  3. Always a Friday

    Wow this is such and interesting guide and they are all so beautiful! I especially loved the San Sebastian Cathedral and St Joseph Church, the intricate detail and colours inside just took my breath away! What an incredible experience this must have been!

    1. findingjing Post author

      Thanks a lot for your comment. The churches, especially the century-old ones are indeed beautiful. Batangas was unfortunately hit by an earthquake yesterday afternoon and I hope the churches listed here, as well as everyone in Batangas are intact and safe.

  4. Silvia @FindingUpendi

    Have never visited but a lot of these churches remind me of the ones you’d find scattered across the Canary Islands, which I guess makes sense given they were all built by the Spanish! Beautiful photos!

  5. Brianna

    These are some very beautiful churches! I love how aesthetically different they all are. When I visit churches, my favorite part is looking up at the ceiling. They are usually so detailed and amazing.

  6. The Roaming Renegades.com

    Wow these churches are beautiful! Batangas looks like a great area to explore, we will be visiting the Philippines soon and this has been added to our ever growing list!

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