Holy week or not, these 7 Century Old Churches in Laguna are worth visiting because of their historical and cultural value. And as a cultural and religious tradition among Filipino Catholics, doing a Visita Iglesia during Maundy Thursday is a way of getting closer to God while remembering His passion, death and resurrection and at the same time repenting and doing penance for the sins one has committed.
Just in case one is planning to do a Laguna Visita Iglesia this Holy Week or anytime soon, here are 7 Churches in Laguna you may want to visit:
CALAMBA (St. John De Baptist Church)
Who haven’t heard of Calamba? Calamba is popular because it is the birth place of everybody-knows-who. And did you know that he got baptized here in 1861? Perhaps we all know his life and works. Calamba is the home of St. John De Baptist church which was first built in 1779 and reconstructed in 1859 and was again destroyed after WWII and rebuilt to its current form. It features a baroque style and strained glass windows. The Church of St. John De Baptist in Calamba, Laguna is a National Historical Landmark as certified by the National Historical Institute.
How to get to Calamba, Laguna
Granting one will take public transportation to visit these 7 Century Old Churches in Laguna, from Manila, proceed to Pasay Bus Terminal near LRT 1 Buendia Station and take a bus bound for Calamba. From the Bus terminal in Calamba, take a tricycle going to the Church.
The Church is across House of Rizal.
BAY (St. Agustine Church)
The Municipality of Bay (say that as Ba-eh) is the home of the century old Church of St. Agustine of Hippo. First built in 1571 and rebuilt after a strong quake in 1880 and further rebuilt after World War II, the current Church of St. Agustine in Bay was built in 1953. It features a stunning 4 storey bell tower and simple early renaissance façade with a semi-circular arch entrance and windows. The Church of St. Agustine in Bay, Laguna is a National Historical Landmark as certified by the National Historical Institute.
How to Get to Bay, Laguna
From Calamba, take a jeepney bound for Bay or Sta Cruz. Stop by the Municipal Hall where the church is few steps away.
PILA (St. Anthony De Padua Church)
The town of Pila is one of the Heritage Towns in the Philippines as declared by the National Historical Institute. The entire town of Pila was declared a National Historical Landmark in 2000. That being said, Pila prides itself with some of the best Spanish ancestral houses in the Philippines – at par with the ones in Vigan, Taal and Silay. Pila’s century-old church of St. Anthony De Padua – the first Antonine Church in the Philippines, was first built in 1578 and relocated in 1800 to where it currently stands today. It was destroyed by the 1880 earthquake and rebuilt in the 19th century. It was spared from destruction during WWII because of its strong stone structure. In 2002, it was declared by the Diocese of San Pablo as the Diocesan Shrine of St. Anthony De Padua. The church houses a relic of St. Anthony De Padua.
How to Get to Pila, Laguna
From Bay, take a jeepney bound for Pila, Pagsanjan or Sta. Cruz and and tell Manong driver that you will stop at Pila Church.
Within the square of St. Anthony De Padua Church are Century-old Ancestral Houses, Pila Museum and the Municipal hall
PAGSANJAN (Our Lady of Guadalupe Church)
Famous because of the waterfalls which actually is not located here, Pagsanjan is a major Philippine Tourist destination. People flock to Pagsanjan for waterfalling, rafting, canoeing shooting the rapids and other similar activities – thanks to Pagsanjan Falls that rightfully belong to the neighboring town of Cavinti. Pagsanjan is the home of the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe under the Diocese of San Pablo. It is the oldest church in the Philippines dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Originally built in 1678, the current church was completed in 1969 is a replica of the 1872 church which was destroyed during WWII.
How to Get to Pagsanjan, Laguna
From Pila, take a jeep bound for Sta Cruz or Cavinti and get off at Pagsanjan town proper. The church is located at the end of the national and the imposing church is right across the road.
The Church is located near the Pagsanjan River
MAGDALENA (St. Magdalene Church)
Situated at the foot of Mt. Banahaw, the town of Magdalena is the home of the famous and imposing St. Magdalene Church originally built in 1820. The stone church that stands today was first completed in 1855 where people were forced to pay taxes, quarry sand and stones from the river to finance its construction. The church prides itself with a four story octagonal bell tower, elevated steps and built mostly from sandstone.
How to Get to Magdalena, Laguna
From Pagsanjan, take a jeepney bound for Magdalena or Liliw and tell the driver that you are stopping at the church.
During the Spanish Revolt of 1898, Emilio Jacinto took refuse in this church after being wounder in a battle. His blood stains where found in the floor of the church. Details about this is properly documented in the church’ archives.
LILIW (St. John the Baptist Church)
Liliw is known as the Tsinelas (slipper) Capital of the Philippines (do I hear Marikina saying “sa inyo and tsinelas, sa amin ang sapatos?”) because of its thriving tsinelas industry. Located at the foot of Mt. Banahaw, the town of Liliw is the home of the century old church of St. John the Baptist. The church prides itself with its striking red brick and adobe facade and baroque style architecture. In front of the church is a patio of Saints known as Patio De Sagrada Familia. All the statues of saints here are the patron saints of all barangays of Liliw.
How to Get To Liliw, Laguna
From Magdalena, take a jeepney bound for Liliw. Get off at the junction going to the church.
The church has a beautiful four-level main alter with 13 niches housing statues of saints.
NAGCARLAN (St. Bartholomew Church)
Made famous because of the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery, this small town located at the foot of Mt. Banahaw is more than the cemetery. It is home to some unexplored watefalls, lakes, mountains and Spanish colonial houses. It is also the home of Saint Bartholomew, the Apostle Parish Church which was first built in 1583. The multi-colored stones and bricks which the church is made of is from the offerings of the people during its construction. The church prides itself with a three-tier baroque style facade, semi-circular door and windows, tall pedestals and columns and a four level bricks bell tower.
How to Get to Nagcarlan
For Liliw, take a jeep bound for Nagcarlan.
Kampanerang Kuba was filmed here.
Granting that you still have time, end your Laguna Visita Iglesia at the century old St. Gregory the Great Church in Majayjay. Majayjay Church is a one of the oldest churches in the Philippines and recognized as a National Cultural Treasure.
HASSLE FREE VISITA IGLESIA
For a hassle free Visita Iglesia this Holy Week, join the Laguna Visita Iglesia of J8 Travel Services organized every Maundy Thursday. For inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.