Doing Visita Iglesia in Batangas has become very convenient because of STAR Tollway (Southern Tagalog Arterial Road) that runs from Sto. Tomas to Batangas City. STAR Tollway is directly connected to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and travel time from Manila to Batangas City is barely 2 hours because of the toll roads.
So if one is planning to do a Batangas Visita Iglesia, here is my suggested itinerary of 7 Churches in Batangas that are accessible via the STAR Tollway:
PADRE PIO NATIONAL SHRINE (Sto Tomas Exit)
Santo Padre Pio is one of the more famous saints among Filipino Catholics. His teachings on Practical Christian Theology are summed-up by his famous line: “Pray. Hope. Don’t worry.” The church was first established as a barangay chapel and was declared as a separate parish in 2003. In 2008, the parish was declared as Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Padre Pio and in 2015, it was declared as a National Shrine. The Shrine has relics of Padre Pio and The True Cross. It is also the first national shrine in Batangas.
Mass Schedules at the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio are as follows:
Morning: 5:30, 7:00, 8:30, 10:30
Afternoon: 12:00, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00
Mondays to Saturdays
Every 23rd day of the Month
8:00AM and 4:00PM – Novena, Rosary, Confession, Blessing of Religious Items
9:00AM and 5:00PM – Mass followed by Healing Liturgy
How to Get to Padre Pio Shrine, Sto. Tomas, Batangas
If driving from Manila, take Sto. Tomas Exit and follow directional signs scattered along the road going to Lucena. If by bus, take a Lucena bound bus and get off at San Pedro in Sto Tomas or just tell the driver you are going to Padre Pio Shrine. You won’t miss the place as there are plenty of directional signages along the way. It’s a major religious destination so expect lots of people every day.
ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST CHURCH (Tanauan Exit)
Tanuan Church of St John The Evangelist is famous as a wedding church because of its picturesque façade. First built in 1584 and rebuilt to its current structure in 1946, St. John the Evangelist Church bears the seal of the National Historical Institute.
How to Get to St. John the Evangelist Church, Tanuan, Batangas
If driving, take STAR Tollway’s Tanauan Exit, straight ahead. The church is at the end of the road. If by bus, take a bus bound for Lipa via Tanauan. From Tanauan bus stop, walk your way to the church.
SAN SEBASTIAN CATHEDRAL (Lipa Exit)
San Sebastian Cathedral is popularly known as Lipa Cathedral and it is the seat of the Archdiocese of Lipa. The church was first built in 1605 and the current structure was completed in 1894 and was restored in 1950. The church is made of hewn stone and tiled roof and the ceiling is made with artistically painted wood paneling. It has a very extravagant altar ornaments in silver linings. The massive Lipa Cathedral is one of the best looking churches in the province of Batangas. It bears the seal of the National Historical Institute.
How to Get to Lipa Cathedral, Lipa, Batangas
Take Lipa Exit and head towards downtown Lipa. If by bus, take a bus bound for Lipa. From SM Bus Terminal, take a jeep towards Bayan.
OUR LADY OF MT. CARMEL CHURCH (Lipa Exit)
The Church is part of the Monastery of the Contemplative Order of Mt Carmel. It is located in a quite area which is perfect for meditation and prayer. The Church of Mt. Carmel in Lipa is popular around the world because of the “shower of rose petals” that occurred here in 1946 and the appearance of “Mary Mediatrix of All Grace.” Locals believe that this miracle happened here though Vatican has released already the result of intensive study and investigation that “the miracle” is not true and that everything is a hoax. Despite this, pilgrims still flock to Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church in Lipa.
How to Get to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Lipa, Batangas
If driving, take Lipa Exit and head towards downtown Lipa and that the way going to Padre Garcia Town. If by public transfer, take a bus bound for Lipa and from SM Lipa Bus Terminal take a jeepney bound for Padre Garcia and get off in Antipolo where the monastery is located. From Lipa Cathedral, just take a tricycle going to Antipolo.
ST. JAMES THE GREATER CHURCH (Ibaan Exit)
Originally part of Batangas City, Ibaan gained its municipal status in 1804 and the establishment of a separate parish for the new community. Today, St. James the Greater Parish Church is more popularly known as Ibaan Church. The church was first built in 1838 and rebuilt in 1891 after it was destroyed by an earthquake. The church’s design is classic Tuscanic architecture and is made of abode stones. St. James the Greater Church in Ibaan is one of the oldest churches in Batangas. It bears the seal of the National Historical Institute.
How to Get to St. James the Greater Church, Ibaan, Batangas
If driving, take Ibaan Exit and head towards Laiya, San Juan and turn right towards Ibaan. If by public transfer, take a bus bound for Lipa and from SM Lipa Bus Terminal take a jeepney bound for Ibaan. The church is along the highway.
ST. JOSEPH THE PATRIARCH CHURCH (Ibaan Exit)
The municipality of San Jose prides itself as the home of the century-old church of St. Joseph Church which was originally built in 1762. The church is made of lime, pebble, masonry works and baroque architecture. It has intricate altar and a fully restored painted ceiling. At the back of the church is The Way of The Cross and a museum. The Church of St Joseph The Patriarch in San Jose is one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in Batangas. It is a must visit for any Visita Iglesia Batangas.
How to Get to St. Joseph The Patriarch Church, San Jose, Batangas
If driving, take Ibaan Exit and head towards San Jose. Straight ahead towards Bayan. The church is at the end of the road. If by public transfer, take a bus bound for Lipa and from SM Lipa Bus Terminal take a jeepney bound for San Jose. The church is in the town proper.
BASILICA OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION (Batangas Exit)
The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is one of the two minor basilicas in the province of Batangas was granted a minor basilica status in 1948 by Pope Pius XII. It is the second minor basilica in the Philippines after San Sebastian Church in Manila was made a minor basilica in 1890. First built in 1581 and rebuilt between 1682 to 1721, the church up to this date has maintained a well-built structure and elaborate paintings on ceilings and walls.
How to Get to The Minor Basilica of Immaculate Conception, Batangas City
If driving, take the last exit of STAR Tollway and head towards the City Proper. The church is located across Mabini Plaza and close to Batangas City Hall. If by public transfer, take a bus bound for Batangas City and from Batangas City Grand Bus Terminal take a jeepney bound for Palengke Bayan.
Batangas has more beautiful churches apart from the list above. I will make a separate entry for another Batangas Visita Iglesia taking another route.
HASSLE FREE VISITA IGLESIA
For a hassle free Visita Iglesia this Holy Week, join the Batangas Visita Iglesia of J8 Travel Services organized every Maundy Thursday. For inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.