If you’re like me and you only have one rest day for Holy Week, you’ll probably end up staying in the city. Why not make it worthwhile by following the Catholic tradition of Visita Iglesia? You not only get to pray and reflect but also visit beautiful historical and cultural landmarks.
Yesterday, I visited seven churches in Quezon City for my report for Bandila. Watch our television report below (in Filipino) or continue reading (in English) about the churches I chose.
Santo Domingo Church – Known also as the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila, the Santo Domingo Church is the largest Catholic church in Metro Manila. If you read my previous Visita Iglesia post, you’ll know that it was constructed, based on the design of architect Jose Zaragoza, after the original church in Intramuros was destroyed during World War II.
Church of the Gesu – I like this church because of its unconventional design. Shaped like a triangle to symbolize the Holy Trinity, its aesthetic is simple, functional and environment-friendly. The glass windows on its slanted ceiling allow natural light in and give churchgoers a glimpse of the trees. It is inside Ateneo de Manila University where I am taking my graduate studies.
Monasterio de Santa Clara – Ever since I was a child, our family would visit Santa Clara to offer eggs and prayers. Even on a weekday, it is filled with people. The church’s facade is small compared to the other churches we visited but it is quite beautiful, with the fountain and a statue of Mary in front.
Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral – I was quite amazed when I first entered the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral. Outside, it has intricately-sculpted embellishments but inside it’s like a palace. My photos cannot capture its beauty but trust me when I say that the paintings on the ceiling are incredibly “royal,” especially when matched with the violet banners.
Parish of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary (Twin Hearts) – From photos alone, you’ll think that this charming church is in Tagaytay but it’s actually in Quezon City, hidden inside a subdivision in West Triangle, QC. It’s not surprising that it’s a popular wedding venue. Just look at the outside and the details on the altar.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Shrine – I have been to this church before to attend a wake and apparently, it was once popular for holding wakes for prominent personalities. Built to honor Filipino Marian devotion, it features a big statue of Mary on its facade. We weren’t allowed to shoot inside so unfortunately, I was not able to take photos of its breathtaking stained glass windows. Fun/sad fact: Its priests do not allow wakes of actors and actresses to be held there…after fans of Julie Vega destroyed several church pews (perhaps in the commotion).
Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish – Last but not the least is the church that has such a conspicuous marker – a cross and a heart. Located in Kamuning, it is just as busy as Santa Clara. If you are standing outside, look closely at the image of Christ with the Sacred Heart. Do you feel like he’s staring straight at you?
So there. Seven churches to visit in Quezon City. You could also check out the Church of the Holy Sacrifice inside the University of the Philippines and the Santuario de San Pedro Bautista, which was founded by a saint.