Sunday, April 12, 2009

Routes revisited: paniniwala, pananampalataya at paglalakbay

April 9-10, 2009
My day started early when my family and i went out for the traditional Visita Iglesia.

It has been slowly becoming a tradition of sorts. Three years ago, my family and i decided to have a roadtrip to bulacan province. Later on, some part of Quezon and a trip around the churches and chapels of Metro Manila.

This year, we decided to go South again.

Calamba, Laguna

Our Visita Iglesia started from Calamba, Laguna. The church is dedicated to its patron saint, St. John the Baptist. At the front of the church yard are bas reliefs of the station of the cross sorrounded by trees and plants. It has a beautiful ambience and most tourists attend mass on it. I remember, when I was a child we attend mass in it after we visit the Rizal Shrine. For it is said that on this church, Dr. Jose P. Rizal was baptized. How cool is that!

St. John the Baptist, Calamba, Laguna

Bay, Laguna

Bay is one of the oldest towns in Laguna province. The Patron of bay is Saint Augustine oh Hippo. It has a simple early renaissance facade which has a semicircular arched main entrance, windows and a pediment.

St. Augustine Church, Bay, Laguna

Pila, Laguna

In the middle of the hot afternoon we arrive in Pila, Laguna. Pila is a prime example of Spanish Colonial urban planning at the turn-of-the-century. The town of Pila has maintained it's old colonial heritage amidst the vastly changing landscapes and rapid rush towards industralization by other neighboring towns as well as the old Saint Anthony of Padua Parish Church, the first Antonine church in the Philippines. As i was foretold, they say that the church was erected in 1578. The interior is full of gold embellishments especially the altar. Though the bell tower has a different color as compared with the main church we are astound to its uniqueness along the old houses and its red colored municipal hall.

Saint Anthony of Padua Parish Church

Pila Municipal hall

Pagsanjan, Laguna

Hungry and exhausted, we decided to eat our lunch in a small but cute restaurant along the way in Pagsanjan. i already forgot the name of the resto but i clearly remember the taste of "sinaing na tulingan" Mackarel tuna and for the desert minaneng kamoteng kahoy” or simply “minane.” . Stuffed and already full, we continue to stroll around the Plaza and the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The church is dedicated to the town patroness, Our Lady of Guadalupe. The high altar's icon is the original one from pre-war. It was said to have been imported from Mexico, where the patroness first appeared.

Luisiana, Laguna

Along the way, we can't help ourselves to open our car windows, for the sweet and crisp smell of wet grasses and warm-chill wind of April. We're so delighted to see the lovely field of crops and the animals gazing them. In the outskirt of the Province of Laguna, Luisiana is basically an agricultural town.

Its been a long road trip and the roads become zigzagged with lots of sharp twists and turns. My father whose been here a lot of times told us that this is one of the reasons why Luisiana is called the "little Baguio of Laguna." The Our Lady of the Rosary stands majestically the centuries-old catholic church.

Lucban, Quezon

Lucban, Quezon is the place most closest to my heart. My father is a 'lucbanin' as they called.He spent his early years, practically where he, together with my aunties' and uncles' and childhood friends, grew up. We actually visit lucban twice to thrice a year, visiting my grandmother and other relatives. I even got an ex-boyfriend there lol. Going for our second to the last stop of our bisita iglesia.

We went to the parish of Saint Louis, Bishop of Tolouse. This church was first constructed in 1595 but was ruined by fires in different occasions. The present church was completed in 1738. No matter how many photos I take, all of them have a trace of its old age. It is interesting to note that this is the third church after it was rebuilt cause by war and fire.

Our final last stop. Kamay ni Hesus Healing Church.

It is located on the slopes of Mt. Banahaw that considered by locals as a holy ground. The shrine is situated in Barangay Tinamnan, Lucban, Quezon. Before reaching the top, you will be passing (while climbing) the statues of the 14 Stations of the Cross. On the top is a large statue of Jesus Christ, a 50-foot statue that is said to be the third biggest in the world. You will also be delighted with the life-size carving of the Last Supper. Before you decide to go up the steep mountain, you may want to visit the church right at the foot of the hill. There is a healing mass that is held on Mondays and Saturdays.

As our roadtrip to laguna and quezon comes to end. We still end up with a smile in our faces and a big faith in our heart. We were astound by the beautiful churches we visited yet of course did not forgot what is our purpose being there and that is to pray and reflect.This is one of those experiences that my family and i may not forget .

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