It is part of our family tradition to go on Visita Iglesia every year! Most of the time we prefer going on road trips to different provinces in Luzon. We’ve tried going on spontaneous trips on both the Northern and Southern parts of Luzon. It is both exciting and scary to have no itinerary prepared for these trips because even though it’s always fun to discover new places, it is still quite scary too, knowing you can get lost anytime (especially when we finish late, we’d have to endure the long drive home with me imagining all the crazy stuff about supernatural beings and ala-Wrong Turn/Texas Chainsaw Massacre scenarios in my mind!).
Though this year, it wasn’t exactly like the ones we had before. It wasn’t really like the spontaneous adventures we had years ago because if before, our parents had to print out a copy of a list of churches some bloggers were good enough to post on the internet and head out based on instinct and brave hearts, this year, we were now more familiar with the towns of Rizal and Laguna and we know what churches to visit and how to reach them!
FLASHBACK: Last year, we went to visit some of our relatives in Ilocos (I remember not being able to finish our review because we had to leave at lunch time) and on the way there, we passed by Pangasinan (where we stayed the night) where we got to visit the Our Lady of Manaoag Church for the first time (just about 3 months before our board exams :)), the year before that, our parents got into a fight so it was a good thing that we had relatives who were kind enough to take us on their Visita Iglesia around Manila with them. The year before that we went on a much closer northern trip to Bulacan, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija (scariest since we were not familiar with the places at all!).
You know it’s funny (and a good thing too) to have many other families go on Visita Iglesia on their own as well. It was a bit relieving to know that there are people who can get lost with you in case you get stuck in a middle of an unfamiliar place, especially since we didn’t get to be with our relatives this year. Misery Loves Company, right? And it’s also nice to see lots of bikers go church hunting with us every year! They become our lifesavers and secret tour guides each year so here’s to you guys! 😛
Anyway, this year our parents planned to go church-hopping in Rizal only. We were saving on gas since a liter of it costs about P61++ already. So we weren’t expecting to cross the Rizal-Laguna border, until we eventually did!
We skipped the Teresa-Antipolo route!
Basically, we just circled the whole of Laguna de Bay! We started in Taytay and ended up in Liliw, Laguna before we headed back home via SLEX. It really amazed me (and it still does) the first time we were able to go to Laguna without having to pass through SLEX! BABAW noh?! It still makes me smile whenever I see buses headed to Infanta, Quezon pass by Cainta whenever I go to work. It just never occurred to me that it’s possible. It’s just that I live too close to Eastwood or to Megamall, Galleria and Shangri-La that I often forget that Rizal is a province already! hahaha!
**maps courtesy of google images!
FIRST STOP: Taytay, Rizal
On this street, you can see that all the houses had a beautiful wall sculptures all designed and made by , one of the famous artists of Angono, Rizal, the art capital of the country!
I took a photo of this with you, Joey, yes you, in mind. Unfortunately, my brother did not slow down when I told him to do so, so here’s the best photo I got of it. It’s one of the walls designed by the artist. I thought you’d
This Church in Morong, Rizal is probably older than UST because even before my alma mater celebrated their Quadricentennial Year, my father was already telling us that this church was more than 400 years old! Plus it was also the very same church used in the film “Sukob” with Kris Aquino and Claudine Baretto. 🙂
This church had a very relaxing feel to it, maybe because of the garden and willow-like tree beside it!
If there was one church I could never forget visiting in my whole life, it would be this one. It was our first time to go here. There was nothing really special about it. It was plain and simple and not a lot of people came in since the parishioners were still busy beautifying it. I was even surprised they still let us in despite that. The story of how we made it here would most probably be more exciting if it was told by my sister, but she’s already asleep and this isn’t her blog, so…… We were at this intersection. We just passed through Pililia, Rizal and we were already heading to Laguna when my sister saw the sign that says “to Grotto”. So my brother took a turn since the Grotto sounded really special and something people would really make an effort to visit. So there we were, together with other families in their respective cars heading to the same direction. A few minutes after, we found ourselves in a zigzagged road to nowhere. Some of the cars we were following had to stop to ask for directions, but since we weren’t part of their convoy and since we didn’t want them to find out we were just following them, we had to go ahead. Soon, we were still driving with no more signs of the Grotto that I mentioned earlier. We passed by different eco-camps and the well advertised “Bakasyunan” resort and the Daranak falls, but there was still no sign of the Grotto. At the end of the long drive, we reached this church and voila, even though they would not allow tourists, our mother insisted for us to come in so as not to put the gas and our effort to waste.
This church right here had a staircase in front that would sum up to at least 200 steps but even though my mother got excited at the sight of it, the rest of us were too lazy to take it. haha!
This church definitely had the best ceiling out of all the 11 churches we visited! Hindi sila galit sa kahoy! YUN LANG!
This church in Pakil had an extension at the top of the mountain. If you could see that white thing on top of the mountain on the last picture at the right, that is its extension! I wonder how people go up there just to celebrate mass.
Last stop of this mini adventure was in our All time favorite, LILIW LAGUNA! The Land of the shoes (some imported from Divisoria! HAHA) I could not remember when we discovered this place! I think it was my parents’ officemates who gave them (parents) the idea of going there so when we did, we liked it and we never missed coming up here whenever we were in the area. Then it got publicized and up came the tourists from Manila!!!
Funny, coz my sister wasn’t able to take note of this church’s name so I only looked it up now and coincidentally, we ended up starting and finishing our Visita Iglesia in churches with similar names! AMAZING!
As you can see, we only visited 11 churches this year. That’s a first! Normally we would complete all 14 churches in a day, however, since we arrived late in Liliw and since usually we also do a little shopping here. we decided to finish the Stations of the Cross here as well.
We started off at around 8:30 in the morning, ended up in one of the gas stations in SLEX at 9 pm and I’m not exactly sure what time we got home though. I was a bit irritable when they woke me up to have dinner at our stopover but good thing I immediately got back to my hyper self afterwards. We passed by lots of people who took part in the annual ALAY LAKAD to Antipolo from as far as Taguig city! I could not even imagine myself walking from our house in Cainta (which is in Rizal already) to Antipolo, what more if I lived in Taguig. Anyhow, I had a great time this year. Glad we have 4 days off from training in the hospital. I could really use the time to catch up on the much needed rest I was hoping for ever since this training started! Thank you Lord! I love YOU!
**photos taken with my phone, papa’s pictures to follow!**