Ahh, the holidays. They maybe few but these are the days we have been waiting for all throughout the year. At this specific time however, break from the Holy Week just ended, and while everybody went out to savor the beach and the sunshine, I and Love munched on some time to get away from the city and traverse through the roads of Laguna for our first ever, Visita Iglesia.
What Visita Iglesia is:
Born to a Roman Catholic family, I have been hearing about this seven churches visitation all through my life, but this is the first time though for me to actually experience it myself. As known to everyone, the seven churches visitation is an old Lenten tradition in the Philippines conducted every Maundy Thursday. Faithfuls offer a prayer in each church’s Blessed Sacrament.
Visita Iglesia: Our Route, Our Version
Days before Thursday, we originally planned to have our visitation in Batangas but after the recent earthquakes, we decided to turn the plan and have it within Laguna, so as to avoid any untoward incident.
As always, we relied heavily on our phone’s GPS service throughout the trip, avoiding tolls not only to lessen our expenses, but to discover new roads and enchanting scenery to feed our eyes. As you may know, this tag team is always up for adventure! Our itinerary for the day are as follows since we do not know the flow of traffic we are about to face:
- 9AM ETD from General Trias Cavite to Calamba City Laguna
- Quick Breakfast in Silang Cavite
- Pass by Ina ng Laging Saklolo Church in Tagaytay
- Pass by Our Lady of Manaoag Church in Tierra de Maria Tagaytay
- The Roman Catholic Church of St. John The Baptist at Calamba City Laguna
- San Antonio De Padua Church at Pila Laguna
- Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Pagsanjan Laguna
- Late lunch along Pila or Calauan Laguna
- Back to General Trias cavite
After breakfast in Silang, we started our way up to Tagaytay as we are targeting to go over Tagaytay- Calamba road.
TIPS: ROADS WE TOOK
To avoid congestion in Olivares, Tagaytay Rotunda, given the Lenten break, we took a left turn at the small road where Amira’s Pies and Tarts store is situated and voila at a minute or two we are driving along Tagaytay Calamba Road. We took a quick pass at two churches in Tagaytay – Ina ng Laging Saklolo Church and Our Lady of Manaoag at Tierra de Maria, respectively.
Driving all the way up right before People’s Park we took a left to Casili-Cabuyao Road. You can easily identify the road upon reaching the entrance of Tagaytay Highlands you will notice that the road will split into three parts one going straight to Highlands, second is to People’s Park and the third one on the left is to Casili. The first section of Casili Road is quite steep, full of trees and high grasses on both sides, it is a long drive compared to choosing the expressway but I and Love agreed that it is much worth it.
There are parts of the way that are not yet concrete, slightly shaky and stony. Then you will pass by big but low houses. We were amazed by an old grand mansion we were able to go over during the trip.
The old house has a connecting bridge in between, the house however seemed to be somehow abandoned, given that it was closed, with some parts of which are ripped of and can be considered creepy! End of the road lead us to an area called Silangan in Cabuyao where a lot of industrial plants and known breweries were situated.
From here, we head our way to Calamba to visit our first Laguna church, St John The Baptist. We got congested however in front of SM City Calamba before reaching our destination.
Welcome to St. John The Baptist Church or commonly known as Calamba Church. It is the oldest Roman Catholic church in Laguna, located adjacent to Rizal Shrine. We arrived at the church under the scorching heat of the sun which gave a good opportunity to take fine photos under immense lighting. We lighted candles here before we left, for love, health and forgiveness (forgiveness is by Love’s request ff work goals :)) lol
From here, we drove to our next stop which is a bit farther, San Antonio De Padua Parish Church in Pila, Laguna. This church is seated right next to a big open lot that greeted us as we arrived.
Church of Pila or also known as San Antonio De Padua Parish Church is the first Antonine Parish church established in the Philippines. Obviously, the church is dedicated to St Anthony of Padua. When we had our visit, scaffolding provisions are placed on its facade, it may be under renovation or maintenance.
All guests here in Church of Pila are given dried flowers upon entrance, after filling out their guestbooks. We toured around the area for a while since we parked few meters away from the church entrance.
We then head straight to Pagsanjan, Laguna which has been a truly long drive with parts of congestion along the way, most specially nearing Pagsanjan’s entrance arc.
We took a right at a small road right before the arc, as Google maps suggest that we are to arrive faster through this than the usual route. We do ended right before Our lady of Guadalupe Parish Church or better known as Church of Pagsanjan.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Pagsanjan is the oldest church in the Philippines under the patronship of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We arrived at around 2:30pm and the number of faithfuls are starting to build up.
Its rare that the altar here is not covered, however it is a good opportunity for first timers like us. After we offer our prayers we then head back to scout for lunch. We did fasting for 4 hours eh! 😛
ISKARGU – ISda KARne GUlay Restau
Since most of the restaurants we saw along the roads we took were closed, we stumbled upon this witty named restaurant along Calauan Laguna. Iskargu simply stands for isda (fish), karne (meat of meat flesh) and gulay (vegetables). The restaurant contains a lot of accents like sea creatures display, artificial plants and other colorful items giving you province feels. Seats and tables are somewhat crooked but are carved from sturdy wood.
It a surprise for us when we saw a typical school canteen setup for the food area. They also have a specific section for Filipino sweets where they offer slices of Bico, Maja, Sapin Sapin and Puto. They also have Saging Con Hielo and Ginataang Bilo Bilo on the counter. The only picture we took was after we finished eating, as we are really hungry that time.
We paid P625.00 for an order of Bulalo, Tuna Bistek, three cups of rice, one slice of Bico and a serving of Saging con Hielo. It is a self service restaurant so after you grab your food from the counter, condiments and water are waiting for you at about two corners of the place. I think we had an expensive meal if we put the taste into the picture, there is nothing wow but the food is just plain okay, their presentation is the usual and the viands are stale. Nothing really special, except for the very sticky rice and sweet bico and for the big starving feeling we had.
ON OUR WAY HOME
Going home we again took the roads that are less traveled and of course those that will not lead us to any tollgates of any sort. We drove from ISKARGU heading our way back to Tagaytay, this time we drove pass barangays and huge pipes, winding roads with a side touch of high soil formation reaching Batangas area per se from the streets of Laguna. We ended up in Talisay Batangas to be able to reach Tagaytay, the Talisay road can be considered as the steepest of them all and for whatever reason, we are the only one driving our direction, no cars in front and back while random cars and motorcycles pass by the opposite side of the road for every 10 to 15 minutes interval!
It was all black and we only saw about one creature along the way and that is a dog.
It was indeed a heck of experience for me as I am a bit scared in roads that might not know that streetlights can exist. Passing by the long, dark and winding roads we are welcomed to still steep streets but with large beautiful houses.
We then ended the trip alighting to Tagaytay – Calamba Rd. straight to Olivares Rotunda.
Another one for the books again with Love! There’s still more to discover in the streets of South I must say, there can never be enough roads for us to take. By next year, our Visita Iglesia is set to be up North, and by that the time we hope to have it first thing in the morning of Maundy Thursday.
Have you gone doing this visitation as well? I wanna know how your trip went and maybe where did you guys ate? 🙂