Visita Iglesia 2006

As in the past, we had a Visita Iglesia this year. Unlike many others who have their visita on Holy Thursday, we have our church visit on Good Friday. Why? Coz it's the time that we visit home. There's lesser traffic and lesser number of people in churches.

Unlike in the previous years, this time I was better armed with a camera - no battery problems, no memory problems. Yup, I was assured I won't run out of memory after buying that 512K memory pro duo stick at Watson's in Quiapo for 2,300 (2,100 for the pro duo and 200 for the adaptor). And battery problems? No problemo, not with the rechargeable batteries I keep handy.

FIRST stop was at the San Guillermo Church sometimes refered to as the Bacolor Church. This has become a favorite for its rich history. The marker on the right gives a better description. Did you know that Bacolor was once the Capital of the Philippines? In 1762, after the fall of Manila to English invaders, Gov.Gen. Simon de Anda retreated and made Bacolor the seat of the Spanish Government until 1764.

That's the San Guillermo Church on the left pic with DH and mommy coming out of the main door. The present "main door" used to be a small door on the 2nd level of the church. Mud flows from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption buried the 1st floor which had the real main door.

The picture on the left shows the original church and how it looked like before the eruption. Imagine chopping off the first floor of this church with the big doors. That is now what remains of the church today.

SECOND stop was at the famed Betis Church or the Santiago de Galicia Parish Church. Built in the early 1700's, it's principal attraction is its main alter with an ornate ceiling that has been compared to the art works at the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

The pic below at the left shows a part of the ceiling and a part of the main dome. Notice the 2 angels on the sides clad in pink robes and blue sashes. They look three-dimensional and so real that they seem to be perched on the ceiling border, don't they? The pic on the right is another part of the ceiling while looking overhead. I couldn't center my shot and the view looks a little offset and this is because there were folks practicing a procession or something in the middle of the aisle. I had to content myself sitting in one of the pews.

The huge double doors of the church with the intricate carvings are shown below. The door on the left shows angels coming down while the door on the right shows angels going up. This is a scene in Genesis 28:12 where Jacob dreamt. "And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it." (King James Version)

It's amazing that these carvings on the doors have weathered so many centuries!

THIRD stop was at St. Claire Church.

Notice the beautiful structure of the altar and the stained glass window situated at the back wall of the church (where most stained glass windows are)

We took a brief respite at this spot because of its shady trees. Here's a small group of the gang that went there. The rest (Deng, Yan, Jing and lola) were at the other car under some shady tree somewhere. We had some hotdog sandwiches, yummy mongo bread, juice drinks and water. Renz must be inside the van munching on sandwiches.

FOURTH stop was at the Cabetican Church. That's Karen (with the fan) trying to catch up on Sandra (with the baseball cap)

FIFTH stop was at St. Jude Church. Notice the stained glass windows on the left and right "wings" of the church.

Inside, this is how the glass windows look like. The two glass windows look very different, but if you look closely, the figures are basically the same. There is some variation in the shade of colors and figures' shapes but it makes the two windows look so different.

SIXTH stop was at San Agustin Church. That's Tita Divine, DH and little boy Renz (with maong cap) entering. We entered the church through the left side door. San Agustin, like some other churches intentionally close the front door to discourage flagellants (penitents) from stationing themselves there. Otherwise the flagellants would splash blood all over the front of the church.

Shown on the left are two stained glass windows. The top window appears outside the church's gate while the bottom window is inside.

SEVENTH and FINAL stop was at St. Paul Novitiate. This particular church has a nice garden, and a nice grotto with pool (fishes in there too, much to the delight of the kids!).

The structure in the right picture is a special decor being built especially for Easter Sunday. A nun in white habit is busy decorating the structure with white flowers. I could've sworn that this structure is made entirely of paper and cardboard! It is suspended by nylon strings and a breeze slightly sways the entire thing. It looked beautiful and fragile.

With that seventh and final stop, thus ended our Visita Iglesia. Hopefully, we'll get to see other churches next year!

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