While traditionally it has been seven Catholic Churches that has to be visited during the Visita Iglesia on Holy Week, I’ll be featuring only two…yet these are the closest to both my heart and soul. The first one would be the Philippines’ first Catholic Church, a pilgrimage site, a historic site, and a bastion of devotion for millions—Basilica Minore de Santo Niño de Cebu.
Because its the Halloween season or nearing Todos Los Santos, I’ll be featuring several Spanish era cemeteries of the province of Iloilo within this week. Known for their unique camposantos, construction and baroque features, these has stood the test of time and an addition to the heritage sites that manifested Ilonggo, Spanish, Chinese and mestizo creativity along with its century old churches and houses.
Located 59 kilometers southeast of Iloilo City towards the province of Antique, this laidback southernmost town of Iloilo of San Joaquin is our first stop for the tour. It was believed to be one of the places of the mythical “Barter of Panay” where Bornean datus traded the legendary golden hat and long necklace to the native Ati or Aborigenies for settling in the lowlands.
Being the farthest town down south, it has maintained its rustic charm with a century old church featuring the relief of the Battle of Tetuan. Maybe a manifestation of the Christian settlers here against the marauding Moro raiders during the Spanish colonial era.
Eid’ Mubarak to all our Muslim brethren!
For Maranaos and Filipinos alike, Marawi City is the center of education, especially when it deals with Bangsamoro culture and Islamic studies (with numerous madrasahs in the area).
In the sprawling Mindanao State University (MSU), King Faisal Center for Islamic, Arabic and Asian Studies served as a vehicle of learning Islamic and Arabic studies, most especially in the Muslim-dominated regions of Southern Philippines. It started as a unit of College of Liberal Arts, it became a separate academic unit and established its own center inside the campus. …continue reading
San Beda Abbey Chapel (of Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat) was our last stop last Holy Thursday, probably an unexpected one since we thought that there are no other churches beyond Mendiola. Then we followed the crowd entering San Beda College, at the heart of the Benedictine Monks’ hub of education. The San Beda Abbey Chapel as locally called, is located in Mendiola Street, right within its campus. Its façade is covered with trees, which its architectural design is predominantly neo-Gothic, with two belfries that remind me of those old universities in UK.
Last week, we were in Batangas for a visita iglesia in Taal’s prominent religious structures—the Basilica Minore de San Martin de Tours and Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine. Today, we fly all the way to the Visayas to visit Iloilo. Our first stop would go all the way to the southernmost town of the province, San Joaquin. This town is known to be one of the landing sites of the mythical Ten Bornean Datus. However, the crowning jewel of this southern town would be its 19th century church and its cemetery. The church however tells the story of the San Joaquin’s history, carved in stone.
While Tugaya in Lanao del Sur Province is known for being the arts and crafts center of the Maranao world, at the heart of its town center is the Dilimbayan Central Mosque. Set in a sloping steep yet green landscape and a few meters away from the placid Lake Lanao, Dilimbayan Mosque is the largest religious structure in the entire town and can accommodate hundreds of worshipers in one instance.
As Santa Cruz Island is known for its pinkish-white beach, a lot doesn’t even know that it has one place that time and the elements have forgotten. For the culturally-inclined, this is the old Badjao Cemetery. For the paranormal and ghost hunters, this is where the dead were buried.
When I went to Zamboanga, one of my top priority destination that I would like to see and experience was Barangay Taluksangay and its red Masjid (mosque). It’s in history and travel books, and even on postcards about Zamboanga City. That Sunday afternoon, John Marlowe, a friend of mine and a local of the city, took me to this historical place that is a known bastion of Islam in Mindanao. Some people said, “delikado doon! Wag ka nang pumunta doon” (It’s dangerous! Just don’t go there.)–I said, “then let’s go there!” without hesitation nor fear for the people.
Barangay Taluksangay is located some 20 kilometers east of Pueblo (downtown Zamboanga City). The community is located at the swampy coastline of the peninsula. Taluksangay proper itself lies separated from the mainland by an estuary. One would see the towering minarets from afar, welcoming guests who have come to Taluksangay.
When we say San Juan in Batangas, everyone would say–Laiya! Yup, this strip of cream white sand beach at this town has made this town a pilgrimage site for sun and sea lovers. From an obscure town in the southeastern portion of the province, it became an instant celebrity. Yet a lot of tourists or perhaps people in general took for granted the other San Juan, before Laiya went boom. Yes, I know it’s boring for the most, but the town center or poblacion itself is a treasure worthy of cultural recognition due to numerous heritage ancestral houses and buildings.