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Monday, June 2, 2014

VISITA IGLESIA IN BATANGAS AND QUEZON: Old Churches of Ibaan, San Juan, Sariaya, Tayabas and Lucban

Here's to DAY 1 of our Visita Iglesia 2014
which took to around old Churches of Laguna Province:

On 2nd Day (Good Friday), we set off to visit the old churches of Ibaan and San Juan in Batangas then off to Quezon for the churches of Sariaya, Tayabas and Lucban. We left Batangas City earlier this time around but we dropped by Montemaria Shrine first which is also in Batangas but somewhere rather remote you need a private vehicle to get there. I will make a separate post on Montemaria Shrine soon.

By 11am, we were in the town of Ibaan Batangas which I find surprisingly progressive given the location. I was also surprised at how big their Catholic church here is.

In 1784, a chapel was buiot at Matala but fire destroyed the convent in 1801. Constituted as a town in 1804, Ibaan had its first church in 1817. In 1832, it was under Rev. Manuel Grijalbo then Bishop of Nueva Caceres. Constructed by Rev. Manuel Diez Gonzales of the US in 1854, the current church was completed by Rev. Bruno Laredo. Rev. Vicente Maril erected the towers and rebuilt the facade in 1876.
45-minutes away is San Juan batangas where they have a nice old stone church with the loudest outdoor speaker that you can hear kilometers away from the church.haha! This is where we ate our packed lunch at the church's parking lot and under the shade of big acacia trees while the priest was having mass. We could hear the priest's homily while we were eating and it was clear and crisp. I was amazed at how fluent the Parish Priest of San Juan Church is combining English and Filipino and conveying his ideas with clarity. Nakakaingganyong makinig.
San Juan Nepomuceno Parish San Juan Batangas
It was in 1843 when the first church was built in the area made of wooden materials. It was not until 1855 when the construction of a stone church began. The current church was build in 1890 after the original church was flooded.

This church is famous for weddings. If you could recall, this is where Judy Anne Santos and Ryan Agoncillo exchanged vows.
Our next stop was already in the town of Sariaya in the province of Quezon.The town has a nice colonial feel. Even the Municipal Hall is rustic. And the plaza too. Nearby is the church which is old as old.
Next up was the church in Tayabas. This one also came as a surprise. It has this dark feel but dark in a nice way. If you are looking for a church with an "old" feel in every sense of tye word, this must be it. I personally can't think how it is like being here at night when all is dark. Creepy! haha

The first church made of nipa and anahaw leaves was built by the Franciscans in 1585 with San Miguel de Archangel as the patron saint. It was renovated by San Juan Bautista in 1590. In 1600, the church was rebuilt using a different material but was destroyes by an earthquake in 1743. The next year, the church was reconstructed and was expanded in 1856. This is considered as one of the oldest church in the Philippines.

We then went deeper into Quezon towards Lucban. I heard many things about Lucban before, of course who doesn't know Pahiyas, but the place never excited me. I mean, I have always dismissed it as just another rural town. But Lucban felt different. Entering the town felt like entering another dimension. Kinda hard to explain but the place felt different.

We dropped by Kamay Ni Hesus first which is a very famous pilgrimage site. There is a chapel in there just below the hill where you go up many steps to be face to face with the giant statue of Jesus Christ.

I will endeavor to write another post on this one soon.

Finally Lucban town. At the center of the celebrations is Lucban Catholic Church. We part more than a kilometer down the road and had to walk the street leading to the church past carozzas of different religious images, devotees, ordinary people about to take part in the religious processions.

We positioned ourselves in front of the church so as to have a good view of the procession which lasted for an hour or so. It was already dark when it finished culminating with the the grand carosa of San Intiero.


I braved the crowd and got inside the church before the procession of San Intiero. I saw a sea of devotees mostly men in white and not wearing sandals, many in their youth.

If you know what they do in Quiapo during the procession of The Black Nazarene, this is their version in Lucban. I was on the side waiting for San Intiero's carossa to appear busy taking photos whilst listening to the loud choir music and the restless noise of the people in white shirt. And when it finally appeared, I suddenly broke to tears. I was fighting off the shaking of my hands while taking video. For the first time in years, I was weeping at the sight of a religious event unfolding in front of me. This has been for me a journey of spirituality, a journey of my life. I have never visited this many churches in a span of one week and I have never prayed this much in my life. ^^


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