7 Destinations You Should Visit This Semana Santa


What are your plans this Holy Week? Be a Catholic or not, these spots are good destinations for a relaxing long weekend.

By:  Ma. Era Cecilia Nunag

Every Holy Week, many Filipinos take the chance to travel or to relax for a whole week at home. But for devout Catholics, it’s the time for prayer, and for many, the perfect time to go on a Visita Iglesia.

The Philippines is ripe with religious destinations. Around Manila alone, pilgrims can visit beautiful churches and shrines to do their Stations of the Cross.

If you’re still unsure where to go for your yearly Visita Iglesia, these destinations can be easily reached from the metro.

 National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, Antipolo, Rizal

Also known as the Virgin of Antipolo, the statue of the Black Madonna is a wooden image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, brought to the country in 1626 aboard the galleon Almirante. The 17th century image has been attracting devotees since the 19th century, and it is believed to be miraculous. Even during the construction of the church, the statue would mysteriously disappear and would be found on top of a tipolo tree. The statue had been temporarily placed in Cavite and even brought back to Mexico a couple of times, but it’s now in its permanent home in Antipolo, Rizal.

Banal na Bunduk Dalan Ning Krus, Mt. Arayat, Magalang, Pampanga

Banal na Bunduk Dalan Ning Krus, or Holy Mountain Way of the Cross,  is found at the foot of Mt. Arayat. Life-sized statues depicting the 14 stations of the cross lead the way to the mountain summit. Devotees who seek to pray and to sacrifice can consider this destination.

Monasterio De Tarlac, San Jose, Tarlac 

Located at Brgy. Lubigan San Jose, Tarlac’s Eco-Tourism Park, Monasterio de Tarlac was constructed to serve as hermitage for monks. Now, it also stands as a popular place of worship for Catholics. The church’s proud white façade is a welcoming sight after a long journey to the province.

There’s also a 30-foot high statue of the Risen Christ, which is reminiscent of Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer.

Kamay ni Hesus Shrine, Lucban, Quezon

Kamay ni Hesus Shrine located at the foot of Mt. Banahaw in Quezon is not just known for its towering 50-ft statue of the Ascending Christ and 305-step grotto with statues of the Stations of the Cross. It’s also a favourite destination of many Catholics for the healing masses led by healing priest Rev. Fr. Joseph Ayala Faller.

For those looking for a spiritual retreat, Noah’s Ark was constructed to provide sanctuary and guidance to lost or tired souls.

 Regina Rica Queen of the Holy Rosary, Tanay, Rizal

The astounding 71-foot-tall statue of the Queen of the Holy Rosary is a sight to behold once you enter the compound. Devotees flock the 14-hectare sanctuary managed by Dominican sisters to pray, to contemplate, and to see for themselves the bigger-than-life statue of the Queen. The place of worship has a waterfall, a creek, and an estimate of 10,000 trees, helping devotees commune with God and with nature.

Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan

A well-known religious and ecological destination in Bulacan, Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto is a replica of France’s Lourdes grotto. For faith seekers doing Visita Iglesia, the 14 Stations of the Cross are depicted through life-sized statues at Calvary Hill.  There’s also a Rosary Hill featuring 155 large beads, and a natural spring known to have healing powers is located below the Our Lady statue. 

Tatlong Krus, Paete, Laguna

Tatlong Krus (three cross) sits on mount Humarap overlooking Laguna de Bay Paete, Laguna. This place has stunning views and during Holy hundreds of people take a two hour hike to reach this place.

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