This 20th to 27th of March 2016, the Catholic world celebrates the Lenten Holy Week; where they commemorate the passion, death, resurrection of Jesus Christ. And a part of this celebration is the Visita Iglesia, which is a Lenten tradition started in 1533 by Saint Philip Neri. The objective of the Visita Iglesia is to visit seven (7) churches, while reciting the Stations of the Cross. In some countries, pilgrims recite 2 of the 14 Stations of the Cross in each church they visit, whereas in other places the pilgrims complete all 14 stations per church. In India, Catholics there visit 14 churches, which represent the 14 Stations of the Cross.
I may not be a Christian anymore, but here are 14 beautiful Churches that I recommend for the Visita Iglesia in Quezon City, based on the beautiful architecture and artworks found within these churches:
- Shrine of Jesus: The Divine Word
Located inside the Christ the King Mission Seminary along E. Rodriguez Avenue, The Divine Word Parish was built in 1933 during the American Occupation of the Philippines (1898-1946).The parish is one of the first modern churches in the Philippines, with its Art Deco design and beautiful stained glass altarpiece. Around the church are sculptures by Julian C. Sta. Maria, Kid Baldemor, and a certain P. Lynn.
- Chapel of the San Jose Seminary
The Quezon City General Hospital, in Project 8, used to be the Jesuit run San Jose Seminary. The Seminary was built in 1936, but was subsequently abandoned in 1941 because of World War II. After the war, the Jesuits transferred to the new seminary in Loyola Heights, while the old buildings were left somewhat vacant. In 1968, the newly formed Quezon City took on the old Jesuit compound and turned it into a hospital, but retaining much of the old architecture.
Although a new building has been built, for the modernization of the hospital; the old chapel remains along with 1936 to 1956 statues of saints, with some sculpted by Severino T. Bermudez.
- Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish
Located in the Kamuning area, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish was built in 1941 during the early development of Quezon City, in the area called Project 1. Aside the beautiful architecture, there is a modernist set of carved wood Stations of the Cross by an unknown sculptor.
- Saint Joseph Shrine
Along Aurora Boulevard, and near the Anonas Street intersection, stands the Saint Joseph Shrine. Built in 1951, this is another beautiful example of modern church architecture. Inside are equally beautiful stained glass images depicting the life of Saint Joseph, as well as a murals by Loreto T. Racuya.
- Santo Domingo Church
Officially known as the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila, the Santo Domingo church was founded in 1588 in Intramuros Manila. After the war, it was rebuilt in Quezon City by 1952-54, as designed by the National Artist for Architecture, José María Zaragoza.
Inside are more works by prominent artists such as the Italian Art Deco sculptor Francesco Ricardo Monti, Galo Ocampo, Vicente García Llamas, and the National Artist for Painting, Carlos “Botong” Francisco.
- Chapel of the Holy Guardian Angels
The Chapel of the Holy Guardian Angels is located inside the Ateneo de Manila Grade School, in Loyola Heights. Designed and built by Gines Rivera in 1954, this part of the Ateneo’s move from Manila to Quezon City. Inside the chapel are artworks by Anastacio T. Caedo and Graciano T. Nepomuceno.
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and Shrine
Located in the New Manila area, near Aurora Boulevard, the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and Shrine was built in 1954. With its towering stained glass windows, the Mount Carmel Church is another beautiful modernist church.
- U.P. Chapel
Formally called Chapel of the Holy Sacrifice, the UP Chapel found in the heart of the University of the Philippines campus, in Diliman. The chapel was designed by the National Artist for Architecture, Leandro Locsin, in 1955, by the request of the Jesuit, Fr. John Patrick Delaney. The chapel boasts more National Artists in its collection, with Napoleon Abueva, Arturo Luz, Ang Kuikok, and Vicente Manansala. There are also artworks by Mario Parial, Tito Sta. Ana Sanchez, and Maria Laura V. Ginoy.
- St. Ignatius de Loyola Cathedral
In the 1965, the former American military camp Murphy (named after the American Commissioner Frank Murphy) was divided into two branches of the government armed services. Camp Murphy was bisected by construction of EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue), to the west was Camp Brigadier General Rafael C. Cramé (named after the 1st Filipino Chief of the Philippine Constabulary) for the Philippine National Police and to the east was Camp General Emilio F. Aguinaldo (the 1st Philippine President) for the Philippine Armed Forces.
Inside Camp Aguinaldo is the St. Ignatius de Loyola Cathedral, with the Jesuit as the Patron Saint of Soldiers. Standing amidst the thick trees of the camp, it is a quite respite from the hustle of everyday military life.
- Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
In the middle of Project 4 is the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish. Built in 1976, this church is like a beacon smack in the center of an old lower middle class neighborhood. Its wide roof with fax sky gives the visitor a feeling of awe, while the Oratory and garden allows people to quietly meditate.
- Christ the King Parish
In the posh Green Meadows neighborhood is the Christ the King Parish. Erected in 1979, the parish is modernist structure with an impressive baroque altar, with its figure of Christ the King. Outside the church is a recently installed sculpture by Willy Tadeo Layug.
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish
In the Culiat area, there is the quaint San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish. It first started as a meeting place for local prayer meetings, until it was established into a church in 1987. What makes this church so special are the many creations by the National Artist, Napoleon V. Abueva, which are scattered all around the compound. The parish was able to amass such a collection, because Mr. Abueva lives right next door.
- Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace, Our Lady of EDSA
At the corner of Ortigas Avenue and EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) is the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace, Our Lady of EDSA. Commonly referred to as the EDSA Shrine, this was completed in 1989 by Arch. Francisco Mañosa, with the advice of Arch. William Coscolluela and the National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin.
The EDSA Shrine was built to commemorate the EDSA Revolution of 1986, where people filled the streets to oust the dictator President Ferdinand Marcos, in a bloodless revolution.
All over the church are works of artists such a National Artist Napoleon Abueva, Ben and Jake Alano, Dominic Galicia, Eduardo Castrillo, Manny Casal, Ramon Orlina, and Nemi Miranda. Yet the most significant feature is the gigantic the Marian figure, by Virginia Ty-Navarro.
- Church of the Gesù
Back at the Ateneo de Manila, one of the newest structures in campus is the Church of the Gesù. Built in 2001 by Jose Pedro Recio and Carmelo Casas, the church has become the converging point for the whole Ateneo community.
Within the church premises are works by Anastacio Caedo, Juan Sajid Imao, Felix Mago Miguel, Jose T. Badelles, Justino ‘Paloy’ Cagayat, Conrado de Leon, Arch. Vincent Pinpin, Ronald Kraut, and Volks Bustiniera.