If You’re in the Philippines During Holy Week, Participate in “Visita Iglesia”

What is Visita Iglesia?

The term literally translates to “church visit,” from the Spanish terms “visita” which means “visit,” and “iglesia” meaning “church.” This is a tradition practiced in the Philippines in honor of a Christian tradition in observance of Lent. If you check Wikipedia, this event is called Seven Churches Visitation. True to its name, the devotee participating in it will have to visit seven different churches.

In the Philippines (and perhaps in other countries), most people prefer to do the Visita Iglesia on Maundy Thursday, but if you want, you can do it on Good Friday or on any day during the Holy Week. You can do it alone, or with a group of people such as your friends or your family.

In every church that you visit, you are required to recite the Stations of the Cross.

Different people have different practices and beliefs when they participate in this activity. This stems from the belief that there’s a bigger chance of getting what you wish or pray for if your Visita Iglesia is coupled with some rituals. For instance, some families have additional prayers that go with the Stations of the Cross. If you want to have your own, you’re free to do so as long as the basics are there.

Also, I heard from a friend that everytime his family visits churches, they make it a point to look for churches that are as far apart as the other. The church should not be in the same community, village, or “barangay.”

What do you think? Do you think it’s fun to visit churches?

Aside from Visita Iglesia, there are other activities to participate or be a spectator in. For instance, there’s a place called Barangay San Pedro Cutud in San Fernando, Pampanga where tourists flock in to see live re-enactments of the Passion of the Christ. One of my friends said that it’s such an eerie sight. Real blood spattered against them when one of the devotees was beat with what looked like a metal whip. You’ll see real blood, and you’ll see real metal nails.