Filipinos are known all over the world for being Hospitable, Hardworking, Creative, Family oriented and of course, Religous. We are very rich in culture and we are known for our unique traditions.
We celebrate and commemorate almost everything in the Philippines and we always make it a point that family members are gathered for a family reunion in almost every Holiday, especially Christmas and Noche Buena. But even our departed loved ones would still be part of the gatherings because every November, Filipinos would spend time at the cemetery for All Souls day and All Saints day. We are also known for celebrating Town festivals celebrating it after the feast day of each town’s patron Saint. Truly, Filipinos are very opulent when it comes to traditions.
One of the undying tradition we have in the country and the Longest streak of Holidays is the celebration of the Holy week, or the week before Easter. In preparation for the holy week there are things that the Catholics do 46 days before the Easter Sunday, Roman Catholics would attend the Mass for Ash Wednesday, it is one of the most important and most popular event for the Catholics because it would mean the opening of the Lenten season or the season for Penitential prayer and fasting. There is also a celebration of Palm Sunday where we celebrate how Jesus have successfully entered Jerusalem we bring in Palms with us and have it blessed at one part during the Mass and we bring it home for the year and give it back so that these blessed palms will incinerate it for the next Ash Wednesday.
During the Holy week, One of the practices we do as Catholics is the Seven Church visitation or the Visita Iglesia. It is usually done during Maundy Thursdays where the devotees Visits atleast 7 churches sometimes 14 to honor the blessed sacrament and pray. Some would also do the Station of the Cross and pray two stations per church. Just like everything related to our Catholic beliefs Visita Iglesia was believed to have been introduced to us by the Spaniards that we still do until present time.
Visita Iglesia have been a Practice in the country and how the Filipino devotees does it have evolved over time being naturally innovative Filipinos make it a point to make Visita Iglesia extra special by making it a trip over historial churches too! When in Pampanga which Churches do we go for Visita Iglesia? While there are numerous of beautiful Churches to Visit in Pampanga, here’s what we may suggest.
1. San Guillermo Parish Church, Bacolor Pampanga
Named after the Patron saint of Bacolor, San Guillermo Parish church was built in 1576 but was destroyed by an earthquake during the 1885 it was rebuilt in 1886 with the help of Fr. Eugenio Alvarez. During the Mt.Pinatubo erruption in 1991, the Lahar have burried half of the church.
2. Betis Church, Guagua Pampanga
Located in Guagua Pampanga, Betis church is also known as St.James the apostle parish church it is very popular for its Baroque architectural design and was declared as a National Cultural Treasure for its exemplary and imitable design.
3. San Agustin Church, Lubao Pampanga
Built during the 17th century, this Neo-Classical Church located at Brgy. San Nicolas I, Lubao Pampanga is of Spanish stones and bricks was declared an Important cultural property.
4. Holy Rosary Parish Church, Angeles Pampanga
Formerly known as Santo Rosario Church, fondly called by the locals as Pisambang Maragul which means Big Church stands in he center of Culiat town. It was built in 1877 and was recognized by the National Commission for Culture and Arts as a National historical site.
5. Santa Catalina de Alejandria Church, Porac Pampanga
Built in 1872, this Baroque styled church is located at Poblacion, Porac Pampanga. It is currently under Eclessiastical province of the Roman Catholic archidiocese of San Fernardo. Its main focal point on its facade is the rose window bearing an image of Saint Catherine of Alexandria rendered on stained glass.
6. Santa Rita de Cascia Parish Church, Santa Rita Pampanga
Its faded Solid-brass facade with Baroque charactiristic was built in 1839 and was completed 29 years after, in 1868. The church is home to the holy relic a flesh from St. Rita de Cascia.
7. Metropolitan Cathedral, San Fernando Pampanga
Formerly known as the Cathedral of our Lady of the Assumption this Neo-Classical church was founded in 1754 and is considered as the seat of the Archiocese of San Fernando.
Amidst new influences and things happening around us It is very important that we pay tribute to the things who made us who we are today. As a Filipino it makes me so proud that we embrace and appreciate our culture and tradition, we may have inflicted a little change on each as the time go by but in our hearts it will remain the same because for Filipinos with Faith comes tradition.