Maundy Thursday is traditionally the day when Filipino Catholics engage in the Visita Iglesia, an ancient Roman practice of visiting 7 or 14 devotional churches as a form of penitence.
Until 70 years ago, Manileños completed the Visita Iglesia within the historic walled city of Intramuros, which hosted the mother churches of the pioneer Spanish religious orders, namely: the Iglesia de San Agustín (Augustinians), Iglesia de San Francisco (Franciscans), Iglesia de San Ignacio (Jesuits), Iglesia de Sto. Domingo (Dominicans), Iglesia de San Nicolas de Tolentino (Recollects), the chapel of the Monasterio de Sta. Clara (Poor Clare nuns) and the Manila Cathedral. After the Liberation of Manila, however, all but the San Agustín were mercilessly destroyed.
Nowadays, Metro Manila citizens have more choices for the Visita Iglesia. Both pious devotees and non-practicing individuals do the Visita Iglesia for a myriad of reasons. Some do it out of tradition, some simply to have something to do on a holiday with their loved ones.
Here are 7 suggested Metro Manila churches one might find interesting to visit on a day that seems to become more and more an opportunity to travel and reconnect with our capital’s cultural heritage.