My good friend at the photography club invited me to accompany him in a 1 day Visita Iglesia in the province of Pampanga. We left Genesis Transport terminal in Cubao around 7:00 AM (the wait time is a grueling 1 hour).
San Antonio de Padua Parish Church in San Antonio, Lubao, Pampanga is our 1st Church on our list.
First we visit the town of Lubao. We got off at Brgy Sta Cruz along Jose Abad Santos Avenue from SM Pampanga in San Fernando. Our first destination was the San Antonio de Padua Parish Church in Brgy San An tonio, Lubao. We could have gotten off the Lubao Supermart and the L-TODA tricycle station in the corner but we went back from Sta Cruz Market.
So we took a jeep to to Brgy Pasbul and another tricyle to San Antonio de Padua Parish Church. I thought it’s a huge church but I think it’s more of a chapel. From San Antonio de Padua Parish we rode a tricycle back to Pasbul and a jeep to Lubao Plaza.
In Lubao Plaza, we took pictures of the Lubao Church aka San Agustin Church. I love the brick façade of this church and the huge patio. The Church of Lubao was founded in 1572 in Barrio Santa Catalina but was moved to the current site 30 years later due to yearly floods. A few meters from the Lubao Church is the Lubao Municipal Hall and the nipa hut of President Diosdado Macapagal.
Next to our list of church to visit is the Church of Guagua. It was built by light materials by Augustinian priests in 1590 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It could have been better if there are no nearby electrical wires on the front side of the church that ruins the vista. Next the Church of Guagua are the Municipal Hall built in 1937, the Plaza and a small Razon’s Halo-Halo store besides the creek. I don’t know if it’s the original Razon’s store of Guagua.
We then rode a jeep to our 4th church of the day – Betis Church, Guagua, Pampanga. I’ve seen pictures of this church’s interior but unfortunately, like the Church of Guagua, it is close on a Friday morning. Betis Church is a very interesting church with its Ionic columns on the main entrance. The side entrance (facing the street going to San Fernando) is also very elaborate.
Instead of going straight to San Fernando, we made a side trip to Sta Rita Church in Sta Rita, Pampanga. We have to go back to Guagua Town Proper and ride a jeep going to Porac. We took off at the Sta Rita Public Market and walk towards the church. The Sta Rita Church is dedicated to Sta Rita de Casia. My photography friend saw this church being featured on ANC due to the colorful umbrellas that lead to the main entrance (from the street).
The Sta Rita Church is beautiful and it was submerged in about 3 feet of lahar. As you enter the church, you will descend a few flights of stairs and you will see the arches inside the church which is half-way buried. There are also a lot of statues of saints lined up the façade of the church. Near the Sta Rita Church is Villa Epifania which is an ancestral house build in the 1930s. There are also other umbrellas along the street leading to the Municipal Hall.
From Sta Rita Church, we walked back to Sta Rita Public Market, ride a jeep back to Guagua and rode another jeep towards San Fernando, Pampanga. We took off at the Bacolor Public Market and walk towards the Bacolor Church (San Guillermo Parish Church). This is our 6th church of the day. The Bacolor Church is buried in lahar about 6 feet. The entrance now to the church used to be the windows above the main entrance.
I like the wooden trusses used in this church. Plus, the bell tower is home to local species of bats. There is a Museum besides the church and a few meters away is the Campo Santo de Bacolor. We walked towards the road to San Fernando and by this time, it’s already 4:00 PM. We haven’t eaten yet and we got mesmerized by all these beautiful churches. The road from Guagua to San Fernando City is also part of the Death March road. We saw markers 96 and 97 but we failed to take a picture of the 100th Kilometer Marker.
Our 7th and final church for our Visita Iglesia in Pampanga is the Metropolitan Church of San Fernando. It’s dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption. Like the 6 previous churches, this also has a single bell tower. It’s also opposite the City Hall of San Fernando and a few meters away from the Heritage Houses along A Consunji Street.
This 1 day Visita Iglesia in Pampanga is both tiring but it’s worth it. Next time, we’ll try to visit the other Pilgrimage Churches with Holy Doors during the Year of Mercy – Apung Mamacalulu Archdiocesan Shrine in Angles City, Divine Mercy Parish in San Jose, Floridablanca, Holy Rosary Parish in Angeles City, Sta Ana Parish Church in Sta Ana, and San Pedro Apostol Parish in Apalit, Pampanga.
Lubao Church aka San Agustin Church in Lubao Town Proper, near the Municipal Hall and Diosdado Macapagal Nipa Hut.
Guagua Church (Immaculate Concepcion) in downtown Guagua, Pampanga. I hope the City Government of Guagua would do something about the electric lines.
Our 4th Church is Betis Church in Betis, Guagua, Pampanga. This church is dedicated to Saint James the Apostle.
Our 5th Church is Sta Rita de Casia Parish Church, Sta Rita, Pampanga.
Our 6th Church is the Bacolor Church (San Guillermo Parish Church) in Bacolor, Pampanga.
To complete our Visita Iglesia, our 7th Church is the Metropolitan Church of San Fernando, Pampanga, dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption.