by - 11:59 PM

As soon as we disembarked from the plane, the rain fell so hard that the thoughts of wandering within my home town, Tacloban City, was a remote possibility.  Dinner came and at an instant the moon started to flaunt its brightness, and so we decided to start the Visita Iglesia.        

The Seven Churches Visitation also known as Visita Iglesia, observed on Maundy Thursday, is a Roman Catholic Lenten tradition attempting to visit seven churches or religious sites.  Back in my hometown for the lenten celebration, I, together with friends, were able to visit nine churches in the city of Tacloban.  Indeed, more than what the tradition requires.

Some churches were visited for the first time, while others were revisited being a part of my childhood. Honestly, this is my first Visita Iglesia and so I have to ask my friends if there are any rituals attached to it.

Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Church

Due to proximity to our house, the Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Church was the first stop.  This church has been a temporary refuge for the homeless and countless families who survived the Typhoon Yolanda.  I will never forget this church as this was my stop for the unending walk towards the airport, asking for water two (2) days after the super typhoon struck our hometown.  And with the scarcity of drinking water at that time, treating water as if it's a precious metal, the kindness of humanity still prevailed.

Today, the church has been rehabilitated and ready to be of service to the catholic faithfuls.

Our Lady of Fatima Church

Our Lady of Fatima Church is situated at Fatima Village, Marasbaras Tacloban City and a walking distance from the first church we visited.  On several important occasions in the past, such as wedding of my friends and baptism of their children, I was given the opportunity to visit the said church.

San Jose Parish

Total darkness greets every visitor of the San Jose Parish situated at Barangay San Jose, one of the most devastated barangays caused by the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda.  It is situated near the Tacloban City airport.  The patrons of the church were greatly diminished.  And upon entering the church, goosebumps were felt as purple ribbons were displayed on the church entrance with names of patrons who died during Typhoon Yolanda.  They are truly remembered and will forever be part of the said church.

There are still traces of the devastation caused by the super typhoon but it did not deter the patrons to continue visiting the church and confess their faith and prayers.  That was my first time to visit the San Jose Parish.

Redemptorist Church/Perpetual Help Parish

The Redemptorist Church is situated at the downtown area of Tacloban City and at the main thoroughfare at that, Real Street, thus, the imposing structure of the church could never be missed.  With one functioning Jollibee store across the church, the store has been most patrons' rendezvous after celebrating the mass.

Santo Nino Parish Church

One of the known churches of Tacloban City is currently under rehabilitation in view of the super typhoon Yolanda onslaught, thus, only a portion of the church is open to the public for mass celebration.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish

A week before the lenten celebration, I went home to celebrate one of the most momentous occasion on a friend's life.  Being part of the wedding entourage, I have to go home to Tacloban.  The church is now fully rehabilitated and who would have known that this church was completely submerged in water and have been a witness to the many lives and properties lost at the downtown area due to the storm surge.

The church is located at T. Claudio Street, downtown Tacloban and as I once again visit for the Visita Iglesia, complete silence abound the church and nearby streets, contrary to what it was during my last home comings before the super typhoon.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Abucay

Then we were lead to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish at Barangay Abucay, quite a distant from the downtown area yet worthy of visit as well.  The facade of the church is simple with no remarkable architectural designs like any other church in the country.

St. Jude Parish, Nula-tula

My fun memories of high school life then went back as we step on the next church.  We had our one-day high school retreat at the St. Jude Parish and I remember the less complicated lives we all had back then. And there I was visiting the church once again after a number of years, with so much complications attached to my so-called life.  But who I am to complain as complications are always equated to blessings.

Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, V&G Subdivision

The last church visited was our very own church in our subdivision, the church that has been a witness to our dreams and aspirations since childhood and said to be the only working community a day and even extending few weeks after the super typhoon Yolanda.

With the said Visita Iglesia, I realized that despite and in spite of the devastation caused to the city of Tacloban, the confession of faith of the residents remain.

This is my first Visita Iglesia and so I do have a lot of weird and dumb questions in mind.  One question I asked my friends which they were able to provide an explanation being active on church activities during their youth, was: Why are the statues of saints covered by  clothes?   I know every devout Roman Catholic should know the rationale but pardon my ignorance for such matter as my mind is devoid of religious teachings.

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  1. Thanks for posting the pictures of the different churches. . . .These altars will still be the spaces people will offer their prayers of THANKSGIVING and PETITIONS for which our GOD WILL ALWAYS AND BLESS. . . .

    GOD will not be quick fix for our lives journeys. . .When each one of us will create an altar in our hearts, our faith will teach us to come in time to the ALTARS of the people of God.

  2. Nice to see some of the churches survived the typhoon. I'm just starting the process of reposting my church photos I used to have online, many from Leyte.