Where to go for Visita Iglesia?
28 Mar 2023 | Ateneo University Press
The Visita Iglesia is a very popular Roman Catholic custom in the Philippines. It takes place on Holy Thursday after the Mass of the Last Supper is celebrated at the main altar.
To symbolize the Passion and Death of Christ, the altar is stripped of its cloth and the Sacred Host is removed from the tabernacle and transferred amid a ceremonious procession to a side altar called the “Monumento.” Churches vie with each other in lavishly decorating their monumento with candelabras, colorful hangings, flowers, and imaginative decorations. Churches remain open all of Holy Thursday night and Good Friday morning to allow the faithful to visit at least seven churches before the Good Friday rituals.
Below are possible walking routes you can take for your Visita Iglesia this year. We have included the approximate walking time from church to church–whenever this is possible. You may also combine routes with each other to visit a good number of churches.
Note: Not all chapels and churches along these routes are open on Holy Thursday to the public. Hence, we have not listed them.
The number before the church names below refers to their location on the map above. Refer to the map for visual guidance. For detailed walking or driving directions, a link to a Google Map showing all churches is at the end of this article.
Espiritu Santo Church to San Lazaro Shrine and UST Chapel
(1) Espiritu Santo Church to (2) San Lazaro Shrine
- From Espiritu Santo Church, take Rizal Avenue until you reach the central office of the Department of Health. The shrine is inside the compound of the Department of Health. Walking time: 10 minutes
(2) San Lazaro Shrine to (3) UST Chapel
- Exit the Department of Health to Rizal Avenue then walk to Bambang Street. Take a turn to Alfonso Mendoza Street then to Padre Noval. The Chapel is inside the UST Compound. Walking time: 25 minutes
Total Walking time: 35 minutes
UST Chapel: Three possible connections
Located within the UST Compound, this connects easily with these other churches:
- From UST Church, walk along Osmeña Drive to pass by the Arch of the Centuries and Benavides Statue inside the campus. Cross España Boulevard to Cayco Street. Continue walking then turn right to Earnshaw Street. Continue walking until you reach the corner of Earnshaw, San Anton Street, and Figueras Street. At this corner, you will see the Franciscan Twin churches of Sampaloc. These are the Archdiocesan Shrines of Our Lady of Loreto and the Saint Anthony Shrine. From there, continue walking at Figueras Street and then to Recto Avenue until you reach (5) San Beda Chapel. Walking time: 30 minutes
- From UST, take Quezon Boulevard to Nicanor Reyes to Recto Avenue to Legarda to Plaza del Carmen to arrive at (6) San Sebastian. Walking time: 30 minutes
- From UST, take Quezon Boulevard to Recto Avenue to Nicanor Reyes to España Street to arrive at (7) Quiapo Church. Walking time: 40 minutes
While devotees practice fasting during Holy Week, it is normal to feel hungry during a pilgrimage. Below are eating places along these routes when you feel hungry or tired and need a place to rest.
The list does not presume to be complete. As much as possible, we have focused on restaurants that have comfortable interiors and are unique to a place. Since turo-turo and carinderia restaurants are ubiquitous all over Manila, we have generally avoided listing them so as not to lengthen this list. Nor have we included well-known food chains such as Mang Inasal or Jollibee.
Eating places along the route
- (A) Troika Resto and Art Gallery serve Italian food. It is located at 823 Estremadura
- (B) Youniversity Suites (formerly known as Laperal Apartments) houses a variety of eating places from Japanese to Filipino in an Art Deco atmosphere. It is located at 2122 Recto (opposite San Sebastian College).
- (C) Bakerite Bakery is popular for its colorful rainbow bread and other sorbetes in pan de sal. It is located at 923 Hidalgo going east to San Sebastian.
- (D) June-Nairah Restaurant Halal Food Restaurant. Maranao specialties: beef rendang, fish in turmeric sauce with chives. It is located at 826 Globo de Oro.
- (E) Jolli Aling Dada’s. Famous for its Pancit Palabok. Also in the same space under Quezon Bridge, another famous pancit place: Pastora’s Palabok. Both also serve Cheese Puto. Located at Quinta Market on Palanca Street.
- (F) Kim Chiong Tin Hopia has several kinds of flaky hopia with filling that varies from monggo to salted egg. It is located at Palanca Street.
San Sebastian to Quiapo, Santa Cruz, and Binondo Churches
(6) San Sebastian Church to (7) Quiapo Church
- From San Sebastian Church, cross Plaza del carmen then walk down Hidalgo St, and enter the Underpass to surface at Plaza Miranda. This route takes you to the Quiapo Heritage Zone. Walking time: 12 minutes
- Or take a longer route through Bilibid Viejo crossing Quezon Boulevard to Quiapo Church. Walking time: 15 minutes
(7) Quiapo Church to (8) Santa Cruz Church
- From Carriedo Street cross Rizal Avenue to Santa Cruz Church. Walking time: 16 minutes
(8) Santa Cruz Church to (9) Binondo Church
- From Plaza Santa Cruz, walk along Escolta until you reach Quintin Paredes Street. Take that road until you reach Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz. The church is in front of the plaza. Walking time: 12 minutes
Total Walking time: 40 minutes
Eating places along the route. This being Chinatown, we can only give a partial list.
- (A) Ramon Lee Panciteria is famous for its stir-fried noodles, cameron rebosado, lumpiang shanghai, pata tim, pancit canton, and shanghai rice. It is located at 540 Ronquillo Street, Santa Cruz.
- (B) Uno Wharf Seafood Palace serves Chinese seafood. Located at 270 Calvo Building , Escolta.
- (C) Ying Ying Restaurant has a wide variety of dumplings. It is located at Dasmariñas corner Yuchengco Streets
- (D) Eng Bee Tin. The main branch of this famous chain is located at 628 Ongpin. Eng Bee Tin is famous for introducing smooth-skinned hopia with ube filling.
- (E) Dong Bei has dumplings including the sought-after xiao long bao and beef noodles. It is located at 642 Yuchengco Street, Binondo.
- (F) President Grand Palace serves Cantonese food in a grand hall. It is located at 746-750 Ongpin Street.
- (G) Polland Hopia offers hopia in the traditional flaky and tasty way. It is located at 460 G/F Pacific Mall Center, Quentin Paredes.
- (H) Lucky Chinatown Mall has a wide selection of restaurants serving both Filipino and Chinese cuisines. It is located at 1006 Reina Regente.
Binondo and Tondo Churches
(9) Binondo Church to (10) Tondo Church
- From Binondo Plaza, take Juan Luna Street to Recto Avenue then Ilaya Street to arrive at Tondo Church
Total walking time: 20 minutes
Eating places along the route
- (A) Tutuban Mall has a wide selection of restaurants.
- In Binondo, the pilgrim encounters a wide variety of eating places, some of which are listed above.
Connecting north and south of Pasig River
Connecting the churches from the north of Pasig River to the south are Santa Cruz Church and the Manila Cathedral
- From Santa Cruz Church, walk along Escolta Street then cross the Pasig River through Jones Bridge. From the other side of the bridge, walk along Magallanes Drive, Muralla and Solana Streets to Postigo Street until you arrive at the Manila Cathedral.
Total walking time: 20 minutes
Letran Chapel to Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church
(1) Chapel of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran to (2) Manila Cathedral
- From Letran Chapel, turn left of Muralla Street. From here, you will pass by the Walls of Intramuros. Turn left when you reach Solana Street then turn right to Postigo Street until you reach Manila Cathedral. This route will alsolet you pass by the Walls of Intramuros, Aduana Building, Ayuntamiento, Statue of Carlos IV, and Plaza Roma. Walking time: 15 minutes
(2) Manila Cathedral to (3) San Agustin Church
- From Santo Tomas Street turn left to General Luna. Walking time: 7 minutes
Total Walking time: 22 minutes
Eating places along the route
- (A) Patio de Conchita has a Filipino menu with several dishes featuring goat meat. It is located at 680 Beaterio
- (B) La Cathedral (sic) Café serves pastries, cakes, coffee, and regular meals to the visitor. It is located on a rooftop behind the Manila Cathedral at 636 Cabildo.
- (C) Balai Maria is famous for its chicken tinola. The restaurant has a gallery setting with avant-garde paintings. It is located at the Knights of Columbus Building at Sta. Potenciana St. corner General Juan Luna, behind the Cathedral.
- (D) Ristorante delle Mitre. Translated from Italian as “The Restaurant of the Mitres” (referring to the bishops’ crownlike hats). The menu serves large Filipino favorites with some Italian ones. The restaurant's attractions are dishes that honor particular Church cardinals. It is located at Real Street, across from San Agustin Church.
- (E) Batala Bar serves sandwiches and sundaes. It is located at the Philippine Artisan Trade, Plaza San Luis Complex, corner of Real Street.
- (F) Barbara’s offers Filipino and Spanish dishes in a lavishly re-created nineteenth-century setting. It has a fine view from the second floor of San Agustin Church and Convent. The ground floor eatery, located by a picturesque patio, offers good, economical meals. Located at Plaza San Luis Complex, which reconstructs different house styles from the Spanish period. Barbara’s faces San Agustin Church and Convent.
- (G) Coco Bango Café has favorites such as sinigang na baboy and chicken a la pobre. It is located inside the White Knight hotel along in the Plaza San Luis Complex.
- (H) 9 Spoons is well-known for dishes such as bistek bulalo and adobo sa puti. Located at the penthouse of Bayleaf Hotel, it spreads out a spectacular view of the Intramuros ramparts, the Post Office, City Hall, and the National Museum of Fine Arts.
San Agustin Church to Ermita Church
(3) San Agustin Church to (10) Ermita Church
- From San Agustin Church, walk along General Luna Street to pass by Plaza Roma. From the Plaza, walk along Soriano Avenue until Anda Memorial then turn left to Bonifacio Drive. Walk along the drive until you reach Rizal Park. Walk further along Roxas Boulevard until the corner of A. Flores Street. Turn left here and walk straight. Ermita Church is at the corner of A. Flores Street and M.H. Del Pilar Street.
Walking time: 35 minutes
Pandacan and Our Lady of Peñafrancia Churches
(4) Pandacan Church to (5) Peñafrancia Parish
- From Labores Street, walk through West Zamora then cross Osmena Highway to the other side of West Zamora until you reach the church
Total walking time: 21 minutes
San Vicente de Paul to Paco Park Chapel and Paco Church
(6) San Vicente de Paul Church to (7) Paco Park Chapel
- From San Marcelino, turn to General Luna. Walk until you reach the church. Walking time: 18 minutes
(7) Paco Park Cemetery Chapel to (8) Paco Church
- From General Luna, turn left to Apacible then turn right to Paz. Walking time: 26 minutes
Total Walking time: 44 minutes
Eating places along the route
- (A) Casino Español de Manila. A revered institution specializing in Spanish dishes: Callos, Churros. Picturesque ceramic dishes on the walls. Arched corridors enclose a quiet patio. Located at 855 Kalaw Street.
- (B) UN Square. Mall with a variety of eating places. Located at San Marcelino corner UN Avenue.
- (C) Paco Market. Food stalls in the wet market: from Halo-Halo to Paksiw. Located at Linao St. fronting Pedro Gil.
- (D) Arroz Ecija. Serves crunchy chicken, palabok, pickled salad, and garlic rice. Located at Robinson’s at Otis.
Paco Church to Sta. Ana Church
(8) Paco Church to (9) Sta. Ana Church
- Because walking along congested Pedro Gil might be a chore, better to either drive or take a ride between these two churches.
Ride - 15 minutes
Ermita Church to Malate Church
(10) Ermita and (11) Malate Churches are connected by Marcelo del Pilar Street or Roxal Boulevard. You may either walk for about 30 minutes or take a jeepney. Take Roxal Boulevard if you prefer a more scenic route.
Total walking time is 25 minutes; riding time is 5 minutes
If you are adventurous, you could connect Ermita Church and San Agustin by walking for about 30 minutes.
Eating places along the route
- (A) Café Miranda, City Garden Hotel has both Filipino and International menus. It is located at 1158 Mabini Street.
- (B) Hizon’s Cakes and Pastries is famous for its several kinds of ensaymada. It is located at 1197 Jorge Bocobo Street. corner Arquiza.
- (C) Shawarma Snack Center also serves Middle Eastern food. It is located at 484 R. Salas Street between Mabini and Harrison Streets.
- (D) Dulang Halal. Though Maranao restaurants are becoming common, Tausug restaurants are still rare. It specializes in specialties such as empanadas stuffed with noodles and dipped in red vinegar. Located at 1313 Adriatico near the corner of Padre Faura, in front of Robinson’s Mall.
- (E) Adriatico Arms Hotel and Café offer both Filipino and International menus. The interior features dark wood paneling and beveled mirrors. Located at 561 Adriatico.
- (F) Casa Armas serves Spanish tapas (appetizers that taken together become a meal). Located at 573 Adriatico Street.
- (G) David’s Tea House is a hotpot specialty located at 1781 Adriatico Street.
- (H) Café Adriatico is the core of the famous Larry Cruz network of cafes with excellent food and ambiance. Located at Remedios Circle.
- (I) Bistro sa Remedios has specialties from Pampanga and the Tagalog Region. Also part of the Larry Cruz network, it is located at Remedios Circle.
- (J) The Aristocrat serves classic Filipino foods. It is a landmark restaurant from the 1930s located at 432 San Andres Street corner Roxas Boulevard
List of Manila churches north and south of the Pasig River
- Espiritu Santo Parish or the Archdiocesan Shrine of Espiritu Santo located at Rizal Avenue, Santa Cruz, Manila
- San Lazaro Shrine or the Chapel of St. Lazarus located at the San Lazaro Compound, Rizal Avenue, Santa Cruz, Manila
- UST Chapel or the Santísimo Rosario Parish Church located at the UST Compound, Sampaloc, Manila
- St. Jude Church or the National Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus located at Jose Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila
- San Beda Chapel or the San Beda Abbey Chapel located at Mendiola Street, San Miguel, Manila
- San Sebastian Church or the Minor Basilica of San Sebastian located at Pasaje del Carmen Street, Quiapo, Manila
- Quiapo Church or the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene located at Quiapo, Manila
- Sta. Cruz Church or the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament located at Plaza Sta. Cruz, Santa Cruz, Manila
- Binondo Church or the Minor Basilica & National Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz located at Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz, Binondo, Manila
- Tondo Church or the Archdiocesan Shrine of Sto. Niño located at Ilaya Street,Tondo, Manila
- Letran Chapel or the Chapel of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran located at 151 Muralla St., Intramuros, Manila
- The Manila Cathedral or the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception located at Cabildo, 132 Beaterio Street, Intramuros, Manila
- San Agustin Church or the Archdiocesan Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation and Cincture or the Immaculate Conception Parish located at General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila
- Pandacan Church or the Sto. Niño de Pandacan Parish located at Jesus Street, Pandacan, Manila
- San Vicente de Paul Parish or the San Vicente de Paul Parish of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila located at San Marcelino St., Ermita, Manila
- Peñafrancia Parish or the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Peñafrancia located at Gomez, Paco, Manila
- Paco Park Chapel or the St. Pancratius Chapel located at 959 Belen, Paco, Manila
- Paco Church or the San Fernando de Dilao Parish located at 1521 Paz Street, Paco, Manila
- Sta. Ana Church or the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Abandoned is located at Pedro Gil Street, 2600 Lamayan, Santa Ana, Manila
- Ermita Church or the Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora De Guia located at A. Flores, Ermita, Manila
- Malate Church or the Our Lady of Remedies Parish located at 2000 M. H. Del Pilar Street, Malate, Manila
More information about Manila churches including their history, architecture, and so much more are found at Endangered Splendor: Manila's Architectural Heritage, 1571-1960 by Fernando N. Zialcita and Erik Akpedonu with Victor S. Venida.
Finalist for the 40th National Book Awards Best Book of Art, Volume 1 is available at Ateneo Press's website and Lazada and Shopee stores. This volume is about The Center of Manila or Intramuros, Binondo, San Nicolas, and Tondo.
Volume 2 or The South of Manila includes Ermita, Malate, Paco, Pandacan, San Andres-Singalong, and Santa Ana. This is forthcoming this May. The pre-order form will be available soon.
About the books
VOLUME 1: The Center
For generations, this zone running from north to south at the mouth of the Pasig River has been the core, not only of Manila but of the entire nation. North of the river is Tondo, which flourished as a port long before there was a Manila, and had a second wind during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as seen in its grand mansions. South of it is Binondo whose pivotal importance in the Pacific shows in its grand church and two-fountained plaza and in its Art Nouveau and Art Deco office buildings. Beside Binondo is San Nicolas whose elegant nineteenth houses narrate the emergence of a local bourgeoisie, among them the family of Gen. Antonio Luna. Intramuros, south of the river, may have begun as a colonial fortress city but it was within its schools, churches, and plazas that Filipinos plotted a new nation.
VOLUME 2: The South
This zone extends from one of the oldest settlements in the islands down to Manila Bay. The magnificent eighteenth-century Sta. Ana church stands on a hill, actually an ancient pre-Hispanic settlement site. Pandacan, formerly an island encircled by the river and streams and home to poets, still has streetscapes with the feel of a little town. Paco, defined by its cemetery in concentric circles, has quiet streets bordered by picturesque 1900s-1930s houses. Malate and Singalong-San Andres have schools, like De La Salle and Sta. Scholastica, in superb Neoclassical and Art Deco, along with a sports complex in exuberant Art Deco and dozens of grand houses. Thanks to the Rizal Monument, Ermita is our Kilometer Zero; but likewise the location of our now forgotten national civic center curving dramatically from the Post Office to the National Museum Complex down to the monument and the bay.
VOLUME 3: The North
Starting in the 1780s, wealthy families left the Walled City for the still open spaces across the river. By the 1900s, Sta. Cruz’s Avenida Rizal had become our Main Street, marching between commercial buildings in varying styles towards two cemeteries with mausolea in Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Quiapo became a global village embracing an ornate Neo-Baroque church (Quiapo); an all-steel Neo-Gothic basilica (San Sebastian); a Japanese-inspired caprice with mythical animals (Ocampo Pagoda) and a huge Mosque. Because of the Presidential Palace, glorious college chapels like San Beda and Holy Spirit, and lordly mansions, San Miguel became our “Number One” district. North of it, Sampaloc - Sta. Mesa evolved into a university town with dramatic campuses such as the University of Sto. Tomas and Far Eastern University.
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