Well traditionally Visita Iglesia is done by visiting seven churches while reciting the stations of the Cross. But this year, after our visita iglesia in Laguna, the day after we thought of visiting another church. Well eventually we ended up into visiting two churches in the province of Batangas. Both churches has miracles related or associated to it.
The first one, we visited the San Pio de Pietrelcina Shrine in the town of Sto. Tomas. Well, this is my second time to visit this church. This parish is relatively new yet this has become quite famous lately due the regular healing mass being done here every 23rd of the month. Also this also made famous the the healing masses performed by Father Fernando Suarez, a famous healing priest.
This parish started from a small chapel located on the same grounds and this was dedicated to St. Pio de Pietrelcina, a priest who experienced a phenomenon called stigmata, wherein he showed wounds and marks that Jesus Christ has suffered form His crucifixion.
Located at the southern eastern coast of the province of Batangas, lies the small and remote town of Laiya. Remote as it can be but the town has become known due to the exclusive beach resorts that opened up along its beach, as well as a jump off point for people wanting to dive into the rich corals reefs off the coast of Batangas. Batangas province, aside from its coffee, is known for its dive resorts most specially in the town of Anilao.
To reach Laiya from Manila, one will have to drive south through the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) all the way to the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Expressway and take the exit to Lipa City. From Lipa, one will need to pass through smaller roads that leads to Candelaria in the province of Quezon until reaching the San Juan-Laiya Road.
So far, I have been to Laiya twice. First was with my wife’s family where we went for a swim in Laiya’s public beach which I’ll talk about on this blog and a year later on in our company team building in the Acuatico Resort on the other side of Laiya.
Over the weekend, our company NV Besix SA Philippines held our very first team building activity and it was held at Acuatico Resort in Laiya, San Juan at the southeast border of the Batangas province. We were all booked for an overnight stay in this posh beach resort with an exclusive beach front that faces the Tayabas Bay and a mountain range behind it.
From Makati City, by our office building we all gathered early morning for the trip but ended leaving Makati at around 8:30am. We drove through South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) with a quick stop in Alabang to pick up 4 other guys who were waiting for us there before continuing our trip to the end of SLEX at the Sto. Tomas exit. We followed the highway until we entered the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Expressway and exited at Ibaan Exit. From there we took a long trip up to the town of San Juan and up to Laiya where the road ended.
The Holy Week of last year, Niño, our officemate, invited us to join him in his annual pilgrim to the top of Mount Maculot. Mt. Maculot is a mountain that rises at town of Cuenca in Batangas province for pilgrims every Holy Week. The mountain rises at the southern banks of the Taal Lake and is about 2 hours drive south of Manila.
And so, we join him in this hiking trip to its summit. It was my wife Jen and myself’s first time to hike a mountain but we tried to prepare for the trip. We were yet to be overwhelmed by the actual climb. We both wore shorts and shirts, plus rubber shoes and brought up some chips and water and our tents as we are going to stay overnight at the camp site on top.
A serene spot on top of a hill with the beautiful view of fields and mountains. A place for soul searching. A piece of Spain in the Philippines. These may be some characteristic Caleruega may hold.
Image of the Virgin and Child
Caleruega is a place for retreats and has become one of the preferred locations for weddings located in the town of Nasugbu in Batangas Province. It is about 15 minutes drive from the Tagaytay and about 2.5 hours south of Manila.
Caleruega was built and designed by the Dominican priests on a sloped hill in Nasugbu. The design was based from an actual town in the autonomous community of Castile-Leon in Spain, also called Caleruega. It features retreat facilities, function rooms, a mess hall, dormitory rooms, a camp site, and its main chapel at its top side. The facilities and walkways are built with bricks giving it a Spanish feel.
My home country, the Philippines, is an archipelagic nation of 7,107 islands that is situated in the South East Asian region. It is a tropical country bounded by three bodies of water, the Pacific Ocean to the east, the West Philippine Sea to the west, and the Celebes Sea to the south. It is basically composed of three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
The country’s population is pegged at 88 Million, 90% o which are Roman Catholics. A smaller percentage of the population is composed of Muslim Filipinos who generally reside at the southern islands. The Philippines also has a long history of Spanish colonization, 333 years in total. This is still evident with Hispanic architecture left. The Philippines was discovered by the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Megallan under the Spanish flag in 1521. Then it was also under the US Commonwealth rule for 40 years.
The Philippines is also composed of a diverse group of people with hundreds of different dialects though English is a second language. And each of its 7000+ islands has a distinct characteristic on its own. And on this journal, I’ll be listing down the different places in this country of mine that I have visited and possibly my experience with Philippine culture. And I’ll be linking any blog that I’d be writing for each destination.