This summer, aside from being one of the hottest destination in Southeast Asia for all things fun and beach, the culture-rich Philippines is also known as one of the best places for Catholic pilgrims and religious travelers especially during lent.
For the uninitiated, LENT or Quadragesima is a religious observance in the Catholic liturgical calendar that begins in Ash Wednesday and ends in Palm Sunday – 40 days of preparation before the Holy Week that encourages all faithful to pray, fast, do penance, give alms – an annual reminder and opportunity to transform oneself to be better and worthy of the grace of God.
This year’s lent falls from March 6 (Ash Wednesday) to April 14 (Palm Sunday) – Holy Week starts on April 15 (Holy Monday) and ends on Easter Sunday (April 21).
During the Holy Week, and most especially on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (April 18-19), Catholic pilgrims from all over the world visit Churches and other pilgrim sites to pray and reconnect with their faith.
While many Filipinos leave Metro Manila to visit their home towns and provinces during the Holy Week, some would go to Manila to visit Catholic Churches and Pilgrim sites. There are a lot of them here in Metro Manila and most are actually located near the airport.
Nichols Airport Hotel released a list of seven Pilgrim Churches near Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to benefit all Catholic pilgrims (local and foreign).
Founded in 1958, Baclaran Church located along Roxas Blvd and Redemptorist Rd in Paranaque City enshrines the famous icon of the Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Devotion to the Our Mother of Perpetual Help is held every Wednesday (Baclaran Day). Baclaran is just 5 to 10 minutes away from NAIA.
The Archdiocesan Shrine of Jesus The Way, The Truth and The Life was built in 1999 to honor the wish of Saint Pope John Paul II to have a center dedicated to all youth in the Philippines. Located just across the SMX Convention Center inside the Mall of Asia grounds, it’s just 12 to 15 minutes away from NAIA.
BAMBOO ORGAN CHURCH
The Las Pinas Bamboo Organ in Saint Joseph Parish is a one-of-a-kind mid 18th century organ made entirely of bamboo by the late Father Diego Cera. It is one of the Philippine Catholic Church’s most treasured relic. The church is just 20 to 25 minutes away from NAIA.
SHRINE OF SAINT THERESE
Formerly a chapel dedicated to Michael the Archangel, the Shrine of St. Therese and Columbarium at Newport Boulevard in Villamor, Pasay City was reconsecrated to parochial status in 1983 and as a Military Ordinariate Shrine in 2000 with the aim of encouraging devotion to the “Millennium Saint” particularly among servicemen. The shrine is located just across NAIA Terminal 3.
Established in 1580, the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Paranaque is one of the oldest Church in the Philippines. Also known as the Shrine of Nuestra Senora del Buen Suceso, it is located along Quirino Avenue in La Huerta just 15 minutes away from NAIA.
The Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was built in 1581, also known as Manila Cathedral, this Church has already received three Papal visits. A trip to Manila is not complete without a visit to the Manila Cathedral. Only 25 to 30 minutes away from NAIA.
Quiapo Church is St. John The Baptist parish. Built in 1588, the Church is also the Minor Basilica of Nuestro Senor Jesus Nazareno or the miraculous relic of the Black Nazarene. Devotion to the Black Nazarene are held every Friday – Quiapo Day. A trip from NAIA to Quiapo may take you around 45 minutes but a Manila Church Pilgrimage is never complete without it.
There are other Pilgrim Churches in Metro Manila but these are the ones most accessible to and from the airport.
For pilgrims visiting Manila during the Holy Week, Nichols Airport Hotel offers affordable rates and family-friendly rooms to stay in. Check out their website at www.nicholsairporthotel.com.ph
NICHOLS AIRPORT HOTEL
484 Quirino Ave., Baclaran, Manila, Paranaque City, Philippines
+632-8518348 / +63917-8508624