Catholic faithful looking for a new way to experience the annual Lenten season’s Visita Iglesia can now go to Intramuros, the famed old walled city of Manila.
Seven churches of Intramuros are being opened by the Intramuros Administration in response to the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) call for the religious sector to adopt its newly created “Faith Tourism.”
The 7 churches of Intramuros open to pilgrims this year are:
- Manila Cathedral
- San Agustin Church
- Guadalupe Shrine in Fort Santiago
- San Ignacio Church
- Knights of Columbus Fr. Willman Chapel
- Lyceum of the Philippines University Chapel
- Mapua University Chapel
Intramuros will also have Via Crucis stations on General Luna Street from Maundy Thursday (March 29) to Black Saturday (March 31), according to Atty. Guiller Asido of Intramuros Administration.
Also on Thursday, March 29, will be the staging of Martir sa Golgota Musical by the Tanghalang Santa Ana, along General Luna Street, with the primary performance to be held at the Palacio del Gobernador.
The DOT and Intramuros Administration revealed the opening of the churches to Visita Iglesia this year marks the first time since World War II that the walled city will be a center of pilgrimage.
DOT’s Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo announced the new Faith Tourism program early this year, noting that the country’s religious culture can be a niche for the tourism industry.
“The Philippines is an ideal destination of religious pilgrimage, not only for sight-seeing but to actually experience time-honored Filipino traditions dating back to pre-Spanish era, and then the Christianization,” Teo said.
She also said the DOT will propose a budget for the restoration and development of historical shrines and old churches all over the country, which serve as tourist attractions.
The Faith Tourism project is part of preparations for the 2021 commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in Cebu, marking the introduction of Christianity in the Philippines.