Churches and Beaches of Philippines
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February 03 – MANILA – Arrival
Arrive into Manila. After clearing airport formalities, meet our guide and transfer to Hotel Celeste Makati. The balance of day free to get caught up from any jetlag you may be feeling.
February 04 – MANILA ( B, L )
The day begins with a visit to the Rizal Park where the Philippines’ national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, was executed by Spain in December of 1896. A monument to the hero stands at the park where his remains are also buried. The tour then proceeds to the walled city of Intramuros which was built by the Spanish colonizers during the 16th century. The first stop is at the historic Fort Santiago which was a fortress built of the conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and became the seat of military power during the Spanish, American and Japanese colonial periods. The second stop is at the San Agustin Church which was completed in 1607 by the Augustinians. San Agustin has the distinction of being the oldest standing church in the Philippines. There is also a museum which exhibits artifacts from the bygone Spanish era. The tour then crosses the street to the Casa Manila, once a colonial villa during the Spanish period and is now a museum which serves to recreate a typical household during the era. There is also an optional stop at Bahay Tsinoy, a museum which is dedicated to highlighting the contributions and influence of the Chinese to Philippine culture. Lunch is at a local restaurant. Afterwards, the tour continues to Makati, the central business district and main entertainment area. After lunch, the tour proceeds to Binondo Church, the main parish in the oldest Chinatown in the world. A quick tour of Chinatown after the visit to the church.
February 05 – MANILA ( B, L )
Visit three (3) of the most popular Churches in Manila; Quiapo, Baclaran Church and San Sebastian. The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene known canonically as Parish of Saint John the Baptist, and also known as the Quiapo Church (Spanish: Iglesia Parroquial de Quiapo), is a prominent basilica in the district of Quiapo in the city of Manila, Philippines. The basilica is famous home for the Black Nazarene, a dark statue of Jesus Christ said to be miraculous. The masses go to Quiapo Church in downtown Plaza Miranda and drop a visit to the Nuestro Señor Jesús Nazareno (a dark figure of Christ carved by a Mexican artist from black wood) whose image, reputedly miraculous, was brought to the country in a Spanish galleon in the 17th century.
Next stop is The National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual also known as Redemptorist Church and colloquially as the Baclaran Church, is a prominent national shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help along Roxas Boulevard in Baclaran, Parañaque, a city in the southern part of Metro Manila, the capital of the Philippines. The church enshrines the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, and is one of the largest Marian churches in the Philippines. Devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help is popular amongst Filipino Catholics, and gave rise to the throngs of devotees who flood the church every Wednesday to attend Mass and pray the Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. In Manila, Wednesdays are popularly called “Baclaran Day” due to congested roads brought on by pilgrims to the shrine.
The last church for the day will be The Basílica Menor de San Sebastián, better known as San Sebastian Church, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Manila, Philippines, and the seat of the Parish of San Sebastian. Completed in 1891, San Sebastian Church is noted for its architectural features. An example of the revival of Gothic architecture in the Philippines, it is the only all-steel church in the Philippines. The prefabricated steel sections that would compose the church were manufactured in Binche, Belgium. According to historian Ambeth Ocampo, the knockdown steel parts were ordered from the Societe anonyme des Enterprises de Travaux Publiques in Brussels. All In all, 52 tonnes (51 long tons; 57 short tons) of prefabricated steel sections were transported in eight separate shipments from Belgium to the Philippines, the first shipment arriving in 1888. Belgian engineers supervised the assembly of the church, the first column of which was erected on September 11, 1890. The walls were filled with mixed sand, gravel, and cement. The stained glass windows were imported from the Heinrich Oidtmann Company, a German stained glass firm, while local artisans assisted in applying the finishing touches. The church was raised to the status of a minor basilica by Pope Leo XIII on June 24, 1890. Upon its completion the following year, on August 16, 1891, the Basílica Menor de San Sebastián was consecrated by Bernardino Nozaleda y Villa OP, the 25th Archbishop of Manila.
February 06 – MANILA – VIRAC ( B, L )
Transfer to domestic airport for flight to Virac, Catanduanes. On arrival, proceed on a city tour visiting:
- Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Virac Cathedral
- FIAT House (Cave Inspired Chapel)
- Hanging Bridge of Sto. Domingo River
- John the Baptist Church
- Maribina Falls
- Marinawa Coastal Road
Lunch at a local restaurant. After a tour in the afternoon, proceed to check in at Catanduanes Midtown Inn.
February 07 – VIRAC – Caramoan Island Hopping ( B, L )
Island hopping in the area scheduled for today. Highlights are:
- Matukad Island
- Katanawan Island
- Lajos Island
- Bosdak Beach
- Tayak Lagoon
- Tinago Beach
- Gota Beach
- Batong Paloway
February 08 – VIRAC – PAMPANGA ( B, L )
Proceed to airport for flight to Clark airport. Proceed to Pampanga Church Tour
First stop is the San Guillermo Parish Church in Bacolor. Bacolor is one of the oldest towns in the Philippines. The first church was built by the Augustinian friars in 1576 on the lot of Don Guillermo Manabat, a rich landlord believed to be the founder of Bacolor. An earthquake destroyed the church and a new church was built by Fr. Manuel Diaz in 1897. It has a central nave and well-lighted transept with windows. The main retablo, side retablos and pulpit are gilded with gold leaf. The richness of the decoration of Bacolor church depicts the advanced stage of baroque and rococo. In spite of the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, which half-buried the church on October 1, 1995, the structure is still being used as a place of worship. It was already a world-renowned tourist destination before the lahar tragedies; now more tourists flock to the church whose remaining features are being preserved and maintained. Stop at a local restaurant for lunch.
Next stop is Betis Church. The baroque-inspired Betis Church was built around 1660 under Father José de la Cruz. The preliminary structure was made out of light materials which were composed mainly of wood and stucco. Fire broke out within the church several times due to these light materials so it was finally rebuilt with concrete materials in 1770. In the last quarter of the 19th century, Father Manuel Camañes dug an artesian well on the north-side of the church which served as a source of potable water not only for the Betis townsfolk, but to the other nearby towns as well. On the other hand, the present-day concrete fence with caryatids was built in the 2nd quarter of the 20th century. The interior ceiling was painted by the famous, Anac Baculud, a relative of Juan Crisostomo Soto, by the name of Isidoro C. Soto, who was mentored by Dr. Sijuco. Isidoro, nicknamed Doro Soto, actually painted the artwork on the ceiling itself, a very tedious work of an art.
Last stop is The Holy Rosary Parish, formerly known as Santo Rosario Church, today fondly called by locals as “Pisambang Maragul” (“Big Church”) stands in the epicentre of the old Culiat town, now Angeles, Pampanga, Philippines. The church has recently been recognized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts as a national historical site. The foundations of the church were first laid out on October 18, 1877 by the founding families of Angeles City led by of Don Mariano V. Henson, It was as laid out by city planners in the Spanish colonial era and now is one of the most distinctive landmarks of the city today because of its historical significance related on how it was built. The church was constructed from 1877 to 1896 by the “Polo y Servicio” labour system, defined as the forced and unpaid labour of the Filipino native people for 40 days per year to all males from 16–65 years old by the Spanish colonial government. The first mass was held in the half of the church that was finished by April 14, 1886. The second half of the church which includes the building’s distinctive dome, was finished on September 17, 1891. The twin bells were rung for the first time on February 12, 1896. The church was finally finished as it still stands today in October 1909. It’s engineering and architectural skills were provided by Don Antonio de la Camara from Manila.
February 09 – PAMPANGA – PANGASINAN ( B, L )
Pick up at the hotel lobby, drive to Manaoag, Pangasinan (3HRS)
The Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag, located on top of a hill in the town, has been canonically affiliated with the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome since June 2011.
Some of the miracles attributed to Our Lady of Manaoag are depicted in murals inside the church’s transepts and nave. The Paschal Chapel beside the south flank of the church has icons of the Black Nazarene similar to that of the Quiapo Church, the Santo Entierro (Dead Christ), and other statues of the Virgin Mary. The sanctuary on the left side of the main entrance has a large image of the Crucified Christ.
Behind the church are the Parish Office, Museum of Our Lady of The Rosary of Manaoag, Candle Gallery, Pilgrims’ Center and Rosary Garden. There is also an Information Center at the Priory at the left side of the church and souvenir shops at the front office of the church, beside the Veneration Room at the second floor behind the main sanctuary, and at the Candle Gallery in the space behind of the church.
Next stop is The Saints Peter and Paul Parish Church (Iglesia Parroquial de los Santos Pedro y Pablo), commonly known as Calasiao Church is a baroque church located in Poblacion West, Calasiao, Pangasinan, Philippines. It belongs to the Vicariate of Sts. Peter and Paul under the Ecclesiastical Province of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. The imposing Latin American-style facade of bricks and cement of Calasiao Church, today, is 88.3 meters long, 25 meters wide and 27.3 meters high. The sprawling convent is 75 meters long, 25 meters wide and has 2 yards. Its 5-storey octagonal brick bell tower (replica of the earthquake destroyed original on July 16, 1990) with architectural designs that slightly resemble those of the Southeast Asian Hindu-Buddhist Pagodas is 30 meters high. The prized original retablos (and a classic altar) is ornately decorated with statues of saints. The Baroque-style carved, the painted ceilings and the magnificent overall exterior are preserved for centuries. The intricate sculpture has a tone of the Renaissance age’s undying European Art as demonstrated by the majesty of its ceiling or dome, walls and the altar from the aisle near the main door.
Overnight at Hotel Le Duc.
February 10 – PANGASINAN – VIGAN ( B, L )
Depart in the morning for Vigan, a 5.5 hr drive with lunch stop en route. On arrival, check into Hotel Luna.
February 11 – VIGAN ( B, L )
Start the day’s tour at The Vigan Cathedral, canonically known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Philippines. It serves as the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site declaration for the Historic Town of Vigan in 1999. The church is predominantly in Earthquake Baroque style with large buttresses on its side. It also has Neo-Gothic, Romanesque and Chinese inspired embellishments. In its interior are silver-panelled main altar, three naves, 12 minor altars and brass communion handrails. South of the cathedral is a separate 25 metres (82 ft) bell tower with a weather rooster on top, which symbolizes Saint Peter. The only remaining Archbishop’s Palace in the Philippines built during the Spanish colonization is located in Vigan, beside the cathedral. The church also contains remains of former bishops of the Diocese of Nueva Segovia, as well as the remains of Ilocano poet Leona Florentino (her and her husband Elias de los Reyes’ grave marker can be seen on a column near the side door facing Plaza Burgos). Next stop is Bantay, a neighbouring town of Vigan City to the east, is one of the eldest parishes in the region and the country. Its icon, the brick red church of St. Augustine and its well-preserved Spanish era bell tower. Bantay Church and its bell tower are one of those old structures of Ilocos without recognition from National Historical Institute of the Philippines, not even a marker to commemorate its role in history, information is also scarce. But it is known that the original church and belfry was built in 1590 but damaged during World War II and only the original bell tower survived. What stands now is a reconstructed structure of a church that was built in 1950. The old bell tower, located on a hill around 90 meters from the church is made up bricks. It is still in good condition with the original bells still hanging on top. The church allows visitors to climb the bell tower, where a good view of the surroundings can be seen – the Bantay Cemetery, the town of Vigan and the Cordillera mountain range from afar.
February 12 – VIGAN – Laoag Day Tour ( B, L )
Saint Augustine Church, Paoay is home to St. Augustine Church or simply Paoay Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The magnificent church stands proudly in an open plaza of the town. While various published articles site contradicting numbers, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines’ records shows that the parish was founded by Augustinian Missionaries in 1593. It is believed that the church’s planning and construction started in late 1600′s to early 1700′s, it was used even before it was fully completed and officially inaugurated in February 28, 1896. The church, aside from its beauty played a vital role during the Philippine revolution against Spain and Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Today, the majestic Paoay Church is an icon and a landmark, it was inscribed in UNESCO WHS in 1995 as one of the four Baroque Churches of the Philippines.
Next stop is Saint Nicolas de Tolentino Church, San Nicolas. The town of San Nicolas is the neighbouring town of Laoag to the south. The town’s church, St. Nicolas de Tolentino, situated along the main highway is among the oldest in the region. The church is that was built in 1701 by Augustinian Missionaries under the Diocese of Nueva Segovia and later went to the Diocese of Laoag when it was formed in 1961.
Lunch at a local restaurant
After lunch, proceed to the Laoag Cathedral. The first church of Laoag was made of wood and thatch when the Augustinians established the parish in 1580. The foundations of the current church were laid in 1612. It was damaged by fire in 1843 and was restored from 1873 to 1880 by the Obras Publicas under Engineer Antonio de la Camara and Father Santiago Muniz. The church was occupied by the revolutionists in 1898, and by the American forces in 1899. The ownership of the church was contested by the Aglipayans from the Roman Catholic from which the Catholic church won ownership. The church facade was renovated by adding lime plaster in 1936. It became a cathedral when the Diocese of Laoag was created in 1961. The church was again renovated from 1971 to 1972. It was slightly damaged by an earthquake in 1983.
The church is also famous for its Sinking Bell Tower, which sinks into the ground at a rate of an inch a year. It has survived several minor earthquakes since its construction, causing scholars to label it an Earthquake Baroque-style structure. The tower, built presumably after the 1707 earthquake, has a foundation of 90 metres (300 ft). It is made of locally manufactured bricks joined by molasses and juice of sablot leaves mixed with lime and sand, and reinforced with four massive columns on each corner and a winding stairway leading to the belfry. It used to have a large clock on the tower’s western face.
While in Vigan City group may also visit Pagburnayan Pottery industry and a local weaving community.
February 13 – VIGAN – PAMPANGA ( B, L )
Pick up at the hotel lobby, depart for Pampanga through Tarlac (6HRS)
Stop at a local restaurant for lunch
Arrive in Clark, Pampanga| Check in at Quest Hotel Clark.
February 14 – PAMPANGA – BORACAY ( B )
Depart for Clark airport for flight to Boracay. On arrival, transfer to Two Seasons Boracay.
February 15 & 16 – BORACAY ( B )
Two days to relax and enjoy the spectacular beach !!!
February 17 – BORACAY – Home ( B )
Transfer to airport for your flights home via Manila.
Manila – 3 Nights
Virac – 3 Nights
Pangasinan – 1 Night
Vigan – 3 Nights
Clark/ Pampanga – 1 Night
Boracay – 3 Nights
Please contact us for pricing information.