Guide to Visita Iglesia 2022: List of Historical Churches in Sorsogon to Visit This Holy Week

28 March 2022
List of Historical Churches in Sorsogon to Visit This Holy Week

Holy Week is one of the most anticipated holidays in the Philippines for many reasons—it is the longest holiday every year, more time to travel with loved ones, and of course, it is a time to reflect and repent. 


With Holy Week fast approaching, we can already feel that time of the year again when people drive back to their hometowns for a quick breather, reunite with family members in the provinces, and fulfill religious obligations. While the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted most of the physical religious activities and Holy Week observances for two years due to the strict travel restrictions, this year might be a bit better. 


And you know what many devotees are looking forward to the most during this season? Visita Iglesia! It is the tradition of visiting seven churches on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday. During Visita Iglesia, the devotees pray, reflect, and remember the sufferings of Jesus Christ in all of the seven churches they would go to. This practice is believed to be influenced by the Spaniards who colonized the Philippines for nearly four centuries, which also introduced the Roman Catholic faith. Since then, this has become a tradition among Filipino Catholic devotees.


Regardless of your city or region, you can definitely practice Visita Iglesia. But if you’re looking not just to fulfill your religious obligation but also for the rich historical and religious heritage stories of the places you’ll see, then Sorsogon is ideal for the pilgrimage.


Sorsogon province lies within the Bicol region, Luzon island’s southernmost province. It is most popular for the unparalleled whale shark interaction experience it offers to visitors. Although butandings are among the main reasons that draw tourists to Sorsogon, there’s so much to see and do there. From its amazing tourist destinations to its heart-warming and friendly locals, the province definitely has a lot to offer, including the historical Baroque churches. So if you’re planning to visit this province for your Holy Week itinerary this 2022, here’s a list of historical churches you can visit to complete your Visita Iglesia experience.


1. St. Joseph Parish (Barcelona Church)

The St. Joseph Parish Church is located at the heart of Barcelona town in Sorsogon. Built in 1874, it is the oldest church in the Bicol region and is considered to be one of the most beautiful. St. Joseph Parish Church is also considered the most well-preserved church since many parts of its original structure like the facade, walls, and bell tower have remained intact. However, they needed to renovate its interiors and strengthen the windows using glass and steel. This church is popular for devotees and parishioners for its history and should definitely be on your list of must-visit churches in Sorsogon.


2. Sts. Peter & Paul Cathedral

The Saints Peter and Paul Parish Cathedral, also known as Sorsogon Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral situated in the city center of Sorsogon City. It is one of the most distinguishable landmarks in the city and is the seat of the Diocese of Sorsogon with Sts. Peter and Paul as primary patron saints.


3. St. James The Greater Parish Bulusan

Situated in the charming town of Bulusan in Sorsogon, St. James the Greater Parish is one of the four oldest churches in the Diocese of the province. You think it’s interesting already? Wait till you find out that this parish church is among those with the oldest bell tower that dates back to the early colonization of Spain in the province of Sorsogon. That’s how historic St. James The Greater Parish Bulusan is. This place is really solemn and the interior of the church intensifies it, even more, making it a perfect place for your Visita Iglesia tour or a respite from the busy city life.


4. Church of St. Joseph the Worker

Donsol, without a doubt, is the most famous tourist spot in Sorsogon thanks to its charming whale sharks that are so friendly tourists can swim with. Although the town is dubbed as the Whale Shark Capital of the World, Donsol has so much to offer. One of the most iconic landmarks there is the St. Joseph the Worker Parish Church. At first look, you’ll be in awe of the huge stained-glass facade of the church. Beside it is a bell tower which cannot be left unnoticed. With its peaceful location, this is definitely the perfect place for meditation and prayer.


5. Our Lady of Annunciation in Bacon District

Our Lady of Annunciation Parish Church, better known as Bacon Church, is considered a historical landmark of Sorsogon. Giving premium to the heritage of the province, the 404-year old church was refurbished due to a typhoon in 1811 that damaged it. By 1852, the church was relocated to its present site and the construction of the new church started. The bell tower, which was constructed in 1885, was renovated with sprucing coral stone.

6. Church of St. Michael the Archangel (Irosin)

St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church, also referred to as Irosin Hilltop Church, is located at the center of the town. From the name itself, you can find it on top of a hill where devotees have to climb 74 steps to pray in this scenic church. Just beside the church is another hill called the Little Baguio, where the Grotto of the Virgin Mary is found. From this church, you'll be able to have a clearer and unobstructed view of Bulusan Volcano.


7. Church of Santo Niño (Matnog)

The Sto. Niño Parish Church located in Matnog should definitely be on your list of churches to visit for your Visita Iglesia. It is one of the Baroque churches in the province that is well-preserved. Definitely, a must-visit when you’re in the province that will take you back to centuries, this humble church is perfect for your devotion.


Just like in any other province in the country, Sorsogon has a lot of stories to offer – from culture to historical sites to tourist spots that are definitely world-class. So if you’re looking for a memorable Holy Week this year, then you should consider visiting Sorsogon.


Have a blessed Holy Week!


Read other Visita Iglesia guide for Lenten Season 2022: 

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