Guide to Visita Iglesia 2022: Beautiful Churches to Visit for Visita Iglesia in in Misamis Occidental

12 March 2022
Guide to Visita Iglesia 2022 Beautiful Churches to Visit for Visita Iglesia in in Misamis Occidental

It's almost Holy Week once again. With the easing of restrictions after almost three years, there's no doubt that devotees will be observing the religious traditions again, of course, with safety measures still in mind.


Visita Iglesia is just one of the many, and the most popular, Holy Week traditions Catholics have grown to do and practice, especially in the Philippines. It is usually done on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday by visiting and praying in at least seven different churches. Some devotees walk barefoot from one church to another. In a few cases, devotees are even carrying a cross as a way to share the sufferings of Jesus Christ. While most do so through traveling with families and friends by car. This became a form of pilgrimage and meditation for the Holy Week and also a form of seeking penance for sins.


If you're still looking for an interesting place to spend your Holy Week in, consider visiting Misamis Occidental. As with most other provinces in the Philippines, Misamis Occidental boasts its rich culture, heritage, and inspiring pilgrimage sites, among many other awesome places to visit. It is located in the northern region of Mindanao, enveloped by mountains, forestry, and vast stretches of green fields, making it a perfect destination for people who wish to enjoy a relaxing vacation. 


Meanwhile, the culture here is a strange marriage between Spanish influence and indigenous practices. Although several missions have been established on the island, these have influenced the emerging culture and heritage of this town. From its old churches to ancient architecture, Misamis Occidental surely is the perfect destination for Visita Iglesia this 2022.


So if you're one of those devotees aiming to do this Holy Week tradition, we've got you covered! From Ozamiz City to Sapang Dalaga, here are seven of the oldest and most majestic churches perfect for Visita Iglesia in Misamis Occidental.


1. Jimenez Church

Jimenez Church, also known as St. John the Baptist Church, is located in the heart of the heritage town of Jimenez in Misamis Occidental. It is one of the oldest churches in the country and considered one of the best-preserved Spanish-era structures built in Mindanao. The church is predominantly Baroque in architecture and has well-preserved neo-gothic interiors. Its construction started in 1862 and was finished in the 1880s. It was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum in 2001.


2. Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Ozamiz City's Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was built from the ruins of a church destroyed in an earthquake in 1955. It was one of the early designs by the National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin and was completed in 1960. It was then renovated in 1997-1998, including the facade, which cannot be left unnoticed. The cathedral is the home of the second-largest pipe organ in the Philippines and the only existing pipe organ in Mindanao


3. Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo

Another interesting church to visit in the province is Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo, also known as El Fuerte de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción del Triunfo, Fort of Misamis, and Triunfo Fort. Before becoming a shrine, it was built as a citadel in 1755 by the Spaniards to serve as a fortress, protecting the region from pirates. The fort is an important historical landmark as it symbolizes Ozamiz City's cultural heritage. Now, it is a well-known pilgrimage site and one of the oldest historical structures in the city. You can find the Archdiocesan Marian Shrine of the Birhen sa Cotta outside of the fort's south wall. The shrine is dedicated to the city's patron, Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepcion y del Triunfo de la Cruz de Migpangi.


4. Caluya Shrine

Caluya Shrine, located in Sapang Dalaga, Misamis Occidental, is a mountain-top replica of Rio de Janeiro's Christ The Redeemer. This towering monument has a breathtaking panorama of Murcielagos Bay, Dioyo River, and Mt. Malindang. Reachable through a 100-step staircase from the barrio road, this is a unique variation for meditation on Visita Iglesia in Misamis Occidental


5. San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish Church

San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish Church is a Filipino-Chinese Catholic Community located in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental. Unlike the other churches, this is modern in architecture but still has stained glass windows, which are very common in churches


6. Holy Child Parish

In the year 1838, the Holy Child Parish was already a small aggrupation and was a visita or mission station of Misamis. It became an independent parish in 1893 with the Recollect Father Gervasio Magallon as its first Parish Priest. He then finished the remodeling of the old provisional church. He used firm beams, replaced the pillars, and built cota walls about a meter high. Today, the church looks much better than it was before, from being a large hut to becoming a worthy dwelling place of the Lord to whom it is dedicated.


7. St. Michael Parish

Sometime in 1979, St. Michael Parish, which for many years had been under the pastoral jurisdiction of foreign missionaries, saw a milestone in its church history when the Columban missionaries formally turned over the parish to the diocesan clergy. This development led the then Father Luminado Rojo to become the first Filipino parish priest of St. Michael Parish. In October 1982, Father Bartolome Toledo succeeded Fr. Rojo as St. Michael's Parish Priest.


So these are the top seven must-visit churches in Misamis Occidental that you should include in your Visita Iglesia this 2022. And these are some of the several reasons why Ozamiz is known as the historical, cultural, and pilgrimage destination in Mindanao!


The fort, which stands guard over Panguil Bay, known as the Cotta Shrine or Fort Santiago, is the first thing that visitors will be more likely to notice. It is constructed from sedimentary rocks and coral stones found along with the city's coastal areas. This historical site is only a few minutes away from Lumina Ozamiz, your future city home. Lumina Homes has different home models that are a perfect fit for every family. Its proximity to religious sites, educational institutions, and other daily needs make it the best house and lot in Misamis Occidental.


But, are you wondering why devotees visit seven churches? Many devotees say that the reason is it is a reference to the Seven Last Words of Jesus or the Seven Holy Wounds of Jesus. Although the usual practice is visiting seven churches, some devotees visit 14 churches to match the 14 Stations of the Cross, and a few try to cover even more churches. Many believe that their prayers will be granted after the stations are complete.


Ever since the pandemic, many have offered virtual tours which you can navigate even when you're at the comfort of your home. But the CBCP says devotees should not use online Visita Iglesia sites as substitutes for the actual practice. The bishops encourage able devotees to go through the actual Visita Iglesia. Whether you're doing this panata online or on-site, the most important thing is you repent, reflect, and remember the Higher Being's sacrifices.


Ensure to adhere to the health and safety regulations in place where you are starting until you reach your destination points. Have a blessed Holy Week!

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