Rekindle Faith: Visita Iglesia in Bacolod5 April 2022
The Lenten Season is here and the Holy Week is fastly approaching. Roman Catholic devotees are now planning their itinerary for this year's Visita Iglesia, also called the Seven Churches Visitation on Holy Thursday.
One of the best places in the country to have Visita Iglesia is in the Province of Negros Occidental as the area has a lot of heritage churches that were established during the imperial Spanish government and the Spanish colonial period in the country.
The Spanish missionaries mostly built the historical churches in the Province ever since Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the Philippines in 1521 and brought Christianity to the country. Evangelization of the archipelago began in earnest in 1565, however, when Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the Spanish East Indies' Governor, landed in Cebu to establish a foothold.
Here are some of the heritage churches that you must include in your Visita Iglesia when you go to Bacolod:
San Sebastian Cathedral (Bacolod City)
The capital of Negros Occidental province, Bacolod City, is home to the province's spiritual leadership center, which is recognized for the region's enormous sugarcane fields. With its magnificent towers dominating the plaza of Bacolod City, the San Sebastian Cathedral is a prominent landmark in the city's north and south sections.
It's only right that the cathedral in the province's capital has one of the most magnificent façade among Negros churches since it is the cathedral. The San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod, City has a striking symmetry that suggests a harmonious union of the ordinary and the holy.
At one time, this capital city was known as Magsungay, but it was renamed Pueblo de San Sebastian, and that became the name of the church. As a village in the 18th century, San Sebastian de Magsungay was its entire name. Due to the Moros advancing on the Magsungay people, they relocated to a new hamlet in the hills known as "bakólod," which was the precursor of the modern-day name, Bacolod.
San Sebastian Cathedral is located at 1755 Rizal Street, Bacolod City, 6100, Negros Occidental.
San Isidro Labrador Church (Binalbagan)
It was in this settlement, now known as Binalbagan, that Christianity first took root on the island of Negros. Negros Occidental is home to the first two communities in the country, neither of which is well-known outside of the island's immediate vicinity. According to historical sources, it is the oldest settlement on Negros Island.
On May 15, 1572, Binalbagan was incorporated as a town in Negros, marking the beginning of Christianity in the area. The history of Catholicism at Binalbagan, the island's initial colony, is the most colorful since it has been ruled by a variety of religious orders throughout the ages. Many causes contributed to the commotion caused by the attempt to establish a mission in Binalbagan. The difficulties of educating the locals and the frequent assaults by raiding sea pirates are two of the most pressing issues.
Although San Isidro Labrador was the first settlement to be established on Negros Island, the current church known as San Isidro Labrador was built in 1935.
San Isidro Labrador Church is located in Binalbagan, 6107 Negros Occidental.
San Nicolas de Tolentino Church (Talisay City)
Father Cuenca helped lay the groundwork for the establishment of San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish. A new version of the church would be constructed by 1936, but Father Cuenca lived to witness the foundations being set in 1902, only a few years before he passed away. The present building is a testament to the parish's steady growth and development. Father Cuenca's handiwork, the church of San Nicolas de Tolentino, serves as a symbol of Talisay residents coming together to build the church in only three years, from 1933 to 1936.
San Nicolas de Tolentino Church is located at Lizare Street, Barangay Zone 6, Talisay City, Negros Occidental.
Our Lady of Peace (La Carlota City)
In spite of its age, the building remains in excellent condition. There are red bricks on the bottom section of the church that clearly indicate it has been around for 140 years. This Negros Occidental monument and the city of La Carlota have a lot of history associated with it.
Stain glass depicting the Queen of Peace will greet you as you enter the church from the main road. It has a high ceiling and a rustic chandelier. There is a closed museum on the right side that has the 14 stages of Jesus' framed sculptures on each of the three walls some information on the church's walls is in Spanish. During the day, you could see a lot of natural light entering the church, thanks to the dome's glass canopy and the curving windows.
Our Lady of Peace is located at La Paz Street, La Carlota City, Western Visayas, 6130.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (Valladolid)
It wasn't until 1877 that Father Carlos Ubeda, a priest of the Recollect order, took charge of the construction of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Before the Philippine Revolution began in 1897, the church and convent were completed. Despite this, further enhancements have been required throughout time.
The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe has undergone several alterations since its erection in the early 1900s. Although it was established more than a century ago, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church continues to be an ongoing work-in-progress. All these years, the church has remained among the most magnificent in Negros.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church is located at Negros South Road, Valladolid, Negros Occidental.
St. Mary Magdalene Church (Hinigaran)
Hinigaran is marked by the brick tower of the church. Located 53 kilometers south of Bacolod, the Sta. Maria Magdalena Parish church is located at Hinigiran.
Sta. Maria Magdalena Parish's church, interestingly, is a construction off to the side, in accordance with the town's name. The church is located on the major road and close to the ocean, which made it a popular landing spot for immigrants to Negros.
St.Mary Magdalene Church is located at Hinigaran, Negros Occidental.
St. John the Baptist Church (Bago City)
On the list of churches to see in Negros Occidental, one sticks out as having a very unique appearance. This is not to claim that this church is the most beautiful, but it is unique.
For example, although most churches are built out of coral stone or brick, St. John the Baptist Church in Bago City's front has a unique design that is consistent with the city's rich history. The church of St. John the Baptist at Bago, which played an important part in the Negros Revolution of 1898, was designed providentially to serve as a fortress.
St. John the Baptist Church is located at Bago City, Negros Occidental.
Aside from its various heritage churches, Bacolod is also popular with its addicting local delicacies such as piaya, barquillos, napoleones, and chicken inasal.
Bacolod City is also slowly developing with the Build Build Build Projects from the government called the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Economic Highway. This makes the city a great prospect for real estate investment. Good thing, Lumina Homes saw the potential in this thriving province that they created 4 communities in the area namely:
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