Top 10 Places for Spiritual Pilgrimage

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Prayer petitions and other spiritual goals take on a different meaning and level altogether when brought on a spiritual pilgrimage. Here are the top 10 places for spiritual pilgrimage in the Philippines:


Sta. Maria and Paoay church were both declared as Baroque World Heritage Sites, and with good reason. Founded by Augustinian missionaries, the Paoay church boasts a bell tower that was used as an observation post by Katipuneros during the Spanish period. Legend also has it that the Sta. Maria church was the site of occasional appearance sof an image of the Blessed Virgin. The knolls, convent, and tower all contribute to the majestic appeal of Sta. Maria church in its authentic European Baroque style.

The second oldest church in Bohol, San Pedro Apostol Church has a rich heritage dating back to the unrelenting efforts of Jesuit missionaries to cater to the spiritual needs of the people in Loboc until their departure in 1768. The whole edifice was burned in the 1600’s but was restored from its former glory. The Augustinian Recollects took over the management of the church and continued to decorate and finish the church exterior. The cherub carvings, Papal tiara and Jesuit emblem and the bas relief of San Ignacio are just some of the elements that help set the spiritual mood for religious pilgrims’ most heartfelt petitions.

One of the world’s shrines to the Virgin Mary, the Basilica Minore of the Our Lady of Piat in Cagayan is another well-frequented spiritual pilgrimage venue. The image of Our Lady of Piat, a  brown Madonna image, was made in Macau and was believed to be patterned after Mexico’s Guadalupe. Ailments are believed to be healed at this shrine, even by the nuns who sell the miraculous oil that pilgrims can take home after their journey. It is the first basilica minore in its region.

The faces and identities of pilgrims may change in the Philippines, but all generations attest to the fact that Baclaran Church, known formally as Redemptorist Church and National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, is a well-known pigrimage site. The icon of the Mother of Perpetual Help is highly revered in this shrine which as a capacity of 11000. Its large space, accessibility and its reputation as a place of prayer makes it the most visited church in the area.

At the heart of Manila lies Quiapo Church, frequently portrayed in various multimedia as a place for one’s most fervently visited spiritual havens. The whole structure of Quiapo Church sits at the heart of Manila’s trade and transport. Formally called the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, Quiapo Church contains the miraculous image of the Black Nazarene. Devotees to the Black Nazarene hold a procession every January 9 and novenas every Fridays. Outside the Quiapo church are a host of merchandise, religious and non-religious, that materially cater to many a pilgrim’s needs.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Charity teems with pilgrims year in and year out because of its lovely architecture and rich Franciscan heritage. Statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul will welcome you right at the entrance, serving as a foretaste of the spiritual abundance that pilgrims will feel after praying in this basilica.

The patron saint of Bicol, Our Lady of Peñafrancia, is very much revered in this very church. The Peñafrancia festival every September is attended by many pious Catholics who bring their most fervent petitions. In the folds of the majestic church lies a silent invitation from the Bicol patroness and highlights the role of Mary as Mother of the Church and co-pilgrim in the spiritual journey.

One of the pilgrimage sites with a large following among Catholic spiritual pilgrims is the shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan. Miracles answered by prayers to the Lady of Manaoag are depicted in the murals on the church exterior, contributing to the fervor of many devotees.

Just as in old Biblical times, Mount Banahaw is the local version of a holy mountain that lures many a pilgrim to its peak. The holy water said to be flowing on the mountain renders to its appeal, along with the natural features that make the devotees and visitors in tune with God through nature.




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