It was time for the pious Roman Catholic Lenten tradition of Visita Iglesia, a visit to seven churches on the evening of Maundy Thursday but, it being a long weekend, I decided to do it on the early morning of Good Friday. That way I would avoid the Wednesday evening to the whole day Maundy Thusday heavy traffic due to the influx of tourists leaving for their choice vacation spots. For company, I brought along my son Jandy.
My Visita Iglesia destination again was to be Cavite. I decided to explore the towns along the province’s southeast coast, traversing the length of the Cavite Expressway (Cavitex) to Bacoor, then making stopovers at Kawit, Noveleta, Gen, Trias, Tanza and Naic, then traveling inland for another stopover in Maragondon.
From Maragondon, I backtracked a bit then went south for a stopover in Indang, then north again passing by the provincial capital city of Trece Martires, then east for another stopover in Dasmarinas City and north for a last stopover in Imus City before going home. In all, we visited 9 churches in all, 8 of them with historical and artistic significance. They are:
- Church of St. Mary Magdalene (Kawit) – the baptismal site of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo (March 29, 1869). His birth certificate is kept in glass cabinet on the left side of the altar.
- Church of the Holy Cross (Noveleta)
- Church of St. Francis of Assisi (Gen. Trias) – declared a historical structure by the National Historical Institute in 1992, its convent was the site where the Banda Matanda (Old Band) practiced the Marcha Filipina before it was played in Kawit during the Declaration of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898.
- Church of the Holy Cross (Tanza) – also called the Diocesan Shrine of St. Augustine, it was declared as a Marked Structure (of Historical Significance) by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines on May 3, 1980.
- Diocesan Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Naic) – its convent was used as the headquarters of Andres Bonifacio and the Naic Conference was held there after the Tejeros Convention of March 22, 1897.
- Church of the Assumption of our Lady (Maragondon) – the best preserved church complex in the province, the church was listed by the National Museum as a National Cultural Treasure on June 30, 2001.
- Church of St. Gregory the Great (Indang) – has elegantly carved doors, impressive carvings on the choir loft balcony and elegant and impressive rose-colored trompe l’oil paintings (done during the 18th century) on its ceiling. The walls and pillars of the church also have several commemorative gravestones.
- Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception (Dasmarinas City) – the site of a bloody battle where Spanish troops defeated Filipino troops led by Captain Placido Campos and Francisco Barzaga on February 25, 1897. In 1986, it was designated as a Marked Historical Structure by the National Historical Institute.
- Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar (Imus City) – designated as a Marked Structure (of Historical Significance) by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines on November 13, 2006.
It being the Holy Week, all these churches were opened for pilgrims. One drawback was all, if not most, of its statuary and images can’t be viewed as they were covered in lavender or blue cloth.
Though all closed (it being a holiday), we were also also able to pass or drop by other museums and historical sites:
- Bonifacio Trial Museum (Maragondon) – where Andres and Procopio Bonifacio were court martialed by a military court presided by Gen. Mariano Noriel from May 5 to 6, 1897.
- Museo de San Francisco de Malabon (Gen. Trias)
- Aguinaldo Shrine (Kawit) – the birthplace of Philippine Independence.
- Noveleta Tribunal (Noveleta) – was where, on August 31, 1896, Noveleta-born Gen. Pascual Alvarez, under orders from his uncle Gen. Mariano Alvarez of the Sangguniang Magdiwang, killed the Guardia Civil Capt. Antonio Rebolledo within the hall of this building.
- Panumpaang Bayan (Tanza) – the convent beside the Church of the Holy Cross here, on March 23, 1897, Gen. Aguinaldo and Gen. Mariano Trias took their oath of office in a solemn ritual, before Fr. Cenon Villafranca, as President and Vice-President, respectively, of the revolutionary government that replaced the Katipunan.
- Tejeros Convention Site (Rosario) – the site of the historic March 22, 1897 Tejeros Assembly (or convention) that established the first Philippine government that replaced the Katipunan with a government that would meet the manifold demands of the revolution. The site is also considered as the birthplace of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Though there wasn’t much traffic the whole day, we did have to wait for about 15 mins. in Imus as we watched a Good Friday procession of carrozas pass us by.