Written by imoney
For many Filipinos, the Lenten seasonis a time to not only reflect on the sacrifices of Christ but also a time to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Holy Week is one of the longest, and most anticipated holidays in the Philippines, and deciding where to go to celebrate it is cause for much excitement. If you’re stressing out because you do not have a plan in place for Lentthis year, we have you covered. Whether you decide to stay in Metro Manila, or venture elsewhere, there are plenty of activities to enjoy. If you’re looking for the perfect place to spend Holy Week this year, be sure to check out these suggestions.
The Best Places To Visit Outside Metro Manila
If you are like thousands of other Filipinos, you may practice Visita Iglesia during Holy Week. Visita Iglesia, which symbolizes the fourteen stations of Christ’s passion, gives you an opportunity to visit and pray in at least seven different churches on Holy Thursday. There are a number of top churches you should consider visiting during your Visita Iglesia outside of Metro Manila, all will be beautifully decorated and sure to make your trip a memorable experience.
1. Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur
Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur are sister provinces that are very popular destinations during Holy Week due to their beautiful natural surroundings and century-old churches. Filipinos travel near and far to be inspired by the age-old beauty of the structures, which date all the way back to the Spanish era. Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur is the perfect destination for Visita Iglesia, and it is only an eight-hour drive from Metro Manila.
- The biggest church in Ilocos Norte
- Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
- Sandboarding at the sand dunes
- The country’s 4th longest bridge
- Bangui Windmills
- AUNESCO Heritage Site
Siquijor is a great destination for those who wish to truly get away this Holy Week. Siquijor has long had a reputation for being a place of magic, and the island province’s scenery is nothing short of magical. The island’s Healing Festival perfectly coincides with Holy Week, providing a unique experience for the entire family. The Healing Festival is a four-day event that is celebrated by multiple church services, holy treks, and even healing sessions.
Siquijor is a 27-hour drive from Metro Manila; however, you can get from Manila to Dumaguete via plane in only one hour. Once you reach Dumaguete, you must take a ferry to Siquijor. Though this trip is quite the excursion it is definitely worth the travel time and money spent.
- Old Enchanted Balete Tree
- Siquijor Butterfly Sanctuary
- Lugnason Falls
- Tubod Marine Sanctuary
- Cantabon Cave
Another option if you are truly looking to get away from Metro Manila is Batanes. Batanes is in the northern Philippines and is 657 km from Metro Manila, thus the best way to get to Batanes is via plane. Though getting to Batanes will require quite a travel, it is the ultimate Holy Week retreat. Often labeled as the New Zealand of the Philippines with its serene and picturesque sights, it’s the best place to revitalize and reflect in time for Lent. Locations, where you can enjoy moments of reflection, include Chawa Cave, Mount Iraya, and the Itbayat, Sabtang, and Batan Islands.
Marlboro Country / Racuh A Payaman
Chamantad – Tinyan Viewpoint
Vayang Rolling Hills
Sabtang Island Stone Houses
Morong Beach, Viewpoint and Nakabuang Arch
Valugan Boulder Beach
Alapad Hills and Rock Formation
Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel
Lighthouses of Batanes
Chances are you know someone who has been to Pampanga during Holy Week and has come back with many stories to tell. Pampanga is filled with historical churches and religious shrines that people travel from all over the world to admire. What makes Pampanga a destination of choice for many Filipinos during Holy Week are the numerous reenactments of the crucifixion of Christ. If you have not made your way to Pampanga during Holy Week, make it your number one choice this year. Best of all, Pampanga is only 81.8 km away from Metro Manila, and you can get there by car in a little over an hour and a half.
If you’re looking for a place to truly get away from the busy life of Metro Manila this Holy Week, Marinduque is a great option. During Holy Week, Marinduque celebrates the Moriones Festival, which is an iconic portrayal of the Legend of Longinus. The Legend of Longinus is a story of a blind Roman Centurion who was able to pierce the crucified body of Christ and had his vision restored by Christ’s blood. Marinduque is 159 km away from Metro Manila, and the best way to get there is by ferry or plane.
- Poctoy Beach
- Gaspar, Melchor, and Baltazar Islands
- Old Churches: Boac Cathedral and Sta. Cruz Church
- Maniwaya Island and Palad Sandbar
- Ungab Rock Formation
- Bagumbungan Cave
Cebu is another popular Holy Week destination for those who wish to get far away from Metro Manila during Holy Week. There is plenty to do in Cebu, including diving in the crystal-clear waters and visiting some of the prettiest churches the Philippines has to offer. If you visit Cebu, be sure to visit the Simala Church, which is known for its prestigious castle-like look. Cebu is also home to the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist, which is an attraction that draws people from all over the world. As the second metro city in the Philippines, Cebu is over 350 km away from Metro Manila, making the flight the quickest way to get there with multiple flights available during the day.
- Cebu Heritage Monument
- 1730 Jesuit House
- Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
- Mountain View Nature Park
- Basilica del Santo Nino
- Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary
- Tops Lookout
If you’re looking for old churches for your Visita Iglesia, there is no better place than Bulacan. Some of the more notable historic churches include the Church of Santiago Apostol, St. Monica Church, and Barasoain Church. You can also attend Good Friday Processions in Baliuag where you can watch the procession of nearly 100 floats. Bulacan is only 81.2 km from Metro Manila, and you can reach it by car in a little over two hours.
- Verdivia Falls
- Mt. Gola
- Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm
- Saint John of God Parish Church
- Bistro Maloleño
- Pinagrealan Cave
- Guiguinto Old Train Station
- Baguio of Bulacan – Hilltop
- Marcelo H Del Pilar Museum
- Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes
If a getaway is what you want during the long weekend of the Holy Week, then perhaps a visit to the country’s largest city might be a good idea. A 2 hour flight from Manila, Davao City and its neighboring areas are very popular tourist destinations for foreigners and locals not only during Lent but all year round. You can visit the San Pedro Cathedral or the Shrine of the Holy Infant of Prague to pay your respects and then enjoy the different destinations in and around the city.
- Island Garden City of Samal – lush beaches
- Mount Apo – popular destination during Holy Week
Another tourist destination that has become popular especially among the younger generation is Siargao. The island is famous for its beautiful beaches which has been a surfing spot for quite some time now. Here you can also enjoy freshly harvested seafood as the island is very rich in marine life. If you are looking to get away from the noise of the Metro and just enjoy the sun and sand, then Siargao is one of the perfect places to go during this long weekend.
The Best Places To Visit In Metro Manila
If traveling is out of the question for you this Holy week, there are plenty of churches you can visit to complete your Visita Iglesia.
- Visit the Top Churches in Metro Manila
- Santissimo Rosario Parish in the University of Sto. Tomas, one of the oldest universities in the Philippines.
- Basilica Minore de San Sebastian, also known as San Sebastian Church.
- Santa Cruz Church in Manila.
- Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, widely known as Quiapo Church.
- Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz, also known as Binondo Church.
- Manila Cathedral.
- Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat in San Beda College, Mendiola, Manila.
- Tour The Walled City of Intramuros
Intramuros is in close proximity within Metro Manila, making it the perfect option for the budget-minded Filipino. Here you can view miraculous churches and cobblestone streets. If you haven’t been, you will truly feel like you are in a different world.
- Manila Cathedral
The Manila Cathedral is a church you have to visit this Holy Week if you haven’t previously paid it a visit. Located inside Intramuros, this historic cathedral was damaged on many occasions since it was originally built in 1581, but was completed for the last time in 1958. The Manila Cathedral is the perfect place for the entire family to enjoy during Holy Week.
- Quiapo Church
Like the Manila Cathedral, the Quiapo Church is worth a visit this Holy Week. This church is home to the world-famous shrine of the Black Nazarene. There are daily masses held at the Quiapo church, making it a perfect addition to your Visita Iglesia list.
Special Holy Week Activities That’s Worth The Experience
- Moriones Festival
The Moriones Festival is held in beautiful Marinduque, where the streets come alive and turn into a street theatre during Holy Week. The Moriones Festival has inspired additional performances all across the Philippines that take place up until Easter Sunday. At the Moriones Festival, you will have an opportunity to tour some of the island’s most famous and awe-inspiring attractions. This is the perfect event for someone looking to indulge in some of the Philippines richest culture.
- Via Crucis
The Stations of the Cross or Via Crucis, latin for “Way of the Cross”, is a popular Holy Week event that takes place every year on Good Friday in Cebu City as well as other locations in the Philippines. Also known as “Via Dolorosa” or Way of Sorrow, it depicts the act of following Christ through different stations commemorating his passion that leads to his crucifixion. This historical event helps Filipinos from all over become better acquainted with themselves and their religion. This year, Via Crucis takes place on April 14th, and is an event you do not want to miss if you plan to travel far away from Manila this year.
Many Filipinos use Holy Week as a time to travel and spend time with family, visiting faraway places to take a break from the fast-paced Manila lifestyle. Others opt to stay near Metro Manila to enjoy a less crowded city. If you plan to travel away from Metro Manila consider visiting Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, Siquijor, Batanes, Pampanga, Marinduque, Cebu, or Bulacan. If traveling is out of the question for you this Holy Week, enjoy the beauty of Intramuros, the Manila Cathedral, or the Quiapo Church right here in Metro Manila. Regardless of where you decide to travel for Holy Week, you can rest easy knowing that there will be plenty of family-centered locations and activities where you can relax and reflect during this Lenten season.
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This article was first published in April 2017 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Where is the best place to spend Holy Week in the Philippines? ›
- Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur are sister provinces that are very popular destinations during Holy Week due to their beautiful natural surroundings and century-old churches. ...
- Siquijor. ...
- Batanes. ...
- Pampanga. ...
- Marinduque. ...
- Cebu. ...
- Bulacan. ...
- Visit at least one church every day. ...
- Attend a procession. ...
- Go on a pilgrimage. ...
- Take a hike through one of the country's stunning national parks.
- Visita Iglesia. Above Quiapo Church (Photo: LynnB/Tripadvisor.com) ...
- Staycation at home. Above (Photo: freestocks.org/Pexels.com) ...
- Culture tour at Fort Santiago. Above Fort Santiago (Photo: Henry Galvez/Flickr.com) ...
- Paco Park and Rizal Park. ...
- Go on a pilgrimage to Regina RICA.
|Holy Week in Seville|
|Official name||Semana Santa de Sevilla|
|Observed by||Seville, Spain|
|Type||Religious, Historical, Cultural|
|Significance||Commemoration of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus|
Good Friday commemorates Jesus' suffering and death on the cross; it is traditionally a day of sorrow, penance, and fasting. Holy Saturday, also called Easter Vigil, is the traditional end of Lent. Easter Sunday is the celebration of Jesus' Resurrection, according to the Gospels, on the third day after his crucifixion.What not to do during Holy Week? ›
Good Friday and Black Saturday are considered days of mourning during the holy week, so making excessive noise are prohibited to preserve the solemnity of these days. Karaokes, honking of horns and even watching TV and listening to the radio are not allowed. Instead, people are encouraged to pray and reflect.What are the 5 most important days during Holy Week? ›
- Palm Sunday – entrance into Jerusalem. ...
- Holy Wednesday – into the darkness. ...
- Maundy Thursday – the Last Supper. ...
- Good Friday – Jesus' agony on the cross. ...
- Holy Saturday – visiting the tomb of Jesus.
Palm Sunday, Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday, and Easter Sunday are all part of it. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are regular national holidays in the Philippines.Where to go in Cebu in Holy Week? ›
|Attraction||Holy Week Schedule|
|Cebu Ocean Park||No closing days|
|Cebu Safari||No closing days|
|Anjo World & Snow World||Closed on Fridays|
|Danasan Eco Adventure Park||No closing days|
"Do something good for them -- write down a check, help people, spend time, say thank you, write a letter, call somebody," Orbos said. "Everything we do in the Holy Week is an expression of love and gratitude to Jesus Christ who suffered so much and died for us," he said.
What is the No 1 beautiful place in the Philippines? ›
1. El Nido. It's tough for a place as gorgeous as El Nido to not top the list of the most beautiful places in the Philippines with its striking rock formations, natural beaches, and crystal clear blue waters, El Nido is a destination that makes Filipinos smile with pride.What is the top 1 most visited site in the Philippines? ›
Between December 2021 and November 2022, Google.com was the most visited website in the Philippines, wit total visits amounting to 1.3 billion. This was followed by Facebook.com with total visits of 834 million.Who are the number 1 tourists in the Philippines? ›
Between February and December 2022, the United States was the biggest market of international tourists traveling to the Philippines, with a total of about 505.1 thousands travelers. South Korea, Australia, and Canada were also among the leading foreign visitors in the country.Which country is best to visit during Holy Week? ›
- La Union. In Northern Luzon, La Union hosts various sacred sites for Holy Week pilgrims. ...
- Pangasinan. The province of Pangasinan is home to the famous Our Lady of Manaoag. ...
- Tarlac. ...
- Pampanga. ...
- Iloilo. ...
- Zamboanga del Sur.
The week leads through the Last Supper, His crucifixion, and ends on Easter Sunday with His resurrection. This is the basis of Christianity, His sacrifice launched the New Covenant God promised and many had prophesied throughout the Old Testament.Which is one of the most famous processions of Holy Week celebrated? ›
The most solemn and famous procession is the "Procesion de los Pasos", also known as the "Procesion del Encuentro" (Procession of the Meeting). During this nine-hour marathon procession, about 4,000 penitents carry 13 "pasos" around all the city.What does the word maundy mean? ›
On its own, the word maundy means “the ceremony of washing the feet of the poor, especially commemorating Jesus's washing of his disciples' feet on Maundy Thursday.”What are the three pillars of Holy Week? ›
As we begin this season of repentance and reflection, let us contemplate what this time means and how the three pillars of Lent lead us to a closer relationship with God.What is Tuesday of Holy Week called? ›
The day is also known as Fig Tuesday as it commemorates the day Jesus returned to Jerusalem from Bethany, passing a barren fig tree on the way, which he used as an example to teach his disciples.What color to wear on Holy Thursday? ›
Holy Thursday- Wear White or Gold in honor of the Holy Eucharist. Today is a Solemnity, and the Gloria is sung at Mass. This is also the liturgical color of the day. Good Friday- Wear RED in honor of the blood that Jesus shed on the Cross for our salvation.
What should you not eat on Holy Week? ›
Also, on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays during Lent, adult Catholics over the age of 14 abstain from eating meat. During these days, it is not acceptable to eat lamb, chicken, beef, pork, ham, deer and most other meats. However, eggs, milk, fish, grains, and fruits and vegetables are all allowed.Can I take a shower during Holy Week? ›
It's bad to take a bath after 3 p.m. on Good Friday. Old folks warn the young ones not take a bath or do laundry after 3 p.m. on Good Friday, as it is the hour of Jesus' death.What is most commonly sung during Holy Week in the Philippines? ›
Pabása ng Pasyón (Tagalog for "Reading of the Passion"), known simply as Pabása is a Catholic devotion in the Philippines popular during Holy Week involving the uninterrupted chanting of the Pasyón, an early 16th-century epic poem narrating the life, passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.How long is holy week in the Philippines? ›
“The three days within the Paschal Triduum are Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter (from Easter vigil to Easter Sunday). Paschal Triduum commemorates the saving event for the whole of humanity through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ,” Fr. Andiy said.What to do on Holy Thursday Philippines? ›
Aside from fasting, most Filipinos refrain from activities such as drinking alcohol, eating meat and intercourse with their partners. Maundy Thursday is highlighted by the re-enactment of the Last Supper, which is organized by churches. It is customary for Filipinos to visit seven churches on this particular day.What are the 4 days of Holy Week? ›
- Day 1: Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday. ...
- Day 2: On Monday, Jesus Clears the Temple. ...
- Day 3: On Tuesday, Jesus Goes to the Mount of Olives. ...
- Day 4: Holy Wednesday.
The Lord's Day in Christianity is generally Sunday, the principal day of communal worship. It is observed by most Christians as the weekly memorial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is said in the canonical Gospels to have been witnessed alive from the dead early on the first day of the week.What not to do in Holy Week Philippines? ›
- Noise. Making excessive noises and playing loud music are discouraged during the Holy Week, especially Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Black Saturday. ...
- Wounds take a longer time to heal. ...
- Avoid sweeping at night. ...
- Use of water. ...
- Avoid staring at mirrors. ...
- Presence of evil spirits. ...
- Children. ...
- Avoid travel.
Taking a bath or doing laundry at 3 p.m. on a Good Friday can cause bad luck as well. It is said that water turns to blood in that particular period because of Jesus' death.Why is Holy Week important to Filipinos? ›
Every year, the Philippines celebrates Semana Santa, or Holy Week, which is a time of somber reflection on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In truth, it's just as significant as any other holiday season, particularly for Catholics who follow tradition to the letter.
How many days in Cebu is enough? ›
5 days in Cebu is enough time to see the top sights on the island, but as with everywhere in the Philippines, you'll soon realize that you can spend a lifetime exploring it. To inspire your trip to the Philippines here's the best way to see Cebu in 5 days.Is it good to travel in Holy Week? ›
For some people, Holy Week is a time for vacation and travels. But according to superstitious beliefs, traveling at this time may not only result in more frequent accidents – any injuries and wounds sustained during this period are believed to heal slower as well.What is Cebu best known for? ›
- Cebu waterfalls.
- Cebu temples and religious sites.
- Dolphin and whale watching.
- Cebu Westown Lagoon.
- Historical landmarks in Cebu.
- Cebu viewpoints.
- Ayala Center Cebu.
- Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden.
Such a penance or a good work, like a tangible financial donation given as an offering during Lent, is called a Lenten sacrifice. Common Lenten sacrifices include abstaining from pleasures such as coffee, chocolate, sugar, sweets, alcohol, soda or social media.What is the most beautiful street in the Philippines? ›
Though only 500 meters long, Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, is one of the most beautiful streets in the Philippines. It boasts centuries-old stone houses, lovely tungsten lamps, and antique cobblestone, where horse-drawn carriages or kalesas are still used for transport.What is the most exciting tourist spot in the Philippines and why? ›
Boracay. Ah, of course! Boracay still remains as one of the supreme icons of Philippine tourism. Known all over the world for its pristine white-sand beaches, Boracay grew to be the favorite beach destination of countless tourists from different parts of the world.What is the most visited city in the Philippines by foreigners? ›
El Nido has been a popular place to visit in the Philippines for a long time, perhaps the MOST popular tourist spot in The Philippines. For this reason you'll discover a well developed tourist industry, with the main attraction being a selection of day long island hopping tours (like this one).What is the most busy place in the Philippines? ›
Manila Is the Most Crowded City in the World — Here's What It's Like.What is the most searched thing in the Philippines? ›
Games. The Philippines is one of the fastest-growing mobile gaming markets in the world. It's no surprise that mobile games are among the most searched in the country. Interest in specific games also lasts longer compared to other categories.What is your favorite tourist destination in the Philippines? ›
Philippines Tourist Places
San Agustin Church, National Museum of the Philippines, Manilla Bay, Ayala Museum, Danao Adventure Park, Chocolate Hills, Man-made resort island of Nalusuan, Sky Experience Adventure, Cathedral Museum of Cebu and many more.
What is Philippines famous for? ›
The Philippines is known for its exotic beaches, expansive forests, and abundance of volcanoes. Despite the common theme of nature, there are many islands that all differ from each other vastly. The Philippines is famous for its old, religious landmarks, and in contrast its modernized skyscrapers.How many Americans are in the Philippines? ›
More than four million Filipino-Americans live in the United States, and almost 300,000 U.S. citizens reside in the Philippines, including a large number of U.S. military veterans.Where is Semana Santa most popular? ›
Where Does The Semana Santa Take Place? While the Semana Santa celebrations take place all around Spain, the most renowned processions happen in Andalusia — especially in cities like Seville and Malaga — and in the Castile and León region. Each city has its unique celebrations, and they usually differ from each other.What do people do in Pampanga during Holy Week? ›
- Palaspasan /Palm Sunday/ Domingo de Ramos.
- Abstinence and Fasting.
- Pabasa or Pasyon.
- The Washing of the Feet.
- Visita Iglesia.
- Station of the Cross.
- The Seven Final Words.
Some of the best festivals in the Philippines include Sinulog Festival in Cebu City, Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan, Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City, Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City, and Kadayawan Festival in Davao City.Which Spanish cities have the most events during Holy Week? ›
Seville, the capital of Andalusia, is the city where Holy Week in Spain is most and best celebrated. During the days from Friday of Sorrows to Easter Sunday, this beautiful city is covered with religious processions that touch the hearts of tourists.What are the two most important days to celebrate Semana Santa? ›
Semana Santa's dates change annually. That's because Easter's dates change, which affects Ash Wednesday, the starting point for Holy Week. Ash Wednesday represents the start of Lent when Jesus spent 40 days and nights in the desert. Easter Sunday occurs 46 days later to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.What is the most important day of Semana Santa? ›
The most important of these holy days is that of Easter, or Pascua.What do Filipinos eat during Holy Week? ›
- Ginataang Tilapia.
- Inihaw na Pusit.
- Ginisang Ampalaya (w/egg)
- Sinigang na Hipon.
- Atcharang Papaya.
- Lumpiang Sariwa.
- Tortang Talong.
- Ginisang Togue.
- Basílica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu. ...
- Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. ...
- Santo Rosario Parish Church. ...
- Simala Shrine. ...
- Nuestra Señora de Regla National Shrine. ...
- Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe de Cebu. ...
- Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. ...
- Archdiocesan Shrine of St.