Just in case you are wondering where to go to this upcoming Holy Week for your seven churches visitation, also known as Visita Iglesia, here are some of the unheard and popular places we could recommend as you travel way up north via the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expessway (TPLEX) drive.
Monasterio De Tarlac (San Jose, Tarlac)
For those going to Monasterio de Tarlac, it is advisable that you plan your visit on an earlier time to catch the last schedule of the daily mass by 3 PM. The Monasterio de Tarlac is now a popular tourist destination open daily to the public from 7 AM to 6 PM.
The travel time from Victoria TPLEX Exit is more than an hour to Monasterio de Tarlac. It is a monastery on top of Mount Resurrection, part of the Zambales Mountain Range in San Jose, one of the municipalities in Tarlac. In the monastery can be found a relic of the True Cross. Monasterio de Tarlac is located at the Mount Resurrection Eco Park in the barangay of Lubigan.
The Monasterio de Tarlac has 278-hectare Tarlac Ecotourism Park which was developed by the former congressman Jose “APING” Yap. The Monasterio de Tarlac has 30-foot colossal statue of catholic’s Jesus Christ overseeing the city.
(New) St. Michael The Archangel Parish Church (Camiling, Tarlac)
A few minutes away from Victoria TPLEX Exit, or right after your visit to the Monasterio de Tarlac, you’ll reach the New St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church in Camiling. The church was built in 2009 with a total floor area of 2,200 square meters. The church features intricately designed stained glass windows depicting, aside from Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, the angels. It is located besides the Camiling Catholic School. It is also one of the most attractive church in Tarlac. The Camiling Catholic School and the Camiling Catholic Church ruins are beside the said church.
The old St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church was declared by the National Historic Commission as a historic site until it was gutted by fire in 1997.
Saint Jose Maria Escriva Parish Church (Gerona, Tarlac)
A short drive from Pura-Gerona TPLEX Exit is the Saint Jose Maria Escriva Parish Church in Gerona. This is the only church built in Asia in honor of Saint Jose Maria Escriva, also known as the Saint of the Ordinary.
Saint Jose Maria Escriva Parish Church is also famous for its “drive through” visit to the Blessed Sacrament.
St. Therese of The Child Jesus (Ramos, Tarlac)
The Shrine of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus is just a 10-minute travel time from Ramos-Paniqui TPLEX Exit and half-an-hour drive away from Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija.
The church serves as the relic sanctuary of Saint Therese, known for her ardent devotion tot he Child Jesus. venerated by pilgrims, the Shrine is also a popular destination for weddings in the province of Tarlac.
Sanctuary Of The Holy Face Of Jesus (Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija)
A few minutes drive from Anao-Moncada TPLEX Exit, the quaint Nampicuan town, a 5th municipality in Nueva Ecij a, is the next location for your Visita Iglesia.
The Sanctuary of the Holy Face of Jesus is the only church in the Philippines that keeps a replica of the Holy Veil of Manopello, believed to be the burial face cloth of Jesus. The face cloth made of sea silk is the only enthroned outside the Basilica del Volto Santo in Italy where the original relic has been kept.
St. Padre Pio Church (Pozorrubio, Pangasinan)
Just right after Pozorrubio Exit, a few minutes away, you will reach St. Padre Pio Church built in this 1st class municipality in the province of Pangasinan. Padre Pio, or Saint Pio of Pietrelcina is known for exhibiting stigmata for most of his life. Padfe Pio was beatified (1999) and canonized (2002) by Pope Saint John Paul II.
St. Padre Pio Church in Pozorrubio, built in January 11, 2015, holds regular and daily mass.The church also schedules a healing mass every 23rd of the month.
Minor Basilica Of Our Lady Of The Rosary of Manaoag (Manaoag, Pangasinan)
One of the popular churches in North Luzon, The Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag is frequently visited by locals and tourists alike, especially during Holy Week and summer season. The Manaoag church is also famous for motorists who wants to have their vehicles blessed.
Celebrated as a Minor Basilica in 2004, it is 10 minutes away from Binalonan-Laoac TPLEX Exit.
The pilgrimage site houses the more than 400-year-old ivory image of the Virgin Mary, believed to be miraculous by thousands of devotees.
Schedule of mass starts at 5 in the morning and every succeeding hour and ends at 12 in the afternoon during weekdays. The mass resumes by 5 in the afternoon. Saturday and Sunday afternoon mass start at 4:30 PM and 3 PM, respectively.
Know Your TPLEX
The Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway (TPLEX) is an 88.85-kilometre (55.21 mi) four-lane expressway currently under construction north of Manila, in the Philippines. It connects central to northern Luzon, with its southernmost terminal located in Tarlac City, Tarlac and its planned northernmost terminus currently slated to be at Rosario, La Union.
The first section of the project, from Tarlac City to Pura, Tarlac, has been operating on a “soft opening” basis since October 31, 2013, and was ready for full operation in November 2013.
Part of the second segment, which will take motorists up to Ramos, Tarlac, opened on December 23, 2013. The remaining section from Anao, Tarlac up to Rosales, Pangasinan, is projected for a mid-2014 opening, and the final section ending in Rosario, La Union, is slated for completion in June 2019.
TPLEX is an extension of North Luzon Expressway and Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway from Tarlac to Rosario, La Union.
Biyahero Road Trip Tips
- Keep your eyes on the road, obey traffic rules, concentrate on the driving, check your ride (air, water, brakes, tires) before heading for a long drive, and make sure you have enough fuel for the trip duration. Also, eat and rest well before the journey to store enough energy when you drive.
- As much as possible, prepare for the exact amount when you pay for the toll fees.
- A cup of coffee also helps to stay awake. Good thing there’s Starbucks Coffee drive-thru in gas stations like Petron along NLEX and coffee stores in different stations along the expressways and major towns of different provinces you’ll be passing by.
- It’s also best to drive when you’re in a good condition. Important reminder, don’t drink and drive.
- Make sure your lights are all in its best performance when you’re driving at night or in the wee hours of the morning. Turn on the bright lights and fog lamps only when needed.
- Always follow the proper speed limits and use the right shifting of gears when traveling on curve highways, steep slopes, and expressways to avoid mishaps on the road and to prolong your fuel consumption.
- If you’re not familiar into some places, there’s the Waze mobile app that is a very handy travel road map guide. Waze can save you time from stopping by and asking people for directions to a particular place while on the road.
- A good music can also make the trip more relaxed. We recommend that you create your Spotify playlist for your scheduled road trips.
- Lastly, use the seat-belt. If you follow these tips, we’re sure you’ll have a safe and fun road trips ahead.