Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday or Great and Holy Thursday), is the Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles.
In the Philippines, it is more popularly known as Visita Iglesia, a spanish phrase meaning "Church visits". The tradition of visiting seven churches on this day is an ancient practice, originating in Rome, where early pilgrims visited the seven pilgrim churches as penance. Some devotees believe in visiting fourteen churches and say the Stations of the Cross, with one station in each church.
If you live in nearby surrounding vicinities of Quezon City, Pasig, Antipolo, Cainta or are coming from a far but intend to include Marikina City in your Visita Iglesia church visits, there are seven churches to recommend:
1. Nativity of Our Lady Parish. If you've just visited the three churches along Katipunan Ave (dela Strada, Church of the Gesu inside Ateneo and Sta Clara), then this is the nearest church next to those. Located along Major Dizon St. in Industrial Valley, this church is a small but tall church.
It's not too big to fit a lot of people, but it's architechture is of the pointed and elongated type, a bit similar to Iglesia ni Cristo facades. To get here, you can take either Marcos Highway or C5/Katipunan and turn at Major Dizon St.
2. Our Lady of The Abandoned Church. This is one of the oldest churches in Marikina being built in the 1700's by the Augustinians. The church is where Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados resides, the Patron Saint of Marikina City. Unforunately, it didn't survive 2 major earthquakes and so the current church is a rebuild. It's located near Bayan along JP Rizal St. in Sta Elena. Despite it's location, it's locally also referred to as the San Roque church. Several couples
get married here. To get here, you can take JP Rizal St. towards Calumpang. It is across Otto main shoe factory and Kapitan Moy.
3. San Antonio de Padua. Not far from Our Lady of Abandoned church and also along JP Rizal is San Antonio de Padua. The church within Calumpang has no parking nor compound as it is along the road so park on the left side of the road since this is a one-way street.
4. St. Paul of the Cross. This is our parish church located within SSS Village. The church used to be run by the Passionists Fathers of the Philippines. It is currently under the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antipolo. This is the main church for SSS Village but neighboring subdivisions like Rim View Park and Rancho Estates also visit. To get here, take Sumulong Highway and turn at Soliven leading to SSS Village, then turn at Rainbow St.
5. Immaculate Concepcion Church. Located along Bayan-bayanan St. in Concepcion Uno, this is the second largest and most populated church in Marikina. It's one of the most populated becuase it is in the heart of Marikina several barangays and subdivisions surrounding it. Most jeeps and buses travelling through Marikina pass through this church. To get here, take Paliparan and at the end of its long stretch is Concepcion market with Immaculate Concepcion just right across it.
6. San Isidro Labrador Parish. This church is located in Nangka, Parang and another church under the Diocese of Antipolo. This is the church I'm least familiar with so for directions, you can call them at 948-2829.
7. Jesus dela Pena. This is first permanent Church established in Marikina built by the Jesuits in 1630 located in the community of Jesus dela Peña. Marikina has once been called Jesus dela Pena in honor of the Infant Child Jesus. The chapel has been declared a national shrine by the National Historical Commission. There is no parking so to get there, and the one way roads are as small as eskinitas. You can park by the Riverpark and cross the river by footbridge.
Happy Visita Iglesia !