Visita Iglesia: The Sad History of Nasugbu Church

St. Francis Xavier Church in Nasugbu, Batangas

The town of Nasugbu in Batangas is our beach getaway. This is where  we go whenever we crave for a swim in the sea. In fact, we already went to Nasugbu’s Canyon Cove Resort twice.

The beach is not the only place that we visited in Nasugbu because we also dropped by the Nasugbu Church.

Nasugbu Church in Batangas

There are two parishes in Nasugbu. The parish church dedicated to San Antonio de Padua is located in Barrio Kaylaway. The church that we visited is at the poblacion and is dedicated to Saint Francis Xavier.

What immediately caught my attention when I entered the Nasugbu Church is the painting of angels on the ceiling above the altar.

Painting of angels in Nasugbu Church

The altar is quite impressive to look at too.

Altar of Nasugbu Church

It was in the middle of hot afternoon so there were very few people inside the Nasugbu Church during our visit. Less people means a silent time for us to pray.

Aisle of Nasugbu Church

Nasugbu Church's ceiling also looks good and it reminds me of the beautifully painted ceilings in San Agustin Church in Intramuros.

Nice painted ceiling of Nasugbu Church

The ceiling features the image of St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit missionary who preached in India, Indonesia, and Japan. Saint Francis Xavier became the patron saint of Nasugbu because the town was once entrusted to the care of Jesuit missionaries. The parish was established by the Jesuits in 1852.

Dome of Nasugbu Church

The dome of Nasugbu Church is adorned with images of the Old Testament prophets. Just below the church are the images of the New Testament evangelists.

Painting of Saint John the Evangelist in Nasugbu Church

Above the front door of Nasugbu Church is a pipe organ.

Pipe organ in Nasugbu Church

The pipe organ was the main musical instrument of the church in the past. Nowadays, the main church musical instruments are guitar, keyboard, and tambourines - which I believe do not fit the solemnity of the Holy Mass.

Inside Nasugbu Church

I believe that Nasugbu Church is picturesque enough to be a good place for weddings. However, another Nasugbu church - the Caleruega Church - beat them in the top list of wedding venues.

The town of Nasugbu has been in existence since the Spanish Period so I wonder why their church look modern. Where is Nasugbu’s old church?

My online research brought me to Pepe Alas’ blog post about the old Nasugbu Church. There he revealed that the old Nasugbu Church, known as Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Escalera or Our Lady of the Staircase, is located outside the poblacion and is in ruins!

Some historians claim that the old Nasugbu Church was burned by the Spaniards during the Philippine Revolution. Pepe countered this theory and said:

This 19th-century church was said to have been destroyed during the skirmish between the Spanish troops and the Filipinos (Katipuneros). In the Nasugbú Tourism Quarterly (April-June 2000 issue), Francisco Villacrusis wrote that after imprisoning the townsfolk inside this church, the Spaniards burned it down, killing the people inside. But Villacrusis did not cite any reference. And his claim is preposterous. Here are my reasons:
1) The Spaniards, being devote Catholics, would never have done such an atrocity.
2) There were only a few Spaniards in the Philippines, from start (1565) to finish (1898). As a matter of fact, during that time, the only “white face” that one usually encounters in far-flung villages is that of the friar.
3) To the best of my knowledge, there was no other instance of “church-burning” that was instigated by the Spanish troops in other places in the country outside of Násugbu.
The only church-burner that I know of are the Katipuneros themselves. Andrés Bonifacio was a church-burner himself. As a matter of fact, he attempted to burn the church in nearby Indang in Cavite province. And he did considerable damage to the church.
In view of the foregoing, all accusing fingers should point to the Katipuneros, not the meager Spanish troops.

I agree with Pepe on this one. Church burning is more likely to be committed by the anti-Catholic and masonic Katipuneros.

Nasugbu is now one of the progressive town of Batangas but in the past it experienced brutality from the hands of the so-called liberators. The ruins of the old Nasugbu Church is the testament to the town’s sad history. 


Saint Francis Xavier
(Source: Wikipedia)

Saint Francis Xavier is the patron saint of Catholic missionaries, specifically for those in the missions in Africa and Asia.

Here is the prayer that you can say if you seek the intercession of Saint Francis Xavier:

Lord God,
by the preaching of St. Francis Xavier
you brought many nations to yourself.
Give his zeal for the faith to all who believe in you,
that your Church may rejoice in continued growth
throughout the world.
May this prayer fill us with the same love
that inspired Francis Xavier to work for the salvation of all.
Help us to live our Christian calling
and to inherit the promise of eternal life.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

Visita Iglesia: Archdiocesan Shrine of Jesus, The Way, The Truth, & The Life (SM MoA)

In the midst of the busy shopping district of the SM Mall of Asia stands a refuge for tired shoppers. This place is no other than the Archdiocesan Shrine of Jesus, The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

This church always catch my attention whenever we go to SM Mall of Asia. It seems to be out of place because of the shopping complexes around it.

I only got the chance to enter the church after attending a convention at the nearby SMX Convention Center. I instantly fell in love with the its altar that features the scene where the young Jesus was found in the temple after he went missing for three days.

It was the first time that I saw an altar that features the scene where the distraught Mary found the missing Jesus.

I like the way this church was constructed because it retained the traditional look of a Catholic church despite it being in the midst of modern buildings. However, SM MoA’s church is not ornately decorated because it sticked to simplicity. The church’s simple-looking door is the proof of this.

It doesn’t mean that the church doesn't have a tinge of modernism because the tabernacle was placed at the side.

The tabernacle holds the Hosts, which is the Body of Christ Himself. Thus, the tabernacle should be placed at the center.

One thing that caught my attention is this sign:

I guess that cell-fishness is also rampant in this church. I have seen this attitude in the many churches that I visited. Many churchgoers couldn’t put down their phone for a while and put their full attention to the Holy Mass. They no longer respect God.

Outside SM MoA’s church are statues of Saint Pope John Paul II…

...and Cardinal Sin, who was instrumental in the fall of Marcos Dictatorship.

It is good that the Archdiocesan Shrine of Jesus, The Way, The Truth, and The Life was built within the SM Mall of Asia Complex. It gives the shoppers and tired mall employees somewhere to go for refuge, for prayers, and the much needed space for them to commune with God.


Holy Mass is celebrated in the Archdiocesan Shrine of Jesus, The Way, The Truth, and The Life every Wednesday at 5 PM and 6:30 PM; every Sunday at 9 AM, 10:30 AM, 5:30 PM, and 7 PM; every Saturday (anticipated mass) at 5:30 PM; and other days at 6 PM.

For weddings, couples must submit their application and complete documents at least two months prior to the date of wedding. For baptism, application must be filed at least two weeks before the date of baptism.

If you are interested in having a baptism for your child in this church, I suggest that you read Maggie's experience for his son's baptism in SM MoA's Church.  

Visita Iglesia 2018

Visita Iglesia 2018

We Filipinos have plenty of traditions during the Semana Santa (Holy Week). We have the pabasa, which is the uninterrupted reading of the Pasyon for three days. There is also the senakulo and prusisyon. We also have extreme traditions like self flagellation and crucifixion of some devotees in Pampanga.

Another popular tradition during Semanta Santa is the Visita Iglesia. This tradition was started in the Philippines by Augustinian missionaries in the 1560s. It is believed that this tradition was started by San Felipe Neri and some friends as “Seven Churches Walk” in Rome. It became so popular that many people joined San Felipe in their walks.

In the Philippines, the Visita Iglesia was popular in Intramuros because the churches are quite close with one another. This changed after the Second World War because many churches were destroyed during “Liberation of Manila”.

Nowadays, the Visita Iglesia became an opportunity for parishioners to go to faraway and famous churches. Devotees who do the church visits pray the 14 Stations of the Cross. Two stations of the cross per church. Others do one station per church so they visit 14 churches for their Visita Iglesia.

I also have my own tradition of Visita Iglesia in this blog. I post about 7 churches from Palm Sunday until Holy Saturday.

This is a sort of penance for me and also an opportunity to show to the world the beautiful and interesting Philippine churches. So, I invite you my dear Readers to join me in this virtual Visita Iglesia and learn a lesson or two about our Filipino Catholic heritage.


Check out my posts about the Philippine Churches to help you in making the list of churches that you will visit for the Visita Iglesia.