Some traditions might feel like they have to take a backseat while the Philippines still keeps up with its quarantine measures as the COVID-19 problem continues. March and April birthday celebrants have already had to cancel their parties, as have plans for trips to the beach, up the mountains, or anywhere out of the house. This Catholic Holy Week, the Visita Iglesia—a Maundy Thursday tradition of visiting seven different churches to mimic a pilgrimage to the seven basilicas of Rome, has also had to take a backseat to the more important priority of staying at home.
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But while being there in person might not be possible, there's an option out there for those of us who want to keep up with traditions, even with these trying times! With people already hearing mass at home with online options, it hasn't taken too long for the CBCP to catch on to this idea and take it a step further with a virtual Visita Iglesia, which you can access here. This isn't any tour through some nearby churches you've probably already seen, however: the 14 churches here include places like the St. Joseph the Worker Chapel in Negros Occidental, with its breathtaking murals by the pioneering modernist painter Alfonso Ossorio; to the recently-restored Fort Santa Isabel Chapel in Palawan, which, with its stunning view of the ocean, was built by the Spanish as a defensive structure to fight off pirates and raiders in the 1600s.
With 360-degree views of different vantage points from each of the 14 churches accessible at the click of a red circle, there's no need to step out of the house with what you can see here, and following through with your Holy Week traditions shouldn't be a problem with this, either!
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Photos from pamana.ph