The itinerary was solely google map-based. I had been to four of the churches on my list before, but was familiar with the direction only for the first church since it was sort of a field trip 12 years ago when I had been to the other three.
Again, I confirmed with Boots if he was fine with driving the motorbike 121.25 km for a day, and he said that he could do it, he just needed me to prepare our itinerary (love him for being easy to deal with when it comes to travel, as long as I'm the one to prepare the itinerary, it was fine by him wherever we go, hehe).
And prepare I did. I did not print out the google map but instead used its "Get Direction" feature and used the maximum zoom and satellite view and took note of each landmark, the needed turns and created and printed an excel file indicating these (a 5-page excel file) to be our sole guide for the Visita Iglesia. I had been known to be a girl with poor sense of direction so I reviewed and prayed before the day came.
And now, I'm happy to say that we were able to accomplish our Maundy Thursday agenda. I prepared, he drove. He drove for 12 hours in a day, in a loop around Bulacan (Obando-Bulacan-Malolos-Hagonoy-Calumpit-Baliuag-Plaridel-Guiguinto-Bocaue-Marilao route). Everything is possible with research and hard work.
Here is our itinerary as shown on photos:
1st stop: Obando - San Pascual Baylon Parish Church
We left our house at 6:30 am and headed straight here. This church is infamous for the ritual dance for Santa Clara on her feast day (May 17) for fertility of couples. This also happens to be the church in Bulacan closest to home so this was the only church actually know how to get to.
|San Pascual Baylon Parish Church|
Only found out about this church via internet research and was very much interested in paying a visit since it's Boots' patron saint's church. We also witnessed penitents in front of the church and Boots took the photos (I didn't dare come close).
Distance from San Pascual Baylon Parish Church: 12.3 km
|the facade of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Church|
|the interior of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Church. Lovely.|
|penitents at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Church|
|another photo of the penitents|
I also found out about it through the internet. We got a bit lost going here since there are no landmarks indicated on google map regarding the Sta. Isabel diversion road. Anyway, we got through (though it had been a difficult journey through the market - definitely not the way in the itinerary I prepared).
Distance from Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Church: 10.6 km
|facade of Sta. Isabel Parish Church|
|altar of Sta. Isabel Parish Church|
More popularly known as the Malolos Cathedral. There was a mass going on when we arrived and there was a huge crowd of parishioners so we were not able to get inside. I believe this was a part of our itinerary in our batch pilgrimage from 12 years ago but of course I had no idea how to get here by myself. Thank you, google map.
Distance from Sta. Isabel Parish Church: 3.2 km
|Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Minor Basilica|
More popularly known as Barasoain Church. This I clearly remember being a part of our batch pilgrimage 12 years ago because I remembered being excited to see this because of its historical value. I was a 100% homebody back then that's why I was thankful that my
religion teacher brought us here.
Distance from Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Minor Basilica: 0.75 km
|facade of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish|
|altar of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish|
|at Barasoain Church's patio, the mastermind holding the improvised itinerary/guide|
We got a bit lost finding our way to Hagonoy from Malolos (totally unfamiliar with the place and only human) but we eventually made it. I also found out about this church through the internet.
Distance from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish: 9.9 km
|facade of National Shrine of St. Anne Church|
|inside National Shrine of St. Anne Church - gotta love the ceiling!|
Found this from internet research. Ironically, there was also a St. John the Baptist Church in Hagonoy en route here so I got confused and confirmed with Boots if we were still in Hagonoy, but he also did not know because he was focused on driving. We decided to go on and we found the church that we were looking for.
Distance from National Shrine of St. Anne Church: 13.9 km
|facade of St. John the Baptist Church - obstructed|
|inside St. John the Baptist Church|
|photo of the accomplice at St. John the Baptist Church|
I recall having San Agustin Church in Intramuros as the church that I wanted for my dream wedding since my elementary school days and I was thrilled to find that there was also a church after the same patron in Bulacan. I love the church, it was beautiful just like the one in Intramuros.
The distance from St. John the Baptist Church to San Agustin Church was the longest distance among the churches that we visited and it happened that it was already lunch time when we went there so we stopped at a fastfood in Pulilan to eat. We also passed by San Isidro Labrador Parish in Pulilan but it was not included in the itinerary that I prepared.
Distance from St. John the Baptist Church: 20.7 km
|facade of San Agustin Church|
|inside San Agustin Church|
Finally, we're nearing the end of our itinerary. As I was preparing the itinerary, I believed we would do fine after we surpass 20.7 km distance on the previous church. Plus points for the church's museum.
Distance from San Agustin Church: 9.9 km
|facade of St. James the Apostle Parish|
|altar of St. James the Apostle Parish|
|museum at St. James the Apostle Parish|
|Pope John Paul II's statue beside where we parked (at St. James the Apostle Parish)|
Another old church in Bulacan found through the internet. It has a beautiful altar.
Distance from St. James the Apostle Parish: 9.5 km
|facade of Parish Church of San Ildefonso|
|altar of Parish Church of San Ildefonso|
Home to the "Pagoda sa Wawa". This was actually the reason why I included this church in the itinerary.
Distance from Parish Church of San Ildefonso: 6.9 km
|facade of St. Martin of Tours Parish|
|inside St. Martin of Tours Parish|
This was my favorite. It's the simplest yet daintiest (in my point of view) among the churches that we visited. Or I may be biased because of its Korean-inspired landscaping. I think it would be perfect for intimate occasions and I hope to be back here someday. Plus I appreciate the friendly guard who opened the gate for us when I asked him where was the entrance (apparently we had to make a turn to get to the entrance but he offered to let us enter in a different gate).
Distance from St. Martin of Tours Parish: 2.6 km
|inside St. Andrew Kim Parish Church|
|Korea! With the statue of St. Andrew Kim|
|found it impossible to shoot the whole church|
I had been here before (on the same batch pilgrimage 12 years ago) and I recall falling in love with the church back then. Unfortunately now, I became disappointed with the commercialization happening inside church premises - starting with the pay parking, to the food carts, to the pay toilets. This was really crowded, too. Good thing I enjoyed the lugaw suggested by a friend.
Distance from St. Andrew Kim Parish Church: 6.6 km
|my merienda, lugaw at the Divine Mercy's food court (ate before going to the church)|
|facade of Divine Mercy National Shrine|
|altar of Divine Mercy National Shrine|
Finally on our last destination before heading back home and it was already 5:30 pm. We were able to catch the Feast of the Last Supper in this church.
Distance from Divine Mercy National Shrine: 4.3 km
|facade of St. Michael the Archangel Parish|
|inside St. Michael the Archangel Parish|
Hopefully, someday we'll be able to cover and use the Rizal-Laguna-Quezon route that I prepared for an officemate (not via motorbike, though). It's quite interesting, too.