BALANGA City : Pilgrims from nearby provinces on Saturday started flocking to several old churches in Bataan for their annual Lenten Visita Iglesia.
The visitors who arrived in eight in busloads came from Trece Martires in Cavite, Angeles City in Pampanga, Calamba City in Laguna and North Caloocan, Metro Manila.
Bataan has seven old churches which were built 215 to 428 years ago and have been declared as pilgrimage sites.
All these churches were constructed under the control and ministration of the Dominicans. These are located in the towns of Hermosa, Orani, Samal, Abucay, Pilar and Orion, and Balanga City.
Although all of the churches have undergone various renovations, their common major material of sturdy big bricks locally known as ‘batong silyar’ are very evident on the walls of the churches.
Oldest among the churches is the Church of Abucay, considered one of the first built in the country at 428 years old. Its patron saint is Sto. Domingo de Guzman. The Church of Samal, with Saint Catherine of Siena as patron saint, follows at 420 years.
Orion church (Saint Michael de Arcanghel) is 349 years old, Orani (Virgen Milagrosa del Rosario) – 306 years, Balanga (Saint Joseph) – 302 years, Hermosa (Saint Peter de Varona)– 260 years and Pilar (Virgen Milagrosa del Pilar) at 215 years.