Visiting Churches in Bataan


Holy Week also means going around churches, preferably seven churches, where one would pray and do parts of the via crucis or some other devotional practices that would satisfy one's soul, keeping in mind the Lenten pillars of penance - almsgiving, fasting, and praying.

Last year, I was posted in the province of Bataan which is home to many beautiful and historical churches, as well as newer parishes that reflect the diverse devotion of the brave people of Bataan.

Allow me to share with you some of these beautiful churches that are totally worth visiting.

1. Parish of Sta. Catarina de Alexandria
Bagac, Bataan
Constructed out of local corals, the church was established in 1873 and on November 16, 2016 was declared a shrine. In 1866, the Augustinian Recollects established their presence in the area with the founding of the church. It has undergone several renovations and reconstructions.

2. Our Lady of the Pillar Shrine
Morong, Bataan 
One of the oldest churches in the country, it was established in 1607 by Augustinian Recollect missionaries. Last 2018, the image of the Our Lady of the Pillar was canonically crowned.

3. San Isidro Labrador Parish
Nagwaling, Pilar, Bataan

Managed by the Oblates of St. Joseph, the parish was founded on October 27, 2004. The construction of the current church started in 2011 under the supervision of then parish priest Fr. Perseverando Marquez, Jr., OSJ and in August 16, 2015 was inaugurated and consecrated by Balanga Bishop Most Rev. Ruperto C. Santos, D.D. on the occasion of the centennial celebration of the congregation in the Philippines and the ruby year anniversary of the Diocese. 

4. St. Francis of Assisi Parish
Limay, Bataan 
The parish was established in 1930.

5. San Roque Diocesan Shrine for Healing
Lamao, Limay, Bataan 
Established on November 9, 1994 and declared a shrine on August 16, 2014 by Balanga Bishop, Most Rev. Ruperto Santos, D.D.

6. Parish of the Immaculate Conception
Alion, Mariveles, Bataan
Managed by the Passionist Fathers, the parish was established on May 16, 2005. The building was dedicated by the Provincial Superior of the Congregation of the Passion, Very Rev. Fr. Julito Villarente, C.P. on December 8, 2009, Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

7. St. Joseph the Worker Parish
Cabcaben, Mariveles 
The parish was established in 1930 and has been destroyed and rebuilt several times due to the war. The parish serves the coastal village of Cabcaben in the industrial town of Mariveles.

8. Parish of St. Gemma Galgani
Mt. View, Mariveles
The youngest of the parishes in the Vicariate of St. Michael the Archangel, the parish was established on April 15, 2012, serving around 10,000 Catholics in the area.

9. Parish of Sto. Niño of Alas-asin
Alas-asin, Mariveles 
Managed by the Oblates of St. Joseph, the parish was established on November 7, 2004. This is one of the first churches which the Diocese has entrusted to the congregation after their formal mission to the Diocese on October 27 of the same year. The parish came from two other parishes - San Nicolas de Tolentino and St. Joseph the Worker. It serves 12 barangays and sitios.

10. San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish 
Mariveles, Bataan
The parish was established together with the establishment of the town by Franciscan friars in 1578, although some historians say that the parish was formally built in 1729 by Augustine Recollects. 

11. Parish of Sts. Peter and Paul
Calungusan, Orion 
The parish was established on June 29, 1999 and serves around 17,000 Catholics in the area.

12. St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Orion, Bataan 
The parish was established on April 30, 1667, together with the founding of the town of Orion. Previously it was part of the church in Abucay.

13. Nuestra Señora del Pilar Parish
Pilar, Bataan 
The parish was established on March 10, 1801. 
14. Sto. Cristo Parish
Cupang, Balanga City 
Located in an old settlement in the city of Balanga in Bataan, the Sto. Cristo Parish is fairly new, established on November 30, 1996. Its titular patron is the Sto. Cristo, an image of the crucified Christ. Legend has it that during the Spanish-era, the king of Spain gave this image to those who were loyal to him, and inside the cross are pieces of precious stones, particularly, diamonds, but that was in the 1600s, that is if there is any truth in the rumor. Devotion to the Santo Cristo dates back to as early as the 1600s with the founding of the Confraternity of the Santo Cristo as approved by Pope Innocent X on March 4, 1648.

15. St. Joseph Cathedral
Balanga City  
The seat of the Bishop of Balanga, the current structure was dedicated in 2005. The parish was established on April 18, 1739 and established as a Diocese on March 17, 1975. The current bishop is Most Rev. Ruperto Santos. The parish shrine is under the titular patronage of St. Joseph, husband of Mary.

16. Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish
Orani, Bataan 
The Holy Rosary Parish in Orani became an independent missionary center on April 21, 1714 from St. Catherine of Siena parish of Samal. It has undergone several repairs and renovations.  On August 22, 2004 it was declared as a pilgrim shrine by Archbishop Socrates Villegas, then bishop of Bataan. 

17. St. Peter of Verona Parish
Hermosa, Bataan 
St. Peter of Verona Parish was formerly under the care of the Dominican friars, and in 1901 was turned over to the Diocese. Legend has it that the burnt image of St. Peter of Verona was found inside a boat floating in a nearby river. The image was identified by the then Spanish Dominican parish priest as St. Peter. 

18. St. John the Evangelist Parish
Tapulao, Orani, Bataan 
The parish of St. John the Evangelist in Tapulao, Orani is a new church, with the structure commemorated on November 27, 2005 by Archbishop Socrates Villegas, then bishop of Bataan. It stemmed from the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish of Orani. 

19. St. Catherine of Siena
Samal, Bataan 
The ministration of Samal was entrusted to the Dominicans in 1596. Since then the church has undergone various renovations and rebuilding, having been destroyed several times. The current church was built by Fr. Justo Quesada in 1905. 

20. San Vicente Ferrer Parish
Saysain, Bagac 

Lastly, the Carmelite-administered parish of San Vicenter Ferrer Parish in Saysain, Bagac. Through the invitation of then Bagac Bishop Most Rev. Socrates Villegas, D.D., the Order of Carmelites established the parish to serve the residents of four coastal villages in the area. The church is currently under construction but pilgrims are welcome to visit.

Going around to the different churches in the province can be very exciting but we must remember that we are there not as tourists but as pilgrims. We are there to pray, first and foremost, and being able to see and appreciate the beautiful churches and its treasures is just a plus, but not a priority.

Let our Holy Week commemoration be a celebration of God's mercy and compassion in our lives.


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