Visit 7 Pangasinan Heritage Churches
Pangasinan, as a tourist destination, is known because of its pristine beaches overlooking the West Philippine Sea. Most tourists who come to Pangasinan are in it for sun exposure or the hot springs and caves found on the western side of the province.
But your choices for places to visit are not only limited to the horizon or nature. Pangasinan also offers beautiful churches that propose solemn and eye-opening services to Catholic travelers out there. Here are the 7 best churches to visit, perfect for Visita Iglesia during Holy Week.
Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Manaoag
Let’s get the most popular church out of the way first. The Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Manaoag, located in the small town of Manaoag (Ma-na-wag) 90 minutes away from Dagupan City, is one of the main reasons why tourists visit Pangasinan.
It stands on top of a hill, gloriously overlooking the main road. The main service halls are wide and grand. If you come on Sundays, the church will be full of people. You won’t have a seat unless you come in early (around 8AM) There are wishing fountains, candle lighting, faucets of holy water and places to get your relics or cars blessed.
Metropolitan Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
Located in the downtown of one of the major cities of the province, Dagupan City, the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist was recently renovated in 2018, where the stained glass was replaced and beautiful paintings on the high ceiling were added.
Church service in this cathedral is in English, to better accommodate the variety of races who come here to worship. Dagupan City attracts a lot of student foreigners and most of them come to this church to practice their religion. Don’t be surprised to see Persians, Indians, or Nigerians inside.
Epiphany of Our Lord Parish Church
This church is located in the heart of the province—in Lingayen—just one town away from Dagupan City.
The reason why it makes it into this list is because of its age. It was founded in 1587 and has withstood earthquakes and wars throughout the centuries. It was recently renovated in 2018 into a white and gray color scheme. Church service is sometimes in Tagalog or the local language, Pangasinan.
Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish Church in Bayambang
There are a couple of Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish Churches within Pangasinan. This one in Bayambang was chosen because of its importance and value to Bayambang townsfolk. Saint Vincent Ferrer, after all, is the town’s patron saint.
A catholic school for the named patron is also founded. And in 2019, the St. Vincent Ferrer Bamboo Statue was unveiled. It is the largest bamboo statue in the world. This landmark can also be a part of your Bayambang trip with the parish church.
St. Hyacinth Parish Church
Located in a town in the middle of Dagupan City to Manaoag, St Hyacinth Parish Church is rather small, as compared to other churches in this list.
However, it has made it into this list because of its tranquility. Located in a rather peaceful town, the open-air walls amplify the peace it offers to church-goers.
The only time this church is packed is during Visita Iglesia, as most pilgrims coming from Central Pangasinan stop by on the way to the Our Lady of Manaoag Minor Basilica.
Our Lady of Purification Parish
On the outside, the Our Lady of Purification Parish looks rather outdated. The tower that rings its bell is also missing the cross and is overrun by vines.
However, when you enter inside, you’d be blown away. The paintings in the ceiling create a beautiful border. The stained-glass windows shine different colors under the afternoon sun.
This is my favorite church in this list. But I’m probably biased because this is the church I grew up with. While the outer look might scare some visitors away, this church has provided me solace and peace multiple times. The cross for the tower was struck by lightning and was never replaced since.
St. Peter and Paul Parish Church in Calasiao
Unlike the other churches on this list, this church in Calasiao was never renovated. Instead of featuring vibrant paintings on the ceiling, this church has kept to its red and brick color.
The beauty of this church are the long carpets that traverse the whole church. It puts into perspective the main attraction of the church —the altar.
These are the 7 must-visit churches in Pangasinan. Whether it’d be the sea, nature, or religion, Pangasinan has it all.