The National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is one of the Philippines’ largest Marian churches. Baclaran Church or Redemptorist Church has become the major devotion sanctuary for most Filipinos. Over 85 Million devotees are found in the country. Indeed, Philippines is one of the highest catholic population worldwide. The church’s services began in 1948, when the number of parishioners was counted in units. Incredible amount of people visit the cathedral as a part of their tradition and devotion. Every June, devotees celebrate to pay tribute to the Mother of God of Perpetual Help. Wednesdays are popularly called “Baclaran Day”. There are more or less 120,000 devotees currently associated with the Shrine. You can get a little overwhelmed seeing the amount of people attending. Despite the heat, an incredible amount of people visit the cathedral as a part of their tradition and devotion.
Christianism in the Philippines
One of the notable cultures Spaniards brought to Filipinos is Christianity. It is still mainly practiced up to this day. Catholic ideas continue to inform beliefs throughout society. The belief in God pervades many aspects of life for the majority of Filipinos. To show their faithfulness, devotees give sacrifices. Supporters give various sacrifices showing their allegiance, nonetheless. Pay a visit to the Baclaran Church for divine guidance or spiritual solace. Every Wednesday, the commentator announces the number of petitions and thanksgiving letters received in the previous week. In addition, the week’s chosen thanksgiving letter is read. These letters attest to the devotees’ faith and gratitude for Jesus’ perpetual help and hope bestowed upon them through the intercession of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
Architect Cesar Concio designed the Baclaran Church. It took six long years to build because most of the money just came from small donations. The church attracts tourists due to its modern-romanesque architecture. Indeed, foreigners are captivated by its grand façade and interior. A quiet and calming ambiance welcomes everyone upon entering. The grounds are also paved making them easier to walk or bike on. Baclaran Church landscape looks nature-friendly because of the evergreens planted around. The shrine has various portions which are made with exquisite materials made for the people. Surprisingly, the capacity of the first Baclaran church was limited, and it could only hold up to 300 people. Few devotees are allowed when the pandemic started and temporary suspension of mass was implied. Social distancing has been strictly observed up to now.
Also, you will find accessories, statues, and clothes outside the cathedral. Choose any souvenirs you like as prices are reasonable. All these in the can be both from Php 10 to Php 5,000.
Furthermore, you might want to try strolling outside. Indeed, they purposely made the vicinity feel welcoming and relaxing for everyone. However, there are things you need to consider before going to Baclaran Church:
- Do not wear any expensive accessories. These only attract the bad elements and you will not get any nice bargains. Just dress casually
- Bring some face towel because you will get very sweaty with the crowd and also mask as a protection from the smoke and virus
- Bring umbrella because Philippines is either scorching sunny or rainy
- The best time to go around and shop is around 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM. The sun is not yet scorching, the streets are not yet so congested. If you can tolerate the heat, shop anytime between 9 AM to 5 PM
- Make sure all your belongings are secured. Especially your wallet and cellphone.
What else you can do?
Here are some suggestions you can try to maximize the experience:
- If you’re in a rush, you can try taking a quick wish on the praying stations outside. Make sure to drop a coin afterward. All coins dropped at the fountains and wells go to the poor box. It funds many projects that benefit the poor throughout the Philippines.
- Take time to appreciate the murals and sculptures. Art can help warm up the spiritual flow and help mental meditation.
- Stroll with your pets. Your furry babies might appreciate the place as well.
- Get yourself some souvenirs
- Write a letter of thanksgiving or petition
- Get a coffee at Sinirangan coffee shop. You can enjoy hot or cold coffee, chocolate, and smoothies while helping the poor farmers of Eastern Samar at the same time
- Have a picnic underneath the trees
Family and Pet Friendly
You can visit the Baclaran church with your family. Also, you can walk your dogs outside the church. However, make sure to clean the area if your furry babies took a dump. Remember, you’re strolling a sacred vicinity. Everybody has to pay respect even while taking leisure walks.
How to get there
Commuting going to Manila can be very stressful. Given the fact the the traffic is heavy during the weekdays. However, it wouldn’t hurt much if you plan to go on Sundays. Here are some ways you can try if you decided to go.
- Take a ride from any point of LRT station going to Baclaran Station. From then, you can walk until you get to the Baclaran church.
- Take a bus ride from Claro M. Recto Ave/Quezon Boulevard Intersection going to Roxas Boulevard/Redemptionist Road Intersection. From then, you can walk until you get to the Baclaran church.
Via Taxi or GrabCar
- Take a taxi or book a GrabCar from any point of Metro Manila and nearby cities going to Baclaran Church. However, this might get a little expensive.