Bisikleta Iglesia in Manila

The Visita Iglesia is part of the Filipino Catholic tradition during Holy Week. Starting Maundy Thursday to Good Friday, devotees visit 14 churches each representing the Stations of the Cross.

When I was in Batangas City, I did several Visita Iglesias. But instead of driving from one town to the other, visiting their churches, we rode our bikes. It actually started in the early '90s with a group of friends. Now, It ballooned to more than a hundred cyclists from the City and its neighboring towns. The event starts at around 7:00 in the morning with the Laurel Park as the official assembly point and ends at around 2:00 p.m. in Batangas City's Basilica of the Immaculate Concepcion as the final station.

I haven't joined them since the terrible mix-up with the EBD Mountain Bike Marathon years ago. (That's another story.)

Today, I was able to relive the tradition again when I joined Lars Sandejas, Jay Perez and 19 more mountain bikers in a Bisikleta Iglesia in Manila.

We visited eight churches for this trip, starting with the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran and then moved on to the Malate Church, the San Agustin Church, the Manila Cathedral, the Binondo Church, Sta. Cruz Church, San Sebastian Church and the San Beda Church. There were some who still carried on to Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon Avenue, but Jay, Chris, Ray and I broke off and pedaled home.

It was nice riding in Metro Manila during Good Friday. Except for the really busy areas, most of the roads were empty. It felt like we were in Will Smith's I am Legend.

Overall, it was really fun. I think I'll be doing this again next year, but maybe I think I should do solo, start early and try to plot out a map going through 14 churches.