By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

BEST EVER. Filipinos and foreign visitors observe the Visita Iglesia (church visit) in Intramuros, Manila on Maundy Thursday (March 28, 2024), with San Agustin Church as one of their stops. Administrator Joan Padilla of the Intramuros Administration said on Wednesday (April 3) that the district drew about 2.2 million visitors during Holy Week (March 25-31). (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – The walled city of Intramuros drew about 2.2 million visitors last week as it opened its churches and streets to the Catholic faithful for the Lenten season.

The number surpasses both the 2023 figures of over 980,000 and the pre-pandemic level of one million in 2019.

Intramuros Administration (IA) Administrator Joan Padilla on Wednesday said the eight churches and chapels were all opened to pilgrims practicing the Visita Iglesia.

“This year, based on our count, there were 2.2 million visitors for all of the eight chapels that we opened during the Holy Week celebration— this is from Thursday to Good Friday,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Eatsperience grand launch in Intramuros.

“This is higher than the pre-pandemic and higher than last year. I think we can attribute that to the soft launch of the Philippine Eatsperience because it was launched during that time,” she added.

Padilla said the 2.2 million visitors covered both locals and foreigners who dropped by the churches as well as the more than 50 sites spread across Intramuros.

Every Lent, the IA invites pilgrims to practice their Visita Iglesia inside Intramuros, where at least nine religious sites are located, namely, the Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church, Santa Rita Chapel, Fr. George Willmann Chapel, Shrine of Jesus, Divine Teacher Chapel, Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel, Letran Chapel, St. Matthew’s Chapel, and the 1981 Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine. (PNA)