The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced that the Intramuros Administration (IA) will be opening nine churches and chapels for visitors and pilgrims in time for this Holy Week.

“For this year, from eight churches and chapels that we’ve opened last year, we are opening additional ones,” DOT Assistant Secretary Robert Alabado III told reporters on Wednesday.

On regular days, only the Manila Cathedral and the San Agustin Church are accessible to the public. This year, DOT and the IA have worked out to open two more sites, some located inside schools or government offices.

Aside from the two churches, religious sites that are open during the Visita Iglesia include the Fr. Willman Chapel at the Knights of Columbus Building, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila Chapel, Mapua University Chapel, Lyceum of the Philippines University Chapel, Colegio de San Juan de Letran Chapel, St. Matthew’s Chapel at the BIR Building, and the Guadalupe Shrine at the Fort Santiago.

Alabado said more than 800,000 local and foreign tourists flocked to Intramuros for Holy Week last year.

This year, the DOT is expecting this number to breach the million-mark.

“May this be a good destination for those who want to spend their Holy Week in Metro Manila. Intramuros is the nearest,” Alabado said.

With this projection, he urged the public to follow the rules set by DOT and IA to ensure a safe, organized and meaningful observance of Lent.

Included in DOT and AI’s Lenten activities is the penitencia (penance) around Plaza Roma and the Manila Cathedral on Holy Thursday, April 18 by the Cainta Nazareno Inc.

Stations of the Cross installations will also be on display at the stretch of General Luna Street, from Beaterio Street to Muralla Street.A

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