Ever wanted to see castles? Thinking that only in Europe you can find such structure? Believe me, we have one here in Cebu, the Simala Shrine or the Simala-Lindogon Church in the town of Sibonga. If you are planning to stay and explore more in Sibonga, there are hotels and accommodations in Cebu nearby the famous castle-like Simala Shrine.
The Monastery of the Holy Eucharist, also popularly known as Simala Shrine or Simala Church, is a castle-like church located in Marian Hills in Sibonga, Cebu. The design and structure of the church continue to draw attention to local and foreign tourists. It is more popular due to its unique and picturesque design, people wouldn’t even think you’re only in Cebu. The church was built in 1998 by the Marian Monks from Pampanga after the occurrence of several miraculous events in the vicinity including the shedding of tears by Mama Mary. Because of those miracles, the shrine had been flocked by devotees and believers of Mama Mary hoping that their prayers and wishes be granted.
Schedule of mass for this church are as follows.
Mondays thru Fridays: 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Saturdays: 10:30am to 11:30am
Sundays: 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
From SM Cebu Seaside to Simala Shrine
We definitely had no choice but to ride a taxi from SM Seaside. The taxi ride cost us 75 Php ($ 1.5) where four of us were in. We had to get two taxis for we are a group of 8. Tell the driver to drop you off at the van terminal (City Link terminal) not so far away from the mall. After a smooth 5-10 minutes ride, we are at the terminal. My friend, Kimberly, immediately looked around and asked for the van schedule, but the van would only leave once it is full. We had to ask drivers to bring us to Simala Church, someone complied but to a fee of 1400 Php (175 Php each) for the whole trip that took 2 hours and 30 minutes from the terminal to the church entrance.
Entering the Castle-Structured Church
Entrance to the church is absolutely FREE.
It was almost 6:00 pm when we arrived and the sun was already setting. We really didn’t get a whole chance to explore what’s within the church on this day as the time is restricting us from roaming around. Nonetheless, we still were able to see the beauty of the land but not on its full bloom.
After 2 hours or so, we’re still excited to see what’s inside. It was getting dark, the lights are powering on and now you can see the beauty of the castle-like church at night. The grounds weren’t so brightly lit and only the church’s mass hall light shines the brightest.
The hall isn’t so big itself. Its ceiling is designed with paintings pertaining to Christ and worship, similar to the Michaelangelo painting in the Sistine Chapel. It was magnificent, so solemn and holy. The moment you pray in here is like you’ve been blessed already. Even if you are just wishing for what’s in your prayer, it’s like it’s already been granted.
Visiting the Church before Leaving Cebu
We (my girlfriend and I) went back to Simala Shrine church at noon before we leave Cebu. It was the last day of our Cebu tour. We decided to go back to see the real and the beautiful structure of the Simala Shrine at least before we leave at daytime.
When we got there, we were in awe. We couldn’t explain the feeling but we were more gratified this time. Satisfied to see it in broad daylight. The color was radiant blue and silver. Even though the paint job on the whole church hasn’t been finished yet, it was vibrant. We were very glad to see the church’s whole structure.
The other writings are true. It’s like a castle from another country. A castle from the fairy tales we were once told. Where the Kings and Queens have risen and fallen. Where the Princes and Princesses are gathering to serve and offer their dances. It’s one majestic sight, like a dream come true.
We actually spent more time in here than in Obong Spring. We roamed around even though it’s very hot. We walked onto the church’s pathways. We prayed for our safety, prayed for guidance, and prayed for abundance and thanked for the blessings.
I am blessed I was with my girlfriend and that we decided to go back here. If ever I will be in Cebu again, I’ll make sure to drop by, give my thanks, and send a prayer. This is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen and surely will always be on my list.