Simala Shrine Church is a religious structure and establishment located in Sibonga Town, Southern Cebu.
Cebu Province is where Catholicism was first sowed and churches established by European missionaries (Spanish) in the 16th century.
Certainly, the Christian faith that was brought in this beautiful province spread throughout the country as the missionaries and faithful locals move and live around various places.
Simala Shrine Church then is just one of those religious places, if not the most popular nowadays, where most believers (Catholics) come for various reasons.
Pilgrimages or visiting religious places is one of the most important aspects that most Filipino Catholics have. This aspect keeps their faith alive and keeps them going despite all the challenges in life.
Among the myriads of reasons, people (including non-Catholics or Christians) come to see for curiosity’s sake. They are curious to see the structure, design, or architecture of the whole place. The place is where the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist where Marian monks live, work and pray.
The monks built and established the place with hope that people will come and pray. Some say that the whole place is a reminiscent of European Cathedrals, which is obviously visible through its architecture and all the things that the place contains.
The second reason, which is obviously the most important, is that people come to offer their prayers, petitions, devotion to the Virgin Mother, and their wishes to obtain various graces and gifts.
Above all, some people come to be healed from various illnesses from minor physical sickness to even praying for miracles, such as from being a lame to becoming well again. For this last point, some believers claimed that miracle do happen in this place!
Since this is a holy place for prayers, you can certainly find candles being lit endlessly by devotees.
One thing that you would conspicuously notice are the variously colored candles to serve their various prayers signified by their colors. Yes, you can buy them in one place located inside the shrine.
Here are the colors and their corresponding prayers:
So, if you have a special prayer you may buy any of those candles (about 35 pesos each). Please, know that prayer is a prayer and it belongs to the spiritual realm and something divine which is unfathomable by humans. What I am saying is that you should not lose faith if things don’t happen according to your wishes. More importantly, work hard to reach your goal. “God helps those who help themselves”.
Aside from the beautiful structures, spacious and green environment, you’ll find various religious things inside and outside the church.
For example, you can see a huge statue of Virgin Mary (or the “Mama Maria sa Lindogon” or Birhen sa Himala), sculptures or statues of various saints, various images and statues of the Virgin Mary from various cultural backgrounds, such as the Virgin of Guadalupe or the Virgin wearing a kimono.
Second, you can see a replica of the Nazareth Well where people throw in coins while wishing for something silently in their hearts. Surely, wishing wells are something influenced or brought by European culture but has been adopted by other cultures including Filipino.
The sculptures and architecture inside Simala Shrine Church are also the most interesting things you can find and enjoy with, aside from praying and showing devotion to the Virgin. Certainly, paintings on the ceilings, just like some of those you can find at Sistine Chapel in Rome, are quite conspicuous especially if you have that artistic taste for icons and religious symbols.
Photo Courtesy: Dodz Ardon
It is advisable to visit Simala Shrine Church during weekdays, if you want to avoid crowds and other inconveniences in this holy place. You should avoid Saturdays and Sundays and even Fridays. Of course, if you are working full time during weekdays then you don’t have much choices but come on a weekend.
Especially for women, you are not allowed in when you wear something revealing clothing (including tubes, mini skirts, tight jeans, sleeveless blouse, shorts, etc.). In other words, man or woman is expected to wear that would show honor and respect to the place and other devotees present.
Practical and common sense policy
You are not allowed to eat food inside the structures, no smoking or drinking alcoholics, and certainly not allowed to make loud noise or anything distracting to others who come to pray or meditates.
Picture taking using flashes inside is also prohibited.
Older and people with some illnesses are advised to use the ramp to get in and not use the elevated stairs leading to the church. When entering some places, you are supposed to enter barefooted, such as the prayer rooms.
This is where visitors or devotees are allowed to rest, eat and drink your supplies for the day. These cottages are located just within the compound of the shrine itself. And of course, there are washrooms or CRs in the area available.
Protection from the sun
It is also advisable to bring your own protective shields from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, such as umbrellas, hats, sunglasses, shades, sunblock, etc. You can protect yourself from any danger or not waste time praying from getting heat stroke or skin cancer!
Mass Service schedule
As a place especially
established for religious purposes, prayer services and Masses are being
celebrated in this shrine. If you came to participate in a Eucharistic
Celebration, please note the schedule as follows:
Sunday: 12Noon & 3:30PM
Monday to Friday: 12Noon
13th of the month: 10:30AM & 3:30PM
Simala Shrine Church, Lindogon, Sibonga, Cebu Province, Philippines
Get off at the bus stop in Lindogon. From the bus stop you need to ride a waiting tricycle for Simala Shrine Church. It will take more than 2 hours or so by bus to reach Lindogon.
From Cebu to Simala Shrine Church
Take this ride from City Link and this will take you right close to
Simala Shrine. The rate could be higher compared to the bus fare.
Taxi. Of course, you can take a taxi ride and even hire it for a round-trip but could be costly. Some say it would cost you around 2 to 3 thousand pesos for a round trip service. Make sure you both have agreed on the rate before hitting the road.
This is just a short description of this holy ground among religious visitors and devotees and seekers for truth, miracles, among other religious motives.
Please, remember that this place is especially established for religious reasons, so it would be advisable to always show respect to the place and to all its visitors whether you are a believer or not.
May all your prayers and wishes be granted, and pray for wisdom and knowledge to understand God’s ways.
Great thanks for reading through this page.