Simala Church, Simala Shrine or the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist is one of the most visited religious landmarks in Cebu. About two hours travel to the south of Cebu City, getting to Simala Church is also an opportunity to see and explore more of Cebu island.
Cebu offers a variety of must-visit tourist spots and beautiful churches, and one of which can really take your breath away. The Simala Shrine, Monastery of the Holy Eucharist, located at the Marian Hills, in Sibonga Town, Southern Cebu, is a sight to behold. More commonly known as Birhen Sa Simala, this religious destination flaunts an intricate architectural design, with its castle-like structure, similar to that of European constructions.
Upon arrival, the Simala Shrine will impress you with its grandeur and will humble you with its solemnity. It is home to the image of the “crying” Blessed Virgin Mary, which is believed to be miraculous. It was in 1998 when the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary was first believed to have miraculously shed tears, and cured several residents in the area who were reportedly struck with dengue. Years later, devotees continue to claim to have witnessed the Virgin Mary’s miraculous shedding of tears and declared to have experienced miracles as well. Proof of which are the medals, written testimonials, and wheelchairs, to name a few, found in the church’s monastery, which are left by the people who have been blessed with the divine grace of Simala’s Blessed Virgin Mary.
Aside from the miraculous image, the structure also boasts of interesting and remarkable religious pieces, such as the Virgin Mary wearing a kimono and other beautiful paintings inside the magnificent looking church.
Built to honor Mother Mary, the Simala Shrine is also home to Marian devotees, or “Mga Monghe ni Maria”. They continue to make sure that the Shrine is well taken care of, to further welcome people to experience the physical and spiritual healing and miracles of the Virgin Mary.
Things to Keep In Mind
Just like in any other church visit, one must know how to properly dress up to pay respect to its religious culture. While the Simala Shrine welcomes people from all walks of life, and all types of religion, it would be best to avoid wearing revealing clothings such as sleeveless or see-through tops, shorts or mini skirts. The country’s weather can be unforgiving at times, and if it’s truly unavoidable, the church rents out shawls and cloaks for a small amount of price, so as not to put your trip to waste.
Smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, shouting and making other types of loud noises is also strictly prohibited. Simala Shrine is a place for people who are in search for spiritual answers and miracles, which is why it is only dutiful for one to respect not just the church, but also its devotees.
Although the Simala Shrine is considered a tourist destination, taking pictures with a flash is not allowed, to pay respect to others who came for the place’s solemnity.
Patience is also something tourists should remember to pack as the line to see the miraculous image can be very long and the heat unbearable. Nonetheless, many have claimed to received life changing miracles, that are incomparable for those petty sacrifices.
Additionally, getting up to the church would mean going up a pretty steep flight of stairs, which may not be advisable for those who are prohibited from undergoing strenuous activities. It is always best to consult your doctor before you plan your visit.
Light Up Your Prayers
Devotees believe in lighting candles as offerings for their petitions or prayers. If you are looking into lighting up a candle when you get there, let the colors guide you to your prayers.
If you’re praying for love, unity, friendship, family, and engagement, light up a red candle. The cream candle on the other hand, is said to open up conversation and faith in couples, including your children and your whole household. Gold is for healing, and is lit up for good health, spiritual healing, recovery, and a good family tree. Meanwhile, the blue candle symbolizes perseverance; light this up when you want to stay motivated despite the struggles in your studies, employment, careers, and promotions. You can light up the green and/or violet candle as well, for prosperity and success, or achievement in whatever it is you are struggling with, be it for an exam, your financial status, your business, your life endeavors, or a specific trip you are aiming for. For those who long to reconcile with an enemy, a family member, or a special someone, choose the orange candle. After which, you may pick up a yellow candle too, which stands for peace, courage, strength and hope. The black candle is for forgiveness and pardon, and the brown candle is lit up to pray for marriage bonds, for the single life, or when you are called to serve God. For those who are bothered, light up a gray candle for deliverance from bad ways, things or spirits. Furthermore, the white candle stands for enlightenment, and guidance to the right path. When your prayers are answered, light up a pink candle for happiness, thanksgiving, and gratitude.
Schedule of Masses
The church holds masses from Mondays-Fridays at 12NN, Saturdays at 10:30AM, Sundays at 12NN and 3:30PM, and every 13th of the month at 10:30AM and 3:30PM.
How To Get There
Once you arrive at the airport, you can hire a cab/taxi going to the South Bus Terminal in the city proper of Cebu. From there, you can opt to ride a bus or hire a van to get to Sibonga, then ride a tricycle to get to the Shrine.
So the next time you visit the beautiful and picturesque Cebu, you may want to include the Simala Shrine in your itinerary. Not only will its beauty captivate you, but it may also just be life changing for you, after all, it won’t be called the place of miracles for nothing. But also keep in mind that miracles spring from leaps of faith and trust in the Almighty, that whatever struggle it is you are experiencing, you will be able to get through it and that impossible is nothing with the Lord.