About 50 kilometers southeast of Cebu City is where Sibonga situated. It is a 3rd municipal income class municipality in the province which blooms perfectly in the ears of tourists and Marian devotees because of their popular pilgrimage destination – The Mary’s Shrine, Simala Shrine, Simala Church, Monastery of the Holy Eucharist, Marian Temple or Sanctuary Castle of Mama Mary as it is being called. Whatever it may be, people are heading to visit the shrine of hallowed Our Lady of Lindogon who is the Blessed Virgin Mary and is locally known as “Birhen sa Simala”.
A magnificent built of a castle-like church on the hills of upper Lindogon, Simala, Sibonga, Cebu City was perfectly architectured in the initiatives of the congregation of Marian Monks of Eucharistic Adoration on such a solemn place just so great for praying, meditation and soul hunting. A Marian Monk in the shrine, Fra. Ma. Martin, accordingly said that their religious mission in Simala’s abandoned hills had started way back in 1996 with deep prayers, manual labor and heartfelt sacrifices but most pilgrims started visiting in 2005 after the Blessed Virgin Mary miraculously started shredding her holy tears.
People flocked especially devotees and believers who visit in purpose – to solemnly pray. People are well organized in a line through Mary’s Shrine where the altar of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is placed in clear glass cabinets. People soulfully pray and some leave letters of petitions, thanksgiving, wishes and keepsakes on the cabinets of the Blessed Mary. The living evidences of the miraculous power of Mama Mary.
With all the statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary sacredly placed in the shrine are all her clothes of different designs and colors which accordingly representing the places where the statue came from. Along with are the statue of the Lord Jesus Christ in different ages and the statues of St. Joseph. Seeing them all together in a devotional place brings heavenly comfort and a wonderful feeling of holiness and security.
Although more and more people nowadays are forgetting the church ethics and values, Marian Temple is strictly implementing and practicing the notion of proper attire when you come in the house of the Lord. Sleeveless tops and mini-skirts nor shorts wearing are highly forbidden when entering the prayer room. Footwear are also taken off and left outside just at the entrance.
- Monday-Friday : 12:00PM
- Saturday : 10:30AM
- Sunday : 12:00PM, 3:30PM
- Every 13th of the month :10:30AM, 3:30PM
Mary’s Shrine is open from 8:00AM to 6:00PM
HOW TO GET THERE
From Cebu City
From the City Proper (South Bus Terminal along N. Bacalso Ave., Cebu City near Elizabeth Mall), Take a 3-hour bus or van ride heading to Simala, Sibonga. The bus route should be "Bato-Oslob".
- Alight at Simala eskina (crossing) and on to a 10 to 15-minute tricycle or a single motorcycle (habal-habal) ride up to the entrance gate of Simala church.
- Then; Feel and enjoy the place as you trek in elevation for about 5-10 minutes to the church entrance and be delighted of the stunning panoramic view of the municipality.
From Dumaguete Bus Terminal, ride in a RORO Bus heading to Cebu City. The trip includes a sea travel for less than an hour (Sibulan Port or Tampi Port to Liloan or Bato Port); and a more or less 2 hour land travel to reach Simala crossing in Sibonga. Then; follow the instructions above.
Ride in a multicab/tricycle/habal-habal going to Sibulan Port. There are passenger boats/fastcrafts servicing Sibulan-Liloan Port (vv) for more or less 30-minute sea travel. At Liloan Port, ride in a bus bound to Cebu City. Ask the driver to drop you at crossing Simala (Marian Temple). Then; follow the instructions above.