Tag Archive: Simala

If you have been to Lourdes in France, you would be reminded of such Marian pilgrimage site when you visit Simala or Monastery of the Holy Eucharist in Southern Cebu. Run by Mongha ni Maria (Monks of Mary) who tend the gardens and built a mini-falls within the compound, the church has also since been a pilgrimage site.






This church in Sibonga, Cebu drew crowds when the miraculous statue of Mama Mary shed tears of blood. Though not validated by the Church, this phenomenon drew many faithfuls to the site.






I tweeted about this trip to Cebu and some tweeps advised me to go visit Simala on our way back to the city. It’s just slightly off the way and in between our Dalaguete and Carcar stopovers, but since we hired a van for the day, it worked out well. We felt good making this stopover. And there was even a Mass when we visited.







Hard to believe a church of this size was built in this corner of the province. The story goes that funds were provided by faithfuls who were miraculously healed here. If you are a first-time visitor like we were, you’d be awed by the grandeur of this church. Not just in the exterior appearance with the curving staircase and footbridge wrapped around the church, but in the interiors as well. We waited till Mass was over before snapping these photos.







So, next time you are in these parts of Southern Cebu, make time to do this pilgrimage. All you need to bring with you is your faith and perhaps, countless petitions for divine aid.

Our group planned this 3 day, 2 night adventure in Cebu highlighted by a visit to Oslob. This small, heretofore vaguely known town in Southern Cebu hugged the limelight when it was reported that whale sharks — Butanding in Donsol, “tuki” in Cebu — were discovered. The “feeding” of these friendly gentle giants invited so much attention and excitement that we promptly packed our bags and flew to Cebu. This, even after the disastrous earthquake that rocked Negros and Cebu a few days before our flight.






We arranged for a van to pick us up at the new Harold’s Hotel in Cebu City at the ungodly hour of 4am. Having feasted on lechon the day before — the day of our arrival — I hardly slept because of a disturbing headache (which I later learned was actually triggered by a spike in my blood pressure) which deprived me of the needed winks.






We tried to catch some sleep in the van as we cruised towards Oslob on that 3 hour drive. Armed with my own life vest, life buoy and snorkeling equipment (all hand carried from Manila), we were ready eager when we arrived 7am in this remote village. The makeshift registration kiosk wasn’t that busy as it was a Thursday and it was just our group, a family, 2 Caucasian couples and a lone Frenchman arranging for a date with the gentle, krill-fed whale sharks. 






But it was not to be. We waited another 3 hours, content with stories from this local who regaled us with her own adventures feeding the whale sharks. By 10am, we prepared to leave as the “spotters” who rounded up the area several times came back empty-handed.  Disappointed. Frustrated. Deprived of an adventure dreamed of weeks before. Thank God I was in the company of good (and cheerful) friends with whom a day is never dull nor devoid of “adventure”.






Now, WHAT TO DO? The 3 hour return trip was marked by stopovers in Boljoon, Dalaguete, Carcar and Simala. Separate blogs to follow, as each has a story to tell. Tuki or no tuki, we certainly didn’t waste our day!  When you guys go, better pray you meet them. Pray for good weather. It rained nearly the whole night and early morning of our visit. The whale sharks may have been sooo disturbed by the strong current and choppy waters.