The day after our canyoneering adventure, we dragged ourselves back to Cebu City but decided to drop by Siboanga first to witness and pray in the miraculous castle-like Simala Church. I’m may not be a Catholic (I’m a born again) but I don’t have any issues praying inside a Catholic church. I even admire how intricate their churches are made, especially when I laid eyes on the Simala church.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Simala Church is located at Marian Hills, Simala, Siboanga, Cebu
from Cebu city: Ride a multi-cab or taxi to South Bus Terminal. Ride a bus that is en-route to Oslob and ask the driver to drop you at Simala Church in Siboanga. Travel time is approximately 2 hours depends on the traffic. From the main road, you still need to ride a tricycle (P200/trike/RT) up to the church.
from Badian: Ride a bus en-route to Cebu City and go down at Carcar (P60). At Carcar, you can walk to the Mcdonalds and ride another bus en-route to Oslob (P35). Ask the driver to drop you at Simala, Siboanga and ride a tricycle or habal-habal up to the church. It took us almost 3 hours of travel time.
Since it’s a Sunday, the church is jampacked with people. There are two policemen outside the gate and they are strictly implementing the proper dress code. Wearing of body-hugging dress, shorts, mini-skirts, sleeveless and plunging neckline shirts & slippers are not allowed. I’m not quite sure if you’ll be given a malong if ever you’re dressed in one of the given because so far everyone I saw inside is in proper dress code. I’m in a turtle neck sleeveless maxi dress and was asked to put a cardigan. I’m advising you to plan your OOTDs when you’re dropping by.
Upon entering, hundreds of people didn’t stop us from mesmerizing the church. It feels like we have teleported to Spain. The whole church is as white as snow, complete with its gorgeous details. The church stands in the middle accessible via the open castle-like alley on both the right and left side. The construction and garden landscape are not 100% done but already enough to leave you in awe. I’ve been love at first sight again since Paoay Church.
While walking along the right alley to the church, we noticed a queue which we thought was a line to the altar. It turned out to be a queue to the miraculous Virgin Mary statue. We headed to the altar first to pray and brought some candles (P5) for our wishes. Since it’s just 2 pm and we have our luggage outside, we decided not to attend the mass by 3:30 pm and just roam around. Inside beside the altar, there’s a souvenir shop, different kinds of Virgin Mary statues and a museum of all the answered petition offered in this church. All these calculators, wheelchairs, crutches and letters of their stories are moving to see and read. Miracles are indeed real if we just believe.
These people are in queue to offer petitions to the Marian statue or “Birhen ng Simala”. The said statue is believed to be miraculous because it shed tears of blood. Upon this point, footwears must be removed for the place is considered a Holy place. I didn’t get the chance to experience for the end of the line is already outside, in the open alley.
We continued walking to the other side of Simala Church and went up to one of the towers. At the moment, I’ve been in the church about 30 minutes already and still, I have no words to describe how beautiful it is especially on this spot. I envied Cebuanos that they can go back here easily. On the left alley, there are bronze statues of different Bible scenarios and characters. The alley leads to the garden where people can have picnics in the cottages and where kids can play.
We only spend almost an hour in Simala Church because we’re still heading to Cebu City and we have our luggage with us. We decided to leave it in the tricycle we rented since he’s supposed to wait for us for his P200. I know you’re thinking that what we did was a wrong move, oh yes it is! But I lived in Manila, knew all the different thefts and scams activities, so I just left my backpack with all my clothes. And he can have all my clothes in case he ran away, I don’t have any branded clothes anyway. But the good news is that our bags are still alive when we returned (Cebuanos are really kind you know) so off we go to the city!
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