*Religiously In Love
A castle built at the hills of Simala, Sibonga, surrounded by high and strong walls of love and armed with faith.
A religious castle so enchanting, miraculous and beautiful; this is how I could best describe the place, but if there are other even more astonishing-perfect words that can describe it, they’re out of my head for I am truly out of words to describe Marian Hills until now.
Located at the highlands of Barangay Lindogan of Simala, in the poblacion of Sibonga, Cebu Marian Hills Church is built in 1999 during the Dengue phenomenon in the place. Built and founded by the Marian Monks after the first apparition of Mama Mary in 1998.
If you’d ask the people living in this place especially the elder one’s, they’d describe the place as nothing but hills back then. In fact the place before has problems with water and they’ve strive to survive, even more when the people of Simala were hit by Dengue in 1999. But soon enough they’ve recovered because of a miracle: Mama Mary had shed tears right before the eyes of the Monks. This was already predicted by an elder man somewhere in the 60’s. But the people didn’t believe for the man is old and thought this was just some ageing issues, until the Monks have seen it.
There were a lot of times also that the people have witnessed such miracles. In 1998, Mama Mary’s statue has shed tears 4 times excluding the first shedding of tears in September of that year. And on September 8, 1999 which was her birthday, the same statue has shed tears. Until now Mama Mary continue with her miracles. Thousands of Filipinos; Cebuano and non-Cebuanos believe in the miracles that are happening. In fact you can even see it around the church: testimonials of the people who have witnessed the shedding of tears and appearances of Mama Mary on some photos, the blood that ran through the white candle and all the prayers and wishes that were answered- from board and bar exams to healing miracles.
I for one don’t believe in just miracle. My formula for a miracle is: MIRACLE= HARD WORK + SCIENCE/EXPERIENCE * FAITH (self and God)2. But these people probably could prove me that miracle with faith alone is possible!
TIPS IN VISITING THE MIRACULOUS MAMA MARY:
- Wear comfy flats or slippers. The renovation of the church is still on progress. But you’d definitely want to have a walk at the east wing of the castle. And yes, I could not just describe it as a regular church because of its structure and design. And walking in high heels can be a challenge, especially in ascending and descending the stairs.
- I quote: “When God builds a church, a demon would build his chapel around”. So don’t ever believe in those people who would sell you some miraculous water or etc., because honestly the church does not sell them.
- Did I mention, DON’T wear boots or shoes that could be difficult to remove? I was wearing my favorite fringe booties when we visited Marian Hills and I had a hard time untying and removing them when I get there. You’ll be asked to remove your foot wear before entering the part of the castle where you could have a closer encounter with the miraculous mother.
- Dress decode: Follow the church’s dress code. No mini-skirt, leggings, sleeveless and strap-less and revealing clothes. If so, you won’t be allowed by the guards to enter the church.
- NO PICTURE TAKING at Mama Mary’s altar! And some people either cannot see the sign under the bridge of the altar or just ignoring it. Your visit’s main purpose should be to pray and not to just take pictures because this is a place for prayer and not for photo shoot! 99.9% you can disturb the people who are praying especially when you’re camera’s flash is turned on.
- PEN & PAPER. Prayers have answered. Letters have read. And if you’re grateful and generous enough, drop off a letter for Mama Mary. You could either write it before you get there or an impromptu like ours.
- You could also bring some food if you want to spend the entire day there. There are cottages at the main gate along the path way going to the church for re-creation or gatherings. Rest rooms are also available inside.
- If you wish to kiss Mama Mary’s statue, get there as early as you can. Main gates are open at 8am. And if you don’t want to spend longer hours in the line of devotees be there early.
- MAKE A WISH for they really come true! Just BELIEVE.
HOW TO GET THERE:
(A). From the city proper, take a southern drive going Sibonga. It’s easy to detect if you’re already in the town. Look for the Simala Municipal Hall, in front of it is the Simala Church. Drive around 100 kilometers forward (or even more, sorry can’t really calculate the distance and I didn’t see signs). There is a little corner where you could enter to take the drive to the highlands. You could spot this corner, because there are vehicles and drivers around. -> You need to drive up for another around 200km or more. Actually you won’t be lost getting there because there are a lot people around whom you could ask and a lot of vehicles on the way.
(B) Call a van and hire them. It’s easier, right?
(A) via BUS [Fare table below]
> Take a bus from the South Terminal (Colon, Cebu City beside e-Mall) bounding Sibonga. Just inform the “kon-doktor” to drop you off in Simala.
> You will be dropped off at the corner going to the church. You could choose to ride a tricycle or a motor-bike.
*Amounts are based on Philippine Peso
South Terminal – Sibonga
Sibonga – Simala
20.00 / 30.00 (from Simala Church)
(B) via VAN
There are van and bus companies that offer service directly from Cebu to Marian Hills and vice versa. Though am not sure if they’re for contact or not because we went there via bus.
A visit to Marian Hills is really amazing! When my eyes roamed around the church and the castle I was enticed by its unexplainable power that made my eyes wet and my heart trembling with over-joy. The after-visit feeling was so peaceful, incredible and magnificent!
I don’t want to overwhelm this post. But we actually had 3 church visits on that Sunday, June 16. Mom’s friend invited us for lunch and we passed by Holy Trinity Shrine and San Vicente Ferrer Church. They’ll be in a separate post. 😉 xxx