RIL* Part 2: Holy Trinity Shrine & San Vicente Ferrer

*Religiously In Love

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After the visit to the miraculous Mama Mary of Simala, my Mom’s friend invited us over for lunch at their house in San Fernando. I didn’t expect such a surprise to their house because I thought they’re living at the town proper. And voila! Great surprises are great!

We were picked up at the church by Aunt Jocy and her future-son-in-law. We rode a motorcycle going there and wasn’t aware that we’re heading up to the hills until I saw the scene in front of me. When I looked behind me, I was so amazed that I couldn’t help but say “woah!” as the landscape grows even more wonderful in front of my eyes.

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After lunch, Aunt Jocy toured us at the Mount Calvary at Holy Trinity Shrine. It was a perfect day to visit the Calvary hill because it was cloudy. No heat of the sun. But not also pouring. It feels so great to visit such a Calvary hill. The one I’ve visited in Leyte when I was there for the Holy week was far dull compared here. And still the breath-taking scenery from the hill won’t blur in your eyes because it’s marvelously beautiful!

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The visit at San Vicente Ferrer is mainly just to pray and give thanks for the day that was given to us. And it has been a tradition in the family that whenever we visit a place new to us, we should drop by at the church to give thanks for the bestowed and blessed day.

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Thank you Auntie Jocy and her Mom for the invitation and for the warm-very-familiar welcome! Until the next visit! xxx

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RIL*: The Weeping Mama Mary

*Religiously In Love

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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!

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TIPS IN VISITING THE MIRACULOUS MAMA MARY:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. MAKE A WISH for they really come true! Just BELIEVE.

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HOW TO GET THERE:

Private/Personal vehicle:

(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?

Public Transportation:

(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

65.00

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!

**More photos**

Your random Venus writes her own letter to Mama Mary! ;)
Your random Venus writes her own letter to Mama Mary! 😉

P.S

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

Breakfast at Gapo. But why I wasn’t happy?

A beach stretching to the pacific ocean? Find one in Gapo Beach!

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Only a few kilometers away from the town proper, Gapo beach is another pride of Gamay…. Or if you would allow me to say, it used to be.

I am just very-VERY disappointed after this excursion we had one early morning.

On the photos you’ll see nothing but beauty. Well it really is beautiful… watching the sun rises and rays are striking unto the ocean… the water so cold… sea breeze so relaxing and you’ll hear nothing but trees swaying into the rhythm of the air and the waves singing.  Amazingly beautiful, right?

But what’s the horror? Beauty has it’s beast behind.

You see, I only took a snap of the seas, but you never get to see what’s behind me.

You’ll never believe that a beach, natural and undeveloped is NO LONGER A VIRGIN! Tell you why: One main reason, it became a dump site of wastes from around the town. I saw horror! Something, I didn’t expect when I was still younger.

When it was the time of Mayor Gomba, or was Mayor Odol Capoquian? There used to be a permanent dump site meters away from the beach. This is IF my memory serves me right. And IF not, Gamaynons, BE MY JUDGE. I would be humble to stand corrected.

This couldn’t be what I should be talking about in my blog, because one thing, I should be PROUD of what we have. But the people is destroying it breaking my heart! And it really pains me to see how dirty the beach  had become. My family used to enjoy it here. Now where would we spend our reunions and special occasions? Sure we can opt to use the house, which in fact we have been doing by the way for the past few years. But what if we want to celebrate somewhere; a place where we used to laugh, talk about those days and what’s in the future? Should a neighborhood town’s BETTER beaches save us? It definitely would be a SHAME!

I hope that this will make Gamaynons: ordinary citizens or government officials realize how terrible it is to see a pride turning to be an ugly one and how horrifying  it is to imagine it as the DISGRACE our our beloved hometown.

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P.S. Pardon my frustration and disappointment. Only to realize that my photos has “GAMAY MAHUSAY!” on it, which means Beautiful Gamay. What can I say? An early morning post written on the spot. Now you know that I edit my shots first before expressing my thoughts.

Precious Moments Garden

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After the stressful election, mom and my aunt decided to go somewhere and chill out. It isn’t  planned at all, because initially we were dreaming for Brgy. San Antonio’s beach. But one Sunday morning, out of the blues Mom asked my younger siblings and cousins if they wanted to go to PMG (Precious Moments Garden). The kids didn’t think twice and screamed yes right then and there.

Located at the tip of the town, PMG is a haven. You can pass by this place before reaching one of the prides of  Gamay: the Nabunglayan rock formation.

My younger siblings and cousins enjoyed the playground and the mini-zoo. While Mom, Ate Lorna, cousin Cha and I enjoyed the karaoke until 4 in the afternoon. It felt like it was our very own concert. Haha!

Such activities can be done in this place. At around 4pm, when the sun is not already blazing, we decided to go kayaking… actually, just them because I was afraid of getting wet. KJ time! 😀 But I had fun watching the little ones having their various hilarious moments with the water and with each other.

A-BIT-OF-THING: Have to walk 50 meters from the garden to their port if you want to enjoy the sea. I guess a little renovation or touch up there can do magic and can turn the place really amazing. Because they’re using their port, it wouldn’t be nice for foreign guests to go swimming and kayaking with the huge ships around.

Allow me to mention the food. We had Pancit Bihon and it was ok. We also had fried chicken which became obviously the favorite of everyone. 😉 As for the Tinolang Bangus, I guess if not for the bitter taste because of the fish’s internal organs, it could have been a one delicious tinola. But then again, we somehow enjoyed the food.

PMG also offers catering services for different events and gatherings. Also they have a little place for overnight spenders; for for those who want to enjoy the night far from the “sort of busy” town. At only 500php (Philippine Peso), a room is yours for 24 hours, and the surprise?  Room rates are based on per room, not per hour or per head. Can be a steal, right? And let me also commend the really nice and warm staffs. It might be because Gamaynons are hospitable by nature.

After experiencing the place, no more wonder for me if it became an instant favorite in town. PMG is such a cool place. A bit of touch ups here and there will definitely make the place even more amazing.

Precious Moments Garden

LOCATION: J.Balena Ent. Compound, Brgy. Baybay, Gamay N. Samar

ENTRANCE FEE: P50/head (includes a snack | Five years and older children are required to pay in regular rate)

GARDEN HOURS: 8AM-5PM ONLY

Re-alive!: The Easter Sunday Special at Tadyaw Beach Resort and Spa, Tolosa, Leyte

Tadyaw, a jar made out of clay; that is what the name is in English.

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But what’s in Tadyaw and it’s one of the most visited beach resorts in Tolosa, Leyte?

That used to be my question until my eyes wandered around the beautiful and happy place.

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HOW TO GET THERE:

It’s easy!  Tadyaw is just along the way. Just don’t get confuse with the roads going Ormoc and Maasin, because the two will lead you to different ways. 😀

Private Ride

  • From Tacloban City it’d only take a 30 to 45 minute drive.
  • Drive to Palo, Leyte then once in Palo, take the Maasin way. You’ll know you’re in Palo town proper when you reach the Cathedral. (Note that going Ormoc (right) is a different way than Maasin(left).)
  • Once in Tanauan crossing, take the way to the town proper which will lead you to Tolosa. (In that crossing area the right side road is going Dagami/Burauen while the left side is your way to Tolosa/Mayorga).
  • Tolosa is just a few minutes away from Tanauan town proper. Just drive straight ahead.
  • If this ‘how to’ of mine failed, check google map. It’s easier! 😀  Or better yet, ask. Nothing to worry about, waray-waray’s are very nice and they’ll help you willingly! 😉

Public Transpo

  • From Tacloban City it’s a 45 minute to almost an hour ride.  Ride a jeepney going Tolosa or Mayorga. Both are passing by the place. Fair from the city proper is only 15php (Philippine peso).
  • If you’re not sure of what you’re doing (which is so like me! haha), ask the konduktor or driver. Then they’ll drop you off at Tadyaw.

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REASONS YOU SHOULD GET THERE:

If you really are craving for some beach fresh air and cool salty water and fun and peace and beauty… then Tadyaw is perfect for you! They also cater events from simple, small occasions to weddings and reunions and organization events at a very sensible price! Our cottage is only for 1,200php good for 10 people with free entrance. You can also bring in food without the corkage fee and charges and everything. Which some resorts don’t actually accommodate.  But if you hate the loads of bringing your own food, they have a restaurant and a grille where you can order.

Hyper fact:  I just want to say that their staff’s uniform is super cool!  The flowered dresses and maxi dresses and slippers and the Hawaiian inspired outfits. I even told myself, I’m gonna love working there because of the uniform… and the golf car also! Haha! 

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The landscape of Tadyaw is perfect for photographers and nature lovers. A walk around the mini-zoo that displays some birds, the ducks that walks around the resort, the horses and the cows eating grass, the cheerful monkeys, and a couple ostrich will be kid’s instant favorite.  My nephew, Carl surely enjoyed calling the owls by making a sound of a monkey! Crazy kid! Haha!

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Tadyaw also has a Spa and what’s more? The spa is just along the beach, beside the cottages. Talking about some relaxing moment with the cool breeze and warm sun!

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Obviously, there’s none so much you could do in a beach but just enjoy the water, have fun bonding with your friends and families. But in Tadyaw, the experience is at a different level.

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I shall return!

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