Miraculous Berhin Maria sa Simala Church, Sibonga Cebu
Solemn Religious Place
We all know that we have different Beliefs and Religions. These made who we are. Our faith made our beliefs and our beliefs is from our Religion.
We all have wishes and petitions. For us Catholics, we really believe in saints and to our God. We believe in our devotions to saints and they will help us reaching our goals and granting wishes. But also with our hard work.
Mama Mary’s Shrine in Lindogon, Simala, Cebu, which is commonly known as “Birhen sa Simala Church” is one of the famous religious shrine in the Philippines. Different people or devotees from different parts of the world and Philippines will just come there to pay visit to the miraculous Mama Mary and really go there to lit up some candles or ” dagkot” as there way of giving thanks and also asking for wishes. And also to kiss Mama Mary’s Groto or “halok”. The Birhen of Simala is known by her miracles and also the sheading of tears.
The Brief History of Simala Church
Some folks said that Lindogon hills was previously just a plain mountains, and just a regular rural area. And the monks there serves as the doctors of the folks or people there.Until came one say, one of the oldest person living there called “Manoy” said that he saw Mama Mary in his dreams. From that moment on, ” Manoy fortell that soon in that very part of Lindogon hills will rise the “Birhen sa Simala” Church. Just a few years from that time Birhen sa Simala was built in to the same part of the hills “Manoy” fortell.
The Basic Itinerary
Since the “Birhen sa Simala” Church is located in the southern part of Cebu. It is an estimated a one hour and a half ride from Cebu City.
So, first you must take a bus from Southbus Terminal in Cebu. You must ride a ” Bato via Barili” bus or else you can take a minibus that directly go to the Sibonga,Cebu and an option also to take a V-hire to go there directly. If you will ride a bus or a minibus or even V-hire it will stop into their garage. From there, you can ride a motorcycle which carry two persons per ride at 25 pesos each or a tricycle that carries a maximum of 8 persons per ride at 20 pesos each person. They will be able to get there for around 10 minutes from the drop-off area of Sibonga, Cebu.
The Holy Candles
It was my mother’s birthday and as she promised to Mama Mary, we visited the “Birhen sa Simala” church. It was a fine morning indeed. We took a bus from South bus Terminal together with my two sisters. We departed at around 7am in the morning. Since it was Friday, many devotees are there in that moment. So, we did lit up some candles for thanksgiving for my mother’s birthday. There are many colored candles that you can buy for only 20 pesos. There was iday and for thanksgiving.
The Holy Souvenirs
As we stepped there, in the entrance there were many vendors that come to us to offer their product which is Mama Mary’s oil or locally known as “lana”, which is good for 3 bottles for only 50 pesos. That oil is really miraculous, my mother actually used to apply it in wounds and also if she suffer from body pain. That was really effective. And not only that they also offer a laminated petal from the altar’s foot of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and also that was said to be miraculous also. My mother bought 3 bottles of the oil and 2 laminated petal, which she only paid 90 pesos that was a very good deal, right? Also there are many “carenderia” there and also souvenir shops. I was amazed since the Church was cultivated well. And also all the structure and even the architecture of the Shrine is very detailed. And the place is very solemn.
The Religious Activities
After we lit up some candles we did go to the altar’s foot where the Shrine of Mama Mary is located. From there, we lined up were kissed her “groto” or Shrine. There were so many people lining up to kiss the Blessed Mama Mary’s groto. We did go to their exhibit room where we did see different saints’s Groto and you can also kissed them as a sign of respect and the faithfulness of the People. And also there, a petition box where you can drop all your petition and wishes and they believe that the monks read and pray for it. They also have a store where you can buy souvenirs such as bracelets, rosary beads, rings and rosary guides and many more. We did buy something for remembrance.
The Answered Prayers
On our way out of the church, what caught my eyes was an area in that big hall where you can see things such as diplomas, wheelchair and etc. Those are the things of the people that Mama Mary granted their wishes. They include some thanksgiving letter to express their feelings to thank the Blessed Virgin Mary. As I read one of the letters there, it says that he devoted the Blessed Virgin Mary and wished for him to finish up his course as a marine engineer. Then after 4 years in college with his determination towards his goals and also to his devotion, after 4 years in college with his determination towards his goals and also to his devotion to “Birhen of Simala”, he finished his studies and he is really thankful for that. Some of the letters are from paralized people that are healed because of their devotion to the Blessed “Birhen sa Simala”.
That was really amazing. It leaves me determined and that feeling that God really have a plan for us.
So, we did take pictures outside the Church. That was really amazing there since the Church is located mountain top, we can see a wonderful view of the neighboring hills and mountains. And after we did go to the miraculous wishing well and toss a coin there. Above the well was an old bell. They say that you should shot the coin to the hole in the bell before it should drop down in the wishing well. So , we did it!
Ampaw and Chicharon Delicacies
Before we headed back home, we did it into a small restaurant or shall I say “carenderia” there. Finally we rode the tricycle again and then we waited the bus into the waiting shed to wait for a bus to ride on so that we can to back to City. And into our way back, when we reached to Carcar City, there were vendors that came up to the bus and offer there famous delicacies, which is the “ampao” and “chicharon” that was really famous there. So, we did bought something to bring home as “pasalubong”.
On our way home my sisters and I enjoyed talking about the stories of the place that we just visited, that is Simala Church. And my mother actually promised that if we will have time we will go back there together with my whole family so that we can give thanks to our Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Church place leaves us an expression that “Nothing is impossible, If you have faith.” Faith is not like just doing things which are good, but living in God’s will and believing that HE will not leave us.