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Simala Parish Church: What you need to know

Simala Church located in Sibonga, Cebu is popular for housing the miraculous Mother Mary and its castle-like, word-class architecture.

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Simala Parish Church in Sibonga, Cebu is a popular religious and tourist destination. It is known for many names like Monastery of the Holy Eucharist, Simala Shrine, Mother Mary Castle Church, Birhen sa Simala, Mama Mary Shrine of Simala, Miraculous Mama Mary Church, and Simala Church. It houses the miraculous Virgin Mary statue which is said to be seen crying tears of blood on her birthday.

Throngs of churchgoers and curious people alike go to Simala Church, and it is the one of the most well-known and well-kept churches in Cebu. It is a beautiful church with a majestic, castle-like exterior and solemn interior. Most visitors find the place not just as a special photo opportunity but also as a place to reflect.

Why Simala Church is popular

The church was built in 1998 by the Marian Monks of Pampanga. What was once just an ordinary church became a sensational destination for devotees looking to witness the relic of a modern-day miracle or to have their prayers answered after the widely-reported incident of a Mother Mary replica shedding bloody tears in 2014.

Over the years, the church has seen many improvements and retrofits that made it the fairy tale-like architecture that it is today. The faithful come here to present their devotion prayers, petitions, and offerings in cash or in kind to contribute to the upkeep of the church. Others come here to seek inner peace, cure for spiritual ails, or plain sight-seeing.

When taking a look at the ambitious, grandiose façade of the church with the lush foliage of Sibonga as its backdrop, one can’t help but stare at it in awe and feel serene at the same time – especially when you chance upon a visit with less people around.

What to see in Simala Church

Outside

When going to Simala Church, the first thing that will surely greet you is the marvelous brick and mortar and the well-manicured lawn outside of the church. This, and the long queue of visitors who are eager to meet and kiss the miraculous Virgin Mary.

It is located in an uphill location. The walk getting there is long and a bit taxing because the journey to the church is supposed to be penitentiary.

Inside

The inside of the church is filled with several sacred statues of varying sizes. There is of course the famous Mother Mary replica and her other iterations from different cultures. There is also a replica of the Nazareth Well where people make a wish before throwing in coins.

Dagkutanan

You will find sections called “dagkutanan” which means a place to light candles. There are many of them all around the building with designated colors for candles that are sold inside for Php35 apiece.

Here are the different colors and what they represent:

  • White: purity
  • Black: praying for a loved one who passed way
  • Green: success
  • Gold: healing
  • Pink: blessing
  • Yellow: for peace
  • Red: love
  • Gray: deliverance
  • Brown: vocation
  • Blue: perseverance

What to remember when going to Simala Church

Dressing protocol

There is a dressing protocol for all visitors to adhere to when coming here. Dress in a modest fashion and avoid wearing the following clothing items:

  • Shorts
  • Mini skirts
  • Sleeveless dress (must cover with jacket, cardigan, or shawl)
  • Shorts  for men

It is also not allowed to fly drones and take photos with flash.

Mass schedule

  • Sunday – 12:00 noon and 3:30pm
  • Monday to Friday – 12:00 noon
  • Saturday – 10:30am
  • 13th of the month – 10:30am and 3:30pm

How to get there

  • Bus from the South Bus Terminal headed to Sibonga
  • Private vehicle

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