We had a morning in Cebu before we had to catch our flight to El Nido and decided to take a look at the Taoist Temple in the city. We’d seen our fair share of churches around the Philippines, but I’d never had the opportunity to look around a Taoist temple before. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know much about the religion.
We had to hire a taxi for the whole morning to take us to the temple, which means a trip there is quite expensive, even if the temple itself is free. It is in an obviously wealthy area of Cebu, protected by barriers and guards so you can’t just flag a taxi down like everywhere else once you’re done as it’s a private road. Our taxi driver had to hand in his licence to the guards when we got to the barrier, and only got it back when we left.
The temple itself is stunning. It’s high on the hill overlooking the city, and is multi-level. There was a large temple on the first floor, with a community room attached. You are asked politely by the guards there not to take photos of the alters as they are a sacred place, but it was alright to take pictures of the outsides.
We went into the community room where Taoist monks were having dinner. We were offered iced green tea and invited to join them for a lunch of noodle soup. We’d just eaten the most amazing breakfast and could not manage to eat any more. I don’t know if they were offended as they kept inviting us to eat, stressing that it was free, but we had to politely decline.
The temple itself was full of hidden gems; we lost count of how many smaller alters there were in addition to the main one, and there were statues and fish ponds at every turn. There was even a section built to look like the Great Wall of China.
I would have liked a bit more information to tell us about the religion and explain what the different alters were for, but we loved watching people praying using small wooden prayer blocks, and looking at the gifts people had left at the alters.It really is a peaceful place, completely different to the busyness and hustle of the main city. If you’ve got the time and the money don’t give it a miss!!