Despite the Philippines being a predominantly Catholic country, many natives still adhere to the Islamic faith, while other communities followed their tribal religions. Chinese immigrants, who were from the Fujian Province and Taiwan, were mostly Buddhists and Taoists. Many of them chose to retain their ancestral beliefs instead of converting to Christianity. They built temples as places of worship, one of which is the Mindanao Taoist Temple in Davao.
Taoism or Taoists believe that the Supreme, whom they call Tao, is the source of all things and that they should strive to live in harmony with it. Popular Taoism that is practiced by the masses has many gods. Others have secret rites and practices that aim to bring realization to the Tao in man. A typical temple of Taoists will have magical dragons, tiger and dog displays, fascinating lanterns, serpent-like dragons and other interesting things all over the temple.
The Taoism way to pray uses a pair of kidney-shaped wooden blocks as a medium to communicate to god. They ask their questions, problems or wishes and they are answered accordingly. Here are the steps to follow then visiting the Mindanao Taoist Temple:
- Wash both your hands to represent cleanliness upon talking to god.
- Light the Joss stick and then kneel down while holding the Joss Stick with both your hands. Pray for guidance so that the god may grant enlightenment to your problem or wish.
- Take two blessed wooden blocks and hold them flat-side up with both your hands.
- Ask your query in a simple manner. Make sure to ask only one question at a time.
- Drop the wooden blocks gently on the floor and your answer will be according to these positions:
YES – If 1 Wooden Block is “Flat” and the other Wooden Block is “Half Round”
NO – If 2 Wooden Blocks are both “Half Round”
MAYBE – If 2 Wooden Blocks are both “Flat”
Here are a few more reminders:
- Before you start asking your question, problem or wish, you first have to ask permission if god is ready to accept your question in mind. Follow step number 5 in order to know so.
- If the answer is YES, then you can start asking your question, problem or wish.
- If the answer is NO, you will need to come back another day and ask again. You may also ask for assistance from the Temple Attendant.
- If the answer is MAYBE, then your question is not very clear. Try to simplify your question and ask again.
- After you’ve asked all that needs to be asked, kneel down and express your gratitude to god. Ask for his blessing and grace in life for you.
The Mindanao Taoist Temple houses all the different icons in the belief in Taoism, which makes it the perfect place for those who are interested in the religion or those who are curious about what these temples look like. Curious travelers can partake of the procedures when praying and ask for guidance as the Taoists do. Let the temple satisfy your curiosity as you may also find a whole new meaning to life by visiting it.