A visit to Cebu is never complete without a stop at the popular tourist destination, the Taoist Temple. The shrine is a well-known non-Catholic temple in Cebu. The temple serves as a sanctuary for those who practice Taoism, an ancient belief based on the wisdom of a Chinese philosopher Lao Tze. The temple is located in Beverly Hills, which is considered a posh community in the city. It is more or less one hour away from downtown Cebu and has proven to be a convenient location for the Chinese people who are homeowners within the residential areas of the subdivision. Nowadays, it is not only frequented by the Chinese alone, but also by Koreans who share the same faith.
But what makes this temple so popular that it never fails to arouse tourists’ curiosity?
1. Walking along the so-called Great Wall
If you think that it’ll take you a long time before seeing the real Great Wall of China, you might as well explore the small version right at the temple. It may be a small version but walking along the wall may get tiring, so do bring some water with you!
2. Climbing the 99 steps
Getting to the temple requires you to climb the 99 steps. It is rather an enjoyable if exhausting activity for most of the tourists. Part of the fun for most comes at the end of the climb, when you can see your other companions struggle their way to reach to the top… and perhaps heckle them a little about how slow they are.
3. Watching the sunset
The temple is located 300 meters above sea level, which makes it a spectacular viewing place for sunsets. You’ll have the most stunning view of the different islands of Cebu and the glorious sight of the Cebu city as well.
4. Lighting joss sticks
Instead of candles, Taoists make use of joss sticks to be lit up. You can perform the same rituals as its followers in the temple. A ritual among the devotees is when the person prays to the gods to grant their wishes. There are instructions provided at the main door of the temple if you are a beginner who wants to try out the ritual. You may also simply follow the actions of a local visiting the temple. Make sure to observe silence, though, as the temple is a religious shrine. The person beside you might be praying so it’ll be better if you stay discreet.
The easiest mode of transportation to the temple is definitely by private vehicle. However, you can always take the jeepney to Lahug. Inform the driver that you want to go to the Taoist Temple and he will take you to Sudlon. From there you have a choice of taking a habal-habal (motorcycle) or a 15-minute walk to the temple. The best days to go to the temple will be the weekdays except for Wednesdays, as it is one of their days of worship.
More than just a fascinating view of the temple, you can also have your fortune read by the tellers inside the shrine. The Taoist temple has been categorized as a place for oblation and sacrifice, an altar for praying and offering, a cubby for religious service and a garden for visitors. No doubt, the simple brilliance of the temple is an experience worth the visit.