Happy Free Friday! This blog series focuses on fun and free sites to visit all over the world. Today we’re highlighting the Cebu Taoist Temple, a famous complex in Cebu City known for its serenity, beauty, and rituals.
Cebu is the strategic, cultural, and economic center of the Visayas island group. It’s the most densely populated island in the country and also one of the most prosperous. Tourists flock to this beautiful island in huge numbers every year, primarily for its spectacular beaches and diving. However, no trip to Cebu is complete without exploring Cebu City, where visitors can find great food, fascinating history, lively culture and, hidden above it all, the Cebu Taoist Temple.
Cebu Taoist Temple
The temple was built in 1972 by followers of the ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi. Located in the upscale Beverly Hills Subdivision 984 feet above sea level, the temple maintains a sense of peace and quiet that is difficult to find in the crowded metropolis. Visitors will immediately be impressed by the towering, multi-tiered architecture, the massive replica of the Great Wall of China, and the huge, majestic dragons. Another stunning feature is the set of 81 steps leading up to the main area of the temple, representing the 81 chapters of Taoism scriptures. Get ready for a workout!
Once sightseers have gotten their fill of the stunning outside architecture (and made it up all the steps), they should be sure to visit the chapel, where they can participate in an ancient Taoist ritual. Before going in, guests must wash their hands and remove their shoes. They are then allowed to enter and follow the traditional custom of dropping two wooden blocks on the floor. If both blocks land face up, a wish is granted, but if only one or neither of the blocks land facing up a wish is not permitted, although visitors can come back and try again another time. Those who visit on a Wednesday or Sunday can also light joss sticks (a type of incense) and have their fortune read by one of the monks.
After making a hopefully successful wish, visitors can head to the spacious balconies and take some time to soak in the serenity of the temple while enjoying a breathtaking view of downtown Cebu City. The complex also includes a library, souvenir shop, and wishing well. With so much to see inside and out, travelers should arrive early in the day to ensure plenty of time to explore.
The Cebu Taoist Temple opening hours are Monday – Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and dress code strictly prohibits sleeveless shirts and short pants. Visitors should also be aware that pictures of the temple altar are not permitted. And of course, as with all our Free Friday features, there is no entrance fee.
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