In Sibonga, there is this barrio called Simala where people flock to see the miraculous image of the Virgin (Mary Queen of Heaven and Earth). The convent and church has been attracting Catholics, not only here in Cebu, but as far as Manila.
I visited this place May 23 this year. It was one of those unexpected stopover – I’m glad I did drop by. I wasn’t looking to go but for some reason I got curious (I was supposed to go to Barili). I heard that it was perched on a hill and has been known to heal the sick and grant wishes, well, I have a few, so I thought it was a good idea. So I did go down where countless habal-habal (motorcycles) operators eagerly awaits its passengers.
Just the other day, I was reminded of this trip when I saw one of my colleagues work station with the image of the weeping Virgin posted on his work station. He said all his blessings in life and in work (he’s been performing extremely well) is because of the Virgin of Simala. I never got close to the Virgin of Simala because the line was so long that it would take the whole afternoon before I get my turn.
From the highway to the convent (called mongha , mga Mongha ni Maria), takes about 15 minutes. The fare is 20 pesos. The roads are paved and for the most part in good condition. The ride also gave me a good view of the mountainous terrain of Sibonga. Vast lands utilized as farms.
The Monastery of the Holy Eucharist, popularly known as Simala Church was built on top of a hill. Its awe inspiring as it combines the church’s architecture and nature. Its elevation provides visitors with a panoramic view of the town and its coast.
Since it was Sunday, people in buses and private vehicles are everywhere. The convent ground is spacious. It can accommodate large numbers of devotees. There are picnic places for families. There are also spaces provided for people who just wanted to rest.