Now adays, one of the most visited place in Cebu South is the Simala Shrine, the home of the miraculous Mama Mary.  Some folks describe it a castle like church, some mentioned magnificent. Not so long ago, it was just a small home and a place for Marian Monks. So some story goes.. Origin of the Simala Shrine.

Long time ago

Long time ago in Lindogon Sibonga, a wise old man named “Ingkong Villamor” predicted that one day in a rough and desolated hill, a white lady will reign and the place will be a holy and sacred site. Ingkong Villamor died, a year had passed and his son became a priest and was later known as “Monsignortomas Villamor”.


When Frater Martin came, Monsignortomas planned to build a monastery for the monks. With the help and guidance of some nuns, their search led to a dry and unproductive hill in Lindogon. Many people say that only miracles can make plants and trees grow in the area, the reason why the owner of this land sold it with at a very low price.

Monsignortomas decided to build a temporary house made of bamboo and coconut leaves (nipa). Because of the land’s location, it’s really hot during the day and very cold during the night. Monks believe that the food offered by the locals is a gift from God. Days and weeks passed, they still strive for food and living difficulty in their temporary home.

This is not the only situation and challenges faced by the monks. The monks have been criticized and belittled by certain locals. People are intimidated by their presence in the area and sometimes would throw coins at the monks as they pass by. Despite all of this, the monks stay humble and generous.

Due to their situation, the monks decided to use their land to plant trees. A week later, through their unending faith with the Virgin Mary and unlimited effort, the trees grew quickly. The monks could not believe what they were seeing and it even astonished the local people.

After a month El Niño (Wikipedia Article) occurred and the plants grew thin and weakened. Dengue Malady (Wikipedia Article) spread and several children living in the lower portion of monks’ area died while others were infected. Due to lack of money, parents can’t afford to bring them to the hospital.

Frater Martin informed them that the sacrifice offered by his ancestors would drive the evil spirits away. That very evening, they started the penitential walk with a small number of people joining the procession. On the third evening, they smelled the fragrance of fresh flowers which had spread all over the land.

The area was rid of insects and mosquitoes and the children suffering from Dengue Malady were healed. The people also witnessed blooming of fresh flowers which soon covered the hills. From that time, because of the miraculous events, crowds of people from different parts of the country came to visited the place and later it became the “White Lady Sanctuary” known as the “Virgin Mary”.

Monks continue to build and develop the hills. Today the area possesses beauty and appeal, particularly the shrine of the Virgin Mary known as the Monastery of Holy Eucharist or “Birhen ng Simala”. Most of Cebuano (Wikipedia Article) devotees used to visit the place for thanksgiving and for divine intervention. Nowadays, the Monastery is well-known worldwide for the miracles made by the Virgin Mary.

The Church is currently located in Simala. The place is really astonishing and resembles a real castle. Statues of the guardian angels is located in the compound gate. There is also a huge replica structure of the Blessed Virgin Mary positioned at the church’s entrance. According to the locals, the replica was constructed to honor Mary for the miracle she completed by healing several children affected by the wide-spread epidemic which plagued the area.

The Monastery was designed uphill for people to walk as penitential before entering the place. Asides from statues and the replica, they also have wishing bell. In order to make a wish, one must throw a coin and make sure it will bounce to the bell’s side.

The first part of the monastery is the testimony hall area. There are lots of letters and items donated by the locals who are believed to have been healed by the miraculous Virgin Mary. These items include wheel chairs, pictures, uniforms, graduation robes and even books.

The Monastery of the Holy Eucharist, popularly known as the Simala Shrine or Simala Church is located in Marian Hills, Lindogon, Simala, Sibonga, Cebu. It was built in 1998 by the Marian Monks from Pampanga. It used to be just an ordinary church until after the incidents of miraculous events. One of which is the shedding of tears of the Mother Mary’s image. It paved the way for the shrine’s popularity with devotees constantly flocking the area.
There are various reasons why people come to visit the Simala Shrine. For Catholic devotees, the main reason why they visit the place is for them to offer their devotion, prayers, and petitions to the Virgin Mary with a hope that each petition and devotion will be answered. Another reason is for healing of physical and spiritual illness. For some, especially for non-catholics, visiting the shrine is for adventure and curiosity purposes only. The amazing structure and architecture of the shrine will really leave someone in awe.

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