I’ve been wanting to go to Simala for the longest time but I always had an excuse not to go mainly ’cause I was afraid to go alone. But theeeeeen, yesterday, September, 13 2016, I finally had the guts to go and I had the best time! 😀
I arrived at the Sibulan Liloan port and managed to catch the 11 AM fastcraft. It was a 20-30 min (ish) ride going to Cebu Island. I think I spent P62.00 but if you’re a student, just present your ID and you get a discount.
When I arrived, I realized that I was not able to get a number for the Ceres. (Note: You have to get one after you buy the ticket. There’s usually a guy seated beside the ticket counter) I decided to eat lunch while waiting for another ceres/bus to arrive. After eating, I managed to ride an nearly empty ceres which was LUCKY for me because I managed to get a good seat. I think we were only about 7 or 8 inside the bus, including the driver and the ticket person.
It took about 2 hours for me to reach Simala and it only cost me 100 pesos. When I arrived there, me and 5 other people were swarmed by drivers asking if we wanted a ride. I chose to go with Manong Jesus who owned a motorcycle because I couldn’t ride a pedicab because I was on my own.
Manong Jesus was very friendly and he talked A LOT which was very comforting for me ’cause I’m usually shy when it comes to striking a conversation with a total stranger. He told me that the shrine was 5 kms away. On the way there were a lot of stores, houses, and there was even a hotel there. Or was it an apartelle, hmmm. Can’t remember.
About 10 minutes later, I finally saw a glimpse of the shrine!
That’s the entrance of the shrine. There are a lot of vendors outside but I didn’t really get the chance to check what they were selling ’cause I really wanted to go inside already! XD
When I entered the gate, I was surprised to see a lot of soldiers inside. They checked my bag and everything. Maybe it’s because of Pres. Duterte’s State of Lawlessness thing. I didn’t really get a picture of them because at that point, I wasn’t sure if I could take pictures.
So when I finally entered……………….
IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL! XD I felt like I was thrown back in time to an era filled with castles.
There were some parts that were currently off-limits because they were doing some rennovations and stuff.
So when I reached the church itself, they were holding a mass and a lot of people were worshipping. Since I was in a hurry, I just walked along the area where you light candles and say some prayers. After I did that, I entered the church’s museum which was FILLED with thank you letters from board passers, medals, pencils, and crutches and wheelchairs from healed patients. THERE WERE A LOT. I didn’t take a picture of it though because I felt that it was something you had to see for yourself. It was an intimate and heartfelt gesture of the love between God and his people. It was amazing.
After that, I went out the shrine and called Manong Jesus. I was in a hurry because I noticed that the sky looked like it was about to rain soon and I wanted to reach Cebu before dark.
While waiting for Manong Jesus, I was finally able to see the things that the side vendors were selling.
I met this group of people who were very friendly. I bought 3 bracelets and the “lana” or oil they were selling that was supposed to have healing abilities. It only costs 10 pesos though so I bought one. 🙂
You see the young boy sitting there? He sells “lana” as well. But what he does is CHASE people riding motorcycles or cars who were on their way to the shrine. He runs after them, asking them if they wanted to buy one. He runs about 500 meters, several times a day! When I asked the older man as to why he did that, he just said that they needed to do what they could to earn money.
So after awhile, Manong Jesus finally picked me up and even made sure that I got on the Ceres safely. I paid him 100 pesos even when he asked for only php 80.00. I really recommend this driver. You can contact him at this number: 09083398351.
All in all, it was a very memorable trip for me. I learned that being alone ain’t so bad after all. Cheers to more adventures!!!