There are many reasons to love Cebu and its significance in the development of Christianity and the Catholic faith in the Philippines is central. For Christmas 2016, I had been much blessed to get to be in five churches in and near the City of Naga, Cebu.
Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, City of Naga
I attended misa de gallo at the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, which was just a few steps away from where we stayed. Although I didn’t get to understand much of the Mass, being unable to understand Cebuano, I am grateful to have witnessed such devotion that people were even bringing their own chairs!
San Isidro Labrador Church, San Fernando
Our first stop on the way to Simala Shrine, we dropped by San Isidro Labrador Church in San Fernando. We initially thought the miraculous water was there but the priest (who was practicing with the choir at the time) said it was in Pitalo. I was a bit sad because there were some trash inside the church.
St. Catherine of Alexandria Church, Carcar
Mama went to St. Catherine’s College for some time in her childhood. Unfortunately, she has not-so-fond memories of her schooling there.
Monastery of the Holy Eucharist (Simala Shrine/Simala Church), Sibonga
Monastery of the Holy Eucharist or Simala Shrine or Simala Church. Whatever name you call it, it all means the same: this beautiful Marian pilgrimage shrine that has like a kilometer-long line of devotees paying their veneration for the miraculous Mama Mary.
Pitalo San Vicente Ferrer Church, San Fernando
Of the five churches, this small chapel at Brgy. Pitalo has to be the one I felt the most. It was noon when we arrived, but there were still many people quietly praying inside. Also, they give miraculous water which you can use for practically anything. (Unfortunately for me, I forgot to get some water when we went back to Naga.) Auntie Mina, my ninang, bought some bottles of miraculous oil for P50 each. I’ll tell you a secret: the oil is miraculous.
Only two churches to go and I could’ve done my first ever visita iglesia. But someday, I’d go back to Cebu and do it.