The Simala Shrine is a Catholic pilgrimage site in Cebu. In my opinion, it is the Cebuano version of Lourdes Grotto in France. We have been in Lourdes and Fatima, Portugal a couple of times pre-pandemic and this local site has the same level of holy experience and devotion.
This sacred place hosts the Our Lady of Lindogon, the local title of the Virgin Mary in Sibonga, Cebu. It was built in 1998 by the Marian Monks of Eucharistic Adoration (MMEA) from Pampanga.
Simala Shrine is believed to be miraculous by devotees of Mama Mary after it is attributed to the healing of those who were afflicted with dengue in 1998. The image reportedly shed tears first in 1998 and the latest on September 8, 2016. It is quite unique amongst the images of Our Lady, this one wearing pink instead of blue.
It is also famous for its castle-like design, huge infrastructure atop the mountains of Sibonga. The shrine is associated with numerous miracles, with many answered petitions showcased in their musem.
The church dedicated an area (& museum) to store items like crutches and wheelchairs used by devotees who were healed after praying at the Simala Shrine. They also have letters, stories, and photos thanking Mama Mary for her intervention.
There are 4 ways to pray ask for your petitions here in Simala;
- Halok (kiss) – halok is Cebuano for kiss, here you will line up and kiss the image of Mama Mary while praying for your requests. You will be asked to take off your shoes as you line up and enter.
2. Pray in the adoration chapel – there’s the beautiful chapel where you can opt to sit or kneel.
3. Pray under her mantle (holy image) – you need to line up again for this one, it’s a symbolic representation of Our Lady being Our Mother and ready to intercede for us.
4. Light a candle – light a candle in the open area outside the chapel for your prayers. You can use color-coded candles based on your intentions.
Here is the list of colors and their specific prayer requests:
- White – Purity, guidance, or the right path
- Black – Praying for loved ones who passed away
- Green – Prosperity or success (financial or business, passing exams)
- Gold – Healing or good health
- Orange – Reconciliation with partner/enemy/family
- Pink – Blessing or forgiveness
- Yellow – Peace, strength, courage, or hope
- Red – Love
- Gray – Deliverance from evil ways/things/spirits
- Brown – Vocation
- Blue – Perseverance
- Violet – Achievement
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.