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Located in the wealthy Beverly Hills residential enclave in the suburb of Lahug about 6 km north of downtown Cebu is an enormous Taoist Temple.
Beverly Hills (somewhat showily named after its affluent and glitzry namesake in Los Angeles) is home to many Filipino Chinese millionaires and the Taoist Temple was built by them and with the help of donations from Cebu's substantial Chinese ethnic community (the Chinese make up about 15% of Cebu's population).
The temple is the a center of worship for Taoism, the religion which follows the teachings of the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tze. You can see Taoist devotees following their traditional rites and rituals on Wednesdays and Sundays, as they climb the 99 steps of the temple to light joss sticks and have their fortunes read by the monks.
Built in 1972, the Taoist Temple is constructed in a highly ornate and, some would say, gaudy style that is typical of much modern Chinese religious architecture (with a predominantly red and green coloring scheme), and is topped with a pagoda-style roof.
The temple has an elevation of 300 meters above sea level, and if you climb the 99 steps to the entrance, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of Cebu City and the harbor and in the distance Mactan and Bohol islands. Nice sunset views too.
Not far from this temple, on the top of a hill a little lower down, is another Taoist edifice known as the Cebu Heavenly Temple of Charity. This temple has an imposing central altar with many statues of the Chinese gods and goddesses on all sides. These include the Supreme God and Milagrosa Rosa (the temple's patron saint).
The hill where it stands has its own excellent views. A water spring flows underneath the temple.
Though visited by fewer tourists, the Heavenly Temple of Charity has is very beautiful and is definitely worth a visit.
What is Taoism? Taoism is a Chinese religion/philosophy based on the teachings of Lao Tze who was said to have lived in the 6th century BC and the sacred text, the Tao te Ching.that Lao Tze is traditionally believed to have written.
Taoists believe the "tao" (the way), that refers to the principle of the universe. An emphasis is put on remaining in harmony with the "tao" and with one's environment, which in turn leads to right behavior.
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Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)