CEBU | Temple of Leah, a Grand Declaration of Undying Love | Lakad Pilipinas

Temple of Leah Cebu

I’ve been hearing a lot about a certain temple in Cebu which many dub as the Taj Mahal of the Philippines. I’m not much for comparing places we have in the Philippines with those abroad, but for many, that’s usually the easiest, and not to mention, the catchiest way to promote a place. And so it was that on our last day of our weekend in Cebu, we decided to at least add a single tourist spot on our itinerary, the famed Temple of Leah.

Temple of Leah Cebu View
THE MOUNTAINOUS AREA OF BARANGAY BUSAY

Located on the hills of Barangay Busay where the equally popular Tops Cebu and Sirao Garden is located, the graceful temple rose from the ground in 2012. Fairly recent, but judging from the number of visitors we have to dodge that weekend, its popularity with both local and foreign tourists, seemed to suggest otherwise.

Temple of Leah Cebu Facade
THE TEMPLE OF LEAH IN CEBU

The Temple of Leah isn’t really a temple used for worship. It’s more like a colossal mausoleum of sorts (it is unclear if Leah is actually interred within its grounds), or more aptly, a shrine built for Leah Villa Albino-Adarna by his husband—grandparents of the actress Ellen Adarna. And that’s where its comparison with India’s Taj Mahal starts, both made for a beloved deceased wife, and ends.

Temple of Leah Cebu Facade
THE TEMPLE OVERLOOKING CEBU CITY

The Taj Mahal couldn’t be so far from the Temple of Leah. While the former has a very distinct Persian and Mughal architecture, with its minarets and bulbous domes, the latter has a classical Greek architecture. Most people confuse the temple to be of Roman design, which is easily understandable since the Romans derived their architecture from the Greeks.

Temple of Leah Cebu Central Fountain
THREE NUDE SCULPTURES ON THE CENTRAL FOUNTAIN

Thinking in terms of Temple of Leah’s purpose, however, which is to celebrate a life well-lived in tribute to Leah, the architecture falls more on the Greek side of the fence. These guys built temples with no particular purpose other than to celebrate their gods and pride.

Temple of Leah Cebu View
VIEW OF CEBU CITY FROM THE TEMPLE OF LEAH

And indeed, the Temple of Leah is nothing but a celebration of its recipient, Leah. Standing on a parcel of land overlooking Cebu City, the structure stands proud with its elevated base, rows of Doric columns, finely done sculptures, and protruding pediment.

Temple of Leah Cebu Construction
UNFINISHED PART OF THE TEMPLE

But like most labors of love, the temple is far from being complete as evidenced with its unfinished walls, and even sculptures. It is estimated that the final work would extend until the year 2020.

Temple of Leah Cebu Details
IN TRADITION WITH GREEK ARCHITECTURE

Studying its facade, I was actually surprised with the restraint used by its architect, given the Filipinos love for décor overkill. The temple is made within bounds of the classical Greek design, and not more. Well, there are two massive golden lions guarding its front stairs, but I think that’s well within range in terms of grandness of Greek architecture.

Temple of Leah Cebu Inside
INSIDE THE TEMPLE

Temple of Leah Cebu Sculpture
A BRONZE SCULPTURE OF LEAH AT THE CENTER

Inside, in tradition with Greek temples, one is greeted by a nine-foot likeness of Leah, in gold (actually made of bronze), flanked by two golden angels forever frozen in sending a heraldic flourish of horns. Behind the enthroned Leah is a beautifully done arched stained glass window, and beyond, chambers filled with her possessions.

Temple of Leah Cebu Chamber
ONE OF THE CHAMBERS OF THE TEMPLE

Temple of Leah Cebu Collection
THE TEMPLE HOUSES LEAH’S COLLECTIONS FROM HER TRAVELS

There are exactly twenty four chambers at the Temple of Leah, including a library. And of these, we only got a glimpse of from the open windows during our visit. These are filled with mementos Leah bought during her travels around the globe; big-ass jars, Persian rugs, Buddha figures, cute figurines, all the knick knacks you can think of for a self-confessed hoarder.

Temple of Leah Cebu
A LASTING TRIBUTE TO A LOVING WIFE

And this is actually one of the reasons the temple was built. Leah, before she died, was actually in a quandary where she would put all her collection. And the answer came five years after. The Temple of Leah.

HOW TO GET THERE: The easiest way is to take a cab or if that’s too expensive, a habal-habal (single motorcycle) going up to Temple of Aleah, if you don’t want the the problem getting a ride going down. The cheapest way, however, is to take a JY Square jeep (PHP8.00) from the University of San Carlos in downtown, alight at JY Square, then ride a jeep bound for Busay (PHP10.00). Ask the driver to drop you off at Mountain View Highway intersection.

 

Temple of Leah
Address: Roosevelt St., Brgy. Busay, Cebu City
Opening Hours: 6:00AM to 11:00PM, Daily
Entrance Fee: PHP50.00 per person
Contact Number: +63 (32) 233-5032 | +63 (933) 113-1755
Website | Facebook | Google+
GPS Coordinates Map: 10.368822, 123.873330

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2 comments:

  1. I love the view of the city from here more than the temple itself. Haha.

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    Replies
    1. Haha, indeed, it has a sweeping view of Cebu City!

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