A tour around the Queen City of the South wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Cebu Taoist Temple. Built in 1972, the temple is located in upscale Beverly Hills Subdivision, Lahug District. It’s an hour away from the main city.
I was looking forward to visiting this temple because I’m interested in Eastern wisdom and I read that it’s possible to get your fortune told inside.
We visited here as part of our Cebu City tour. Similarly, you can also go here for a quick visit or stay to engage in the temple’s offered activities.
How to get here
Cebu Taoist Temple is located in Beverly Hills Subdivision, Lahug, Cebu City. As this is a private subdivision, the easiest way to get here is via private car.
- From Cebu City, ride a jeepney bound for Lahug along Osmeña Boulevard and get off at JY Square Mall. From there, ride a habal-habal up to the subdivision’s entrance gate.
- Walk for 10-15 minutes to reach the temple.
The Cebu Taoist Temple is open daily, from 8Am to 5PM. There is no entrance fee.
Things to know before you go
- Dress appropriately. Avoid wearing sleeveless tops, skirts, and shorts. (During our visit, this was not observed. Some of us were wearing shorts and slippers and were still allowed to go inside. However, you may still want to dress more conservatively as respect to the sanctity of the temple.
- Observe silence at all times.
- Do not take photos of the altar and prayer rooms, including statues of gods. Photos are allowed outside of the temple.
- No eating inside the temple.
What to do in Cebu Taoist Temple
1. Ask for guidance using wooden blocks
This was actually the main reason I wanted to visit the temple. There’s a similar temple in Binondo that offers fortune telling using blocks, but I haven’t been there yet.
The process is done using a pair of wooden blocks which are shaped like seeds.
To ask guidance, the first thing you have to to is wash your hands. Then go inside the temple and light a joss stick. Kneel and drop the blocks, first asking if God is ready to answer your questions. If the answer is No, then you have to come back another day. If the answer is Yes, then you can proceed to asking your questions.
Here are the ways to interpret the blocks
- Yes: One wooden block is flat, the other is half-round
- No: Both are half-round
- Maybe: Both are flat
This instruction is also provided in a signage inside the temple.
After asking questions, it’s time for expressing gratitude and asking blessings for your life.
You can ask anything using the wooden blocks. A friend of mine asked about her current relationship. I asked in-depth questions such as whether I’m doing the right thing in a certain part of my life and so and so. I was satisfied with my experience. Meanwhile, Hali go a “No” for an answer a couple of times. I asked him about the nature of his questions and think that they are too ambiguous. I think it’s important to be as specific as possible.
Another person in our group said she felt like she was only fooling herself and likened the activity to street fortune telling. (Incidentally, I also go to fortune tellers a few times a year.) I suppose this is only for people who believe in asking guidance thru unconventional means.
During Wednesdays and Sundays, devotees can walk up the 99 steps (some say it’s 81 steps, I did not have the leg strength to count) in the temple, light joss sticks and have their fortunes read by the monks.
2. Drop a coin in the wishing well
There’s a wishing well on the right side of the temple. There are vases inside the well, though I’m not sure if you’re supposed to shoot the coin(s) inside or just throw it in the well. I hope it isn’t the first because it took me three tries to get a coin inside.
After the fortune telling inside the temple, I dropped coins here to wish for a better outcome for questions where I received a negative response. :p
3. Appreciate the temple’s architecture
Cebu Taoist Temple is not as majestic as the temples found in China and other Southeast Asian countries, but it remains a sight to behold. Even non-worshipers and non-spiritual people will appreciate the ornate structure of the temple, with its dragon statues and pagoda roofs, and the carefully maintained flowers and plants around.
The Taoist Temple is also 300 meters above sea level, so when you climb at the top you’ll be rewarded with a relaxing overlooking view of the city below.
Visiting the Cebu Taoist Temple is one of the best things to do in Cebu City. Have you been here? Do you have questions? Let us know in the comments below!