The Taoist Temple in Cebu is one of the temples open to both followers and non-followers of Taoism. As it stands on a hill 300 meters above sea level, the temple offers panoramic views of the city. On a clear day, one can see the nearby islands namely Mactan and Bohol.
Built in 1972 by several members of the local Chinese community, the temple complex area holds various prayer halls, landscaped grounds and tranquil walkways where one can enjoy scenic views of the metro which is 6 kilometers away.
The distinct and colorful architecture and artwork of the temple have mainly Chinese influences. At one of the entrances is a small replica of the Great Wall of China.
Sculptures of phoenixes, dragons and other celestial creatures found in Taoist mythologies are located all over the complex. One of the most popular sculptures is the massive dragon sculpture beside the replica of the Great Wall.
Going up to the temple entails climbing a significant amount of steps. Some argue the number of steps totals 99 steps while others claim it is 81 steps to represent the 81 chapters of the main Taoist scripture called Dao De Jing, which was written by the founder of Taoism, the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu.
Taoist devotees climb up the stairs as part of a ritual during Wednesdays and Sundays. They light joss sticks and ask the monks to read their fortune.
Another ritual devotees undergo has the purpose of granting their wish. It entails washing hands, entering the prayer hall with bare feet, and throwing a couple of wooden blocks.
If the blocks show a certain design by falling face up, it means the devotee can ask the monk for a wish. Not all wishes are granted though, because the ritual allows the devotee the chance to ask the monk, not that the monk will grant their wish. When meeting without success, some devotees return another time for another attempt.
On the ninth day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar, thousands of devotees come to the temple to say prayers for good luck, prosperity and longevity.
Inside the complex, there is also a library, a wishing well and a souvenir shop that sells handmade statues and jewellery.
A cab is the most direct way to get there as the temple is located inside a residential subdivision.