So I visited this place in Cebu that’s been really popular these past few weeks. Thought it’d be interesting to feature it on my blog so I could help inform more people where it is and what it’s all about. Some might refer to it as the Cebu version of Bacolod’s The Ruins and some might not even understand what the purpose of the place is. So to help educate and spread the word, we’re going to be taking a look at one of Cebu’s most recent attractions, The Temple of Leah.
First of all, how to get there. You need to make your way to Busay. it’s up in the mountains. Just ask the locals. You’ll most likely start off from JY Square and make your way up passing by Cosmopolitan, Marco Polo and Chateau De Busay. After Chateau, it should be pretty nearby. Once you make the left turn for Mountainview Resort, you go straight along the road. The next fork in the road should be a right heading to Lantaw Busay, but instead of making the right turn going up to the restaurant, just go left and go to the end of the road. You should spot a big infrastructure with lots of cars and motorcycles parked at the side of the road. Then you know you’ve arrived!
I brought my family along with me and we were all pretty curious as to what was inside. We luckily were able to park our car without too much of a struggle. There is ample parking space at the side of the road, and there are lots of ‘habal-habal’ motorcycles that are willing to take you there from JY Square, you just have to pay them. The Temple of Leah has been a work in progress since 2012, and still lies unfinished, but the pictures I’m about to show you will still probably make your jaw drop.
This is the side entrance. I know, right? Although there isn’t any color scheme yet, the details in the design of the pillars and columns are just amazing. Is it just me, or does the unfinished look and the grey tones of concrete make it look absolutely rustic? We haven’t even made our way inside the main area yet! The place is open for public viewing, but again it’s still a work in progress, so I do believe that there is some sort of cut-off time when the workers have to continue with construction. Best to go there during the afternoon, before the sun goes down.
After ascending about three floors from the side entrance, we made our way to the main temple entrance. Here you can see the temple in all its unfinished glory! It has a Rome inspired type of design, and looks kind of like The Pantheon. As you make your way up the steps, you can see two lions, one on each side, which I believe are brass or bronze coated. Makes for a nice touch. Lots of people armed with their selfie sticks, DLSRs and smartphones, raring to take a picture with these golden beasts! Here’s a picture of me and my family. This is where the tripod comes in handy.
This is what greets us as we make our way into the entrance. I wasn’t kidding when I said this was the most recent popular hotspot for Cebuanos. People came in droves!
The first thing that will capture your attention is this huge 9 foot bronze statue of whom the place is named after.
Leah Villa Albino-Adarna is the late wife of Teodorico S. Adarna, who is probably known most for two things, being the tycoon and businessman that owns the Queensland chain of motels, as well as being the grandfather of Ellen Adarna. He made this temple as a sort of display of his love for his wife who passed away a few years ago. He created this place to adopt an architectural and structural design that would be timeless and to be a landmark where future generations of the Adarna clan could trace their roots and heritage. The Temple is going to have 24 chambers, all showcasing Leah’s personal collection of books, art and design pieces. Many members of the Adarna clan helped in the formulation of this ongoing masterpiece.
The statue is supposed to be a lifelike representation of Leah at the moment she was crowned matron queen of her alma mater, the University of Southern Philippines. The plaque at the bottom base of the statue reads, “May the beholder discern her innate beauty, poise and genteelness.” It’s certainly represented well here. It’s also matched with a beautiful stained glass art behind it. Two thumbs up to the design team behind the whole concept of the temple. Itt’s absolutely gorgeous, and once everything is finished, I’m sure it’s going to look even better.
Another one of the highlights is the wooden staircase with these brass angels as the support columns. Really luxurious and grandiose.
Here’s a picture of my mom feeling like a queen at the top of the staircase. Ha! A cookie for you if you can spot where I am in the picture.
If you were able to spot me, I was the guy in blue looking upwards at this particular section. It’s a glass pyramid which certainly draws comparisons to The Louvre Pyramid in France. You can’t really see the pyramid that well from this angle, but the next picture should. You can actually make your way upstairs but you have to put in a bit of effort in going above or down the railings, since there are some places that are seemingly blocked off and not intended for public viewing, but you know me, I’ll find a way!
Here is how it looks from the top. Definitely looks like a mini-version of the Louvre Pyramid. Not many people were able to climb up here, and most of them were content in taking pictures on the ground floor. But they sure missed out on the beautiful view from the top!
You can see all of Cebu from here, as well as the huge space in front of the main entrance. Beautiful to behold.
This is how the rooftop looks if you’re looking up from the ground floor. This girl certainly feels like royalty, but is acting like an idiot. Please be safe and do not follow in her footsteps. There are no railings, and what she is doing is certainly dangerous. Although there is a bit of clearance from the edge, it is still not a wise thing to do.
Making my way back downstairs, I was able to snap an image of this library section, which supposedly holds all of Leah’s favorite books. More of those brass angels acting as support columns for the bookshelves. Marble floor with that star design.
Outside, there were some more statues along the viewing grounds. You can see these two seraphim angels in a guardian stance. Again, it’s really a beautiful work of art, even if it is still unfinished.
I tried to comprehend what this statue’s pose was supposed to signify, but I failed. On the bright side, look at that view behind it. It’s simply breathtaking!
Of course, I had to do a jump shot with my nephew. There were so many people that Saturday afternoon!
Here’s a picture of my parents and my nephew. Even though this place is really beautiful and majestic, again, I can’t stress it enough, it is still a work in progress. I wanted to highlight the cement and the operating equipment behind them. Please keep safe when venturing around the place, as there still might be cracks, rusty bars, nails and screws lying around. You definitely wouldn’t want to get injured here and be far away from the nearest hospital.
Look at that statue posing like a boss! Naked, no less.
And as the sun was setting, we said goodbye to the temple, made the drive downstairs, and had some Pizza in Pizza Republic! Which is a giant hint for my next blog post. Ha!
I hope the pictures did the place justice. If you were a bit observant, you could tell that the pictures were coming from different sources. I took some pictures from my sister’s Lumix camera, and some pictures from my cellphone after editing it a bit with VSCOcam.
The Temple of Leah is certainly is shaping up to be one of Cebu’s upcoming landmarks and it really is majestic and beautiful to behold. Once it’s finished, it’ll attract even more people! Right now, it’s free for viewing because it’s still not yet finished, but I really see them charging a fee for viewing once it’s done. Go visit it while it’s still free! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to answer it.
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Until next time,
Update (08/27/2015) — As of August 7, 2015, the management of Temple of Leah have started charging an entrance fee of PHP 50.00 per person! So it isn’t free anymore. They said it was to defray the maintenance costs. So please take note! Some improvements here and there too, but the place is still far from finished.