A Visit to One of the Oldest Church in Town

🚏 B.M. Dimataga St, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, Philippines 6015

Last July 10, 2016, my family and I decided to visit the Parish of the Virgen Dela Regla the home of the Blessed Virgin of the Rule/ Virgen Dela Regla. The last time we went there was when I was in elementary since my grandfather would make it appoint to come here in Cebu once a year and of course part of the trip were visiting churches. And for the 3 years that I started living here, I’ve never got the chance to visit the church and pay respect to the Lady of the Rule. So my visit last month would be a first after a very long time.

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To get there, we choose to ride the Metro ferry to avoid traffic and looking “loshang” because of the heat. Riding the Metro Ferry feels like you’re cruising along the riverbanks of Cebu hahah. The moment I stepped on the ferry boat, memories from the past came rushing in me. I still remember every bit of it like it was yesterday, the smell, the noise, the smiles on my families faces. I get very sentimental whenever I get caught up in the moment especially if the place holds a very special place in my heart and that it always reminds me of those happy times when everything was not-so perfect but complete, those times that I spent with my grandpapa. Even though the place has changed, since it was on Pier 3 that we have to board the Metro Ferry but the process is still the same (process please refer down below 👇).

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It was very hot that day that we have to double pace our walk to get across the terminal from the ticketing area. It was also a Sunday but there were less people and most passengers are a local of Lapu-Lapu City. Wanna know why I know that???That’s because I’m psychic, hahaha just kidding, it’s because of the registration where you have to write your name and where you are from.

IMG_6005 IMG_6006IMG_5834The church can be seen as you get closer to the docking area.
IMG_5836As you can see, there is an icon of the Blessed Virgin of the Rule outside of the church.

IMG_6008As we got ourselves closer to the island, I got even more excited because I was finally going to see it after sooo many years. I was expecting to see lots of changes and boy it did not disappoint me. When we arrive, there was an on going mass, but we did not attend it so as to avoid the long lines in kissing the blessed statue of the Virgen Dela Regla and also the mass was almost finished, t’was a good strategy. Even if it’s just an ordinary day, the room where the statue lies is always jam packed because devotees especially the locals make it a point to visit the Lady of the Rule everyday.

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Near the stairs leading to the statue, lies a “dagkotanan”, a place or section of the church where one can light a candle which is also provided there, you just gotta pay the amount stated there or if there’s none, any amount you want to give to the church that serves as donations and say their prayers. It’s the very first thing we did to avoid going back and forth since the exit of the room is on the other side of the area.

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When we we’re almost at the door, the people that attended the mass started coming in and the area became really hot but I guess, it’s part of the devotion but it’s nothing compared to the devotion for the Black Nazarene in Manila.

As you can see in the picture, the room is well organized with a person in charge to make the people line smooth and follow the rules. The statue is situated at the center of the other two statues, the blank and the Black Nazarene. After you kissed the Lady of the Rules and you can’t stay long so as to accommodate the person next to you and all the people who lined up to see the lady of the rule. So if you want to pray after, there are pews which you see in the photo that sits in front of the statue.

IMG_5868IMG_5863IMG_5858IMG_5859IMG_5860The intricate details surrounding the Blessed Virgin of the Rule.

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As we go to the pews, I came about this photo on the wall that shows the origin and where the true lady of the rule resides.

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After saying our prayers, we move out of the room and went to another prayer area. It’s my first time being there since before we only went to the statue. I’ve never seen this second prayer area so I was really excited to waht I will see inside. The room is quite open with grills as it’s wall. Before you get inside you have to buy the candles first from the people who sells them just outside. The candles they sell are those with a paper on it like a marking. Once the candles are bought you gotta line again, I was very thankful that the line was not very long because the area was outside meaning the sun is all out but there are trees and the walking areas have a shed so no worries.

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While waiting in line, I got quite nervous because I don’t know what to do inside, where to put the candles and stuff since the area is not that big and the prayer area is outside, in the middle of the entrance and exit and there are no chairs too, so you have to stand except if you’re not embarrassed to squat then it’s okay. So I made sure to see what the person before me does. I was very surprised when I got inside because I thought that the candles are just to be left behind and not lit it since there was no more when you look outside but viola there is a big rectangular furnace inside that is burning hot and the fire was quite big. I thought my hand would be roasted when I put the candles inside because I heard you are not allowed to throw the candle inside the furnace, you have to put it in the grill. Peew, that was close, hahaha. Then the next thing to do is line up again to see and kiss or knock at the glass of the small lady of the rules statue.

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As I said a little while ago, the prayer room is outside and there is a poster in english and bisaya for a prayer to be said during your prayer.

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After the walking and the lining, we decided to rest first and have a drink. The area of the church was like a park too since, there were lots of chairs, plastic and made of cement types, lots of trees and on the mini stage there is a statue of San Pedro Calungsod. There are also booths that sells souvenirs, rosary, necklace and other accessories and books of prayers.

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After the rest, we left my grandma to rest some more and made a tour of park and we found this new edition of section. It was a wall like the one inside a cave beside the park. There we took OOTDs and such hahaha, good thing there was less people because I might get awkward, hahaha. if you walk and follow the wall, it would lead you to the area where lots of statues and relics are displayed. There’s a grotto and more (see photos for description). After we found the area, we looked for grandma and brought her there, we took lots of pictures of her too.

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We decided not to attend mass anymore since it was late already and we were very hungry. So for one last time, we went inside the church said our prayer and left.

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Outside, in front of the church where no trees to be found, I walked under the scorching heat of the sun just to take loads of photos of what the church looked like outside and to pose with the sign a la turista, hahaha. Sorry Mister Sun, you will not be hindrance in my passion for photography(though I’m not very good with it) and blogging, peace out!

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Before I end this post, I will share with you how to get there. There are two ways to get to VDR, you can either take the jeepney/taxi or do what we did and take the Metro ferry. If you want to take the jeepney, I can’t tell you much because I don’t know how to get there through jeepney transportation but if I know, I will update this page. But if you want to take the ferry and experience a mini cruise along the shorelines of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu, then I can help you with that. To take the Metro Ferry if you’re from Cebu, you can take any jeep going to Pier 1. We rode the jeepney 12I from SM City Cebu which is only one ride to pier 1, the fare is only PHP 7. If you’re a foreigner, remember this because I heard there are some jeepneys who make foreigner pay double the price, tssssk someone from the government better catch those type of drivers/conductors they are not very good for the tourism. Once you ride the jeep, just say to drop you off in Plaza Independencia since it’s just a walk away from the port or if the jeepney you are riding like 02B from colon passes by the entrance to the port. Once you are there go to the left side walkway since at the end of it is the Metro ferry ticketing area. The ticket fees are below and also their schedule.

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From there, walk towards the right side of the Passenger Terminal where you will see a tent, that is the passenger terminal for the metro ferry and also where they see your ticket and pay for the terminal fee. terminal fee is only PHP 1 and no fee for Señiors and PWD. After that you give you ticket to another guy, where he will rip something off the ticket and click on a something that is l think to count how many people came in and give it back to you so you can proceed to the next area which is to write your name and other info on the paper. After that you may now proceed to the ferry.

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For Mass schedule, refer to this link but I’m not sure if the one they show is up to date. If ever I’ll be able to get a hold of the current and updated sched I will post it ASAP.

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with love & care,

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