Maasin City – Located at the western part of Leyte and the capital City of Southern Leyte. And this will be my fourth article this October. Too active? #youlovemyjob. Anyway, Highway. I didn’t really get a chance to visit other spots in Southern Leyte because of the not-so-fair weather.
To start off, this is a little bit more about visiting some of their well-known religious sites. And maybe someday you’ll consider to do a ‘Visita Iglesia’ or pray the Rosary in every station of the cross in every spot that I will show you this coming Semana Santa (Holy Week).
How to get to Maasin City?
First things first, how to get to Maasin City? If you haven’t read my previous article about my visit to Canigao Island, read it now. You can read it here: Canigao Island
First stop is The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption of Maasin (Spanish: Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Maasin), commonly known as the Maasin Cathedral. It is a baroque Roman Catholic church in Maasin, Southern Leyte, Philippines. The church is home to one of the oldest parishes in the country, the Maasin Parish, established by the series of waves of missionaries namely the Jesuits, Augustinians and finally, Franciscans.
Ok before I continue, a tip for all of you who loves to travel:
Read about the place when visiting or when you are probably on an educational tour to experience and enhance your self being. Don’t just take some photos or enjoy the scenery. Look for a Bronze Plaque, read what is written on it, and learn something about their history, even if sometimes it is written in a language you don’t know. It’s quite more fun, actually.
- Ask and Listen
Listen to the stories of the locals. You will learn something from them about their history, their language, or any silly/funny event that happened in their area.
And it is rather good, too, to have friends in every location.
The Jesuit priests originally built the church in 1700. Over the years, the church suffered several destruction and damage. The Orders succeeding the Jesuits rebuilt it many times. Its present-day structure is constructed at 1968 and subsequently became the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maasin which covers the municipalities of Southern Leyte, including the towns of Matalom, Bato, Hilongos, Hindang, Inopacan and Baybay of province of Leyte.
How do I really describe it? Well, same as other cathedrals here in the Philippines. It’s old and it also has a lot of history which is what I already said. You’d learn something new and It’s more fun to think that way.
And also, why is my first stop the Maasin Cathedral?
Simple, I haven’t taken my lunch yet and across the street from the church is Jollibee. The next stop will need more cardio. That is, if you’re a fan of McDonald’s, unfortunately, there is no McDonald’s in this area. But you can try their local version of McDo or in Luzon, it’s Ihawan sa Palengke.
And I’m really getting off-topic, but if you’re on a budget, better try the Kinamot sa Abgao. That would be my next article in the Foodtrip Section.
Our next destination will require the courage and strength to climb to the top of a mountain using a hundred steps of stairs. I actually don’t like stairs that much when climbing mountains. Why? There’s a big difference between climbing a mountain via a pathway and climbing via stairs. You’ll know what I mean when you experience it.
The Lady of Assumption at the Jalleca Hills
At 104 meters above sea level, there are more than 300 steps of stairs to get to the shrine. This is one of the favorite places to do by pilgrims, according to the locals. HOLY STAIRS! Well, I already conditioned myself to do this. This is where I took the photo of skyline of Maasin City. Why is there a shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the top of the Mountain when they can just have it Downtown? The locals told me a story about this (Sir Serjie Velasco and his friends). Not so long ago, according to their story, Maasin City was just like any other provinces that were being devastated by Mother Nature. Let’s call it Mother Nature even if I am referring to typhoons, earthquakes, and whatsoever. Then, one person (man or woman, I don’t remember the gender), had a dream, and it was said that it was a premonition, of someone telling him/her to build the Shrine on the top of the mountain. After the Shrine was built, not even Typhoon Yolanda did too much damage as compared to the other parts of Leyte which is just 3 hours away. Even the earthquake that hit Bohol didn’t do too much damage. That’s why you’ll notice that the people here are too devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Okay, next stop?
September 8, celebration of the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The top was so crowded. Blockbuster.
It was fairly cloudy that time and I was really hoping that it would not rain.
This place is really fascinating, the Monte Cueva. How to get to Monte Cueva? Easy! From Jollibee, look for a Habal-Habal. The ride costs Php. 20.00.
If the Lady of Assumption in Jalleca Hills is 104 meters above sea level, the Monte Cueva is higher at 172 meters above sea level. You also get an overlooking view of the mountains. And it also has Stairs that has more than 400 steps. OH MY! And the stairs go in zigzag form compared to the stairs in Jalleca Hills which just goes straight.
One of the popular destinations in Maasin City, the Monte Cueva de la Virgen Shrine has become a site for pilgrims and devotees. And the locals told me that they hold a Mass here at 4:00 A.M.. Seriously? Well, that’s a really really serious wake up call and an early morning exercise of more than 400 steps. I might recommend this for the one who likes to go on a diet to lose weight or those who needs to do cardio exercises. It’s much like going and participating in fun-run events.
No offense for the fun-run enthusiasts, but why not try to visit this place or any other places similar to this? At least, try it once. It would be fun. Think of it as a Charity Fun Run. Sometimes, I notice that Fun Runs right now are being taken advantage of as a propriety by some organizers. I really mean no offense.
Kudos to the real Devotees, especially to the local provinces. They really preserved the place, as well as the beliefs. Why? I see that these days that Masses are now being held in Malls. One word, “Distraction”. If you don’t get it, try to observe a bit. Even I, I was distracted whenever I go to church in malls. Such as, what will I do after this Mass? What time is it? What movie is showing in the Cinemas? Simbang Babae. Something like that.
So, let me know your opinions below in the comments area. See Yeah!