St Benedict’s Monastery: Northern Cebu’s ‘Simala’

Over the weekend, we visited St Benedict’s Monastery in Corte, Carmen. The monastery is considered Northern Cebu’s version of Simala. Running it are the Benedictine monks of the Sylvestrine Congregation. It houses the miraculous image of Our Lady of Manaoag.

Like Simala, the monastery is vast. And you can’t see it from the main highway. In fact, just like the one in Simala, it would take you a couple of minutes to reach the Benedictine monastery from the main road.

St Benedict’s Monastery

However, since a few people have heard of this monastery, only very few come here to visit and meditate. In fact, when we went there, on a Sunday, we only saw a total of six people. If your aim is to sit down, pray, and just clear your mind of the troubles of city life, the monastery is the place to visit.

You’ll know you’ve reached St Benedict’s Monastery when you see this arch.

St. Benedict's Monastery

Upon entry, you will see serene gardens and structures surrounded by lush greens.

This small chapel near the entrance, for example, is surrounded by tall trees.

Also, this restroom sits near the edge of thick greens.

The place has a big parcel of land set aside for parking. However, since the place is so quiet, you park basically anywhere.

Rosary Center at St Benedict’s Monastery

Inside the property, we saw a big building which was called a Rosary Center. We decided to check it out.

Shoes and slippers are not allowed inside the rosary center.

Our footwear left outside the center.

This is what the rosary center looks like.

Inside, you will see giant paintings of the different mysteries of the rosary.

This side features giant paintings of the Mysteries of Light.

On this side are giant paintings of the Joyful Mysteries.

Of course, there are also giant paintings of the Sorrowful Mysteries.

Right in the center of the rosary center is the image of the Our Lady of Manaoag.

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There is also a section where you can write your petition and drop it in a box.


Giant Niño at St Benedict’s Monastery

Outside, we saw this staircase which was lined with angels.

St. Benedict's Monastery

At the very top was a chapel and a giant statue of the Niño.

Giant statue of the Holy Child has become St. Benedict’s Monastery’s most recognizable icon.

If you can’t take the stairs, you can use the ramp which will take you straight to the chapel.

On the way, you will see the 10 Commandments etched on the wall.

Here is a view of the chapel on top of a hill.

Directly below the chapel is a small room where an image of the Virgin Mary can be seen.

On our way up, we saw this guy working on the figures on the wall. Very talented!

We also saw this completed image of a Crucified Jesus on the wall.

The Monastery

Behind the chapel, we saw the monastery.

The monastery was off-limits to visitors.

Satchmo and the monastery behind him.

This is what the inside of the church looks like. Very pretty and peaceful.


Satchmo prays for his first trip abroad.

Lucy and Satchmo posing outside the church.

Take a look at the beautiful view behind the monastery. Wow!

Check out more photos of St. Benedict’s Monastery below:




52 thoughts on “St Benedict’s Monastery: Northern Cebu’s ‘Simala’

  1. I have never heard of this place. It’s serenely beautiful. Those cliffs behind the monastery look awesome too! Mura’g mapapas man atong mga kasal-anan just by looking at these pictures 🙂 Daghan na gyud ko kaayo ug adto-an inig sunod pa-uli sa Cebu.

      1. You can visit the Archdiocesan Shrine of our Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt. It is located in Lawaan III, Talisay City, Cebu. Schoenstatt is a German word which means: beautiful place. Come and see! We are open from 7AM-5 PM.

  2. maayo ni siya, at least nadugangan ang mga monasteries sa Cebu, a good place to visit indeed…pwede pod mag monastery visits starting from Augustinian Nuns of Mohon, Talisay, to carmelites in Mabolo, Poor Claire in Tayud, Liloan then last would be this one in Carmen, it should be a rewarding journey indeed….

  3. the tranquility and the simplicity yet beautiful sanctuary is the best place to meditate peacefully and with reverence with our FATHER. this place is my bliss. . .

  4. Ley, daghan kaayong salamat sa mga awesome photogs….. my honeydew lists of things to do in Cebu keeps adding up! I never realized how beautiful Cebu is…. you are such an eye opener, again thanks for sharing your wonderful photogs for us bisdak abroad. Honestly, most of the places in your blog, I never been to/or heard of……sorry ignorante kaayo ko bahin sa Cebu but I’m catchin’ up quick!

  5. hi ley thanks for showing to the whole world those beautiful pictures. Im from Carmen and its to bad i was there on jan but miss to visit this lovely religious place Corte, actually i have some classmates from high school who lives there B. Benetiz. More power, hi to satchmo@lucy.

  6. Hi Ley,

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos of this place. On my way to my hometown we pass by Carmen but I never got the chance to visit this place. I don’t think I even heard of this monastery.

    Is this located near Uragay? If I remember it right, there is also a mountain resort there that just opened or maybe this is what they were talking about.

    Great article!

  7. I thank you sincerely Ley for going up there. Im a sister if Maria. So am i, i never been there.We keep planning of going up there but we dont make it. So maybe next time again. Were too busy last January: Cebu Sinulog, Carmen Sinulog , Luyang Fiesta and shopping. Without a plan I reached to Simala last Jan.7 instead.

    Kanindot man diay aning lugara, nagbasol ko wala maka adto da. Surely next holiday. Hello Lucy and Satchmo.
    Happy trip Satch, God Be With You. cheers

  8. I’ve heard of this place before but your pics are now all the more beckoning me to visit this hallowed grounds. Thanks.

  9. hi ley since you are all over the place in Cbu I suggest you to please visit the town of Catmon there is one facinating place to go and relax they called AROMA MOUNTAIN RESSORT, its in barragay Macaas before the town case you will go there and take your friends ley make sure your go to the highest pick of the ressort and swim through the circular flow of water. I love this place and sure you guys will.

  10. Wow! The place and photos are beautiful. Please do a site like this for Simala. Let me know when you do. Thanks. Frank Hall, Reno Nevada USA

  11. ive been there a lot of times, and it keeps getting better all the time…i pray though that it doesnt end up like Simala–desecrated and converted into a tourist trap…

    during your visit, you should have stayed till around 5:30 or 6:00 in the late afternoon, that’s when millions of bats come out from the nearby caves and circle the air above the monastery…

  12. I have been to our lady of Simala Cebu yesterday..a day before her fest…so nice and it comforts our feelings…its a place like i never have been before. The church quiet big like a castle……(. ,) im gonna go back soon with my family.

  13. ohhh!!! nindot na gyud kaayo ang st benidect monasterry… last nako nga bakasyon,,, nagsuroy mi didto owww!!! nice sorounded by beautiful flowers and views… during that time,,, naapa kasabay namo nga mga turrista? ok gyud kaayo<,, sarap mag bakasyon palagi bay oy?

  14. Dear friend, I just happened to tumble on your beautiful work.Well done.Congrats. Can I add a little here about the Benedictine monastery, which you have not mentioned. This monastery was founded in 1999 by two Indian Monks sent from Rome here, upon the invitation of Ricardo Cardinal Vidal. Now in 2008 we are thirty plus members, all Cebuanos,excluding 3 Indians. This monastery has the Rosary Center which is unique in the world, with its large oil-canvass paintings of the Mysteries of the Rosary. The biggest statue of Sto.Niyno of Cebu (total 24 feet)also is here. Besides, some of the best Religious paintings in the country are also here in the monastery. On request they can be seen. And also a fifty feet tall bronze statue of the Sacred Heart by Eduardo Castrillo is being erected here now, which is also unique by itself. Congrats to you once again. Fr.Thomas osb

    1. Dear Fr. Thomas:
      I am Josephine Molato Agustin. I am from Caurasan Carmen Cebu, but studied and have family at Manila. Thanks to the owner of this blog – a very good person to post the pictures in Corte. I am from this town but I missed the beauty of my own hometown- Carmen. Thanks God because I discover this blog.
      Father, It is my dream of building a retreat house or a monastery in my place in Caurasan (sitio Taguene). If God is willing. I dont know if God allows it to happen.
      As of now I am working at UST (University of Santo Tomas, Manila). My office is in the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery) I dream also of having a medical mission in my own hometown. It depends on the people there to request for a medical mission.
      Father, I am looking forward to see you. I plan to bring my whole family in April 2011. All my children are still studying (in UST) I have 5 children. Our available time only in Summer.

      Regards to all Carmen people.
      With love and prayers,

  15. very ,nice view, a holy place of st. benedict monastery w/ a quite beautiful modern structure which is unique, i was always attend mass prayer b4, while i spent my short time holidays, 30 minutes far in my homeplace Cantipay, really a holy place of my mind, classic wall mounted holy paintings, the giant statue of Sr. Sto Nino, angels on the stairs and well organize landscape as well as the modern style of this monastery, this atractive sites is the most wonderful attraction by local and foriegn visitors,, big thumbs up! for the holy beautiful place english binayabas bai! ka nindot gyud e bakasyon oy! ilove this place…

  16. i’ve been there, too! it’s a really peaceful monastery.. and the paintings on the walls of the rosary room are gorgeous! plus the big Sto. Nino.. I have pix from this place, too, but not as clear as yours. and we saw seminaritas, i think, during the night.. not quite sure. i’m enjoying your blogs and pix. Thanks for sharing it with everyone!

  17. Nice build out. Amazing designs and it’s clean. I like this place I hope they will build some rereat houses there too.

  18. The people of Carmen either comes here last Friday or climbing in the very step Carmen Kalbaryo. My sisters and nieces prepared to climbed in the Kalbaryo as close to home.

  19. Dear friend,
    Maayo unta nga mag found gihapon sila ug monastery ang mga Benidectine Monk diri sa leyte para daghan sad ang mo enter sa pagka monghe o religious friend tabangi ko ug pray nga mo anhi ilang community kay murag naa man sad ko’g calling sa ing’ ana nga bokasyon.Calling all benidectine monks from Cebu, Pls. Paunta kayo dito sa Tacloban City.

    In Jesus and Mama Mary,

    Diony Jun O.Payo

  20. I was born and raised next door neighbor to this village, Bagacay is the name and only maybe 2 or 3 miles from this village.
    I left Cebu since 1972 and only back once in 1990 and this monastary wasn’t there yet my brother that live in Vegas always tells me about this beautiful place and I believe him till I looked up in the computer and I was very impress.
    I used to live in Vegas but moved to Arizona 2 yrs ago my husband wants to visit the Phil. because he was never been there, but I wasn’t really that interested of going back there, but after I saw those pictures I changed my mind, so hopefully this winter we can come and visit this beautiful place and see my brother and his kids because they all live in Simala.
    Thanks for sharing those pics
    Tita Austin
    Willcox Arizona USA

  21. Kanang Corte,Carmen,Cebu maonay Asset sa Carmen,Diha mo makita ang Uragay,yung Falls,Dyan kumukuha ang Natures spring Mineral Water i think,then kanang Monastery karon pako kakita niana,its so nice place talaga..thnks Bai Leyland nang dahil sa photo blog mo d makita uli ang Corte..god bless you always Ley..

  22. I’ve been there once with my friend Apol, it was a very quite place. “Pakabungol gyud”. I was so thankful that I visited that monastery, my petition was granted, now I’m 9weeks pregnant. Thanks and I love you Mama Mary.

    Divina Lynell

  23. First of all I was intrigued with your magazine “Know your Faith” in defense of the catholic faith…..

    The first premise I would like to point out is that — Salvation cannot be achieved because you are a member of

    a particular church — and your magazine was right in pointing out to that of Dating Daan and Iglesia ni Cristo…

    and the Catholic Church, it is guilty as well…… how about the Jews, can they not be saved,they are not Catholics….

    If you think you can merit God’s salvation because of observing the sacraments or going to mass then your
    works are very futile ( and a waste). The bible says in Roman 3:10 “There is no one righteous,no not one, … no one who seeks God.” except Jesus Christ. The sinful man does not seek God but it is God who is seeking us.

    The bible says unless YOUR righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees you cannot be saved…. WOW, then How can one be saved? Salvation is God’s gift — it is free but not cheap. Do you work for a gift? NO,you just have to accept it. Religion makes it
    complicated, do you agree? Jesus died for you and me once and for all — we just have to accept God’s gift Jesus Christ in spite of our sinfulness. It is healthy to question your faith ….. I used to be Jesuit student but as I understand God’s mercy and grace ,it changed everything I view about God….. For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and not of your good works so that no man can boast about it. I do good works not to be saved but because God did a good work in me. A lot of Catholics still believe that they can earn God’s salvation through penance, going to mass, sacraments, etc…. NO you do these things because you God saved you already…. Salvation like fermentation is a process —it has to start, not when you are dead but when you are still alive and continuing – it is a sure thing because of God’s promise. – hear more…

    1. Penance is sharing in Jesus Christ’s suffering for good, God welcomes that. Going to mass is important because of the Holy Eucharist, remember the last supper?, and it keeps one from sinning because one cannot partake of the eucharist if you have unpardoned sins. Good works and giving alms are nothing if one doesn’t have love in his heart. Faith, good works, humility and love are important. Pride is the greatest sin. Satan was banished from heaven because of his pride. Take care everyone.

  24. Wish I could be this holy and sacred place in the moutain of Carmen, Cebu, Philippines

  25. I am from Clfton,New Jersey, and I remember when Fr. Hilary Conti,the superior then of the Holy Face Monastery asked me and a friend to solicit funds in having this Benedictine- Sylvestrine Monastery built in Cebu. Fr. Hilary’s desire to see this monastery may not have been realized but his heart must be in this monastery, He was called home last 2001, and is greatly missed here at the Holy Face Monastery that he dearly loved. Am so glad that upon receiving a souvenir from the monastery in Simala Cebu, I was led to this website and I thank God that I finally saw the Benedictine monastery that me and my friend have supported-may our Lord continue to bless the work He has begun in you, true followers of St. Benedict an St. Sylvester.

  26. unsaon pag adto didto sa taas, wala mi private car, mag bus me from the city, ang pagsaka duna ba kasakyon pdulong didto, plano me adto this coming good friday, puede namo mahibaw an ang tubag? ASAP… thanks

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