This 3D/2N trip to Baguio has been full of surprises and new discoveries like learning that the City of Pines has a Chinese Temple – the Bell Church Baguio. Right after our short visit to La Trinidad Strawberry Farm, we decided to go to this religious center, our last stop for our cheap Day 2 Baguio Tour. Its address is Magsaysay Avenue just before the border between Baguio City and La Trinidad Benguet.
I was all smiles when we got off the jeepney and saw the welcome arch nearest the road. Without a doubt in my mind, I said that this was a temple and shrine dedicated for Taoism. Now that I am writing this post, I have to admit I really am not sure what kind of temple Bell Church is. I don’t know what makes a Buddhist Temple different from a Taoist Temple, so I’ll just refer to Bell Church as a Chinese Temple. If you know what religion this church belongs to or know about its history, please share it with us by leaving a comment below. We will really appreciate it. =)
Dragons lay watch as you enter the temple; they are cautioning you to respect their place and to follow the rules.
Bell Church reminds me a bit of Cebu’s Taoist Temple, one of the major landmarks of Cebu City. Dragons stand watch on the arches, lions guarding the place. Striking colors of red, green and yellow adorns the walls, a wishing well pond with koi fishes and pagodas all over the complex. The difference though between these two Chinese temples that I have observed is that octagon ponds with lotus plants are very prominent in Bell Church Baguio. Whereas, the Taoist Temple of Cebu has ponds too but they are not of octagon shapes. In Feng Shui, what does the octagon shaped pond signify I wonder?
Also, unlike Taoist Temple of Cebu which sits atop a hill on an exclusive-for-rich subdivision and practically, out-of-the-way, Bell Church is located near the main highway and in the midst of ‘normal’ houses. Getting to this Chinese church in Baguio is also easy as it only entails a short jeepney ride from Baguio City proper. To know how to go commute to this landmark church, please click HERE.
From the roadside, the view looks chaotic with the presence of electric wires and panorama of houses rising on the side of the mountain. The vibe changes once you passed by its big arch and the main temple comes into view. The feeling becomes more peaceful and welcoming.
At the entrance, there is also this wall with blocks, and on each block are Chinese characters. I can’t read what they say; I also don’t know what these blocks with calligraphy are for. Maybe you know? 😀
The best thing about visiting Chinese temples sans the huge crowd is that good energy seems to permeate the complex. I don’t know if it’s because of Feng Shui or the paint colors or the ponds and kois that you can see or the fact that it is a place of worship but these temples and shrines really soothes the senses, make you calmer.
Bell Church in Baguio City Welcome!
Bell Church saints are not our saints but we know that our Chinese-Filipino countrymen revered and respect them so we, visitors, must also respect them. After all, they open their shrines and temples to us. By respect, I mean observing silence, not eating your baon as its a holy ground and not a picnic place. And most importantly, no taking of pictures of their saints and altar in the main worship building. There are several notices posted on walls that warn us what is allowed for shooting and what is not. Let us be respectful and follow their rules because we will want them to respect ours when they visit our churches too.
Bell Church is still not a mainstay on many tourists’ itinerary to Baguio, mayhap because there are really lots of things to do and tourist spots to see in the summer capital and there is so little time to explore and visit all. But if you are going to the strawberry farm, I would really suggest for you to visit this Chinese temple since it’s really so close to the farm. Jeepney ride from La Trinidad Strawberry Farm is just around 10 minutes and there is no entrance fee to visit the temple.
Here are some of the sights you’ll come across when you visit Bell Church, a Chinese Temple in Baguio City Benguet:
2013 maybe the Year of the Snake but in Chinese Feng Shui Dragons are always lucky
The best way to experience the serenity offered by Bell Church is just to stand still or sit in a corner, observe and let the energy flow. Sometimes this is a bit difficult for us tourists who are first timers there; we want to explore every nook, every pagoda, and every shrine and to take lots of pictures for souvenirs too. We get so busy taking pictures and posing for pictures that we go home failing to really feel the place. I am a bit lucky since I have Titus and Joven as my travel companions. While I sat down and contemplate on our Baguio travel, they were taking the necessary images we need for our blogs. Am I lucky or what? ^_^
Sending you all wishes of peace and serenity and luck too!