Laag-Laag sa Cebu (Part 19): Temple of Leah - The House of Vanity

Temple of Leah is the house of vanity

True love can move us to do extraordinary things. Some lovers make poems about their beloved. Others offer their very life. While others build over-the-top monuments like the Taj Mahal and, in the case of Teodorico Adarna, a temple for his wife Leah.

I first heard about the Temple of Leah in one episode of Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho (KMJS) in 2015. It did not have any impact to me at the time and I just considered it as a fancy gimmick of some tycoon.

I finally went to the Temple of Leah during my 2016 visit to Cebu. My negative first impression to the place was erased immediately when I laid my eyes on the impressive entrance arch of temple of Leah.

Entrance arch of Temple of Leah in Cebu City

I believe that its inspiration is the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The Arch of Leah features motifs that are similar to Arc de Triomphe and other victory arcs in Europe.

A short walk from the entrance arch is one of the impressive Philippine structure that I ever saw. The main building of the Temple of Leah gave me an illusion that I was somewhere in ancient Greece.

Roman-style Temple of Leah in Cebu City

The temple copied the architectural style of ancient Rome in almost all details. The main temple is supported by Doric-style columns. The lions at the entrance to main Temple and the fountain at the courtyard are all Roman motifs.

Fountain in the courtyard of Temple of Leah in Cebu City

Statues of two maidens are atop the fountain in the middle of the courtyard. I immediately thought that one of the maiden is Ellen Adarna, the granddaughter of Leah.

Horse at the fountain of Temple of Leah in Cebu City

The makers of Temple of Leah copied every ancient Roman motifs to the point that the Temple of Leah has naked statues like in the old Greek and Roman buildings.

The naked archer of Temple of Leah in Cebu City
I believe that this archer has poor memory because he forgot his bow and arrow and even his pants! :-P

The centerpiece of the temple is the 9-foot tall bronze statue of Leah Adarna. She is the wife of Teodorico Adarna and the grandmother of Ellen Adarna. 

Bronze statue of Leah Adarna in Temple of Leah in Cebu City

The Adarna family is one the richest clan in Cebu. They operate the Queensland motels and other businesses. Don Teodorico remarried already and is now living in Davao.

Inside the Temple of Leah in Cebu City

The plaque below the statue proclaims the great love of Don Teodorico to his wife. He also said that the Temple of Leah will not only serve as the tomb of Leah but also a monument for the Adarna clan.

In the KMJS episode, the daughter of Leah confessed that her mom is worried where her collections and personal properties will go when she dies. The don promised Leah that she will built a place for her collections - thus the Temple of Leah was conceptualized.

2011 AD in Temple of Leah in Cebu City

The rooms of the temple holds the personal properties of Leah Adarna that she bought from different parts of the world. Her daughter admitted that her mom is a hoarder and she always bring tons of things from her travels.

Leah Adarna's statue collections in Temple of Leah in Cebu City
Leah’s figurine collections inside the Temple of Leah.

Many people go to the Temple of Leah not to adore Leah but to take selfies. The temple is a nice place to wow your friends in Instagram and Facebook not only because of the Roman-inspired temple but also because of the good view of Cebu City.

View of Cebu City from Temple of Leah

The place can be crowded. The truth is that we waited a long time to have our photos taken in front of Leah’s statue. It is also difficult to take good shots because of the crowd.

Inside the Temple of Leah in Cebu City

Many parts of the Temple of Leah was still under construction during our visit. I am not sure if the temple is fully built this year.

Temple of Leah in Cebu City in under construction
Unfinished parts of the Temple of Leah.

Temple of Leah - How to Get There

The staff at the Bayfront Hotel helped us to find a tourist van that will take us to the Temple of Leah. We paid more than a thousand pesos, which is expensive. However, it is convenient since the van waited for us during the whole visit in the temple.

The best way to go to the Temple of Leah is by hiring a taxi or a tourist van because there are no regular jeepney route in the area.

Shuttle service for Temple of Leah in Cebu City

Another way to go to the Temple of Leah is by taking shuttle service from Jollibee, I.T. Park in Cebu City.

Daredevils can take the habal-habal or motorcycles from Cebu City to the Temple of Leah. Many habal-habal are parked outside of the Temple.

Habal-habal outside of Temple of Leah in Cebu City

We paid 50 pesos each before we entered the Temple of Leah. The fee will be used to defray cost and as additional funds for building the unfinished parts of the temple. There is no entrance for senior citizens and children below 10 years old. I read in other blogs that the Temple charge 100-peso fee for vehicles parking in the “temple area”.

Behind the lion of Temple of Leah in Cebu City

I believe that Temple of Leah is truly testament of love of a husband to his wife. I also believe, however, that this temple is a symbol of vanity. The dying Leah worried so much about  her collections that she cannot bring with her in afterlife. The quote “vanity of vanities” in Ecclesiastes fittingly describes this mausoleum because the precious things in that temple will just gather dust while their owner turns into dust.


Read more of my latest adventure in the island of Cebu!

Laag-Laag sa Cebu (Part 18): A Better Stay in Bayfront Hotel in Cebu
Laag-Laag sa Cebu (Part 17): A Great View of Cebu City from Tops Busay
Laag-Laag sa Cebu (Part 16): A Taste of Mandarin in Cebu City
Laag-Laag sa Cebu (Part 15): Taboan the Pasalubong Center of Cebu City
Laag-Laag sa Cebu (Part 14): My Accidental Visit to Mt. Carmel Church

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1 comment:

  1. Cebu sure looks like a great place to visit. Same pronunciation as my town, Sibu, different spelling.


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