Chinese Buddhist temples of the Philippines (28)

Editors Note: This is the 28th of a series about the 36 Chinese Buddhist temples of the Philippines. Much of the information is from a thesis of Venerable Chuanmiao (Hsuan Chuang University, 2008), a Buddhist monk affiliated with the Thousand Buddha Temple in Quezon City.

28. Palawan Fayu Temple 巴拉灣法雨寺
Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
Tutuban Prime Block NS-02, C.M. Recto Street, Manila
Tel. 254-3633 • 251-6865 • 255-7439

There are two locations for this temple.

In Palawan’s Honda Bay, near the capital city of Puerto Princesa, this temple was built and lavishly inaugurated in October 2010.

The main proponent of the temple is the 40-something Irene Go (吳婉貞), who was born in China but has been in the Philippines for more than 20 years. She was not particularly religious growing up, but on a visit to Mt. Putuo, interaction with the senior monk Miaoshan (妙善) convinced her that it was Guanyin’s desire to be venerated in the southwest Philippines.

Through her interpretation of succeeding events, she discerned that Puerto Princesa was the place desired by Guanyin, and for more than 10 years she maintained a makeshift shrine in the city’s outskirts. She became friends with the mayor, and also put up a shrine to Guanyin beside her shop in Manila’s famous Divisoria Market.

After 10 years of establishing relationships and creating affinities with various people, she was able to purchase land, build the temple, and invite monks from China to come and take charge. The temple’s board of directors is planning to move the shrine in the Manila market to an independent property nearby.

Main buildings. The Palawan temple is very near Honda Bay’s dock from which tourists depart to visit other islands. It is modeled after the temple of the same name in Mt. Putuo, and the main entrance opens to a colorful garden.

The Guanyin shrine is at the center of the property. On the right side is a two-storey structure for offices, dormitories, dining hall and kitchen. The left side has a shed for storage. At the back is a smaller chapel also dedicated to Guanyin.

Following the temple layout in Mt. Putuo, plans are underway for two more buildings, the Hall of the Heavenly Kings (天王殿) in front, and the Great Buddha Hall (大雄寶殿) at the back.

Leadership and primary activities. Since 2011, the monk Guangda (廣達) has been in the Philippines and divides his time between Manila and Palawan. One monk assists him, and one nun stays more permanently at the Palawan temple.

Chanting services are organized on an ad hoc basis, but many believers come to carry out private devotions. — First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 26, no. 1-2 (June 18-July 8, 2013): 26.