The Temple of Leah: A Man’s Dedication of Love

Facade of Temple of Leah

The Greco-Roman architectural design of the Temple of Leah makes it a beautiful sight in some of the city’s mountain barangays.

Teodorico Adarna has done one of the craziest things in the name of love. The most over-the-top act you can think of pales in comparison to his dedication to his significant half. In the quiet, mountainside town of Busay in Cebu City, he makes his beloved wife the queen of her own castle. Above a forest of trees stands the Temple of Leah, an architectural marvel that proves actions speak louder than words.

With brass statues and marble pillars, the Temple of Leah distinguishes itself from the many other attractions in the Philippines.

Dubbed the city’s Taj Mahal, this 7-story mansion is one of the most well known Cebu attractions. Its unique design has given many visitors wanderlust and excitement since it was opened to the public in 2015.

The Temple of Leah story is a tribute to a tragedy that occurred in the Adarna family. Teodorico, a businessman, dedicated this temple to his late wife of 54 years, Leah Albino-Adarna. The temple was constructed after Leah’s death from lung cancer in 2012. The history surrounding it has sparked a lot of curiosity, putting it on top of the many lists of places to visit in Cebu.

The Adarna clan is one of the wealthy Cebuano families, owning the famous motel chain Queensland. One of their kin is popular actress Ellen Adarna. This temple has become a museum to preserve the Adarna name for future generations.

Statue at the Temple of Leah
Main hall of the Temple of Leah

The main terrace is the first thing visitors will notice when they visit the Temple of Leah.

The structure is reminiscent of the Parthenon or the Roman Forum, with some mythological imagery to boot. In front of the building is a fountain with sculptures of horses and naked women. At the foot of the stairs going to the temple, there are two bronze lions guarding the sanctuary. Light posts shaped like Grecian women illuminate the main terrace for when the sun goes down.

The granite columns have a very recognizable accent. Many Instagram posts by visitors feature this short walkway of intricately designed pillars.

If you stand by the edge of the main terrace, you will get a beautiful view of the city.

Providing one of the best views of the city, it makes a great spot for sightseeing. At this altitude, you can see buildings and roads from a bird’s eye view. Paired with the cool breeze and quietness of the area, it is certainly in the running for the best place to unwind in Cebu.

The statue of Leah is found in the center of the temple, depicting Leah’s tenure as Matron Queen in her university.

Leah’s golden statue is situated within the temple, guarded by trumpet playing angels. This depicts the time Leah won the Matron Queen during her time as a student at the University of the Southern Philippines. A brass plaque informing visitors of the intentions of this temple is placed right beside it.

Leah’s collection of antiques, jewelry, and literary works are stored and kept in the rooms of the temple. This gives visitors ideas of her lavish lifestyle collecting interesting items from around the world.

This tourist attraction is located in Landon Heights in Busay. It is a 45-minute uphill drive from the city proper. Make sure that your vehicle is capable of driving up steep hills since the temple is found in one of the tallest peaks in Cebu.

Unfortunately, no jeepneys pass by the temple, but you can drop off at the town proper and find another vehicle to bring you there. You can also hail a motorcycle taxi along the highway near JY Square mall. A motorcycle will cost 100Php, 150Php if you want to share the ride with someone else.

Make sure to bring extra cash if you will be taking a cab. Some drivers ask for more due to the steep climb. Negotiate with the driver to drop you back to the city, since there aren’t many vehicles that would pass by the area. You may pay around 300-500Php to and fro.

A private vehicle is still the easiest and most affordable way to get there. You can drive up even further to other tourist spots along the transcentral highway like Tops Cebu, Adventure Cafe, and the Sirao Flower Garden.

The entrance fee is only 100Php, but there is a parking fee. 20Php for a motorcycle and 30Php for a car or taxi. If you want to have a photoshoot, you have to pay 2,500Php to use the premises.

Teodorico Adarna’s act of love stands the test of time. We would all love to build our own Temple of Leah for our significant other, and they will definitely want one made for them.

Busay has many of the best things to do in Cebu, with its beautiful landscape and wanderlust inducing hangout spots, but this temple is arguably the first place you will go to if you’re planning for a short trip. It is very likely that when asking any Cebuano where to go, one of the first things they will recommend is this constructional achievement.

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