It started in Simala, Sibonga, Cebu when Fr. Ma. Martin of the Marian monks made a pilgrimage to Simala. The shrine of the Virgin Mary was just a small structure that caters to a small number of pilgrims mostly from Sibonga at that time. The adjoining towns barely knew of the shrine but when a miracle occurred – the Virgin Mary’s crying with real tears,- the news spread like wildfire and throngs of devotees and non-devotees flocked to the place to witness a once in a lifetime miracle.
In a short time, by word of mouth, the Simala Shrine became a by-word among Catholics and more and more devotees started their own pilgrimage to the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist. As more and more people were lured to the miracle of the Virgin Mary, the place became congested and overcrowded with the Faithful visiting the shrine. Donations became the practice. Small amounts were dropped into donation boxes until the wealthy who are Catholic believers gave their own kind of donations. Even companies donated in millions. Some shared their prayers and services. Soonest it grew wide and big, lovely and charming, beautiful and gorgeous, to magnificent and marvelous man-made structure.
During my visit, construction was in progress. I wonder, if all machineries will stop, all workers will rest and the announcement will be heard that everything is finally finished. How grand would this shrine be? How noble and gallant Man has taken steps to honor, respect, praise and believe the Virgin Mary as the mediator between Man and God thru Her intercession?
After typhoon Haiyan battered the Visayas region, this rocky unfinished beach resort, Coraza’s Cliffyard Resort, maintained its beautiful physical appearance despite several structures were destroyed. Until now, as of this writing, it has not been repaired for lack of funds. If given the chance to be repaired with the right amount of capital, this beach could make the island of Pilar, Camotes its rightful place in beach development. It could hasten the growth of the island and give employment to its people with the influx of tourists, both domestic and foreign.