Thursday, January 19, 2012

Faces of Davao 04 - Shaolin Kung Fu Temple (Long Hua Temple)

There's an authentic shaolin temple in Davao City; one that teaches kung fu. The official name is Long Hua (Long Wa) Temple, but locals simply call it Chinese Temple.

Located along JP Cabaguio Avenue, this mostly spare temple is a friendly environment for any visitor. You're greeted by a security guard who subs as a "tourist guide" or a bald woman in authentic shaolin attire - or at least like the ones you see in old kung fu films. The buddha enshrined at the main temple is actually colored white, but at the back of this hall is a smaller prayer room with a crowned golden statue with multiple arms spread around its squarish face. Shiva perhaps? The smell of incense linger in the rooms. Elsewhere, carved doors depict various incarnations of Buddha. I was led down a flight of stairs until I reached another hallway. It was a temporary repository of ashes of the temple followers where their relatives could pray for them. Elsewhere, I could see some photos of monks - their priests - hanging on walls. Several spiritual heads from abroad recently visited this temple to celebrate a feast day.

Though free of charge, you have to share some gratuities to your guide who will make sure that you get access to the otherwise restricted rooms. At the back of this temple is a school - the Philippine Academy of Sakya which offers lessons in shaolin kung fu. Wanna float on mid-air like Jackie Chan and Jet Li? I'm kidding, of course.

There are very few temples of such kind in the Philippines, and this one is particularly important because it underlines the existence of a religious movement that has flourished all over Asia, but has remained an almost forgotten minority in this country.

There is another temple - a Taoist Temple nearby. I'll take you there next.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

The main altar with a white Buddha. Ceramic?

Not too sure if this is Shiva...

Wood carving at the door

Room for the departed

Up next - Exteriors of Long Hua Temple

Foreign dignitaries (above and below) visit during the temple's feast day.


Style Dilettante said...

Oh how beautiful!

Really enjoyed your blog...

Greetings from LA!

Ramakrishnan said...

Nice post & pics. Not Shiva definitely. Perhaps its a many handed Buddha himself ?
Between 10-12th centuries there were several sea expeditions/ invasions from Chola Kingdom (Rajaraja Chola & Rajendra Chola) in South India & trade with S.E.Asia was flourishing.During this period Hindu culture art architecture was imparted in this region. The multiple handed God is certainly a result of Hindu influence.

eye in the sky said...

@ Style Dilettante:

And I had an amazing time reading yours on the Indian Canyon. That place deserves to be known by more people. :)

eye in the sky said...

@ R. Ramakrishnan:

Back in high school up through college, I was always a culture vulture. Loved reading about these stuff but I've never truly encountered anything about the Chola kingdom until my travels and through this blog. I am absolutely fascinated.

This multihanded God in Davao fascinates me. Unfortunately, there's not much literature or signage about it to point us to a reference (like maybe a name I could google).

Thank you for that bit of history about this kingdom. One of the pleasures to be had in a blogsite like this is this sprinkling of information from people like you. :)

Ramakrishnan said...

To get a big slice of Chola Architecture: Log on to

eye in the sky said...

Those photos brought back memories. One of my Indian leg of travels took me from Trichy, Pudokottai, Thanjavur, Thiruvaiyaru, Madurai and the contiguous areas thus I was able to see some of the temples in your photo. I LOVE them to bits. Visiting them was inexpensive (I preferred local non-AC buses because I find them more relaxed and contrary to others' observations, you don't feel harassed) and more immersive.

I will read more about the Cholas.

edwardco said...

The many handed Buddha in Long Hua Temple here in Davao is a manifestation of Avalokiteshvara or the Goddess of Mercy.
Sure, Indian influence is very strong in Buddhism as it originated in Northern India or maybe, what is now called Nepal

eye in the sky said...

@ Edwardco:

That's nice to know. Thanks. :)

Lotushunyeater said...

The golden statue of the Buddha is the incarnation of the she Buddha the many or one thousand hands are the many hands of help to others and all.
On visiting here I asked,above is the answer.

Mike said...

Hi eye in the bluesky, is the lesson for free? Thank you please kindly text me your answer at 0927 851 1534, im greatful to read your blog. Or you can add me in fb: dave dizon. Or you can reply to this gmail account that i have. Thank you.