Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Faces of Davao 06 - Mindanao Taoist Temple

A hidden and partially ignored temple in Davao City is tucked in a residential commune of RG Village in Agdao - Mindanao Taoist Temple.

This taoist temple sits on a quiet neighborhood that looks abandoned, with gates shut most times. It has a central octagonal building with an altar facing the entrance. Its more distinctive characteristic is not only its thematic octagonal shape, but the windows surrounding the building - they are shaped like "bagwa's" which, in Chinese belief, are objects that encourage the flow of chi (life force) and deflect bad luck. This three-storey building have cabinets decked with figures of their saints. You have to make your way through a narrow spiral staircase to get to the 2nd and 3rd levels. Curiously, one of the "saints" on display was that of Jesus Christ. Having said that, I was told by the caretaker that the Taoists are also mostly Christians (Catholics), thus this religious sect doesn't necessarily veer away from the main religious movement of the country.

Adjacent to this octagonal temple is another hallway that contains names of dead Chinese people hanging down pieces of paper, placed inside a cabinet. This is a place where people could pray for them, a sanctuary for the departed.

Entrance is free, but you have to offer gratuities to the caretaker for showing you around the compound.

Mindanao Taoist Temple is found in 41 Juan de la Cruz Street in RG Village, Agdao district. The easiest way is through JP Cabaguio. When you see NGK Auto Supply or MDC Trading, turn left to Garnet Street; then turn left at the next, passing through a misplaced post in the middle of a narrow road - a tight passage for 4x4 vehicles to pass through. You can't miss the temple from there.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Bagwa windows

An octagonal ceiling.

Taoist altar. Notice a cabinet full of replicas of their saints. There's more in each floor.

View of the 2nd level... with more "saints".

View of the altar from the 2nd level.

Spiral staircase.

View of the 3rd level.

Jesus Christ on display.

Prayer Hall for the departed at the adjacent building.

Caretaker leading the way.

Names of the departed on display at the prayer hall.

Prayer Hall

A bell?

Graceful curves characterize the roofs.


Ola said...

This architecture is so amazing-especially the lightness and space inside plus all these figures!

eye in the sky said...

I like its form too... and how it artistically insinuates a "bagwa" in its architecture. :)

Ramakrishnan said...

Quaint,charming & typically oriental architecture.The color red is predominant. Appears to be a contemporary temple.

eye in the sky said...

Red, I just heard, is a color of "luck" among the Chinese. Makes sense why Chinese temples have "red" everywhere. :)