Finding Buddha in Davao, the Lon Wa Temple or Hua Temple

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ July 7th, 2010. Published in: Travel blog » Philippines.
The Shaolin Temple in Davao City, The Philippines

The Shaolin Temple in Davao City, The Philippines (click to enlarge)

One called this place the Long Hua temple another called it the Lon Wa temple. It’s not that hard to write a guide book based on facts, but still they fail. The name outside is the Shaolin Kung Fu Temple. The taxi and jeepney guys just call it the Chinese temple. This is what got me there!

No stick poking here!

Statue of a lion in the Shaolin Temple in Davao

Statue of a lion in the Shaolin Temple in Davao

For once I didn’t have to present my bag for a stupid stick poking by security and just wandered in through the side entrance. The main doors were locked.

A woman with a shaved head greeted me with a warm smile from around a corner. Her look reminded me of my time in Tibet. Then again so did that familiar smell of incense and candle wax that filled the air.

I walked around and down some stairs to find one of a few statues of Buddha. Back up the stairs again and I was interrupted from my second photograph by a pleasant man.

You need to start over there,” he said pointing out the side entrance again. “They start to pray soon.”

He seemed nice enough until his final comment. “And, you wear shoes! No shoes here.”

I looked down at his own black leather shoes and then at the shaven headed ladies thick sandles.

What’s good in Tibet, is not worthy enough here

“I see, well when I was in Tibet in the Dalai Lama‘s old house they didn’t seem to mind me wearing shoes! And, how come you are wearing them?”

Religious rules while traveling

If there is one thing I have noticed about religion when traveling it’s that nearly every country has a slightly different take on the rules.

“It’s not something often explored by religious commentary and I can see why.”

Statue of Buddha in Davao city

Statue of Buddha in Davao city (click to enlarge)

Statue of small Buddist Lhama in Davao City

Statue of small Buddhist Lama in Davao City (click to enlarge)

The man walked away. I’d finished inside anyway, but couldn’t resist against the stupid non enforced rule.

For those that don’t know, I have a thing against taking my shoes off in side any “religious place’. Let alone when no one else is doing it.

Always an alternative:

Outside and I found the small well kept gardens a lot more pleasant. I’d wanted to ask a few questions about the place. But, the man had put me off, and I really wasn’t so interested anymore.

There was another temple somewhere nearby, I’d heard it was a lot more isolated and unvisited. What better place to visit.

Conform to your own rules religion:

I don’t quite get why religion differs in every country that practices the same kind. Well I do, it’s due to culture and centuries of adaptation.

“But then again, are they not all meant to be under one head Lama, Pope, Mullah e.t.c,.”

And, to me, therein lies one of the main problems with religion in the world today. Everyone is speaking in their own interpretation of what was originally written, no matter the religion.

Much like the guide books who can’t agree on the name of a place.

I wrote an article a while ago about how to deal with religion and travel. In it I state, when asked my religion, I reply “A little bit of everything.

There’s a reason for that, though I am not sure everyone else agrees.

Coming soon:

A special place that all travelers in every country should know about, but few do, and even fewer go there …

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15 Great responses to Finding Buddha in Davao, the Lon Wa Temple or Hua Temple

  1. ciki says:

    totally agree on this point that “everyone is speaking in their own interpretation of what was originally written, no matter the religion”… and that is what is so off putting. the religion in itself is fine, wholesome. when man tries to force his viewpoints down ppls throats that’s what distorts the “good-thing”. I don’t know if you believe in God but it’s better to keep looking at him that at man.. otherwise you will just lose faith in all that is good! Great post dave.. are u wearing shoes?! :P

  2. Ivy says:

    Following )

  3. Eli says:

    It does seem like every major world religion has about a thousand different versions or sects, or whatever they’re called. I don’t know, though. I think I would’ve just taken my shoes off. But that’s me. :)

  4. jessiev says:

    i’d have taken my shoes off, too, to honor the rules there (whether others were honoring them or not, LOL). you’re right about the zillion interpretations. that’s why i steer CLEAR!

  5. ayngelina says:

    Huh, what don’t you like about taking off shoes? Are you worried about them being stolen? And what do you do in Thailand when every storekeeper wants you to take them off?

    • -ciki- I don’t usually like to make political or religious commentary. Who’s better, than what e.t.c. But the one thing I do standby is that I’ve seen most of the world’s religions, and all of the main ones. And the three things they have in common are: 1) they keep pushing their interpretations 3) they rarely practice what they preach 2) the people are leaving

      -Ivy- Glad you are :)

      -Eli- Shoe taking off is a two way street! Again, they don’t practice what they preach.

      -jessiev- I’d like to find a religion whereby keeping your shoes on is the rule!

      -ayngelina- Never been asked to take them off in any store! Homes yes. Stealing shoes, or in my case boots, is not a huge concern. Having 20 people stomp over them, knock them over, spit near them, is a little more like it. But honestly to goodness I see no point unless the floor is valuable.

      In any place where I have taken them off, my socks have been destroyed by dirt. The Taj Mahal at least gives out feet / sock protectors. I’ve not seen a decent pair of socks to buy outside of Europe, aside from Nepal. Likewise putting said socks/feet back into one’s shoes /boots ends up destroying the inner sole. I know most people disagree with my stand on taking shoes off, it’s more a personal thing. I stand by it.

      But in a place like this temple, whereby the staff wear them, and a visitor is told not too … no I think it’s wrong of them.

  6. yee says:

    When it comes to religion, it’s really hard to say which is one is better. All religion has good intention, it’s only the people who speak in their own interpretation that makes it becomes something else; if I was asked, my answer will always be “I believe in God”

    No matter what religion one has, the most important rule will always be ‘do unto others’

    This temple should be called Long Hua Temple based on what was written on the gate :)

    • -yee- In some religions there’s more than one God. But yes, I understand your point. And what you say in “do unto others” is very true.

      Thanks for the literal Chinese translation for the temple via the gateway. I think that’s about 3-4 names it has now! :)

      -Tim- Very good point. Both can be about control. Since the beginning of understanding it’s been about that. There are fluctuations in cultures over the century’s but controlling the masses is an underlying trait.

      -janet- That’s really interesting. I met some people in Nepal who felt the same way about Buddhism. A great philosophy, but living the life is very different to the brief public perception. I’ll save my thoughts on that for another day!

      Thank you also for the explanation of Theraveda and Mahayana Buddhism. I am not as knowledgeable about the Buddhism to know the difference. So I appreciate you highlighting this!

      -wanderlass- Hi there. Yes, if everything were the same, it would be very boring indeed. But I do feel that many religions don’t practice what they preach. Janet’s already mentioned that there are several types of Buddhism, which I did not know. Likewise with Christianity and Islam. However, I do go back to the whole thing of what yee was saying. “do unto others”. Why can some people wear shoes but others not in this temple. It just doesn’t sit right with me.

  7. Tim says:

    When it comes to (but not limited to) religion and politics there are two kinds of people: Those that want to control others and those that have no such desire. I find the “interpretations” usually begin in such a manner.

  8. janet says:

    I agree with you. I’m living in a Buddhist temple right now and it’s been quite the interesting experience. I don’t think I could ever ‘take refuge’ and become a practicing religious Buddhist; I see it more as a philosophy/way of life. I think the shoes thing as you mentioned here varies from culture to culture. Tibet is Theraveda Buddhism and I bet the temple you went to is Mahayana.

  9. wanderlass says:

    celebrating the differences! isn’t it why we travel? to be enlightened by our differences and similarities? wouldn’t it be boring and pointless to travel if the temples in china, thailand, japan all be identical? or the churches in france, spain, philippines, etc? even starbucks and mcdonalds look and taste and serve a liitle differently everwhere. cheers.

  10. Fairy Meadow says:

    I know there is lots of decent temples in Philippines. I am making some plan to visit this place. Problem is that, i have free time nov to dec and i like adventure trips. Therefore could you provide me some places in Philippine, which is better for adventurers?

    • -Fairy Meadow- Actually I’ve not come across many temples in The Philippines at all. For adventure, I would suggest heading to Palawan, underground caves in Sabang, then in El Nido Cliff Climbing, snorkeling, diving, scuba etc. In Northern Luzon there’s Banue Rice Terraces, and Sagada for caving and mountain hikes.

  11. marian says:

    what time and day of the week did you go in long hua temple?can you enter anytime?do they have any fee?what about tibetian temple?please email me back because im about to travel to davao