Ma-Cho Temple, San Fernando

Ma-Cho Temple

The Ma-Cho is a Taoist temple to the Chinese sea-goddess Mazu located in San Fernando, La Union in the Philippines. With an elevation of 70m above sea level, the 7-story temple is a towering 11-tiered, multi-hued attraction on a more than a hectare of lot and accessible by separate routes. The temple’s attractions include the Majestic Five Door Gate, Bamboo Garden, the Liang Thing Pagoda, 2 circular pools or ponds and the golden emblem of a dragon, the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower. Ma-Cho Temple interior is filled with Chinese historical decorations and art. Taiwan constructors helped build the building under famous Architect Thomas Diokno. The temple is decorated by Chinese motif of Taipei lions and dragons (camphor woods) and massive stones.

Once you are in La Union, this gorgeous temple is must visit. It is open from 7am to 5pm every day and there is no entrance fee.

Ma-Cho Temple Ma-Cho Temple

What is Taoism?

Taoism (or Daoism) is the name for a group of philosophical and religious teachings based on a metaphysical interpretation of the Chinese sign Tao, which is most commonly translated as Path. There is a difference between Taoism as a philosophy and Taoism as a religion. Taoism left an indelible mark on various areas of Chinese culture and later spread to other areas of East Asia.

One of the founders of Taoism is Lao Tse, who lived in the 6th century BC. Lao Ce taught that humans should live in harmony with nature. He stressed the importance of a simple life and maintaining a balance with nature, disagreeing with Confucius' belief that a strong family and state are the most important thing in a society. He did not believe in the laws and taught that the best way of life was not to take any powerful, unnatural action. The fundamental work of Taoism is Tao Te Ching, which is often translated as the Book of Times and Virtues.

The central notion of Taoism is Tao (or Dao). Tao is immutable, it is before all things. Tao is the maker of sky and earth, as two genders. In Chinese philosophy, the male principle of the universe is Yang (sky, heat, light) and the female principle of the universe is Yin (earth, cold, darkness), which together maintain the harmony of the world and are constantly changing. Taoists interpret Tao as the principle of continuity in an ever-changing universe.

Taoism as a religion emerges much later, in the 2nd century. It is one of the greatest religious traditions that originated in China. Unlike the great Western religions, Taoism does not have a single god or founder prophet. One of the main beliefs of Taoism is that each person should follow their own Tao or Path. Universal, but still very personal in nature, Taoism has had a significant impact on the spiritual life of many cultures in Asia and around the world.

Ma-Cho Temple

Who is Mazu?

Mazu, or Matsu, is a popular Taoist and Chinese Buddhist goddess. She is the goddess and of the sea and people believe that she protecting fisherman and sailors. Mazu is worshiped in southern China, Vietnam and Taiwan. She is known as Empress of Heaven and Holy Mother Empress of Heaven.

Mazu was born on March 23, 906. According to legend she did not cry when she was born, so she was named Lin Moniang which means Silent girl. She was able to predict weather and she normally warned other people and fishermans to not go to the sea. She was great swimmer and she often rescue people from the sea. There are few versions of her death. One legend says that Mazu went out into the sea during a storm to try to find her father. After few hours she was not able to find her father and later died of exhaustion. Another legend says that Mazu she climbed a mountain alone and flew into the heavens and became a goddess.

After she passed away, her family and many families of sailors and fishermen prayed for her soul and her heroic acts to try to save all at sea. Soon her worship spread to many parts of Asia and many people started to build temples dedicated to this brave girl all over the world.

Matsu Goddess