LOOK: Temple of Leah, the Taj Mahal of Cebu

Angelo G. Garcia

Posted at Sep 07 2017 06:54 AM | Updated as of Sep 07 2017 01:32 PM

A lady takes a selfie with the two brass angel statues at the temple yard. Elmer Lim, ABS-CBN News

In front of the main temple is a fountain with three naked maiden statues and four seated horses. Elmer Lim, ABS-CBN News

A visitor takes a photo of her companion inside the main temple. Elmer Lim, ABS-CBN News

Visitors take photos in front of the 9-foot bronze statue of Leah Adarna. Elmer Lim, ABS-CBN News

A photograph of the couple, Teodorico and Leah Adarna, can be seen inside one of the chambers of the temple. There are 24 chambers which house Leah's collection of figurines, books, vases, jars, and many other items from her travels abroad. Elmer Lim, ABS-CBN News

Greek-inspired architectural elements. Elmer Lim, ABS-CBN News

Visitors pose at the fountain to have their photos taken. It is one of the most photographed areas in the temple. Elmer Lim, ABS-CBN News

Visitors enjoy a better view of the city from the higher vantage location of the Temple. Elmer Lim, ABS-CBN News

The 9-foot bronze statue of Leah Adarna. Elmer Lim, ABS-CBN News

One of the two giant bronze lions guard the main entrance of the temple. Elmer Lim, ABS-CBN News

Visitors arrive at the main entrance of the Temple of Leah. The temple attracts at least 500 people and about a thousand on weekends. Elmer Lim, ABS-CBN News

The Temple of Leah is now one of the most visited attractions in Cebu City. Elmer Lim, ABS-CBN News

CEBU CITY -- Temple of Leah, dubbed as “Cebu’s Taj Mahal,” is a grand gesture of love from a husband to his late wife.

But unlike the Taj Mahal, which is a mausoleum, Temple of Leah is a shrine holding the memory and treasures of Leah Albino-Adarna, the late wife of Teodorico Soriano Adarna. The two are grandparents of actress Ellen Adarna.

Some say the temple, which is now one of Cebu’s most visited new attractions, is gaudy and a bit too much. It is a must-see, however, to those who are curious how an act of love worth P80 million (reportedly) looks like.

The Adarna family, which runs the motel chain Queensland in Cebu, opened Temple of Leah to the public two years ago. Construction started in 2012 and is still ongoing.

The temple is a 45-minute drive from the city center, and entrance fee is at P50.

“I constructed this temple in the year 2012 A.D. as a symbol of my undying love for and ceaseless devotion to Leah Villa Albino-Adarna, my wife of 53 years. I adopted an architectural design that can withstand time and still be appreciated for a millennium so this temple will become a landmark of Cebu, where future generations of the Adarna clan ...can come and trace their roots and heritage,” explains a brass plaque plastered on the wall beside Leah’s statue.

Located on top of the hill in barangay Busay in Cebu City, Temple of Leah is seven storeys high, and covers a land area of more than 5,000 square meters. The gate opens to a driveway that leads to the main courtyard, with granite floors and a marble fountain at the center.

The structure was inspired by ancient Roman architecture complete with Doric columns made of granite. Various Grecian statues adorn the corners and different parts of the building.

Two golden lions stand guard on both sides of the main stairs that lead to the portico that then leads to the shrine, which features a nine-foot bronze statue of Leah.

A brass plaque on its podium signed by Teodorico says: “Beloved Wife and Mother: Leah V. Albino-Adarna was chosen Matron Queen of her Alma Mater the University of Southern Philippines. This bronze statue portrays her composure and regal bearing when she was crowned. May the beholder discern her innate beauty, poise and genteelness.”

The main structure houses 24 chambers that holds Leah’s collection, from antiques to Chinese jars to a library of books.