It’s been 22 years since the only temple in the Philippines was built in Manila. Now it’s time for another. In April the Church announced that the Saints of the island country will receive a new temple in Cebu.
The new temple will serve members in the central and southern parts of the Philippines who will no longer have to travel the long distance to the Manila temple, which was built in 1984.
“The news of the announcement of the new temple to be built on the Cebu Island spread like wildfire throughout the Visayan Islands and in Mindanao,” President Ray W. Nelson, the Manila Philippines Temple president, told Church magazines. “This has become an answer to the prayers of the Saints, who are eager to have a temple constructed nearer their area. These Saints have exercised determination in their temple trips to Manila and normally experience a great deal of sacrifice to the point of selling material possessions just to allocate funds for their trip.”
In 2005 a group of Saints traveled 12 hours aboard a flatbed truck under inhospitable weather and road conditions to perform ordinances for themselves and their ancestors.
The youth in the Philippines have also been responsive in going to the temple to do baptisms and confirmations. The Manila temple has had to run a tight schedule to accommodate them.
Sister Kleah Nelson, matron of the Manila temple, told Church magazines that a group of more than 60 youth from a remote, rural area with no electricity or plumbing in the Visayans recently sacrificed to come to the temple in Manila.
“Because of the service project organized by very dedicated missionaries, all the youth were able to come dressed appropriately in white shirts and ties and girls in lovely Sunday dresses,” Sister Nelson stated.
This youth group performed more than 2,000 baptisms and confirmations.
A local priesthood leader said that there had been a “marked difference” in the attitudes of the youth who went to the temple to perform ordinances for the dead.
“This has helped them remember their commitments to the Lord as they face the challenges and pressures they experience as teenagers,” said Elder Michael John U. Teh, an Area Seventy in the Philippines.
Missionary work in the Philippines first began in 1898 when two Latter-day Saint servicemen from Utah, who were set apart as missionaries before their departure, preached the gospel. The work picked up after World War II, and in 1961 the Church was officially registered in the Philippines.
Manila and Cebu City were the first two missions in the Philippines. The year the Manila temple was built, Church membership was 76,000. Today, Church membership in the Philippines is more than 520,000 with more than 1,000 congregations. The Cebu temple is the 132nd temple of the Church that is announced, under construction, or operating.