The significance of what is done here is to dedicate the land to the Lord and to pray . . . that we may prepare ourselves for the blessings of the temple, said Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the groundbreaking ceremony held on November 14, 2007, for the Cebu Philippines Temple complex in Lahug, Cebu City.

In his dedicatory prayer, Elder Oaks invoked a blessing for the Filipino people to live in peace, harmony, and prosperity; for the building to be built without flaw; and for the people who come to it to feel the holiness of the building.

Some 400 members, including stake and district presidencies, bishops, branch presidents, stake auxiliary presidencies of seven neighboring stakes and districts, the six mission presidents in the new Cebu Philippines Temple district, and local community leaders gathered for this historical event.

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Keith R. Edwards, Philippines Area President, and his counselors, Elder Won Yong Ko and Elder Michael J. Teh of the Seventy, were also in attendance.

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmea remarked: It is with great honor that I am here to witness the groundbreaking of what is to be the place for a beautiful temple. He said that the property where the temple will be built was used to defend freedom and that stories were circulating that treasures are buried there.

Elder Oaks responded: I am glad that freedom fighters were located in this place. This temple will give freedom to the children of God and will be a means for them to return to their Father in Heaven. . . . The temple itself is a treasure.

Twenty-three years after the first temple in the Philippines was built, President Anthony John Balledos of the Cebu City Philippines Stake expressed in his prayer how grateful the Filipino Saints are for having the second temple in the Philippines built in Cebu to serve members in the central and southern parts of the Philippines.

In the evening, after the groundbreaking, Elder Oaks held a special devotional with more than 3,000 Saints and counseled them to prepare for the temple by developing holy habits. He said holy habits help us be ready to answer the questions the Lord will ask us in the final judgment. These habits include having personal and family prayer, reading the scriptures, and partaking of the sacrament every Sunday.

The Cebu Philippines Temple complex, having an area of 4.7 hectares, will include patron housing, a meetinghouse, homes for the temple and mission presidents, and a mission office. The temple itself will have an area of 2,391 square meters.

The Cebu Philippines Temple is the 132nd temple of the Church that is announced, operating, or under construction.