Geoff: You might be asking yourself where on earth this is. It’s in Metro Manila. “But wait!” you ask. “Doesn’t Manila already have a temple”? It does. “Wasn’t a temple planned for Urdaneta, in northern Luzon?” Indeed, and with that knowledge alone you might think that somewhere south in Mindanao, like Cayagan de Oro, might be the best spot for a temple.
Here’s the thing, though. The Manila Temple (actually in Quezon City), is decent in size, but suffers from serious overcrowding, which is a good kind of problem to have! We’ve also heard from members in the area that a site was selected for a temple in Muntinlupa, on the south end of Metro Manila.
Joe: Remember the never-built Harrison New York Temple? It was announced in 1995 and then nothing happened because Boston and Manhattan took all the love while the Church slogged it out over permits and designs in the White Plains area.
Similarly, the Urdaneta Temple was announced in 2010 to relieve the Manila Temple, but not much has happened there. Some reports say that the land set aside for the temple has proved susceptible to flooding and the Church is currently in a holding pattern on the ostensibly bad land.
Not only are there a whopping 62 stakes feeding into the Manila Temple, but there are 46 districts as well. A district is basically a mini stake. So for one temple, that’s a lot. There needs to be another solution elsewhere in the temple area. If the northern route didn’t work, then let’s look to the south. It couldn’t be too far south, though, because it would still need to be able to take some of the load off of the Manila Temple, which has most of its stakes clustered around the capital city itself.
Muntinlupa is a fine location for a new temple without writing Urdaneta out of the picture. Each could get a temple tomorrow, and they’d all three still have among the highest stake-to-temple ratios in the church. Let that sink in. Elder Oaks got ‘er done. Not only is Muntinlupa a good guess for a temple, by all counts it seems like it should be a higher priority to bring more of the temple blessings to the members there.