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Thursday, September 13

Basilica del Sto. Nino: Cebu Church Legacy

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Basilica del Sto. Nino, another Cebu church, is indeed one of the must-see historical tourist attractions in Cebu. 

The Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino of Cebu is a church and convent located just across one block from Cebu Cathedral and another famous Cebu tourist spot, the Magellan’s Cross. It was said to be built according to the urban plans by Legaspi to allocate a piece of land where a church must be constructed on that lot where the relic of Sto. Nino was found. The image of Sto. Nino was a sculpture being the Holy Child Jesus, discovered and preserved inside a wooden box by Spanish expeditors where it was left behind after some years. Now, Basilica del Sto. Nino in Cebu City drives in flocks of devotees and tourists who faithfully believe in the miracles and power of Sto. Nino.

An open space outside the Basilica del Sto. Nino where masses are held.

Part 2
of Pious Pieces (Cebu Heritage Tour Continued)

Candles in Basilica del Sto. Nino, Cebu City
Knowing that Cebu Cathedral is just a few meters from another popular church in Cebu, we walked our way to the Basilica del Sto. Nino. There were many people in the Basilica when we went there on a Sunday. I have never been in a place before where there are so many devotees like this. Cebu is one of the pioneering cities in the country in terms of its economy.

Basilica del Sto. Nino takes its roots from its Augustinian priest founder, Father Andres de Urdaneta in 1565. They were actually the church and the convent but unfortunately they were burned down to ashes came 1566. They rebuilt the second church and in 1578, the Chapter endorsed to have prayer offerings to Sto. Nino every month. The convent on the other hand served as the rest house for working missionaries and also a school of language (grammar). Not lucky again, the second church had its end when it was again destroyed by another fire in 1628.

The ladies in yellow skirts are Sinulog dancers who pray for the traveler's or devotee's health, family business and the like, if he requests them to dance.
The present church was now initiated by Rev. Juan de Albarran (with other fathers), who happened also to be the sole architect (he gathered some knowledge about it) and the man behind the construction of it. The present church was made out of stones quarried in Panay Island. The design, as I also noticed, it was a combination of several influences like Romanesque (round archs and ornaments) and Muslim (dome like top of bell tower).

Statues inside the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino in Cebu.
In 1965, Pope Paul IV elevated the church into a Minor Basilica. Truly, this church in Cebu City is a “center of intense devotion” of the people of the Visayas. Getting inside the Basilica is a privilege for everyone and I was lucky to be there once. It was a great experience to see something like this where people strongly believes in their faith and hope. Basilica del Sto. Nino must be on the top of the list of must-see tourist attractions (or historical landmarks) you ought to see when you visit Cebu, together with the popular Magellan’s Cross you already encountered so many times in your history books.

The fountain somewhere in the vicinity of the Basilica del Sto. Nino Cebu

Pious Pieces (Cebu Heritage Tour Continued) Travel Series:
Part 2: Basilica del Sto. Nino: Cebu Church Legacy

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