The interesting roster of ancient churches within the territorial vastness and jurisdiction of the Philippine Islands are elegant, stylish and illustrious in its physical form and overall grandeur. One of which, is the Basilica del Santo Nino in Cebu. This holy sanctuary of the Cebuanos was once established in the 16th century. Therefore, this chapel is considered as the oldest Roman Catholic Church to be erected in Philippine soil.

Basilica del Santo Nino in Cebu.

Basilica del Santo Nino in Cebu.

As far as its location is concerned, the Basilica del Santo Nino in Cebu was purposely built on the same place where the holy and miraculous image of the Santo Nino de Cebu was suddenly found in the year 1565, by those Spanish explorers and future conquistadores. It has been said, that this is the exact religious icon which was given by Ferdinand Magellan to the alluring spouse of Rajah Humabon as a present. This had transpired after almost four decades of Humabon’s baptism to wholeheartedly embrace Christianity on the 14th day of April 1521. Prior to its historical establishment, it had an inspiring legend and anecdote which said that it was allegedly seen by a soldier in a preserved and burnt box made of wood, after the first Spanish conqueror of the Philippines; Miguel Lopez de Legazpi had deliberately razed on fire the once quiet villages of Filipino natives in those years. Despite of this, Basilica Menor del Santo Nino was magnanimously completed from 1739 to 1740. From then on, this has become the haven of the most antiquated religious images in the Philippines.

The devotees of Basilica del Santo Nino in Cebu.

The devotees of Basilica del Santo Nino in Cebu.

The Basilica del Santo Nino in Cebu province, was dearly founded by an Augustinian friar whose name is Reverend Andres de Urdaneta on April 28, 1565. The first-ever church and convent in Cebu was humbly constructed through the indigenous use of hardwood, earth and nipa materials. But no matter how this structure was carefully preserved and well-taken care of, it never had gotten exempted from a raging inferno of fire. It was unexpectedly burned down on the first day of November 1566. After a few months, its resurrection was again initiated by another member of the clergy, Reverend Pedro Torres. At last, it was momentously rebuilt in 1626. Since then, nobody ever dared to think that it would be gutted again by a devastating fire; two years after it second renovation. Therefore, the glorious Basilica Menor of the Infant Child had to be erected again under the administration of Reverend Juan de Medina. In those years, the remarkable holy sanctuary was made out of the most durable architectural components such as high quality bricks and stones. However, the project was immediately halted due to the supposed problems of integrity in relation to the kinds of materials that were utilized.

As a result, a notable Spanish governor in the Philippines had come up with a decision to issue a decree that another church had to be built right on the same spot where the previous edifices of the Catholic Faith had been created in the previous years. He was no other than but Fernando Valdez y Tamon. According to his powerful royal decree, the church will be fashioned based on the varying architectural principles of several friars like Father Provincial Bergano, Governor-General Fernando Valdez, Bishop Manuel Antonio Decio y Ocampo of Cebu and Reverend Juan de Albarran, among others. These motivating and dynamic fishermen of Christ were the ones who had initially laid down the foundations of the most renowned basilica in Cebu.

Hence, its state-of-the art designs were courtesy of Reverend de Albarran. At last, it was finally done between the years of 1739 and 1740. During the papacy of Pope Paul the sixth, to the rank of a minor basilica during the fourth centenary celebration of Philippine Christianization. Likewise, it remains under the care and supervision of the Order of Saint Augustine. Over the years, its its scheduled Friday masses were moved to a place called as the Pilgrim Center, in September of 1990 to best accommodate its hundreds of thousands of devotees. Speaking of its main feature, the Basilica del Santo Nino has a museum which vividly traces back the colorful history of Christianity in the homeland of the Cebuanos. Inside, both foreign and local tourists alike can have a glimpse of the antiquated articles and relics like century-old furniture and the Santo Nino’s old cloaks and garments which were mostly donated by different people throughout the centuries. Lastly, there are different toys which could be seen which are presented as gifts to the childlike persona of Jesus Christ.

Moreover, visitors and pilgrims will have a once in a lifetime chance to see a big rosary which is uniquely composed of 15 beads. Did you know that this is one of the most unique Philippine Churches because of its multi-functional library? Apart from these awesome highlights, it has a Basilica Store and a huge landscaped garden.

How Should You Get There?

The easiest and convenient ways to get at the Basilica del Santo Nino in Cebu is by riding a taxi. From Manila, there are several planes that can gladly take you at the Basilica del Santo Nino in Cebu. These are the following: Air Philippines Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.

Indeed, the Basilica del Santo Nino is a great blessing from above to nourish the spirituality of the Cebuanos till the end of time.

Category: Travel

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