Cebu’s historical Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño

Its towering facade blends Muslim, Romanesque, and neo-classical architecture, this church of the Señor Santo Niño de Cebu--which translates literally as "holy child of Cebu." Cebu's oldest Roman Catholic Church, the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, also still retains the original stone texture and natural color it had in 1735. (Click on photos to view larger images.) The structure, located right in the heart of downtown Cebu City, is way, way older--it is the Philippines's oldest church, but it was made out of hard wood, mud, and nipa when it was first built by the Spaniards in 1566 on the very spot where the image of the Santo Niño, left behind by Portuguese and Spanish explorers in 1521, was found preserved in a burned wooden box. Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino Led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Augustinian priest Andres de Urdaneta, the Spaniards who discovered the image in 1565 called it miraculous, for it survived the fire that gutted the structure that housed it but had totally blackened it in the process. The image also survived the fire that hit the church on November 1, 1568. The church was rebuilt in 1602 and in 1735, then Cebu Governor Fernando Valdes y Tamon ordered that it be constructed out of hard stone-the materials were quarried from Capiz and Panay on wooden boats--on the same spot where the wooden one had stood. Work on the church was completed in 1739. Devotees light candles inside the basilicaToday, the church draws devotees, churchgoers, tourists, pilgrims, and candle and other vendors. As the church could not accommodate the growing number of people who come to hear mass in the basilica, a pilgrim center was built within the church compound and priests officiate mass in the open-air, theater-like structure. Candle vendors here are different in any other churches; in the basilica, they dance their prayers in that two-step-forward, one-step-backward rhythm called the "Sinug". This same rhythm is believed to have inspired the Sinulog dance, performed on Cebu City's streets by various groups in the Sinulog Grand Parade held every third Sunday of January. The parade is one of the highlights of the weeklong celebration of the feast of Cebu's patron saint. One other highlight is the Saturday religious procession of the images of the Santo Niño and Cebu patron saint Lady of Guadalupe. A candle vendor dances the Sinulog It is widely believed that the Santo Niño image is the same one given by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan to Queen Juana of Cebu in 1521, that same year when she, her husband Datu Humabon, and several of their followers where baptized into the Roman Catholic faith. When it was found, it was burnt so bad it was hardly recognizable and its survival was considered as nothing short of a miracle. The Santo Niño image’s reputation as miraculous is buoyed by reports of basilica helpers that it sometimes goes out of its glass case to take long walks at night. They point to grass stains on the hem of its dress as evidence. The stories are dismissed as superstition but they strengthened beliefs of devotees that the Santo Niño de Cebu, “Cebu’s holy child”, watches over Cebu. More photos Click on images to view larger photographs. Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino Sto. Nino devotees basilica minore del sto. nino basilica minore del sto nino in cebu city basilica minore del sto nino in cebu city basilica minore del sto nino in downtown cebu city sto. nino church in cebu city, philippines basilica minore del sto nino in cebu city, philippines basilica minore del sto nino in cebu city, philippines How to get there The easiest way to go to the church is by taking a taxi. If you come from the uptown area, the place is just a P70-taxi ride away. If you feel adventurous, you can take a jeepney with "Plaza" or "City Hall" printed on its route signboard. Below is a map to the place. You can zoom into the map by using its navigation buttons.
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  • bisdak

    I believe the image of the Sto. Nino is very important. It is the image of our God who became man for the salvation of mankind. where is the image of the sto. nino?

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  • Matias Puzio

    I’m intrested in the history of the Cebu Basilica and I can tell this is the most complete site on this subject. Most of the pictures are just astonishing.
    Matías Puzio
    Buenos Aires

  • Kelly

    please provide more online mass on the catholicnetwork

  • Mike Macairan

    May the fire of the divine love keeps on burning endlessly to one and all…Agnus dei mesisireme me y que pasos es pronubis mesisireme nubis…

  • http://yahoo.com Madette

    I fervently believe in the sto.nino. He has done miracles for my family especially for my mom who was on deathbed.she is now very healthy.The sto. nino has been my saviour eversince.he is my confidante.

  • acl

    I know that this not the right place to put my comment but the email add for this always says ” sorry server not found”

    mao dinhi nalang ko ,

    Alang sa tagdumala sa mga kantura dinha sa basilica del santoniño, dugay nauntakong mhimo ning maong pangotana kay dugay naman sab ko dinhi sa sugbo, aron ma mubomubo ingnon nako niini pag pangutana;

    Kanang inyong kantura ngalalaki nga mao sagad mokanta sa mga misa sa matag beyernes 3:00pm hantud na sa 5:30pm, makadisturbo sa manimbahay ang iyang kinantahan kay iya man pang usbon ang tuno sa kanta, dugayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy kaayo buhian ang lubot sa pulong orag moutong ug maayo unya pinauntol untol pajud ang paglituk niini, makaingon hinoon ang mga nanimba” UNSA MANI TAWHANA OI MORA MAN KUWANG SA PANSIN” mora ba prostrated singer, palihug kono mga kadagkoan diha sa basilica badlonga kono na ninyo, tambagi ba kay diman mo makatangtang ana ba, tambagi lang, syaro naman pud ug wamo makabantay anang iyang kinantahan nga klaroman kaayo na nga pinalanay ang iyang tunada bisan dili pinalanay ang maong kanta, kon nia patu si mons. villanueva perme na sya kasab-an.

    salamat.

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  • joanne

    nindot man ang basilica,pero ang mga pari walay may
    klaro manganta ug dli katigo motabang sa mga nanginahanglan

  • Bernie

    I beliveve on Sto. Nino. I want to see it by myself. I saw it on my dreams. Exactly the way He is wearing. If I have a vacation there, I will visit Him and make sacrifice by praying rosary.

  • rexie

    how i wish i could visit Basilica Minore

  • http://trixieyu trixie yu

    sa tanang ni comment madette ikaw ra gyoy ni riklamo

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  • melissa

    unsa schedule inyo confession and what time pwde maka confess….?