Basilica Minore del Santo Niño

sights / Religious

Basilica Minore del Santo Niño information

Location
Cebu City , Philippines
Address
Pres Osmeña Blvd
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Cebu’s holiest church houses a revered Flemish statuette of the Christ child (Santo Niño) that dates to Magellan’s time. The church’s belfry came crumbling down in the October 2013 earthquake and is being rebuilt. The church is no stranger to hardship. Established in 1565 (the oldest church in the Philippines) and burnt down three times, it was rebuilt in its present form in 1737.

Perhaps the church owes its incendiary past to the perennial bonfire of candles in its courtyard, stoked by an endless procession of pilgrims and other worshippers. The object of their veneration is a Flemish image of the infant Jesus, sequestered in a chapel to the left of the altar. It dates back to Magellan’s time and is said to be miraculous (which it probably had to be to survive all those fires). Every year, the image is the centrepiece of Cebu’s largest annual event, the Sinulog festival.

On Sundays and Fridays, the street outside the church is closed off to vehicular traffic, all-day outdoor masses are held and the basilica turns into a sea of pilgrims, water sellers and replica Santo Niño salespeople.