Basilica del Santo Niño
Basilica del Santo Niño Cebu Reviews
Basilica del Santo Niño and Magellan's Cross Dec 21, 2013
Basilica del Santo Niño, also known as the Minor Basilica of the Holy Child, is a minor basilica located in Cebu City city adjacent to where the Magellan's Cross is located and two blocks south of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. It was founded in the 1565 by Frays Andrés de Urdaneta and Diego de Herrera, and is the oldest Roman Catholic church in the country. It is built following during the expedition of Miguel López de Legazpi, after the spot where the image of the Santo Niño de Cebú was found. The icon, a statue of the Child Jesus, is the same one presented by Ferdinand Magellan to the chief consort of Rajah Humabon upon the royal couple's christening on April 14, 1521 with the artefact being discovered by a soldier 40 years later.
When Pope Paul VI stated that statue indicated the symbol of the birth and growth of Christianity in the Philippines. The Pope erected the area as a church with a rank of a minor basilica in 1965 and remains under the care of the Order of St. Augustine. There is a museum inside the Basilica complex, with exhibits relating to the history of Christianity in Cebu..
There are religious exhibits such as statues and relics, items of daily life from the adjacent convent, toys said to be gifts to the child Jesus, 15 beads of a large Santo Niño rosary. The open theater holds a capacity of about 3,500. The church library covers religious subjects and non-religious disciplines including history, science and philosophy; and is opened to scholars. A sign below the cross describes the original cross that is encased inside the wooden cross and is found in the center of the chapel.
The Magellan cross was an interesting pay-for-prayer experience. It is located in a small structure just outside the Basilica. A sign below the cross describes the original cross that is encased inside the wooden cross that is found in the center of the chapel. The wooden cross is actually protection from vandalism and theft as many believe the cross to have miraculous powers. Some believe that the original cross may have been destroyed or had disappeared after Magellan's death, and that the cross is a replica that was planted there by the Spaniards after they successfully Christianization.
Visiting both the Basilica and the Magellan cross was a neat experience but somewhat marred by the rampant groups of impoverished child beggars in the vicinity. It gave me and my wife a rather uneasy feeling. I still recommend visiting both because it strongly reflects Filipino cultural heritage. The structures are very well preserved and the climate inside the Basilica is very friendly with tourists able to take pictures. A necessary recommendation for visiting Cebu.
Part of the 2013 Travels (Japan/Thailand/Malaysia/South Korea/the Philippines) travel blog
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