Pilgrimage destination: Cebu

Cebu is home to the oldest Roman Catholic church in the country, the Basílica Minore del Santo Niño or more commonly known as Santo Nino basilica. Local lore tells that the Sto. Nino image housed in this church sometimes disappear from it’s glass case and returns with grass stains on the feet as if the Sto. Nino took a walk.

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Magellan’s Cross

Right beside the Santo Nino basilica is the chapel housing Magellan’s cross, which I doubt is original at all. Anyway, it is there to represent the first cross planted by Ferdinand Magellan when he “discovered” the island for Spain back in 1521. The natives were then forcefully converted to the new religion.

There are ladies in uniform selling candles around the chapel who will offer to dance to the saints for your prayers to be heard if you buy from them. Really pushy ladies and were probably the reason why I don’t like this particular landmark at all.

There is a school within the complex and it’s best to avoid visiting when school starts or ends because everyone queues at the gates.



Cebu Metropolican Cathedral's altar

Cebu Metropolican Cathedral’s altar with the bishop’s throne at the left

A short walk from the Sto. Nino basilica is the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral which was completed much later in 1909. I was confused why there are two huge churches within walking distance to each other and had to google the difference between a basilica and a cathedral.

A basilica any church building designated by the pope as important because the carry spiritual, historical and/or architectural significance while a cathedral is a church with a bishop’s throne. A basilica may or may not be a cathedral and vice versa. I like how Mike Hayes explains this difference.

 

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