Basilica del Santo Niño was erected by Augustinian Fathers in 1565 making it the first church in the Philippines. It was built as a home for the country's oldest religious relic, an image of the Santo Niño or Holy Infant Jesus. The statue is considered miraculous and a blessed replica can be found in practically every Cebuano household, store, and vehicle.
Not one of the most stunning Philippine church structures I've seen but nevertheless a must visit due to its historical relevance. In 1565, Spanish conquistadors, led by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, found the blackened image of the Santo Nino encased in a burnt wooden box, believed to be left behind by Portuguese and Spanish explorers in 1521. It is also widely believed that the same image was given to Queen Juana and Rajah Humabon of Cebu by Ferdinand Magellan, as a gift after their Christianization in 1521. Founded in April 28, 1565, the church is the oldest in the Philippines. It stands on the exact spot where the image was found. The first church was made out of earth, hardwood and nipa. The stone church that we see today was only constructed between 1735-1739. Finally in 1965, during the 4th centenary of the Christianization of the Philippines, Pope Paul VI promoted the church to the rank of minor basilica.
An icon of Christianity in the Philippines, a magnitude of church goers attend masses or just visit the church especially on a Sunday. Plenty of security personnel are scattered inside, mostly taking care of the crowd traffic. Many devotess believe that the image of Santo Nino kept by the church is miraculous.
A plaza in front of the church is where the Cebuanos hold the annual Sinulog Festival grand presentation after the city-wide parade. The festival, I think is the liveliest and the best festival in the Philippines (although I haven't personally witnessed it yet, as of this writing.).
I dont think this is actually in Cebu itself, but it is nearby. This is where Lapu Lapu killed Ferdinand Magellan On April 27 1521. I came here on April 26, so there was a big festival goin on. This is a very historic site for the Philippines. If you get the chance you should go take a look...
Constructed in the mid 1700's, the church houses the image of the Sto. Niño believed to be the one brought by Ferdinand Magellan to the country.
Everyday, there is a long queue of people wanting to touch or "kiss" the image.