The Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino is the oldest Roman Catholic Church and monastery of the 16th Century in the island of Cebu. It is strategically located in the center of the city as one of the many local attractions. The history of the Santo Nino itself runs thus: Miguel Lopes de Legazpi’s men found the image of the Santo Nino and pronounced it miraculous as it had survived a fire that gutted the structure of the house in which it was then. The devastating fire left only the blacked Santo Nino, which was burnt so bad that it was hardly recognizable. As Legazpi put it, the statue’s survival was therefore nothing short of a miracle. Legazpi then immediately ordered the construction of the church after such event, which leads us to the Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino today. The church façade provides a perfect example of the combination of three different architectural styles: Muslim, Roman and Neo-classical.
The church was originally built by the Spaniards in 1566 with its original name, San Agustin Church, but it was rebuilt twice, once in 1602 and later in 1735 due to damage from fires and natural calamities. In 1965, Pope Paul VI decided to elevate it to a basilica minore as a tribute to the Sto. Nino de Cebu. The original materials of the church were hard wood, mud and nipa but, upon the order of then-governor of Cebu Fernando Valdes Tamon, the church was rebuilt in hard stone materials to preserve both integrity and beauty. The church is dubbed as earthquake-proof now and, with its design features projecting an eclectic mix of influences, is an architectural treat for Cebu visitors. [Read more…]