Magellan's Cross | Santo Nino de Cebu
It was through Ferdinand Magellan, who docked in the shores of Cebu in 1521, that made the Philippines a Catholic country. It is now the Holy Week for us Catholics, so for this post, allow me to show some church pictures I took in Cebu - the place where it all started.
The image of Santo Nino de Cebu is the oldest Catholic artifact in the Philippines, given by Ferdinand Magellan to the Cebuano tribe who became converts to Catholicism. That artifact is housed inside the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino, and every January, there is a very big religious festival known as the Sinulog, celebrated in honor of the Santo Nino.
The Santo Nino may be the most popular in Cebu, but their patron is actually the Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The Sacred Heart Church is possibly the only air-conditioned church in Cebu.
Just last year, Pope Benedict XVI canonized Pedro Calungsod as a Saint, and he was the second Saint to hail from the Philippines (first was St. Lorenzo Ruiz). His church is located within the compounds of the Archbishop's Palace.
A very memorable event during my first visit in Cebu happened here at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. At that time, they were welcoming the image of Birhen sa Simala, and I (together with my brother and another friend) were blessed to be inside the compound of the church to welcome the image, as hundreds of devotees were there earlier than us but weren't allowed to enter.
These pictures were taken in 2009, during my first visit to Cebu. The capital city - also known as Cebu, has lots of churches, but even if one is quite close to the other church, expect every churches to be full whenever a mass is celebrated. I am deeply in awe at how religious people here are.
In 2011, I had the privilege to travel back to Cebu, and what a sweet blessing it was that I got to step inside the Monastery of Holy Eucharist (2 hours away from Cebu City), the home of Birhen sa Simala. Prior to this visit, I once told my sister I couldn't understand her personal connection to the Black Nazarene of Quiapo (that's a different story actually), but she told me in time I will understand. When I arrived here, I understood what my sister meant, because of all the Catholic churches I have visited, this one had an unexplainable connection to me. I actually ran the stairs from the base 'til I reach the top, but I didn't break a sweat and I never felt tired (even if it was a very sunny day and I didn't have umbrella) - something unusual because of my weight.
I always say that I am not really a religious person, but I do believe in God, and I have high respects for all churches, and for what people believe in.
These are just few of the oh so many churches in Cebu.