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The Basilica Minore del Santo Nino Cebu City.

  • The Basilica del Santo Nino is a 16th Century Augustin Church in Cebu City. It is named after a 16th century doll, '' The Santo Nino de Cebu '' [ the holy child of Cebu ] which is a European made doll figure representing Jesus Christ as a child similar to the Infant Jesus of Prague. The doll was brought to Cebu in 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan and left there after he was killed there on nearby Mactan Island on 27th April 1521. In 1565 a mariner with Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, Juan de Camus, found the doll at the present location where the Basilica was built.
  • The doll image is believed to be of Belgian origin and is roughly  30.5 centimeters tall, wearing a loose velvet vestment, a gilded neck chain and a woolen red hood. It is carved from wood and coated with paint. The image holds a golden ball, a replica of the world in the left hand, and the right hand is slightly raised as a gesture of blessing, similar to the doll Jesus of Prague.
  • The Basilica site describes, '' Deeply impressed by this discovery, Camus presented the Image to Legazpi and the Augustinian priests. They were so humbled by the significance of the finding of the image that in solemnity, the image was carried in a procession to a provisional chapel. Legazpi then ordered the creation of the Confraternity of the Santo Niño de Cebu with Fr. Andres de Urdaneta as its head. A devotee of the Child Jesus himself, Legazpi installed a festivity in commemoration of the finding of the Holy Image. Although the celebration still survives until today, Pope Innocent XIII moved the celebration to the Third Sunday of January so as not to conflict with the 40-day celebration of Easter.
  • The Cebuano natives revered the Image of Santo Niño as Bathala. They most probably blessed the image with oil or offered sacrifices to the Santo Niño while invoking for His assistance in times of difficulties, reliefs in their necessities or consolations in their adversities. Presently dressed in royalty with its ornate decorations, including a sash adorned with old Castilian coins and a Toison de Oro [ Golden Fleece ] with a ram pendant reputedly given by King Charles III in the 17th century, the image now stands in grandeur that continues to captivate the hearts and souls of his fervent devotees.
  • Stories of the Miracles of the Señor Santo Niño spread like wildfire in the Seas, placing Cebu as the Cradle of the Santo Niño devotion in the Philippines. His devotion spanned to the nearby island-provinces of the Visayas, then advanced to the north to as far as the Ilocandia and reached down south in Mindanao.''
  • Here in Asia today is 16th century Europe. The architecture, the devotion to the doll and the museum artifacts all illustrate a difference between The Philippines and the rest of Asia.
  • There is a  museum inside the Basilica showcasing the history of Christianity in Cebu. Here are antique objects on display, including furniture, priestly vestments and the Santo Nino's old cloaks donated by individuals over the centuries. Religious articles such as statues and relics are also displayed and other items of daily life from the adjacent Convent. Several toys may also be seen which are said to be presents to the Child Jesus.