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Basílica Menor del Santo Niño

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Built in 1740, the Basílica Menor del Santo Niño (or Minor Basilica of the Holy Child) claims to be the oldest church in the Philippines. The church was built in place of the Church and Convent of Saint Augustine, which was originally built in 1565. The current church, ordered by then-Spanish Governor of the Philippines Fernando Valdés y Tamon, was constructed with stronger materials than preceding structures.

The church houses the image of the Santo Niño, the oldest religious relic in the country, dating back to the 1521, when Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Spain and handed Rajah Humabon and his wife the image of the Santo Niño after they were baptized under the Catholic faith.

In 1965, Pope Paul VI elevated the church to a minor basilica. Basílica Menor del Santo Niño is one of 37 minor basilicas in the East Asia and Oceania region; one of 12 in the Philippines.

The basilica suffered major damage from the 2013 Bohol earthquake. Currently, portions of the church are closed for renovation.

Cebu's annual Sinulog Festival celebrates the Santo Niño.

Cebu’s annual Sinulog Festival celebrates the Santo Niño.

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Written by Paulo Loreto

May 6, 2014 at 9:48 AM

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