The oldest Roman Catholic church in the Philippines, the Basilica of Santo Nino is also one of the most important religious sites in Cebu City. The minor basilica is home to a famous icon, a museum and a library.
The Basilica of Santo Nino owes its status as a site of Catholic pilgrimage to its famed icon, a statue of the Child Jesus. The original statue was presented in 1521 to a royal couple by legendary explorer Ferdinand Magellan. The basilica’s open-air Pilgrim Center bears resemblance to a theatre and can accommodate as many as 3,500 worshippers. The church’s museum showcases documents, vestments and antiques dating back to the 17th century.
The Basilica of Santo Nino is centrally located in Cebu City. It is situated directly across from Magellan’s Cross and within walking distance of the waterfront Fort San Pedro. There are also a number of university campuses nearby. The closest public transportation to the church is the Santo Nino Barangay Hall bus stop, served by several lines of the city bus system.
When Santo Nino received its basilica status in the 1960s, Pope Paul VI called it a symbol of the birth and growth of Christianity in the Philippines. The church was first founded in 1565 when an image of the Holy Child was found in a burned hut. The present building was constructed in the 18th century.