Basilica Menor del Sto Niño de Cebu (Minor Basilica of the Holy Child of Cebu)

Official Name: Minor Basilica of the Holy Child of Cebu[1]

Classification Status: National Historical Landmark[1]

Town or City: Cebu City

Year Declared: 1941[2]

Other Declarations: Registered Property, Cebu City[1]


History of the Church and Convent:
The Augustinian Fathers, led by Rev. Andres Urdaneta, established the first church and convent in 1565 in the Philippines, dedicated to St. Vitalis and the Immaculate Conception. Unfortunately, both were burned down in 1566. A second church arose in 1628 after the earlier one succumbed to fire. The present church, renowned for its devotion to the Santo Niño, was constructed during Rev. Juan Albarran's priorship from 1735 to 1737.[2]

Construction and Renovations:
Construction of the current church commenced in February 1735, utilizing stone and involving contributions from parishioners in Opon, San Nicolas, and Talisay. The church was completed on January 16, 1740, with the miraculous image enshrined inside. Renovations occurred in 1789 and 1889, preserving the original features. A larger restoration was carried out in 1965, respecting the historical character of the structure. On April 1, 1965, it received the honorific title of Basílica Minore and was declared a National Landmark.[2]

Heritage Designations:
The Church and Convent of Santo Niño was declared a National Historical Landmark in 1941. Pope Paul VI designated it as "the symbol of the birth and growth of Christianity in the Philippines." It was recognized as the "Mother and Head of all Churches in the Philippines" in the ecclesiastical document Ut Clarificetur. On April 14, 2021, the National Museum of the Philippines declared it and the Magellan's Cross Pavilion as National Cultural Treasures.[2]

Church Complex:
To accommodate a growing number of devotees, a pilgrim center was constructed opposite the Basilica in September 1990, accommodating 3,500 people. The basement houses the Basilica Del Sto. Niño Museum. Established in 1965, the museum contains church documents, antique furniture, vestments, relics, statues, and replicas of the Sto. Niño. It is currently located in the basement of the Pilgrim Center.[2]

Basilica del Santo Niño Library:
Originally exclusive to friars, the church library opened to nonclerical researchers in 2000. It covers religious and non-religious subjects, including history, science, philosophy, and Filipiniana.[2]

The Basílica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu Basilica Complex is situated between Osmeña Boulevard, D. Jakosalem St., P. Burgos St., and Plaza Sugbo, where Magellan's Cross is located. The main entrance is on Osmeña Boulevard, with the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral two blocks north.[2]