Churches in the Cebu City, Philippines: Basilica del Santo Nino and Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

Continuing my mini-blog series about our trip to Cebu–The main religion in the Philippines is Catholicism, and it began spreading rapidly from island of Cebu, so there are beaucoup des churches in the country with Spanish/Mediterranean style influences–pretty unique for a country in Southeast Asia.

The oldest church in the Philippines is in Cebu—the Basilica del Santo Nino, which is located right beside Magellan’s Cross.

basilica del santo nino

The Entrance & Exit to the church.

basilica del santo nino praying inside


Santo Nino refers to the Holy Child, aka Baby Jesus, and he is considered the patron of Cebu. You can see many statues of him and choose from the hundreds of Santo Nino souvenirs outside of the church.

basilica del santo nino baby jesus

It’s believed that the church was built in a location where the image of the Holy Child was found.

basilica del santo nino jesus painting

A painting of Santo Nino

People touch the cross as they pray.

The church is still very active, so don’t be surprised to see people inside praying or even holding mass. That being said, you must be respectful of the church and dress appropriately covered, observe quietly, and limit photography (i.e. no flash and don’t interrupt service/personal praying for a selfie).


basilica del santo nino praying inside
basilica del santo nino praying


cebu basilica del santo nino garden

There is a garden in the center. Got photobombed by a cutie.

Across from the Basilica is the Pilgrim Center, a sort of overflow area for the ever-growing number of church attendees. It’s also used for celebrations and festivals and has a museum.


Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is part of the archdiocese in the Philippines, meaning an archbishop oversees the church, which is usually larger in size. (It’s all part of the hierarchy within Catholicism.)

It’s gone through tons reconstruction phases and renovations over the years after having its original construction continuously interrupted by lack of funds, materials, or wars. The architecture heavily mirrors Spanish architecture.

cebu metropolitan cathedral

More free/cheap sites to visit in Cebu City (in less than one day) here.

Check out our vlog of our trip to Cebu City here!

Read more about historical sites in Cebu here.

Read more about the leisurely side of Cebu (food, shopping, transportation).

About Atembe

Atembe is a Cameroonian-American who is exactly 27 years old (because saying "20-something" is SO 2016) and currently teaching kiddos art and English in South Korea. In her free time she's dancing, drinking too much celebrity tea, living vicariously through characters in her favorite TV comedies, or [sometimes] letting her husband Eric beat her at Wii. Catch her on Twitter or Instagram via @sothisisfate, and for a faster response, tweet her a "TAR!..."

1 comment on “Churches in the Cebu City, Philippines: Basilica del Santo Nino and Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

  1. Pingback: 10 Things to Do in Cebu City in LESS THAN ONE DAY! – So This Is F.A.T.E.

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