Basilica del Santo Niño Cebu City Philippines

Basilica del Santo Nińo

Also known as Santo Niño Basilica, this church was founded on April 28th, 1565 by Fray Andrés de Urdaneta and Fray Diego de Herrera, making it the oldest Roman Catholic church in the country.
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Situated at Pilgrim’s Center along Osmeña Boulevard in the Queen City of the South, the Basilica del Santo Niño is home to the oldest religious relic in the Philippines in honor of the Holy Child Jesus. 

Also known as Santo Niño Basilica, this church was founded on April 28th, 1565 by Fray Andrés de Urdaneta and Fray Diego de Herrera, making it the oldest Roman Catholic church in the country, believed to be built on the spot where the image of Santo Niño de Cebú was found during Spanish conqueror Miguel López de Legazpi’s expedition. 

However, its three earlier structures were ravaged by fire, so it was only during the mid-18th century that the present-day Baroque structure was built. Its architectural design is the perfect blending of Romanesque, Neoclassical, and Muslim features. Furthermore, the church’s façade is preserved in its original stone structure and natural color, exuding elegance.

Basilica del Santo Niño Cebu City Philippines
The facade of the Basilica del Santo Niño in Cebu City

Each day, pilgrims and worshippers flock to Basilica del Santo Niño to venerate an image of the infant Jesus. It dates back to Ferdinand Magellan’s time (Magellan was the first Spanish to arrive in the Philippines), and is believed to be the same image he presented to the chief consort of Rajah Humabon of Cebu during their royal baptism to Roman Catholicism on April 14th, 1521. This image is also the centerpiece of the Sinulog Festival, Cebu’s largest annual event.

In 1965, Pope Paul VI made this church a basilica, declaring it to be “the symbol of the birth and growth of Christianity in the Philippines.” It is also designated by the Holy See as the “Mother and Head of all Churches in the Philippines.”

Basilica del Santo Niño Cebu City Philippines2
An image of the Holy Child, a popular representation of Catholicism in the Philippines

How to Get to Basilica del Santo Niño

Basilica del Santo Niño is located on a block beside D. Jakosalem Street, Osmena Boulevard, P. Burgos Street, and Plaza Sugbo where Magellan’s Cross is. To get to this elegant chapel, take a MyBus ride from Mactan Cebu going to SM City Cebu. MyBus is a convenient bus transport system plying around Cebu.

From that point, ride a jeepney with the route code 12I or 10M. Ask the jeepney driver to drop you off at Santo Niño, as locals call it.

You may also hire a private car, or ask your tour operator about this. Navigate using Waze or Google Maps, setting your destination to “Basilica del Santo Niño.” This way, you won’t get lost. 

Best Time To Visit Basilica del Santo Niño

Basilica del Santo Niño is an attraction mostly indoors, so you can visit this church at any time of the year. But, if you want to avoid the crowd, do not visit during peak hours, which are during weekends, and 5 PM onwards on weekdays. 

Basilica del Santo Niño Entrance Fees

Since it is a church, entrance to the Basilica del Santo Niño is free of charge. However, donations are encouraged and will be used for the upkeep of the basilica. 

Basilica del Santo Niño Opening Hours

Basilica del Santo Niño is open daily from 8:30 AM to 6 PM.

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Cebu Insider Team
Cebu Insider Team

Cebu Insider aims to deliver accurate and up-to-date Philippine travel guides to digital nomads, expats, full-time travelers, and remote workers.

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