Novena Mass in Basilica del Sto. Niño Church

Basilica del Santo Niño is a 16th century church in Cebu City in the Philippines. It is known to be the oldest church in the Philippines. It was built on the exact spot where the image of the Santo Niño, a sculpture depicting the Holy Child Jesus was founded by Spanish explorers in 1565 preserved in a burned wooden box which was left behind during the 1521 Magellan expedition. —Wikipedia

I went to visit the church during its 2nd day of novena for the celebration of the Feast of Santo Niño, or popularly known as the Sinulog.

The Sinulog is an annual festival held on the third Sunday of January. The festival honors the so called vision of the child Jesus, known as the Santo Niño (Holy Child), who used to be the patron Saint of the City of Cebu (since in the Catholic faith Jesus is not a saint, but God). It is a dance ritual that commemorates the Cebuano peoples Islamic and pagan origin, and their acceptance of Roman Catholicism. —Wikipedia

Here are some of the photos I took inside and outside the church.

A vendor taking a break from selling candles.
I thought at first she was praying, but look closely…

Sto. Niño images being sold along the sidewalk.
FYI: The Santo Niño was given by Magellan to the chieftain of Cebu, Rajah Humabon (Carlos), and Hara Amihan (Juana) in 1521.

Devotees wave their arms as they sing “Batobalani sa Gugma” (Magnet of Love)
Because the number of devotees keep increasing over the years, a pilgrim center was built within the church compound opposite of the Basilica and Holy Mass is celebrated on Fridays and other Religious Festivities are held here in the open-air, theater-like structure.

A close up shot of the devotees singing “Batobalani sa Gugma”

A devotee raising an image of the Sto. Niño as he struggles to go near the pilgrim center.

Next, I will post some photos I took during the Sinulog festival last 2007. (Too bad I missed the festival for three straight years.)