the Philippines


Manila, Luzon



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Santo Niño

Santo Nino de Cebu

Picture: ©

Santo Niño, the oldest religious image

The image of the Santo Niño is the oldest religious image in the Philippines. The wooden image, made by Flemish artisans, was brought to the island by Fernao Magellan in 1521, just like the Magellan cross. Magellan gave the image  Santo  Niño to Queen Juana as a baptismal gift.



The miracle

Forty-four years later, In 1565, Cebu was for a big part destroyed by a fire. The fire was set on purpose by the Spaniards as a punishment for hostile activities of the Cebuanos.  In one of the burned houses, a Spanish soldier found the image of Santo Niño. Remarkably  unscratched! Since then, the miraculous image has been treated by the Cebuanos as its patron saint. At present, the miraculous image is kept in the Parish convent, and only a replica, adorned with gold and precious stones and enshrined in glass, is hold inside the Basilica Minor del Santo.


The Basilica Minor del Santo Niño

The church was built near the place where the Santo Niño was found in the burned house. On this  place the Spaniards built three times a church.

The first two times the church was built out of wood and nipa. Every time it was burned down. The construction of the present church date from 1735. In 1965 the church was given the title of "Basilica Minor del Santo Niño".   


The Philippines, unique in Asia

From a religious point of view, the Philippines is unique in the Asia, because it is the only country with a dominating Christian religion. In 2003 ninety percent of the Filipinos is Christian! A remarkable difference with Indonesia, where 95 percent  of the people is Islamite. A great difference with other countries in de the region too. Buddhism is dominating in countries like China and Thailand for instance.

     Picture: W.L. Tan

(Source : Angels in Stone by Pedro Galende)




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