By Sean Platon
Looking for a place to visit in the Philippines – see and experience our Filipino culture and religion? Well, look no further. We have found a great place for you – Cebu City, the Queen City of the South. However, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, its founder, called it “City of the Most Holy Name of Jesus”.
Magellan’s Cross (Courtesy of Wikimedia.org)
It’s most famous landmark is the Magellan’s Cross, reputed to have been erected by Ferdinand Magellan when he first arrived in 1521. Just a few steps away, is the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, the Mother and Head of all the churches in the Philippines. It houses the country’s oldest Christian relic the miraculous image of the Child Jesus, the Santo Niño de Cebu given Magellan to Queen Juana after her baptism.
Every year, on the third Sunday of January, a religious and cultural event is celebrated in honor of the Santo Niño. A ritual dance resembling the movement of the river current, in Cebuano “sulog”, thus, its name – Sinulog. Devotees performed it after the procession of the miraculous image. Although the dance itself is very old, yet the parade and street-dancing were only organized in the 1980’s.
Sinulog Dance (Courtesy of wikimedia.org)
Other places of interest:
Fort San Pedro
Fort San Pedro or “Fuerza de San Pedro” located in the Plaza Independencia, was built in May 8, 1565 by the joint-efforts of the Spanish and the Cebuanos under Legazpi.
Heritage of Cebu Monument
Located in the original Plaza Parian in Colon Street (the oldest street in Asia), is a tableau of sculptures from the conversion of Rajah Humabon up to the recent canonization of the Cebuano martyr St. Pedro Calunsod.
Lastly, Cebu Provincial Capitol Building
The Catholic Church in Cebu
Demoralized by Magellan’s death in 1521, the Cebuano converts returned to paganism. When Legazpi arrived in 1565, he brought with him the first missionaries – the Augustinian Fathers, headed by Fr. Andres de Urdaneta, OSA. Then, Cebu was raised into a suffragan diocese of Manila on August 14, 1595 with Fr. Pedro de Agurto, OSA as its first bishop. On April 28, 1934, it was erected into a Metropolitan See with Bishop Gabriel Reyes as its first Archbishop. At present, it is headed by Archbishop Jose Palma and statistically, it is the largest diocese of the Philippines.
The SSPX in Cebu
Fr. Thomas Onoda was the first SSPX priest to visit Cebu in 1996. Yet, it was only in 1998 that Fr. Marc Vernoy started to celebrate Mass regularly. Various priests from St. Bernard Noviciate ministered there. For about 6 years, the faithful rented the roof-top of Ancestor’s Pension House as make-shift chapel. Providentially, the Haefely family of Switzerland built a chapel for the exclusive use of the SSPX. Bishop Richard Williamson blessed it on August 5, 2005. Today, it is our St. Pius V Chapel in San Jose Village, Umapad, Mandaue City.
Evidently, there are still other interesting places in Cebu. But, it’s up to you now to find out and discover! So, why not join our pilgrimage and discover Cebu with Our Lady? See you in Cebu for our National Pilgrimage of Tradition, April 27 – 29, 2017!