I had a quick trip to Cebu couple of days ago. It’s my second time after a couple of years and for the same purpose – work. Anticipating that I may not have the time to walk around the city again, just like the first, I made a commitment that this time, I have to at least see the Sto. Nino Shrine & Basilica and the Magellan’s Cross, Cebu’s famous landmarks. As they say, you’ve never been to Cebu if you have not gone to these places. Below is the facade of the Sto. Nino de Cebu Basilica, a blending of a blending of Muslim, Romanesque and Neo-classical features, and the interior where the Sto. Nino seats at the main altar.
Luckily, they got me accommodation at Hotel La Fortuna located right smack at downtown Cebu. From where I was billeted, the Shrine and the Cross are just 3-blocks away. Before official business scheduled in the afternoon, I have to see these places, considering that I have an early flight to Davao the next day, and I had. Picture below is the Magellan’s Cross that I was made aware as early as grade school. The marker reads: “This cross of Tindalo wood encases the original cross planted by Ferdinand Magellan on this very site, April 21, 1521.”
It was a Friday, the Novena day for the Sto. Nino de Cebu. There were a lot of devotees and what caught my attention were the ladies in yellow shirt and red skirt, selling colourful candles for offering to the Cross. Per intent of a devotee, the ladies dance the “sinulog” a prayer-chant to the Sto. Nino before the candles are offered unlighted. I never asked why the candles at the Cross were not lighted. I just made a presumption that the heat coming from lighted candles might hasten the deterioration of the Cross, being wood. Hope I’m right. Lighted candles are free near the Shrine but not at the Cross.
Trivia: “The Sinulog Festival of Cebu takes its roots from the candle vendors in front of the Church. It is rendition of the “sinug,” a prayer-dance offered either in supplication or in thanksgiving to the Santo Niño. It is by candle-waving women who follow a simple forward and backward routine while offering prayers for any devotee.
The dance routine of the “sinug” is said to be an imitation of the “sulog” (current) of Pahina river of Cebu City. While dancing and waving candles, the women chant: Pit Señor! Pit Señor! which is short for “Sangpit sa Senyor” or loosely translated as “Hail the Lord!” Devotees have also adopted the chant as an ejaculatory prayer and one would normally hear petitions like: Pit Senyor kang Tatay kini (Hail the Lord, this one’s for my father!) [Source]
Below are the candle ladies dancing and chanting the “Sinulog” before candle offering:
Near the Cross is a cove going to the Shrine, the oldest church in the Philippines where the Sto. De Cebu seats. I went inside and offered my little prayer for family, self and friends.
I went around the Shrine and visited the Museum where cameras not allowed at the underground of the pilgrim center [see picture below]. It houses ancient documents of the Augustinians including ledger of expenses incurred [note: in dollars], various dresses and ornaments adorned to the Sto. Nino, religious images, and most interesting are personal belongings like plastic toys and jewelries offered to the Sto. Nino by devotees for thanksgiving.
After work, I still had the chance to go around the city and took some images of the Parian Heritage Monument, constructed from 1997-2000, the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House, now a private museum, and to top it all with no less than lechon Cebu by the name of “Unbelibaboy” at Golden Cowrie Restaurant in Lahug.
It was indeed a short trip, very short of my dream Ceboom trip!!! Well, maybe next time…
SEE RELATED POST/S ON CEBU CITY: