Being the so-called Cradle of Christianity in Asia, Cebu’s tradition of Visita Iglesia or Church Visits is very much alive. This tradition is said to be originally honored the Blessed Sacrament seeking penance for one’s sins.
Another origin theory is early Christian communities of the Roman Empire commemorating the passion of Christ in seven parts. When Christianity becomes the official religion of Roman Empire, the practice evolved to its current form of visiting seven churches.
These church visits also take an awesome intricacies of the church’s art and traditions that would help one knows who and why they are. In Cebu particularly, Augustinian-built churches all dating back the 18th to 19th century stand the test of time, not to mention its worthy to be praised peculiar and elaborative designs.
Basilica Del Sto. Niño
Founded in 1565, Basilica Del Santo Niño is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the country. Established right on the spot where the image of the Santo Niño de Cebu was found unscathed among the ashes burned-downed shanty, it has since undergone major renovations. Currently, it utilizes hewn and coral stones and molave with architectural style blending neo-classicism façade in its original texture and natural color conveying simple elegance. (Photo from the wires)
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
Also known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Most Holy Name of Jesus and of St. Vitales, it is the ecclesiastical seat of the Archdiocese of Cebu. Built near the fort, its faced features a trefoil-shaped pediment decorated with carved relives of floral motifs and IHS inscription and pair of griffins. The Spanish Royal Coat of Arms is emblazoned in low relief above the main entrance, reflecting the contribution of the country’s monarch to its completion. (Photo by Steffen Billhardt)
Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Sibonga
Built by the Augustinian missionaries in 1690, its first façade is made of wood and nipa. Currently, the church is now made of stone and corals with architectures depicting neo-gothic manifesting pointed arches, vaulted ceilings, and mock fortifications. Its ceilings boast of magnificent trompe de l’oeil paintings portraying biblical scenes, and beautiful frescoes showing the sacred sacraments of the church. (Photo from the wires)
San Miguel Arcangel in Argao
San Miguel Arcangel Parish Church is an edifice of impressive dimensions—72 meters long, 16 meters wide and 10 meters high. It’s not a typical Spanish colonial church with its curved ceilings that cover a simple nave and a transept that gives it a cruciform shape. Worth to note is its high artistic quality of masonry, a clear evident that can be seen with the façade’s ornamentation. (Photo from the wires)
San Guillermo de Aquitania in Dalaguete
In the church’s inscription, San Guillermo de Aquitana served as protection area of the townspeople against the Moro attacks. What with its Filipino-Spanish architecture, it is one of the few remaining grand church-fortress in the country. Last 2004, it was declared as National Historical Landmark and became the most well preserved baroque-rococo churches in Cebu. (Photo from the wires)
Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio in Boljoon
Built of coral stones and located on a hill facing the Bohol Strait, it served as a watchtower for Moro raids. The church is known for its terra cotta roof tiles and distinct work of Filipino folk art, with set up in a complex, with its own belfry, cemetery and kumbento in the center, and church’s interior with gilded retablo and ceiling paintings. The church has been names as National Cultural Treasure and a National Historical Landmark and under consideration for the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Philippines. (Photo by Steffen Billhardt)
Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepcion in Oslob
Fronting the coast of Oslob is the massive Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepcion, with a simple façade. On its left side is a gigantic bell tower and on its right, the ruins of a monastery that had been connected to the church. Coral stones were used for the church pillars and walls and it used to have brick tiles for the roof but this was replaced with galvanized sheets in 1932. Last 2008, an eight-hour fire took the church’s altar, long chairs, and several religious icons. (Photo by Steffen Billhardt)