Santo Nino Festival in Manila

our Santo Niño on display along Roxas Blvd for the parade

January in the Philippines has been dedicated by the Vatican to be that special month to celebrate the feast of the most revered Catholic image of the Holy Child Jesus or most known locally as the Sto. Niño.   All over the Philippines the feast of the Sto. Niño is celebrated almost every week of January wherein the most notable among these festivals are the Sinulog Festival of Cebu, Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo, and the Ati-Atihan Festival of Kalibo.

The great following to the image started from the arrival of the first image of the Sto. Niño brought by explorer, Ferdinand Magellan.  This was first given as a gift to Queen Juana, the pagan queen of Cebu during that time, when they were baptized to the Catholic faith.  But Magellan died later on and the Sto. Niño was left to become a pagan idol by the local tribes.  It was only after 44 years when Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrived and revived the image as a Catholic symbol.

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Viva Cebu!

PauTravels at the Magellan's Cross in Cebu

In continuation of our trip last September 2006 in the island of Bohol, our group of 17 people ferry ourselves to one of the key and most historical cities in the Philippines.  Cebu City is part of now the great metropolitan region of Metro Cebu which lies in the middle section of elongated island province of Cebu.

Cebu (pronounced as ‘Se-boo’) is the center of commerce and trade in the Visayan region of the Philippines and is connected to most domestic airports and some international airports through the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.  This makes Cebu as the second major gateway and second most important trade center of the country after Manila.  The Port of Cebu also connects the island to other islands in the country.

Aside from it’s importance in the Philippine economy, Cebu is also very rich in history as it is considered the oldest city in the country.  It marks its existence in history for more than 439 years ago, before the first Spanish expedition came in the islands in 1521 which led to the Philippines’ official discovery, putting it in the map.  The expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan that year has seen a thriving settlement with an organized social structure led by a datu.  And the settlement was already a center of trade by trading Chinese, Japanese, Malays, Indians, Burmese, and Arabs.

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