Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Rainy Monday in Cebu City

I recently traveled to Cebu to join the Cebu Marathon 2014 last weekend. I went there with my wife Malou and our couple friends and fellow runners James and Blessie. Despite the LPA in Mindanao, we were very thankful that our flights to Cebu and back went on as scheduled. It has been raining the whole duration of our stay but still managed to have a great time. Aside from joining the marathon, we met up with college classmates Dopax and Choy and their respective families. We got treated by these generous friends to lunch, dinner and beer(!). I also got the chance to meet Cebu-based Pinoy Travel Bloggers at Fuente Osmeña Circle where we shared fun stories, barbeque and more beer(!). 

The photos below were taken on our third and last day in Cebu (Jan. 13). After checking out at the Metropark Hotel, we went to Metro Gaisano Colon and left our backpacks at the baggage counter. Our plan was to attend mass at the Sto. Niño Church then visit the nearby Magellan's Cross. So from Gaisano we walked our way towards the church.

Before entering the church's premises, James and Blessie bought a small Sto. Niño statue in one of the vendors at the roadside.

Cebu's Sinulog Festival is held annually in honor of the Santo Niño

The road passing along the church's main entrance was closed to vehicles. Loud speakers and a large screen were set up for the benefit of those who could get inside the jam-packed Pilgrim Center where the mass is held.

The church's belfry damaged by the recent earthquake which struck Bohol and Cebu

Basilica del Santo Niño was originally built in 1565 by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. This church houses the oldest religious image in the country: a statue of the Santo Niño given by Magellan as a gift to Queen Juana of Cebu.

We made our way to the center and attended the mass in spite the on-and-off drizzle. The Cebuanos are known for their devotion to the Holy Child and even the rain could not stop them from hearing the mass.

This is the area where devotees light candles and express their prayers to the Santo Niño:

After the mass we went to the nearby Magellan's Cross. As expected, there were lots of tourists in the area.

 Magellan's Cross is housed in this chapel near the Sto. Niño Church

 The cross was planted by Portuguese and Spanish explorers as ordered by Ferdinand Magellan upon arriving in Cebu on April 21, 1521.

 The original cross is said to be encased in this wooden cross built at the center of the chapel. This is done to protect the original cross from people who chipped away parts of the cross for souvenir or religious beliefs purposes.

We did not linger long in Magellan's Cross as we have a plane to catch later in the afternoon. We dropped by La Fortuna Bakery and Island Souvenirs to buy pasalubongs then ate lunch at McDonalds.

After eating lunch we went back to Gaisano, claimed our bags then rode a taxi to the airport for our afternoon flight back to Cagayan de Oro.

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