Cebu a cradle of the Christianity in Asia
The Philippines is the largest Christian country in Asia. Although there are a number of minority religions in the Philippines, the country is mostly made up of adherents to Roman Catholicism and practitioners of religious activities brought from Spain by Spanish conquerors centuries ago.
Cebu, as the cradle of the country’s Christianity, remains inhabited by the most religious Filipinos in the country. May it be the urban or rural area of the island, surely you will be exhibited by various religious sites.
1. The Basilica Minore del Sto Niño
Most Cebuanos are raised Catholic. Going to church every Sunday is more than just a family activity. It is a responsibility that every Roman Catholic should cordially do. Yes, it is a common weekend activity, but still going to sacred places such as the Basilica is very emotional for most Cebuanos. People wave to the image of the Sto. Niño the moment they set foot on the sacred grounds of the Basilica and also before leaving. Some walk on their knees from the doorway towards the altar crying. Others kneel and pray for hours and hours. Most pilgrims are willing to endure the overcrowded Basilica, especially every Sunday without complaining. This Basilica houses the oldest religious relic in the island – the image of the child Jesus, Sto. Niño. It has both historical and religious significance to Cebuanos. The Christian religion remains so alive in Cebu.
2. Virgin De La Regla Parish
Whether you go northwards or southwards, there will always be tons of religious sites you could choose from. One of them is the Virgin De La Regla Parish. It houses the miraculous image of mother Mary. It gives extraordinarily unique feeling when people and great believers relate the origin and history of the image of Mama Mary and of this church. The image is not like any other images of Mary you’ve seen elsewhere. It is black and it seems burnt. The word “regla” refers to a woman’s menstrual in the Cebuano dialect. According to some people, the image was called Virgin De la Regla because, just like a woman’s menstrual flow it follows a rule or cycle. Therefore, if translated in English, it’d be the Virgin of the Rule. This image was brought by a Friar in the 1700’s and is still patronized by the locals up to now.
3. Mount Calvary – San Fernando Cebu
This place is not known to many since the area is so remote. Located in the mountainous part of San Fernando, Cebu is a place where people can go to worship God. The devotion of the locals here are so heart warming. In Lenten season, some locals and non-locals come here by trekking, as a form of sacrifice and penitential act. Reaching the top is more than rewarding. The best thing is that, people know that they went there not for the view but for praying for the forgiveness of their sins and to give honor to Jesus Christ for dying for the sins of the world.
4. Theotokos Shrine CarCar
It houses a very big image of Mama Mary and the icon which means Mother of God in Greek. It became an official Archdiocese of Cebu in 1996 by Ricardo Cardinal Vidal. The famous icon was authenticated as a genuine Russian icon of the 17th century. It was a gift to Atty. Manuel Go through Madam Astrid. It was originally bought from an antique store in Poland.
5. Simala-Lindogon Church
It was believed that an old man has already foreseen that the mountains of Lindogon will be visited by many people and that it will be a home for religious praise and worship. An old man of Lindogon kept telling such stories that nobody believed in the past. At the present, it became one of the most visited religious sites in Cebu. It seems to prove the old hearsay. One should be reminded to wear the right kind of clothes when visiting. One shouldn’t wear sleeveless, or short shorts and skirts.