Driving through Cebu City on Friday afternoon, I noticed this church and asked my companion when was the Basilica de Sto. Nino renovated. As I remember, the facade of the basilica was gray stone, now it's cream. My companion absentmindedly told me that we just passed by the Cebu Cathedral, not the Basilica de Sto. Nino. Oh, I didn't know there is a Cebu Cathedral! So on Saturday afternoon, I retraced my steps and visited Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. This church is centuries old since Cebu was established as a diocese in 1595. The first bishop, an Augustinian, arrived in Cebu from Mexico in 1598. Construction of this church took almost a century to complete because of frequent interruptions. Work on the construction was suspended when funds were diverted to military campaigns against slave raiders and Moro pirates. The church was designed in 1719, and it was finished in 1811. The architecture of the church is typical with baroque colonial churches in the country---squat, cruciform, and with thick walls to withstand typhoon and other natural calamities. Much of the cathedral was destroyed by American bombings in WW II, with only the belfry (built in 1835), the facade, and the walls remaining. It was quickly rebuilt in the 1950's under the supervision of architect Jose Zaragoza, during the incumbency of Archbishop Gabriel Reyes. The interior of the church, although not the original structure, is beautiful. I would have taken photos of the glowing altar but it was a bit awkward with a mass going on, and preparations for a wedding were underway.
Posted for Weekend Snapshot