Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cebu Cathedral - Building the House of the Faithful

I didn't realize until much later that Cebu Cathedral is different from the more popular Santo Nino Basilica. How's that for a frequent Cebu visitor? The cathedral, constructed out of cut stones and concrete plasters, is actually the ecclesiastical seat of the Archdiocese of Cebu. Construction started in 1689 but took hundreds of years to finish due to several impediments like the death of its founder and more exigently, the lack of funds. If this wasn't the case, financial allocations were diverted to "moro wars".

I was of course conscious of its architectural design, known to feature a trefoil pediment, garnished with floral relief. There's a three-tier belfry. The bell tower is an original structure built in 1835 which was spared during the bombings of World War II.

The front yard has a lush palm garden filled with European lamp posts, statues of the Virgin Mary, and a number of park spaces.

There's a brass door in front that contains dioramas depicting time pieces from the history of Catholicism (I noticed one with Pope Pius). In the same compound, there'a souvenir shop. There are also banners of the Philippines' first saint, San Lorenzo Ruiz. Likewise, I found tarpaulins of San Pedro Calungsod, the country's second saint.

Though recently renovated in 2009, the cathedral was badly hit by the Visayan earthquakes of 2013, they had to close the church for quite some time. But during my visit last March, it was back in operation. Unfortunately, cracks at the main pediment were visible. Inside is a different story, as though the ravages of time and natural calamities haven't pilfered the spirit of the faithful.

The interiors display an altar painted with gold, the retablo carved out of mahogany by Laguna artist Robert Cruz. In the middle, statues of the two Filipino saints flank the crucified Jesus. Other saints are on display around the church. There's a beautifully maintained organ hanging down the balcony. Chandeliers are also seen inside. Curiously, I found a Buddhist statue of a guardian lion, called komainu, somewhere in the compound. What is it doing there, I don't know.

Where is the cathedral located? If you've been to the Santo Nino Basilica, the Cathedral of Cebu can be found a block behind the basilica.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

The belfry is an original structure circa 1835.

The komainu, a Buddhist figure is found in the compound. In the Buddhist cultures, they are meant to ward off evil spirits.

Souvenir shop

Schedule of masses. Please enlarge to check the schedules.

To the left of the cathedral is this archdiocesan residence.

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