Inside the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño

I ended my second trip in Cebu City by visiting the shrine of the most venerated image in the island, which is the image of the Santo Niño de Cebu. I only got the chance to take photos outside of the Minor Basilica of Santo Niño in my first visit to Cebu. This time, I ensured that I will get photos inside the basilica.

The Minor Basilica of Santo Niño is just few meters away from Cebu Cathedral Museum. That’s why I didn’t hail a taxi or a pedicab to reach the basilica. The image of the Santo Niño inside the basilica was a gift by Magellan to the newly-baptized Queen Juana of Sugbu (Cebu). The image was then recovered by the Spanish mariner John de Camus during the expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.
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Basilica Minore del Santo Nino
Basilica Minore del Santo Niño

I was not surprised to see a large number of people inside the basilica. The Minor Basilica of Santo Niño always has more visitors than the nearby Cebu Cathedral. Many people flock the basilica just to say their prayers to Santo Niño.

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Altar of Basilica Minore del Santo Nino

The image of Santo Niño de Cebu is not located at the altar but has a separate room near the back of the basilica. I also joined the queue just to have a glimpse of the Santo Niño and say my little prayers to him. I didn’t take any photos of the Santo Niño de Cebu out of courtesy.
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Ceiling of Basilica Minore del Santo Nino

The ceiling of Minor Basilica of Santo Niño depicts various events in the Bible like creation of the Universe and the laying out of the Ten Commandments on a stone tablet. What caught my interest is the painting shows the visit of Magellan in Cebu. The painting depicts historical events like the conversion of Rajah Humabon and his wife Humamay, the first Holy Mass in Cebu and the erection of Magellan’s cross.
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Zoom in of ceiling of Basilica Minore del Santo Nino

The Minor Basilica of Santo Niño is run by Augustinians and the proof it is this:
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Saint Augustine in Basilica Minore del Santo Nino

You can read what is being depicted by this scene in my post about Saint Augustine.

Another interesting area inside the ground of Minor Basilica of Santo Niño is the bas-relief at the wall near the candle area. The relief tells the history of the basilica like the discovery of the image of Santo Niño de Cebu by John de Camus.
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Bas-relief, Basilica Minore del Santo Nino
Recovery of Santo Niño by John de Camus.

I ended my visit to Minor Basilica of Santo Niño by visiting the nearby monument for Magellan’s Cross.

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Magellan's Cross, Cebu City, Philippines

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Viewing Catholic Heritage at Cebu Cathedral Museum – Part II

In the first part of this post, I talked about the Carmen Collection and other pieces located in the first floor of the Cebu Cathedral Museum. Our tour guide then took us to the next part of the museum, which contains the most precious images and religious items that will surely catch the attention of thieves.
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Cebu Cathedral Museum second floor
Second floor of Cebu Cathedral Museum

Before we went to the second floor of the Cebu Cathedral Museum, our tour guide introduced us to this antique stairs:
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Cebu Cathedral Museum - stairs

These are the typical stairs in the houses of rich people during the Spanish Colonial Period. You will know that you are entering a rich man's house if the stairs are made of expensive wood and the topmost step was plated with bronze or other metal, like these stairs.

The second floor of the museum holds images and religious items made of precious materials like ivory, silver and gold. Taking photos of museum pieces in the second floor was prohibited for security purposes. That’s why I don't have any photos of those items.

The most interesting part of the second floor of Cebu Cathedral Museum is the typical room of a Spanish friar. The room only contains a simple bed and the “baul” (chest). The baul is indispensible for missionary friars because it holds all of their belongings. Missionary friars moved a lot during those times, sometimes from on island to the next.

The last part of the tour is the visit to the garden located behind the Cebu Cathedral Museum. The simple garden showcases old bells made in the 19th Century. The bells are small compared to the giant bells in Manila Cathedral.
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Cebu Cathedral Museum - old bell

Some of the bells came from Daan Bantayan, San Remigio and Santa Fe. Many of the bells already have cracks and were given to the museum before it is stolen by thieves.
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Cebu Cathedral Museum - three bells

Aside from the bells, the Cebu Cathedral Museum's garden also showcases the car used by Blessed Pope John Paul II during his 1981 visit. The black car is bullet-proof to better protect the pope when he was traveling.
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Cebu Cathedral Museum - popemobile

That ended my tour in Cebu Cathedral Museum. It was a refreshing tour and I learned a lot of things. The tour guide and the crew of the museum are nice and approachable. I visited the souvenir shop of the museum to look for small image of the Santo Nino. After that, I went to Minor Basilica of Santo Nino to have a closer look at the holy image that is close to the heart of Cebuanos.

So, if you are a tourist and want to know more about Cebu, then I highly recommend that you visit Cebu Cathedral Museum.

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Viewing Catholic Heritage at Cebu Cathedral Museum – Part I

The City of Cebu is not only the first Spanish colony in the Philippines but it is also the first Catholic outpost in the archipelago. It is in this city that Christianity took root and spread in the Philippines and the neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. That is why I believed that my visit to the “Queen City of the South” would be incomplete if I didn't take a closer look at its rich Catholic heritage.

I visited Cebu Cathedral Museum to learn more about Cebu and its Catholic heritage. I was not disappointed and I saw a lot of interesting things, especially the antique items that always excite me.
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Cebu Cathedral Museum

Cebu Cathedral Museum is just few walks away from Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. It was built in the 19th Century and escaped destruction during the Second World War. It served as a convent, school of University of San Carlos, cooperative store and temporary chapel. It now houses various pieces from the Spanish colonial era collected from the different parishes in Cebu province.

Museum tour fee is just 50 pesos per person. The whole tour is about an hour. The tour guide will take visitors to the Msgr. Virgilio R. Yap Memorial Chapel, then to the second floor of the museum, and lastly to the garden at the back of the museum building.
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Cebu Cathedral Museum flooring
Different layers of the museum's flooring.

The tour began at the area where the different layers of museum's flooring are shown. The different layers show how the museum evolved. The first layer is earth, which was then covered by flooring made of coral stone blocks common in Cebu during the Spanish period. Coral blocks are common building materials during that period and they are used in old churches, like the Danao Church.
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Cebu Cathedral Museum unearthed artifacts
Artifacts unearthed in the vicinity of Cebu Cathedral Museum.

Msgr. Virgilio R. Yap Memorial Chapel

The tour then proceeded to the chapel, which houses the so-called “Carmen Collection” that came from the parish of Carmen, Cebu. The centerpiece of the Carmen Collection is the wooden altar that was plated with bronze.
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Cebu Cathedral Museum pre-Vatican II altar

Notice that the altar is different from the one used today. This is a pre-Vatican II altar, which was used during the time when the priest had his back on the people and faces the tabernacle most of the time during the mass similar to the one shown in this picture. It is the time when the priest spoke only in Latin during the mass. Placed on the altar are the tabernacle, which has no consecrated host; crucifix; and candle holders, which are all made in bronze.

Looking at that older altar made me imagine the old Latin mass being held in front of it during the past. I believe that this altar should be preserved and then be used in the future when the old Latin mass made its come back.

Also, on the altar are readings, written in Latin, which are read by the priest during the mass.
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Cebu Cathedral Museum - Latin readings

What caught my attention is the peculiar looking box that looks like a confessional.
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Cebu Cathedral Museum - priest's Sedan chair

Our tour guide said that the box is a carrying-chair, or sedan chair, which is used by the priest during emergencies. This carrying-chair is suitable when the priest is needs to go to a person who is on the verge of death.

There also antique images of saints that are displayed inside the chapel. Some of the saints that I recognized are Saint Martin de Porres and Saint Augustine.
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Cebu Cathedral Museum - antique images of saints
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Cebu Cathedral Museum - Saint Francis of Assisi
Image of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Notice that the hands of Saint Francis are missing. The reason for this is that thieves sliced off the hands because they were made of ivory. Other images inside the chapel suffered mutilations from the hands of thieves. It is sad that many people only care about money and ignore the priceless value of artifacts that are important for the nation's history.

The chapel also contains memorabilia from Blessed Pope John Paul II when he visited Cebu in 1981. Showcased are the garments worn by the blessed pope during his visit:
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Cebu Cathedral Museum - Blessed Pope John Paul II's garments
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Cebu Cathedral Museum - Blessed Pope John Paul II's hat

The popemobile used during his 1981 visit was also preserved and is located in Cebu Cathedral Museum's garden.

Those are the museum pieces inside Msgr. Virgilio Yap Chapel. I will talk about the other areas of the museum in the next post, so please stay tuned.

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Best Pasalubong from Titay's

I asked my Cebuana friend, Juvy, where is the best place to buy pasalubong in Cebu. Her instant answer is “Titay's”. I thought that Titay's is just a simple shop that sells pasalubong items like Colette's in Laguna. My initial idea of the place was instantly erased when I reached the shop of Titay's and saw that it was established in 1907.
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Titays front
(Source: Marlin Beach Lodge)

Titay's is in the town of Liloan, which is located between the Danao City and Cebu City. Buses plying the two cities passes in front Titay's and the shop sometimes serves as a bus stop. You will know that you are near Titay's if you see the replica of Liloan Lighthouse located in the middle of the highway.

Titay's was established by Margarita “Na Titay” Frasco. The shop was then continued by her heirs, who zealously guarded the secret recipes of the founder. The shop is very famous for its rosquillos and other baked products like the otap and galletas.
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Titays bakery
(Source: The Wandering Wonder)
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Titays restaurant
(Source: The Wandering Wonder)

Titay's is not just a bakery but it is also a restaurant. Passengers, who are weary of their long travel, can sit and relax. Weary travelers will truly feel relaxed inside Titay's because of their harpist. Sadly, I didn't heard their harpist play during my visit.
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Titays harpist
(Source: Suroy Pilipinas)

The reason I went to Titay's is to buy pasalubong for my family and friends. I bought two pasalubong packs of rosquillos, otap and galletas. Too bad that had I no more cash to buy the other pasalubong items. I'll buy those items the next time that I visit Cebu.
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Titays rosqillos
(Source: Visit Pinas.com)

I only tasted Titay's rosquillos when I came back home. I was not disappointed and I just tasted the reason why Titay's rosquillos is so famous. The biscuit is sweet and melted in my mouth. It is no wonder that my parents and siblings ate most of the rosquillos in one sitting.

If you are visiting Liloan (Lilo-An) or passing by this town, I suggest that you drop by Titay's to taste their baked goodness. Discover why Titay's managed to exist for more than a century and continued to be popular in the province of Cebu.

Visit Titay's website to know more about their rosquillos and other baked goodness.

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Unfortunately, the photos I took during my visit to Titay's got deleted, which is the reason why posted photos from other blogs were used. Photos are owned by respective owners. Visit their blogs (click on the links below each photos) and read more stories about Titay's.

A Taste of Figaro Coffee

My beloved and I met with my brother at Glorietta Mall after watching two movies (“Unofficially Yours” and “The Vow”). My brother insisted that we meet him at Figaro Coffee Shop for some talks over a cup of coffee.
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Figaro Coffee Company

It is my first time to visit a branch of Figaro. The truth is that avoid visiting any coffee shop because I believe that the price of coffee at those places are too expensive. All I need to do, if I want to drink coffee, is to pour one sachet of instant coffee in a hot cup of water. I just spent less than 50 pesos but I still drank the same coffee that I wanted.

Since we are at Figaro, I decided that it is high time for me to taste their coffee. Since I wanted to cool down and my brother already had his hot cup of Figaro while waiting for us, I decided to buy three of their cold drinks.
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cold Figaro Coffe

I ordered “Chocolate Cookie.” My beloved chose “White Chocolate Macadamia” while my brother chose “Blackberry Mocha.”
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Our Figaro Coffee

Figaro Coffee Company's cold drinks taste good and they are very refreshing. The only problem is that my sweet tooth complains that the Figaro cold drink is not sweet enough. I think that I will ask for additional sugar when I order one of their cold drinks in the future.

Our meet-up at Figaro went well. The ambiance of the place is OK even if the seats are located at a hallway of Glorietta. Figaro allows their customers to charge their laptops. I am not sure if free Wi-Fi is available at that Figaro branch.

An interesting tidbit about Figaro is that it is a Filipino company. This is the reason why Figaro offers local coffee products like the Kapeng Barako of Batangas.

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Blast from the Past

I was flipping through the pages of G. K. Chesterton’s book “Orthodoxy” when I was surprised to see this:
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MMTC ticket

This is an old bus ticket of Metro Manila Transit Corporation (MMTC). What got me excited is the thought that this ticket is quite old. It is possible that the ticket is older than me. An interesting information from the ticket is the ticket cost 2.00 pesos, which may mean that it is the minimum fare during that time. Compare it with the minimum bus fare now, which costs 10.00 pesos.

I showed the old bus ticket to my mom and she told me that she rode the MMTC bus during her college days. She told me that the MMTC buses travels around Metro Manila during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos.

I googled MMTC and I discovered that it is a government-owned company. MMTC was possibly dissolved, like other government corporations, under the presidency of Cory Aquino. There’s no more MMTC buses plying in Metro Manila and only few people remember that MMTC existed. I googled some pictures of MMTC and, to my delight, I saw this:
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MMTC double-decker bus
(Photo by express000)
The bus in the picture is a double-decker Leyland Atlantean model bus on Senator Gil Puyat Avenue (circa 1986). Sadly, there is no more double-decker bus in Metro Manila. I want to experience riding on the top floor of such bus while traveling along Commonwealth Avenue at a speed of 80 to 90 kph. That is an adrenaline-pumping experience that will cause many passengers die of cardiac arrest.

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Different Reactions with Chic-Boy

Hunger found me strolling around World Trade Center, Pasay City one early morning. I was at that place to attend an exhibition there. Unfortunately, that exhibition has no free food so I was forced to look for nearby restaurants to eat. The only options that I considered were Jollibee and Chic-Boy. I decided to go to Chic-Boy since I am yet to try their food. Another reason is that I am already satiated with the foods of Jollibee.

Chic-Boy stands for chicken and baboy (Filipino term for pork). My brother once hailed Chic-Boy as the competitor against Mang Inasal. Now he is making fun of Chic-Boy's caterpillar debacle. My visit to Chic-Boy that morning is fine and didn't involve any caterpillar. I ordered inihaw na liempo (roasted pork belly) with rice and a cup of coffee. That breakfast meal costs me 99 pesos for the inihaw na liempo and rice.
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Chic-Boy inihaw na liempo
Chic-Boy's inihaw na liempo.
The inihaw na liempo is dry and hard to chew. The meat should have been crispy. Well, the crispiness is not present in that inihaw na liempo. I believe that the hard-to-chew inihaw na liempo was an isolated case because I tasted a better Inihaw na Liempo at the Legazpi City Branch of Chic-Boy.

Chic-Boy’s “sabaw” tastes better than that of Mang Inasal’s and the good part is that they have fried garlic that you can liberally shower upon the unlimited sabaw. Like what I said in Tagalog, “sabaw pa lang solve ka na.”

The best food that I tasted at Chic-Boy is their breaded pork chop.
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Chic-Boy breaded pork chop
Chic-Boy's breaded pork chop.
I instantly liked Chic-Boy’s creamy sauce with mushroom. The breaded pork chop is well-cooked and is easy to chew, which is unlike the Inihaw na Liempo that I had complained earlier. The breaded pork chop is OK for the price of 70 pesos because of its good taste, though it is not included to the meals with unlimited rice. I will order the breaded pork chop again if I visit Chic-Boy in the future.

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