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Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House, Cebu, Philippines | by deanborg
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Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House, Cebu, Philippines

Considered to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, residential houses in the Philippines, it was built sometime between 1675 and 1700. It was originally owned by Maria, Eleutorio, and Consolacion Yap – early Chinese merchants.


The Santo Niño de Cebú ("Holy Child of Cebu") is a Roman Catholic figure of the Child Jesus. The figure is clothed in robes, for centuries the Santo Niño served as the patron saint of Cebu and continues to be celebrated at the Sinulog, the primary festival of Cebú. It is located at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño in Cebu City, Cebu, in the Philippines.


The Spaniards returned to the Philippines in February 1565. Cebu was the settlement of Basque explorer Miguel López de Legazpi, who would later founded Manila. He defeated Rajah Tupas, the ruler of Cebu and nephew of Rajah Humabon, on April 27, and occupied the villages. The Santo Niño was found by Juan Camus a soldier of López de Legazpi, relatively unscathed in a burnt-out hut. This event was quickly acknowledged as miraculous, and a church was later constructed on the area of the discovery. Today, the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño is a historical and religious landmark in Cebu, with devotees forming long line up to pay their respects to the Holy Child.


The Santo Niño was considered to be the patron saint of Cebu. However, the Santo Niño is a representation of Jesus Christ as a child. The Catholic Church in the Philippines sets the Holy Child as an example of humility, and as a celebration of the Incarnation. Many Cebuanos do not consider the Christmas season over until the Feast of the Santo Niño.


In 2002, the Archbishop of Cebu, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, declared Jesus' mother Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe as the official patron saint of Cebu. This upset some of the Santo Niño followers, who felt that the declaration demoted the Holy Child. However, the declaration is consistent with Catholic thought requiring a patron saint be a human saint who has gone to his or her heavenly reward and who prays to God on behalf of the living, rather than a divine being himself.


Since the Holy Child is a representation of Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, he cannot, as God, be considered a patron. In that sense, Cardinal Vidal's move was to actually install a patron saint for Cebu, when before there was none. He did not, however, abolish the feast or the traditional mardigras parade.


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Taken on January 15, 2010