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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral in Cebu City

Cebu Metropolitan cathedral also known as The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Angels and of St. Vitales (consecrated to the Archangels and all angels and dedicated to the saint) is one of the oldest churches in Cebu City. Cebu is known to be the birthplace of Christianity in the Philippines and there are a lot of historic and captivating churches to visit in the beautiful city. It is the ecclesiastical seat of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Cebu in Cebu, Philippines. August 14, 1595 was the establishment of Cebu as a diocese and was elevated as a metropolitan archdiocese on April 28, 1934 with the dioceses of Dumaguete, Maasin, Tagbilaran, and Talibon as suffragans.

There were disruptions when it was constructed which caused the delay of the construction and took many years to be built. Vacancies in the office after the death of the incumbent Bishop who spearheaded the construction of the church and other unexpected events made the disruptions. Other reasons of the disruptions are lack of funds and Moro wars. There was one time that the funds intended for the construction of the Cathedral was given to the Moro wars. 

It is located in San Roque, Cebu City, a few meters away from Rajah Humabon Park, 5 minutes away from Basilica del Santo Nino and Magellan’s cross. It is also 15 minutes away from Fort San Pedro and about 5 minutes away from Colon Street. Don’t worry, you can always ask the friendly Cebuanos to where Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is located. The structure of the church is archetypal of Spanish colonial churches in the Philippines. The Church is made up of extensive and with thick walls to survive the typhoons and other natural calamities. The frontage features a trefoil-shaped pediment decorated with sculpted relieves of floral motifs, an IHS (a monogram being a symbol of Jesus Christ in form of acronym) inscription and an entrance reflecting possibly the contribution of the Spanish sovereign to its construction.

Since early of 2014, the present rector and parish priest of the cathedral is Reverend Monsignor Ruben Labajo. Much of the Cathedral was destroyed by Allied bombings of the city throughout the World War II. Only the frontage, the belfry and the walls remained. It was swiftly rebuilt in the 1950’s under the control of architect Jose Maria Zaragosa throughout the commitment of Archbishop Gabriel Reyes. A mausoleum was built at the back of the sacristy at the initiation of Archbishop Julio Cardinal Rosales in 1982. It functions as a final resting place for the remains of Cebu’s bishops and clergy. Cardinal Rosales, who died months after the inauguration of the mausoleum, is interred there together with Archbishop Manuel Salvador, Archbishop Mariano Gaviola (the archbishop of Lipa from 1981-1993) and a coadjutor archbishop of Cebu. The first Filipino and Cebuano bishop of Cebu, Bishop Juan Bautista Gorordo, is also laid to rest there.

The Cathedral was revamped for the 75th anniversary celebration on April 28, 2009 of the ennoblement of Cebu into an archdiocese. For the Cathedral’s ennoblement into a minor Basilica, in honor of Saint Vitalis who is an early Christian martyr, the application at the Vatican is still pending. Saint Vitalis’ feast day occur simultaneously with the day the image of Santo Nino de Cebu was found almost 450 years ago as well as the anniversary of the elevation of Cebu into an archdiocese. Inside the church, everyone can appreciate the newly decorated interior with chandeliers that made it look elegant and brilliant. The parking area is also improved for the church goers as well as tourist. The improvements on the Altar inside the church are the most amazing improvement of all. Its classic design and golden colors makes it really appreciative. There are also improvement of the sound system and placement of televisions at the side area of the church to provide a better and a solemn atmosphere.

To get there, it is accessible by most Jeepneys going to Colon Street and the regular fare is Php 7. You can also ask the driver if he passes the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. You can also take a taxicab with regular flag down rate of Php 40 and Php 3.50 for every succeeding 500 meters or waiting time per 90 seconds. Taking a taxicab is much easier and convenient way to get there. Otherwise, you can also take Van rentals and JLC Trading is highly recommended for your van rental and Cebu tour needs. JLC trading offers the best van rental services with friendly and knowledgeable drivers, as well as with free WIFI onboard.

Church goers and/or tourist are welcome to visit Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. There are no worries towards the safety and security in the church premises because there are several roving guards. It is allowed to take pictures inside the church but just be sure that there is no ongoing mass, as it may disturb the church goers or the solemnity of the ceremony. When visiting the church, it is important to wear your most comfortable yet decent attire. For the mass schedule, from Monday to Friday, there is a mass that starts at 5:30 am and the last schedule is at 4:00 pm. For Saturday schedule, the first mass starts at 5:30 am and the last mass starts at 7:00 pm. For Sunday schedule, the first mass starts at 5:00 am and the last mass starts at 8:30 pm.

For any inquiries you may contact the office of Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral at 2558823/2536422.

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