Santo Niño Devotion: An Advent of Religious Devotion in the Philippines
Christian devotion in the Philippines started from the finding of the Sto. Niño, the first Christian image in the country. The statue was found by the men of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi at 1565 in Cebu. The image is believed to be the same as what Magellan gave to Raja Humabon’s wife, ruler of Cebu in 1521. From then on many devotions to the different icons of Christ and saints started. Many miracles were attributed upon veneration of the image. The devotion to the Sto. Niño had lead many people to great devotion that the Vatican granted the local Church of the Philippines a special day to celebrate the feast every 6th of January. The Niño is enshrined at present in His Basilica in Cebu. Inspired by the widespread devotion to the image, many images of Christ were introduced by the Spaniards. The images are often seen during the procession on Good Friday as highlight of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. The Black Nazarene, Christ carrying His cross, is one of the icons that still at this present generation; very popular. The procession of the Black Nazarene is the one of the massive processions in the country. Devotees swim into a sea of people just to touch the carriage carrying the image. The devotion, as well, gave way to different Filipino Catholic practices such as the Santa Cruzan during May, Salubong on the Easter morning, Tibag as commeration of the finding of the true Cross of Jesus by St. Elena, and many more. Today the Church of the Philippines commits herself for the betterment of the devotions and for the spread of the good news seen in the faith of the people.