Earthquake damage at Sto. Nino Minor Basilica

The Sto. Nino Minor Basilica as photographed a day after the belfry toppled down during the earthquake of 15 October.

The Sto. Nino Minor Basilica as photographed a day after the belfry toppled down during the earthquake of 15 October.

The fateful day of 15 October 2013, when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the town of Sagbayan in Central Bohol was an unexpected cataclysm. Almost all the heritage churches of that province were badly damaged with two churches in Maribojoc and Loon went down in rubble.

The neighboring island province of Cebu was also badly affected with several buildings damaged and structures suffering cracks. Two days after the disaster, me and friends from the Cathedral Museum of Cebu inspected some churches in the southeastern side, from Carcar to Argao and I was able to photograph the damages suffered in these structures. A day before this trip, I also surveyed city heritage structures that includes four churches and a cemetery chapel.

The Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino might be the most popular church in Cebu due to the devotion of many Catholics around the Philippines and the world to the Holy Child enshrined in this edifice. Every third Sunday of January, the number of people multiplies as it is the feast of the venerated icon and fiesta of Cebu City which is the Sinulog.

The present structure of the Sto. Nino was started in 29 February 1735 when the foundations were started. Prior to this building were three or four other churches that were erected but got destroyed. It was finished in 1739 by workers from Carcar, Boljoon and San Nicolas who were paid in cash for their services.

When it was built, Fr. Visitor General Juan de Albarran employed three basic elements of architecture: utility, durability and beauty. It has withstood earthquakes but was restored and reinforced in 1782 and 1889. Until the earthquake of 15 October, it has stood proud.

Of the churches and religious heritage sites that were affected by the earthquake, Sto. Nino Minor Basilica suffered the most with its belfry toppling down with two bells falling with the debris. I don’t have any idea on the extent of damage inside as the church was cordoned off. Below are the images of the extent of damage to the basilica belfry.

View of the damaged portion of belfry as seen in front

View of the damaged portion of belfry as seen in front

Front view of Basilica as seen from the open space

Front view of Basilica as seen from the open space

View of damaged portion of belfry as viewed from the north east side

View of damaged portion of belfry as viewed from the north east side

Damage as seen from the side

Damage as seen from the side

View of the damaged portion of belfry as viewed from the side

View of the damaged portion of belfry as viewed from the side

Portions of the facade chipped off by the falling belfry

Portions of the facade chipped off by the falling belfry

It's interesting to note how the top of the belfry is constructed and put in place.

It’s interesting to note how the top of the belfry is constructed and put in place.

One of two bells that fell from the belfry. This one was cast by Hilario Sunico based on the inscriptions on the bell. It was commissioned by Fray Gaudencio Castrillo

One of two bells that fell from the belfry. This one was cast by Hilario Sunico based on the inscriptions on the bell. It was commissioned by Fray Gaudencio Castrillo

While there are no visible damage on the Magellan's Cross kiosk, except for small fragments of stone, it was cordoned off until inspected

While there are no visible damages on the Magellan’s Cross kiosk, except for small fragments of stone, it was cordoned off until inspected

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