Cebu Basilica Commemorates 459th Kaplag Anniversary

Cebu Basilica Commemorates 459th Kaplag Anniversary

The Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu (BMSN) celebrates the 459th anniversary of the finding of the image of the Santo Niño on April 28, 2024.

Commemorating the Kaplag—Cebuano word for “finding”—Augustinian friars, religious organizations, institutions, and devotees unite from April 19 to April 28, 2024 to participate in the Novena Masses and other religious activities.

In remembrance of discovering the oldest religious icon in the country, the Augustinians drew inspiration from the miraculous image of the Holy Child, leading to the formal evangelization of the Philippines and the propagation of the Santo Niño devotion.


Highlights of the 459th Kaplag Celebration









On the seventh-day Novena Mass, April 25, 2024, Fr. John Ion Miranda, OSA presided over the eucharistic celebration held at the Magellan’s Cross kiosk.

He emphasized in his homily the significance of the presence of Jesus Christ in our journey that alleviates our daily struggles in life.

“Ang Diyos mismo ang nihimo’g mga lakang aron ato Siya’ng makaplagan, nga ato Siya’ng mahimamat…” said Fr. Miranda.

Shortly after the Mass, several devotees participated in the procession of the pilgrim image of Señor Santo Niño de Cebu heading to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.











On the second day of the triduum activities leading to the 459th Kaplag celebration, the pilgrim image of the Holy Child visited the Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish, where the image was designated to stay for a night.

Meanwhile, the eighth-day of Novena Mass was held at the Basilica presided over by Fr. Jaime Silvestre Parmisano, OSA.

He shared in his homily that God’s presence encourages us to find strength in trusting His will and plan, reassuring that the Child Jesus accompanies us in every aspect of our lives.

“The Lord is telling us not to be troubled… There is nothing that we need to fear because He is with us,” said Fr. Silvestre.

On Visperas day, devotees gathered at the Santo Niño Pilgrim Center for the ninth-day Novena Mass presided over by Fr. Genesis Labana, OSA.

He echoed that God wants us to seek Him in our lives as we cannot stand alone in our journey as His children.

“If we remain faithful to Him, our life will prosper and bear [more] fruit,” said Fr. Labana.









Earlier that day, the pilgrim image of the Santo Niño de Cebu returned to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de from San Nicolas Parish.

The image was welcomed by a Halad Sinulog of the Basilica United Vendors and Photographers Association (BUVPA) and the San Diego Dancers.


459th Kaplag Feast Day

A sea of devotees filled the Sto. Niño Pilgrim Center to celebrate the 459th Kaplag Feast Day on April 28, 2024.









Amid the scorching heat of the sun, the San Diego dancers performed a reenactment of the “Kaplag” or the finding of the Sto. Niño image in 1565

After the reenactment was the Pontifical Mass presided over by Most Rev. Ruben C. Labajo, D.D. Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cebu, together with some of the Augustinian friars of the Province of Santo Niño de Cebu- Philippines and other diocesan priests.

In his homily, Bishop Labajo highlighted the importance of letting go of painful situations.

He added that we must sacrifice what has been and allow God to take away what is not meant for us to help us grow while staying connected to Him.

After the Pontifical Mass, various religious organizations and other institutions offered a Halad Sinulog in honor of the Holy Child namely: Cofradia del Sto. Niño de Cebu–Mother Chapter; San Diego Dancers, Basilica United Vendors and Photographers Association (BUVPA); Cofradia del Sto. Niño de Cebu– Minglanilla Chapter; Cofradia del Sto. Niño de Cebu– Tubigon Chapter; University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF); and St. Cecilia’s College.









Kaplag signifies a very important role to our Christian faith in the Philippines.

Historically, the Santo Niño image was a gift of Ferdinand Magellan to Queen Juana– “upon her ardent wish to have it in place of her local deities”– on the occasion of the first baptism held in the country on April 14, 1521.

Forty-four years later, “On April 28, 1565, the dramatic yet providential discovery (pagkakaplag) of the same wooden image [the Santo Niño] in a partially scorched hut started the distinctive Christian heritage of the Philippines.

The Augustinians who accompanied the journey commenced the systematic evangelization and Christianization of the islands. The subsequent foundation of the Church and Convent of the Augustinians rose on the actual site where the statuette was found. It became the central house of the Augustinians, the mother church in the Philippine Islands.”

As we commemorate Kaplag, may we also rediscover in our hearts, in our lives the Child Jesus, the Santo Niño, who remained in us. /Denise Mae Codis and Jonnavie Villa, BMSN Media Centre volunteers 


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