Our Lady of Guadalupe de Cebu - Cebu Philippines : History and Miracles

Sometime in the year 1880, Ricardo Ramirez, a wild chicken trapper who lived in the forested area of what was then Barrio Banawan (now Barangay Guadalupe), in the course of his trapping activities, saw a light flashing from a cave known as "langub na duha'y baba" (cave with two mouths) near the river called Sapang Diyot in Barangay Kalunasan in Cebu. Surprised by what he saw, Ramirez called the attention of the other trappers who were near him but when they looked, they could not see anything. Ricardo decided to investigate the source of the light inside the cave. He got inside and saw that the light flashes came from an image of Our Lady. The image was standing atop a naturally formed rock, beside which a slow drip of water cascaded into a basin -shaped rock on the floor.This revered Image was transferred from the cave to a level ground near the river. On this site, a hermitage, made of light materials, was erected. During the Philippine-American War, the hermitage was burnt down. For this reason, the holy Image was translated to the Church of San Nicolas, Cebu. In olden times, the hermitage and the cave were widely visited by the faithful who came to seek support and protection from the venerated Image in order to find remedies to their afflictions.
The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Cebu is distinct from that of the one at Extremadura and that of the apparition at Mexico. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Cebu is actually a rendition of an image of the La Purisima Concepcion / Inmaculada Concepcion (Immaculate Conception) common to the Visayas.
The Parish Priest of San Nicolas gave his consent for the construction of a small chapel in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe in kalunasan, and agreed to lend them the two feet wooden image they saw in the convent on their yearly novena and fiesta celebration. However, he also made them promise that the image should be returned to the San Nicolas after the fiesta. According to the narration of Florencio "Noy Rencio" Tabal, the parishioners from Pasil resented the lending of the image to the Chapel of Banawan for the first fiesta celebration, and they would always try to prevent the procession from leaving San Nicolas by blocking the path but the people of Banawan, more numerous than them, persisted and always succeeded in bringing the image to the chapel. During this time, the name of the barrio became Guadalupe because word got around that the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe appeared in a cave in Banawan. Every December, the image was borrowed from San Nicolas. The image would be brought inside the cave where it was found on the Saturday after December 12 for a Mass and would be brought back to San Nicolas the next day, a Sunday.


Sometime in May of 1902, a cholera epidemic hit Cebu. It was devastating. Hundreds of residents died. It was said that those who buried the dead, did not return as they themselves died along the way or right on the cemetery while grieving for their dead relatives. The cholera outbreak was so bad that there was burial every day. Later, the burial had to be done en masse on a carabao cart. Death stalked the people of Cebu real bad. Placido initiated a move and called on the barrio leaders to hold a penitential dawn procession to invoke the help of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Holy Cross of Jesus, and end the epidemic. The melody for the so-called "Antifon" was composed by Silverio Gonzales, the catechist. One of the ardent supporters of the movement was Don Joaquin Labra, who, unfortunately, became one of the victims of the epidemic himself. The "Antifon" is actually the prayer Hail Mary in Spanish (Dios Te Salve Maria) sung repeatedly in a very plaintive tune. The penitential dawn processions were held for one month, from mid-May to Mid-June. What was placed on the andas (palanquin) and carried during the dawn procession was a small image of the Holy Cross and an estampa (slightly bigger than an estampita) of Our Lady of Guadalupe. As the dawn processions went on, the number of deaths decreased until there were no more deaths. The devotion and strong faith to the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe and to the Holy Cross of Jesus saved the people from the epidemic. As an act of thanksgiving to God and to the Virgin of Guadalupe, Silverio Gonzales and the other people involved, decided to hold a thanksgiving novena from July 8 to 16 1902, with a grand procession of the Holy Cross and the Virgin of Guadalupe. Since then, July 16 has always been celebrated as the second fiesta of the Virgin of Guadalupe. If not for the Virgin's intercession, probably all our elders would have perished.
Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Cebu
Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Cebu
In the 1920's, after the Labra and to lesser extent, the Lopez families donated a sizable portion of their lot (which is now the present church and plaza) to the diocese, that the chapel was transferred from Kalunasan to the present site. In 1927 or 1928, an inexplicable event occurred that prompted the permanent enshrinement of the image in Guadalupe. On the Sunday after the December 12 fiesta of that year, the image was, as usual securely tied with ropes to the andas for her return trip to San Nicolas, accompanied by a huge number of people. Upon reaching Guadalupe Crossing, along what was called Calamba road, now V. Rama Avenue, near the corner of M. Velez Street, near the Suzara property, the image suddenly fell from the andas, feet first to the ground but instead of tumbling, it remained standing and made a 180 degree turn by itself, facing the direction of the chapel where she came from. This happened in full view of many people who joined in the procession. The people secured the image back to the andas and brought it back to San Nicolas. Upon arrival, they told Fr. Emiliano Mercado, then, the parish priest of San Nicolas, of what had happened during the procession. The priest decided that the wooden image of the Virgin of Guadalupe be permanently enshrined in Guadalupe. In 1933, Guadalupe became a parish.
From then on, devotion to the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe spread throughout Cebu, its neighboring islands and throughout the world. Numerous miraculous events have transpired through the decades and the people of Cebu and from other parts of the world owe these miracles to Cebu's beloved Queen and Patroness.


 Canonical Coronation

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Cebu (Our Lady of Guadalupe of Cebu)
Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Cebu (Our Lady of Guadalupe of Cebu)
By mandate of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Cebu was canonically crowned by Cardinal Vidal through solemn rites on July 16, 2006.The canonical coronation, which symbolized the official recognition of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Cebu as the Patroness of Cebu, was by virtue of a pontifical decree issued on May 3, 2006 by the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.


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  1. My wife and I visited here last week. A kind hearted smiling nun greeted us as we entered the cave. We arrived a few minutes after an extremely hard rain had started, and it was because of this that she smiled so.
    She greeted us and apologized for the absence of much healing water, as the dripping has become so very slow as of late. She asked me being a taller American, to reach the water collection basin and see if any water available to us. There was only about 1/4 cup of water for all visitors to share. We could hear water dripping nearby in the cave and discovered if held hand channeling the water flow, you could almost get a faucet flow of water collecting. As we collected a few liters of water for ourselves we also replenished the collective source for other visitors. Just then another couple came in carrying a couple big water jugs. She explained to me that this used to be the norm for people to come and receive plenty of blessed water. I assisted the couple by pouring what we had collected into their water containers.
    The nun then asked my name, which I will remain anonymous, and explained that she was preparing to leave early before the rain came, when Our Lady prompted her to stay longer. A few minutes later she was smiling as we entered because she was confirmed in her obedience.

    This article is fairly old and I post a comment here to attract new visitors seeing updated info on their google searches:)
    Our Lady of Guadalupe is a mystery and has witnesses many healings over the centuries. Put a trip to see Our Lady on your list to do very soon. As you will most likely be as blessed as I have been, and wanted to say thank you to the nun again for her obedience and remind everyone that coming here with faith and a heart of gold will bring about even more miraculous events to share with the world!

  2. Wow! Now I understand why the nun told me it’s a miracle! A little research showed me that the drip stopped completely and someone place a tank above and ran a hose down the rock to allow drip to continue… people stopped coming when they discovered the water source was not the same. Now Our Lady has new water naturally flowing from her cave again!!! Praise the Lord!