At the heart of the Tondo is a church dedicated to Santo Niño. Santo Niño De Tondo Parish or the recently declared Archdiocesan Shrine of Santo Niño de Tondo is one of the earliest churches established by the Spanish friars in Luzon. It houses the image of Santo Niño which originally came from Acapulco.
The church was first consecrated in 1572 while the construction of the first stone church started in 1611. Since then, the church underwent a series of reconstruction due to numerous reasons. It was utterly damaged by an earthquake in 1863. The parish is also historically significant as it was used as a cuartel during the Japanese occupation in the country. During the last days of the Japanese occupation, the church was reopened for thousands of refugees.
The parish comes with a simple facade with minimal ornamentation. We went there just few days before the formal declaration of the Parish as an Archdiocesan shrine which explains why there are many colorful flags and decorations outside.
The church welcomes you with a very stunning interior. The ceilings are adorned with intricate paintings similar to what we have seen in churches in Batangas
The wonderfully-detailed ceilings and columns
The huge carved image of the Transfiguration of Christ in one of its sanctuaries
The stunning altar of the recently-declared Archdiocesan Shrine of Santo Niño de Tondo. Located at the heart of its altar is the original image of Santo Niño de Tondo which has been enshrined to this parish since 1572.
The feast day of Sto. Niño in Tondo is celebrated in the third Sunday of January and is known to be one of the most colorful celebrations in Manila. In fact, Santo Niño de Tondo is considered to be the second oldest venerated image of the Child Jesus in the country next to the Santo Niño de Cebu. Devotees often refer the image as the King of Tondo.
This year, February 5, the parish was formally elevated into an Archdiocesan Shrine. Much like most festive celebrations in honor of Infant Jesus in the country, Santo Niño de Tondo Parish celebrates their feast day in a colorful and grandest way.
If Cebu has Sinulog, Iloilo has Dinagyan and Aklan has Ati-atihan, Tondo has Lakbayaw Festival which usually features grand processions of folk, antique, and new images of the Holy Child in various manifestations. The fluvial fiesta processions are held twice, one in the morning and the other just before sunset where it passes through the major streets of Tondo. One highlight of the procession is the fireworks display.
A spacious chapel of saints
How to Get to the Archdiocesan Shrine of Santo Niño de Tondo Via Public Transport
[Info from Philippine Catholic Churches]
►If you are coming from the South: You may ride the LRT-1 and alight off in Tayuman Station. From Tayuman, look for Jeepneys bound to Pritil. Ask the driver to drop off in Pritil Market. From Pritil Market, ride a Jeepney bound to ILAYA, DIVISORIA. Ask the driver to drop you off in Santo Niño de Tondo Parish Church.
►If you are coming from the North (Monumento):
Option 1: You may ride the LRT-1 and alight off in Tayuman Station. From Tayuman, look for Jeepneys bound to Pritil. Ask the driver to drop off in Pritil Market. From Pritil Market, ride a Jeepney bound to ILAYA, DIVISORIA. Ask the driver to drop you off in Santo Niño de Tondo Parish Church.
Option 2: You may ride a Bus or a Jeepney bound to LETRE. Ask the driver to drop you off in SANGANDAAN. From there, look for Jeepneys bound to ILAYA, DIVISORIA. Ask the driver to drop you off in Santo Niño de Tondo Parish Church.
►If you are coming from the East (Rizal, Antipolo Area): You may ride the LRT-2 and alight off in Recto Station. From Recto, ride a Jeepney bound to Divisoria. From Divisoria (Tutuban), you can either ride a pedicab or just walk going to the Church. If you decided to walk, look for ILAYA Street and it will lead you to the Santo Niño de Tondo Parish Church.