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Sto Nino De Arevalo of Iloilo: Miraculous, Historical But Uncelebrated

Submitted by on October 2, 2011 – 10:35 pm8 Comments

Sto Nino De Arevalo Iloilo

This image of the Sto Nino De Arevalo, considered the third oldest in the Philippines after the Sto Ninos of Cebu (1521) and Tondo (1572), is humbly venerated at the simple yet beautiful church at Villa Arevalo, Iloilo City.

One may take confusion as to why Ilonggos annually celebrate the arrival of the Cebu image in its shores while there’s an even bigger event that had happened in the province 400 years ago. I myself cannot answer such, but my guess are glaringly obvious, market forces. But the Sto Nino De Arevalo deserves the devotion and pride of Ilonggos, after all He’s been watching over and showering His people with blessings and miracles for more than four centuries.

Sto Nino De Arevalo Church Iloilo

Brief History
The image of Sto Nino de Arevalo was said to be brought by the Augustinians upon the establishment of La Villa Rica de Arevalo (today’s Villa Arevalo) as a Spanish settlement and as the capital of Oton province in 1581. The missionaries believe that the image of the Child Jesus is instrumental in spreading the message of God’s love for His people, especially the poor and needy. This belief originated at the time when the Spanish discovered the Image of Sto Nino de Cebu (miraculously survived a fire unscratched), decades after the explorer Ferdinand Magellan gave it to Humamay (Juana) as a baptismal gift. Ever since then, the missionaries propagated the strong devotion to the image as evidenced by its presence in almost all towns in the country until today. The Augustinians realized that the welcoming and embracing arms of the images makes it easier for the natives to relate to the Child Jesus.

The Sto Nino de Arevalo is an image made of wood, and may have been consecrated at the same time the new pueblo of Arevalo was established. It had survived many crises like the transfer of people to Punta de Iloilo, Dutch and Moro raids, fires and earthquakes strong enough to topple His belfries and church.

Miraculous ImageVilla Arevalo Church and Plaza
The image of Sto Nino De Arevalo has much deeper meaning for His devotees. Testimonies of miracles are well known to the people of the parish like sick people recovering from terminal diseases like cancer or serious injuries, childless couples having offspring, or saving the town from famine or lack of rain.
There was also a story people claim that the Sto Nino defended the town from a Moro raid. The people, upon seeing a flotilla of Moro pirates coming, placed the image at the coast. According to the story, the pirates where stopped by a boy with a red cloak.

Even the survival of the image is considered miraculous. During World War II, the American troops burned down the municipal hall and the convent of Arevalo fearing that the Japanese may use them as their garrisons. The residents saw the fire consuming the convent but were bewildered that the fire was suddenly put out.

Another story involves the strong earthquake of 1948 in Panay. The earthquake, having a magnitude of 8.3, almost destroyed the church of Arevalo. Upon seeing their altar destroyed by the quake, they were surprised to see the Sto Nino stood still on top of flail pedestal.

Arevalo Church Altar

Arevalo Church: Home of the 1581 Sto Nino de Arevalo
The Arevalo Church, the home of the Image of Sto Nino De Arevalo, is placed at the middle of Plaza Villa. This is a unique feature considering almost all churches are separated from their plazas. It is of modern design since some part of the church were destroyed either by fire or by earthquakes. The altar is supported by Solomonic or helical columns which took inspiration from that at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. A large wooden cross with the image of the crucified Christ serves as the center piece of the altar. The image of Sto. Nino is found at the right side of the main altar, encased in glass and is flanked by angels made of wood at both sides. The church is a popular for weddings as well.

Convento de Arevalo

A convent with Spanish colonial style is at the side of the church and serves as the priests’ residence, activity hall for church organizations, and administrative office.

Uncelebrated, Devotion drowned with pageantry
The feast day of the Sto Nino de Arevalo is celebrated every third sunday of January, a week prior the famous Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo City. But the image is not honored during the festival, rather the event celebrates the coming of the replica of Sto Nino de Cebu to Iloilo in 1968. The Sto Nino de Arevalo, though less popular than the two older images of Child Jesus, must be given attention and be considered a real precious treasure for Ilonggos.

Parish of Sto. Nino De Arevalo
Arevalo, Iloilo City, Philippines

Telephone Number: (033) 337-5657

Schedule of Church Services

Monday – Saturday 6:30 AM
Wednesday 6:00 PM
Sunday 6:00 AM – Ilonggo
7:30 AM – English
9:00 AM – Ilonggo
4:30 PM – English
Sta Cruz Chapel: 6:00 AM Ilonggo

Confessions- Daily after 6:30 AM Mass except Sundays

Saturday (Regular Schedule) – 11:00 AM
Pre-Baptismal Seminar – Every Saturday 10:00 Am

By Appointment except Monday
Common Wedding – Wednesday @ 6:30 AM

By Appointment except Monday

Pastoral Services (Sick Call / Blessing) – By Appointment

Getting There: Jeepneys going from Iloilo to Villa Arevalo pass through the church and the plaza; Visitors may ride Villa Baybay and Mohon jeeps to reach the plaza and the church.

Iloilo I LOVE! traces the sights, scenes, and sounds of Metro Iloilo Guimaras (MIG). This zone is composed of Iloilo and its environs (Oton, Leganes, Pavia, San Miguel and Sta. Barbara), together with the island of Guimaras. Come and experience Metro Iloilo Guimaras here at Iloilo I LOVE!


POST SCRIPT (12-2011): Iloilo I LOVE! would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the support and encouragement from Mrs. Marivic Mabilog. Thank you very much!

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  • Keeno says:

    yup, i hope more emphasis will also be given to the sto nino de arevalo.
    though it’s not necessary to include the image at dinagyang, in a sense it must given equal or more importance as well.

  • showers says:

    as one of the members of the cofradia de sto nino de arevalo, i am very much appreciated of giving your time and effort for posting the miraculous image of sto.nino de arevalo. maybe with what you did this may lead to totally make Arevalo as a pilgrimage shrine of the third oldest sto. nino in the whole philippines. thank you mark. may sr. sto. nino showers you more blessings and answers all the favors that you asked from HIM. viva sr. sto. nino.

    • Mark Segador says:

      you’re welcome! i’m willing to help in my capacity to promote devotion to the image of sto nino de arevalo not only here in Iloilo but to the whole archipelago. it is an honor for me to post an article about the miraculous image. if i could further help in making Arevalo as a pilgrimage shrine of the Sto Nino de Arevalo, please let me know. Viva Senior Sto Nino!


    Sto.Nino de Arevelo and Sto. de Cebu are but the same and one Sto. Nino.the way i understand it,because it was enthroned at the parish of Arevelo,it is then called Sto. Nino de Arevalo.Sto.Nino de Cebu is well known here in iloilo it is because thru the effort of the late Rev.Fr.Amborsio Galindez who propagated the NOVENA AND DEVOTION IN HIS HONOR.The SAN JOSE PLACER is under the AGUSTINIAN ORDER FROM BASILICA DE CEBU WHERE THE STO. NINO IS FROM.FR.GALINDEZ,AN AGUSTINIAN ORDER IS THE FOUNDER OF THE HINUGYAW,BEFORE IT BECAME DINAGYANG W/C WAS COINED BY A RADIO ANNOUNCER.BEFORE DINAGYANG WAS FOUNDED,STO. DE CEBU IS ALREADY POPULAR TO SOME ILONGGO DEVOTEES.STO.NINO DE AREVALO AND STO.NINO DE CEBU ARE ONE STO.NINO MIRACULOUS AND HISTORICAL.MAY WE CONTINUE TO PRAY TO STO NINO,BE IT DE AREVALO OR DE CEBU.

  • Alfred Adrian P. Chavez says:

    Sadly, many are uninformed… many unaware…

    • Mark Segador says:

      yes. we need to share and spread devotion to Sto Nino, and hopefully someday make the Sto Nino de Arevalo a major source of inspiration not only to Ilonggos but to all Filipinos.

  • Clint says:

    The regular schedule of monday to saturday mass was changed to 6:00AM… there is also a Mass in Honor of 1581 Sto. Nino de Arevalo every friday at 6:00PM… Thank you very much sir mark for making our patron known to the world by this article…

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