Before you now this church is nothing short of magnificent: its squat form and thick walls and trefoil-shaped pediment decorated with carvings of phoenixes, leaves and flowers, clamshell medallion, and images of two saints.

The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is a fitting ecclesiastical seat of the Archdiocese of Cebu.

It didn’t always look this way, though.

For years, it was in various states of disrepair, historian Resil B. Mojares wrote in his book Casa Gorordo in Cebu, Urban Residence in a Philippine Province.

The church was established as the seat of the Bishop when Cebu became one of the suffragan dioceses of or dioceses overseen by the Archdiocese of Manila on August 14, 1595 and, like others built during the period, started out as a structure of wood and nipa, according to the Balaanong Bahandi, a book on the Sacred Treasures of the Archdiocese of Cebu.

According to the same book, a stone church was successfully completed during the latter part of first Cebuano Bishop Juan Bautista Gorordo’s term from 1862 to 1934.

The Cathedral underwent a major renovation in 2009 in preparation for the opening salvo marking the Diamond Jubilee of Cebu as an Archdiocese.