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Sunday, September 30

Magellan’s Cross: Cebu City Living Legend

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The Magellan's Cross in Cebu City serves as a symbol of how Christianity started in the Philippine Islands.

It was back on April 21, 1521 when a European explorer under the name of Fernando Magallanes, or Ferdinand Magellan from Portugal (but working under the monarchy of Spain) landed on the rich island of Cebu. He actually met and befriended the native chief, Raja Humabon that time. Both of them went well, and as a matter of fact, Raja Humabon accepted Christianity and let him and his men be baptized. As a sign of this significant event in the history of Cebu, Ferdinand Magellan planted a cross as an insignia of the spread of Christianity on the island. Now, this cross known as the “Magellan’s Cross” is a key tourist destination in Cebu.

The mini chapel where the Magellan's Cross was located.

Part 3
of Pious Pieces (Cebu Heritage Tour Continued)

Magellan's Cross
Magellan’s Cross is only a few more steps from Basilica del Sto. Nino in Cebu City. It is also just in front of the Cebu City Hall. If you are planning a long walk tour to different Cebu tourist attractions, maybe you can start from Colon ObeliskHeritage of Cebu MonumentYap Sandiego Ancestral HouseCasa Gorordo Museum, then walk to Cebu CathedralBasilica del Sto. Nino and lastly, Magellan’s Cross. It’s purely historical or walking through pages of Philippine history, that’s why I tagged this travel segment as Cebu Heritage Tour.

As the story goes, the original Cross was said to be encased in Tindalo wood, because people were chipping away parts of it in the belief that this Cross has some miraculous power. Well, I am not sure though if the Cross I saw was the one encased in wood, because other sources say that the one that can be found near the Basilica was not the original anymore and that the original one was already burnt down or lost in centuries. In one way or another, the original Cross (or if it’s a replica) was a sign of the greatest part of Philippine religious history, and that was the start of Christianity, and a series of built churches in the country.

The Magellan's Cross was said to be encased in Tindalo wood.

The Cross of Magellan history tablet.

Unfortunately, Ferdinand Magellan who successfully started it all met his unsolicited death in the nearby island of Mactan (where the current international airport of Cebu was located). He was unlucky to lose his battle with the chieftain of Mactan, and that was Lapu-Lapu (thus the city of Lapu-Lapu in the island of Mactan).

Sinulog in Magellan's Cross chapel, Cebu City.

Magellan’s Cross is indeed a chunk in the history of the nation as a whole. Like Baguio linked to Burnham Park (named after Daniel Burnham who urban planned first the city of Baguio), Cebu is always linked to Magellan’s Cross so don’t miss it if you have never been to Cebu but you plan to go sometime. Magellan’s Cross in Cebu City is a good start to reflect bits of Philippine history. And a good Cebu heritage walk tour goes well with a side trip to a nearby island like Camotes for a nature adventure.

Magellan's Cross

The woman in yellow skirt was a Sinulog dancer.

Pious Pieces (Cebu Heritage Tour Continued) Travel Series:
Part 3: Magellan’s Cross: Cebu City Living Legend

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