Magellan’s Cross is housed in a small chapel next to Basilica del Santo Nino in Cebu City. The chapel is officially named Kiosk. The Cebu City Hall lies across the street from Magellan’s Cross and a small police station is nearby as well. There is no fee to visit Magellan’s Cross.
History of Magellan’s Cross
I first visited Magellan’s Cross more than three yeas ago. I was in awe because Magellan’s Cross is said to be enclosed within the wood cross on display at the Kiosk. However, some say that the original cross was destroyed after Magellan’s death and that the cross within is actually a replica placed in Cebu about 45 years later when the Spaniards returned to colonize the Philippines. The original Magellan’s Cross or the replica is enclosed to protect it. People were chipping parts of it off as it is believed to hold miraculous powers.
For those that don’t know, Magellan was Portuguese but sailed for King Charles of Spain. However, Magellan was killed during the battle of Mactan in 1521 and his expedition was defeated after first befriending the locals and converting them to Christianity. Magellan planted the original cross to commemorate their conversion from paganism.
About 45 years later the Spanish returned under King Philip and successfully colonized the land that was named Las Islas Filipinas. Thus, sometimes one will see Filipinas as the name of the Philippines.
There are always a lot of Filipinos at Magellan’s Cross and a few foreigners too. There are many locals selling pearls, guitars, candles and sunglasses. It seems half the city is trying to sell sunglasses. I bought a pair of sunglasses there on my first visit. I also visited some electronics stores there and found some good prices but didn’t buy anything.
For a list of other things to see in Cebu follow this link. I have been to most of those places but not all of them.
It will not take you long to see Magellan’s Cross but if you’re already at the Basilica del Santo Nino, you should take the one minute walk to visit it. I think the next time I go, I will try to get into the City Hall and see what they have there. I don’t know if I’ll get very far but it is worth a try. Magellan’s Cross is related to the discovery of the Philippines by the West and shouldn’t be missed.
Filed under: Living in Cebu
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