Magellan’s Cross, Cebu City
Updated as of April 26, 2021
If you happen to visit Cebu City and would like to see an actual piece of Filipino history, visit the shrine of Magellan’s Cross along Magallanes Street. This small shrine is set in a busy downtown area, near Cebu City Hall and the historic church of Sto. Niño Basilica Minore,
Magellan’s Cross is a huge wooden Christian cross that marks the arrival of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan on the island of Sugbu (now Cebu) roughly 500 years ago. He and his crew were the first Europeans to come to Philippines, on a mission to search for the spice islands of Molucca for the King of Spain. Magellan met and befriended the native chief, Rajah Humabon, and eventually, he, his wife, and his native warriors agreed to be baptized into the Roman Catholic faith. Magellan planted the cross to signify this important event. It also marked the beginning of the propagation of the Christian reliaion all over the country.
The shrine housing Magellan’s Cross
You can reach the shrine by taking a jeepney or taxi to historic Colon Street. Just tell the driver to drop you off at Colon corner Osmeña Boulevard. From there, walk a few blocks along Osmeña Boulevard going in the direction of Cebu City Hall.
Magellan’s Cross and the painted ceiling
The 485-year-old cross now stands at a small shrine, encased in tindalo wood to prevent people from chipping away parts of it in the belief that it has miraculous powers. The ceiling is painted with a scene depicting Magellan’s landing in Cebu in 1521, and the planting of the original cross on the shore. It is common practice to light candles and drop coins at the foot of the cross. Magellan’s cross is a popular tourist attraction and an interesting one particularly for people who like delving into the depths of the Philippines ’ rich history and culture.
Magallanes Street, Cebu City (near the port area)
Text and Photo by Jess Jacutan