Monday, March 13, 2017

Magellan's Cross

Magellans Cross is one of the most significant places and sacred historical tourist attraction in Cebu City, Cebu Philippines.

This cross is a Christian (Roman Catholic) cross named after Ferdinand Magellan also known as Fernao Magalhaes or Fernando Magallanes who is a Portuguese navigator and explorer of a Spanish fleet upon their arrival in the beautiful island of Cebu. The cross was planted in Cebu after the natives of the island accepted the Catholic religion including Rajah Humabon and Queen Juana, Cebu's King and Queen. Magellan's cross remains to be a significant part of the history of cebu as it marked the start of the Christianity in the beautiful island. The cross also marked the first catholic mass in the Philippines where 800 Cebuanos including King Rajah Humabon and Queen Juana were baptised as Christians. 
The beautiful facade that houses the Magellan's Cross

This cross stood strong since March 15, 1521 ordered by Ferdinand Magellan. During the arrival of the Portuguese and Spanish explorers in Cebu, they introduced a lot of things especially Christianity. These explorers believed that the wonderful island of Cebu is need of the religion they brought. After Christianity was introduced, everything fell into places. King Rajah Humabon and Queen Juana together with a lot of Cebuanos openly accepted Christianity and lived by it. Until now, majority of the Cebuanos are Roman Catholic.

This historical landmark is located in the downtown area of Cebu city specifically in Magallanes street. Magallanes street is also named after Ferdinand Magellan. This cross is sheltered in an octagon-shaped chapel in between the Cebu City Hall building and Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino or Santo Nino church which is one of the famous churches in Cebu because of the patron saint - Santo Nino. Santo Nino is also the saint patronized during Sinulog Festival, every third Sunday of January. Sinulog is the grandest festival in the whole island. 

This sacred and historical Magellan's cross is open to everybody and is under the care of the Cebu City Government. The walls of the octagon-shaped chapel are constructed of similar cut stones that formed the nearby Santo Nino, drilled by grilled arched openings and domed over by Tegula tiles. The purpose of the chapel is not only to protect the cross from rain or the hot tropical sun, but also from the people. It is believed that the natives long ago who were fanatics of the cross chipped away pieces from it with the belief that it has miraculous powers. There is another story about Magellan's cross that says, the natives of this beautiful island, Cebu, burned down the cross including the Spanish ships during the time when the Spaniards and Portuguese explorers were defeated. Therefore, it is now believed that the cross encased inside the chapel is a replica. The cross is now encased with a Tindalo wood which is a native hardwood kin to that of Mahoganies. Whether the cross inside is only a replica or not, what matters is the spirit and essence that the Magellan's cross has spread over the Philippines. 

 Magellan's Cross with the painting that shows the Cebu's history on the ceiling of the hexagonal chapel

It is very easy to get to this historical and sacred landmark,  Magellan's cross. Every taxi cab and/or Van rental drivers know where it is. Taxi cab flag down rate starts at Php 40 and Php 3.50 for every succeeding 500 meters or waiting time per 90 seconds. For Van rentals, I highly recommend JLC Trading van rentals. If you are audacious when traveling or having a tour around Cebu, then you can also ride a PUJ (Public Utility Jeepney) with signboard's - Santo Nino or City Hall. PUJ's regular fare is Php 7. Being an audacious traveler is more fun when asking friendly and accomodating locals. Don't worry, every local you will encounter knows the exact location of the famous Magellan's cross.

Magellan's cross is open everyday even on weekends and holidays. The good thing about visiting this historical and sacred landmark is that there is no entrance fee. Although there are candle vendors roaming the vicinity of the Magellan's cross offering colorful candles for the tourist to lit on. This colorful candles each has a symbol or meaning for example - pink candles for happiness, green for success, yellow for health and peace, blue for devotion to Mother Mary and red for devotion to Santo Nino. The candles are sold for Php 10 each which includes "Sinug" (a dance prayer performed by the vendor). 

For some tips when having a tour at Magellan's cross, it is best to visit in the morning 7am-9am or in the afternoon 4pm-6pm. This are the best time because the temperature is not that hot. If you will visit the historical landmark at noon time or 12:00 pm- 2pm, then be sure to bring an umbrella with you, if you don't want to be sun kissed. Bottled waters are available nearby if one needs to rehydrate. For the food, Mcdonalds, Mang Inasal and 7 Eleven are visible near this historical landmark. Tourist might it be local or Foreigners will surely enjoy the holiness of the place and the locals around.


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