Revisiting Magellan’s Cross

Magellan’s Cross is one of the most famous landmarks in Cebu if not the country. The shrine was built in 1834 to commemorate the landing of the Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan which signaled the birth of Catholic faith (and thus Spanish colonization) in the Philippines. To make the point even more pronounced, Magellan’s cross is located just outside the equally popular Basilica de Sto. Niño, which houses the original little Jesus figurine Magellan brought as a gift to the people of Cebu.


Everyday scenes around Magellan’s cross includes elderly women selling candles and religious items, tourists meandering and taking pictures of themselves, kids running everywhere, and locals walking through, some smiling and amused, others seemingly oblivious to the crowd.


At the center of the shrine is a large wooden cross which stands on a marble dais. Around the walls are the scenes during the landing, including the planting of the cross, blood compact with the locals, and the first mass in the country. Contrary to common belief, the cross in the shrine is just a replica of the original. The remnants of the original is said to be secured in the marble dais upon which the new cross stands.


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