Magellan’s Cross: Cebu’s Most Recognized Icon
If you ask any elementary school student in the Philippines, the red tiled and almost circular house in the middle of the city, with a cross inside it, they’ll answer—Cebu! Then ask what it is, they’ll answer, Magellan’s Cross po! If Manila has its Rizal Monument in Luneta as its most important landmark, then Cebu City has its Magellan’s Cross. As what they say, “You haven’t been to Cebu if you haven’t seen it.” You can even see it in the City’s Official Seal. (Dong, wa pa gud ka kaanha sa Sugbo kon wa ka pa makahapit sa Magellan’s Cross!)
Magellan’s Cross is located at the heart of downtown Cebu City, in front of the city hall and just beside the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu—pretty convenient for tourists and local visitors alike! The landmark is made up of a round kiosk with clay tile roofing. Inside it is a replica of the cross that was planted in the very shores of Cebu by none other than the Portuguese explorer Fernhao de Magalhaes, (Fernando Magallanes in Spanish, but the English name known as Ferdinand Magellan) in 1521.
The ceiling is adorned with the scene of “Conversion of Rajah Humabon and Sugboanons to Catholicism on one summer’s day in 1521.
Kwentong bayan says that the replica cross inside Magellan’s Cross kiosk encases the original tindalo wood cross that Magellan planted in the shores of Cebu more than half a millennium ago. They say that the cross, just like the Santo Niño, possesses miraculous powers.
Then several centuries later, the site was improved by several clergymen. Finally in 1834, the rock and clay-tiled kiosk was constructed to protect the monument from elements. From then on, it has become Cebu’s most recognized icon (other than the Santo Niño of course).
Today, hundreds of local and foreign tourists flock the site every day just to get a picture of it. See it and gaze at the ceiling on how it was in 1521. Other than the Basilica, Magellan’s Cross is the site of the Sinulog ladies dancing in front of the cross, chanting prayers while waving their candles back and forth.
For more information about Cebu’s heritage site, please visit this site – The Heritage of Cebu.
Public transportation to Magellan’s Cross is not a problem. A tip here is–check jeepneys that has “Santo Nino,” “Magallanes,” or “Plaza Independencia” on their windshields. These jeepney stops are the nearest points to the area. And since most Cebuanos know where it is, don’t fret in getting lost in here and ask a local. Just be vigilant of your belongings though. Click this link if you like to get more info on Cebu City’s jeepney routes.
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