Magellan's Cross in Cebu: how to come to church in jeans and not cause anger


The chapel is open from 8:00 to 18:00.

Mariner and European discoverer Fernand Magellan landed on the Philippine island of Cebu in 1521, becoming the first European in the country. One of the missions of the expedition was the spread of Catholicism in the world, so a huge wooden cross was one of the first Spanish structures on the island. In part, the purpose of the journey was fulfilled: the subjects of Rajah Humabon, who ruled the island, converted to Christianity, but Magellan himself was killed in battle with the leader of the island Mactan Lapu-Lapu.

Magellan's Cross on the map

The chapel in which the cross is stored was built in 1834. The small octagonal building is covered with a gabled roof. The inner walls are painted with frescoes describing the arrival of the Spaniards on the island and the Christianization of the Philippines. The wooden cross, which rises almost under the roof of the chapel, is modern - it serves as a kind of protective cover for protecting the original cross from pilgrims who believe in its healing power and try to break off a piece of the attraction. However, there is a version that the real Magellanic cross has long been lost.

At the foot of the cross there is a small altar for candles and offerings. Most often, believers leave coins. The cross of Magellan is one of the symbols of the island of Cebu and is often depicted on postcards, magnets and other souvenirs.

The attraction is located in the historic city center, a 5-minute walk from the Cathedral.

Magellan's Cross

The cross of Magellan is perhaps the most important attraction on the island of Cebu, reminiscent of the events that have become a landmark in the history of the country - the establishment of Roman Catholicism in the Philippines.

Fernando Magellan was the first European to arrive in the Philippines in 1521. Having landed on the shore of the island of Cebu, Magellan and his team were warmly received by the local leader, Raja Humabon, who soon agreed to convert to Christianity. In memory of the baptism of Rajah Humabon, his family and several hundred of his warriors, Magellan ordered the establishment of the cross as a symbol of the spread of the Roman Catholic faith on this earth.

Unfortunately, Magellan met his death at the hands of another leader, Lapu-Lapu, when he went to the neighboring island of Mactan. Another 45 years passed (1565) before the European again visited Cebu. Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, by order of the King of Spain Philip, came and made Cebu the first capital of the Spanish colony known as Las Islas Filipinas.

How to get to the Cross of Magellan on the island of Cebu?

Travelers seeking to get acquainted with one of the most important and iconic sights of the Philippines need to arrive at Cebu International Airport, which is located on Mactan Island.

From here, a trip to the city of Cebu takes about 20-30 minutes. It is easiest for tourists to get to the Cross of Magellan by taxi if they know its exact location, or take a jeepney going towards the city hall or the basilica. In addition, this attraction is included in all tours of Cebu.

Photo and description

The Magellan's Cross is a Christian cross established on the island of Cebu in 1521 by Portuguese and Spanish sailors on the orders of Fernand Magellan. Magellan himself was a Portuguese who worked for the Spanish king. It was he who was the first European to set foot on the land of the Philippines. Unfortunately, here he died - he was killed by the leader of one of the local tribes in the struggle for power over the island of Mactan. Magellan ordered the installation of a wooden cross in order to perpetuate a significant event - the adoption of Christianity by the local Muslim Raja Khumabon, his wife and numerous soldiers.

Today, the cross of Magellan is one of the main attractions of the city of Cebu, the capital of the island, and its symbol depicted on the city seal. The cross is located on Magallanos Street in a small chapel next to the Santo Nino Basilica, the oldest church in the Philippines, and right in front of the city administration building. The octagon-shaped brick chapel was specially built to hold the cross in 1834. At the foot of the cross, it is customary to light candles and leave coins.

A sign installed at the base of the cross in the center of the chapel says that the cross that the Europeans brought to Cebu Island is inside this wooden one. This was done specifically to protect the historical relic from those who want to pinch off a piece of their memory, as well as from those who believe that the particles of the cross of Magellan have healing power. True, some people believe that the original cross was long ago destroyed or disappeared, and the current one is just a copy made by the Spaniards after the successful colonization of the Philippines.