Ferdinand Magellan’s Cross Cebu Philippines: 500 Years of History
Magellan's Cross Cebu. Philippines
17 March 1521 Spanish and Portuguese explorers planted the very first Christian cross in the Philippines under the directives of the great explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
If you are stationed in the Philippines or will be visiting the Philippines in the future, then a trip to historic province of Cebu and Magellan’s Cross in Cebu city should be on your list of places to go. 500-years ago, in March of 1521 Spanish and Portuguese explorers planted the very first Christian cross in the Philippines under the directives of the great explorer Ferdinand Magellan as a part of his attempt to find a new route to India by sailing west around South America. Magellan’s cross is on Cebu province Philippines in the now modern city of Cebu. You can visit the cross in the capital city of Cebu near the Santo Nino Basilica complex across from Cebu City Hall just off Magallanes Street. Magellan would later die at the hands of Filipino warriors at the Battle of Mactan, but his surviving crew members reached India and returned to Spain via India, thus completing the first circumnavigation of the world. The cross you see today is not the original Magellan’s cross as it is thought that it no longer exits, and that the Spanish later replanted a cross in this location after the Philippines was Christianized to memorialize the event.
The cross is open to all during the day and is free of charge to visit. It is in a small little octagon shaped building just near the Basilica of Santa Nino and if you are not looking, you could walk right past it. Magellan’s cross is a major tourist attraction in Cebu and is visited by hundreds of people a day. Just ask anyone in the area and they will quickly point it out to you. It is well worth a visit for the history buff inside you. I have visited the cross several times over the years and will return there once again for sure.
Cebu is rich in historic value and offers visitors many attractions where you can walk the beaches where the Allies invaded the city to drive out the Japanese in WWII. You can visit the 500-year old stone Spanish fort of Fort San Pedro just across from Plaza Independencia and the Filipino-Japanese Memorial and many other historic sites. Cebu is not just all about history as Cebu has much more to offer. There are the beautiful white sand beaches, day fishing trips (both fresh and saltwater fishing), water parks for the kids and shopping at the many area malls in Cebu for the whole family. If you are a foodie, then there are many great places to dine in the city restaurants and bars and as always in Asia, there is the street foods that are very tasty and everywhere you go in the city. There are even casinos in Cebu that are open 24/7 for the gambler inside you as well. You can find great accommodations from the high-end hotels to the low-end hostels throughout the city depending on your budget. Cebu city is only a short 20 to 30-minute drive from the Mactan-Cebu International airport depending on the traffic of course. Cebu is only a short one-hour flight from Manila and there are multiple round-trip flights per day to Cebu from Manila.
Cebu is one of those places I like to return when I can and never pass up a chance to go there when I am in the Philippines. So, if you are in the Philippines or you are planning to visit the Philippines, I can happily say, you can’t go wrong with a few days in Cebu and you will find it has so much to offer as a destination that will want to stay longer.