Photo of The Week: Magellan’s Cross, Cebu City, Philippines
This is one of those instances where the story behind the photo is much better than the photo itself. Everybody has seen a cross before, right? Yup Magellan’s Cross isn’t that spectacular, its just a big cross housed in a small chapel. You cannot even see the cross as it is encased in an even bigger tindalo wood cross due to its delicate state. The paintings on the ceiling are beautiful though and as it’s in the centre of the not-so-happening Cebu City its definitely worth checking out.
The cross was planted by Ferdinand Magellan, the famous Portuguese explorer, in 1521. Magellan’s expedition was the first to sail from the Atlantic Ocean into the Pacific Ocean and then the first to sail across the Pacific. When he arrived in Cebu he exchanged gifts with Rajah Humabon and his Queen Hara Amihan who he convinced to convert to Christianity. The King, his Queen and 800 of their subjects were baptised and Magellan planted the cross. Shortly after Rajah Humabon asked Magellan to kill his enemy Datu Lapu Lapu who controlled the island of Mactan. Magellan wanted Lapu Lapu to convert to Christianity, when he was dismissive of the idea Magellan assembled an attack force to kill Lapu Lapu. Magellan was hit by a Bamboo spear then captured, they finished him off with other weapons. A grieving Rajah Humabon offered to pay for the return of his remains but Lapu Lapu refused, wanting to keep them as a war trophy.
Some locals now believe the cross hold mysterious powers, others believe the cross is a replica created by the Spanish after colonisation. Although the cross is a tourist attraction I soon realised I should not rate it as such. It’s not there for the tourists, its there for the believers. The Philippines is a very religious country and to them this is a great symbol of their faith. Whilst I found it underwhelming others can take a lot more from this place than I ever could.
And there is so much more to see in the Philippines. Of course the beautiful beaches in Cebu attract many Tourist, but is that all you want to see in a country? There is more fun in the Philippines