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Magellan’s Cross : Cebu’s Most Photographed Heritage Site

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Text and Photos by : Melo Villareal

If you will be traveling to Cebu, your trip will not be complete without visiting the Magellan’s Cross. Inside the shrine, you will find the wooden cross which was planted by Portuguese and Spanish explorers as ordered by Ferdinand Magellan upon arriving in Cebu in the Philippines on April 21, 1521.

Magellans Cross Cebu City

The cross was planted when Magellan baptised the first Christian Filipinos, Rajah Humabon and Queen Juana and about 400 followers into the Catholic faith. The original cross is reputedly encased in another dark wooden cross made of tindalo wood for protection, as people started chipping it away in the belief that it had miraculous healing powers. Some say, however, that the cross inside the chapel is no longer authentic and just a replica of the historic cross.

Magellan's Cross Cebu City

Inside the small chapel, you will find a beautifull Ceiling Mural with a scene depicting the landing of Magellan in Cebu, the first mass and the planting of the original cross on the shore.

Cebu Souvenirs

Within the vicinity of this popular historical landmark, you can find Cebu guitar vendors, few shellcraft / woodcraft souvenirs and candle vendors.


I was a little bit annoyed with the presence of beggars and street childrens in the area since most of them are irritantingly begging for money which can cause negative experience for most foreign and local tourists.

Magellan's Shrine - Nina Fuentez
Nina Fuentes of inside the Magellan’s Shrine

How to get there :

This popular landmark is located next to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño on Magallanes (spanish translation for Magellan) Street. Magellan’s Cross is right in front of the old Cebu City Hall building near the port area in downtown Cebu.

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  1. Aaron says:

    That is a beautiful mural (is that a blue balloon in that picture?). When was the chapel built? I’m assuming it was a while after Magellan’s arrival.

  2. Vicente Calibo de Jesus says:

    First mass at Cebu?

    There was an Easter Sunday mass held at Mazaua on March 31, 1521 and attended by Magellan, his crew of about 150, the king of Butuan, Raia Calambu, the king of Mazaua, Raia Siaiu, and inhabitants of the island-port Mazaua.

    What are you referring to as “first mass” held on April 21st? Are we to understand there were many masses held in Cebu on that date (how many, 2, 3, 4, 5…?) and that the painting depicts the first held on April 21?

    For a deeper understanding of this issue of “first mass” please read several articles on it and allied subjects at Wikipedia:








    There are many more but the above should be enough for now. Although what you can do is simply click all htmls you find and these will bring you to relevant topics.

    Happy reading. And may historical truth and precision be your guide in persuading people to go to Cebu.


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