Magellan’s Cross: A Renowned Landmark in Cebu City

Avatar photo

S Dominique

Magellan’s Cross stands as one of the most iconic landmarks in Cebu City. This historic site, located near the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, marks the spot where Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan planted a cross upon his arrival in the Philippines in 1521.

Symbolizing the introduction of Christianity to the region, Magellan’s Cross is both a significant cultural monument and a testament to the rich history of Cebu.

Visitors to this landmark can explore its historical significance, marvel at the beautifully painted ceiling depicting the arrival of Magellan, and appreciate the enduring legacy it represents in the heart of Cebu City.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to understanding and visiting Magellan’s Cross.

Magellan’s Cross History

Magellan’s Cross was erected by Ferdinand Magellan upon his arrival in Cebu on March 15, 1521. This event marked the beginning of Christianity in the Philippines, with the cross symbolizing the first Christian community in the country.

Magellan, who was in the service of Spain, placed the cross to commemorate the baptism of Rajah Humabon, his wife Queen Juana, and about 800 of their followers.

Over the years, the original cross became a significant religious artifact for Cebuanos. To protect it from the elements and possible damage, the cross was encased in a hollow, tindalo wood cross in 1834.

This protective measure ensured that the historic artifact would be preserved for future generations. The cross now resides in a small chapel, known as the “kiosk,” located next to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño.


Magellan’s Cross is centrally located in Magallanes Street, Cebu City. This makes it easily accessible for both locals and tourists.

The site is situated near several other historical and cultural landmarks, including the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño and the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. Its central location makes it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Cebu City.

Things to Know Before You Go

Things to Magellan's Cross History
Photo: Instagram/Coleen Diane Machica

Before visiting Magellan’s Cross, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Respect the Site: Magellan’s Cross is not only a historical monument but also a religious site. Visitors are expected to behave respectfully and maintain a quiet demeanor.

Photography: While photography is allowed, be mindful of other visitors and worshippers. Avoid using flash inside the chapel to preserve the delicate condition of the cross and its surroundings.

Cultural Significance: Understanding the cultural and historical importance of Magellan’s Cross enhances the experience. The cross is a symbol of the Christianization of the Philippines and an enduring testament to the country’s colonial past.

How to Get There

Getting to Magellan’s Cross is straightforward, given its central location in Cebu City. Here are a few ways to reach the site:

  • By Taxi or Ride-Sharing Services: The most convenient way to reach Magellan’s Cross is by taxi or ride-sharing services like Grab. Simply input “Magellan’s Cross” as your destination, and the driver will take you there.
  • By Public Transport: For those using public transportation, several jeepney routes pass through the area. Look for jeepneys heading to the city center or those marked “Colon” or “City Hall.” Alight at the Cebu City Hall and take a short walk to Magellan’s Cross.
  • By Walking: If you are staying in the downtown area or near the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, you can easily walk to Magellan’s Cross. The walk offers an opportunity to explore the surrounding historical sites and get a feel for the vibrant city life.


Magellan’s Cross stands as a significant landmark that encapsulates the rich history and cultural heritage of Cebu City. Its historical significance, central location, and the solemn atmosphere of the site make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the Philippines’ colonial past and religious history.

Whether you’re a history buff, a religious pilgrim, or a curious traveler, a visit to Magellan’s Cross offers a profound connection to Cebu’s storied past.

Related Articles