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Monday, September 26, 2011

Visiting Basilica Minore del Santo Niño and Magellan’s Cross

I was born in Cebu and in 35 years of existence, I  have not taken a single picture, while visiting the famous tourists attractions in Magallanes Street. I am talking about the world famous Magellan's Cross and the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. I could not believe that I never had a photo taken in those places.

One day, I decided to visit these places and made sure I took my camera with me. I brought along Stephie, Josie, and Carlo Boy. 

 The Magellan's Cross has always been the symbol of Cebu.   If you search for pictures of Cebu in the internet, then mostly you will get a photo of the chapel that houses the cross. Every day, hundreds of tourists flock to this place, take poses, and take a picture to prove that they have been to Cebu. This is Cebu's answer to the Sydney Opera House and Eiffel Tower.

 The cross was erected in this spot way back 1521. While Ferdinand Magellan tried to circumnavigate the world, he ended up in Cebu. He met the local tribe leader Rajah Humabon and baptized the locals to Christianity. He put up a cross to commemorate the event. The original cross is now encased in Tindalo wood inside the chapel.

Finally, we all have pictures with the Magellan's Cross.
 Just a few meters away from the Magellan's Cross is the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. The Church was built in honor of Cebu's patron, Senior Santo Niño.
 The feast of the Santo Niño de Cebu is held every 3rd week of January. Cebuanos made the Sinulog festival coincide with the feast. This is the altar that is used during the novena masses for the Santo Niño. This place is packed every January, as thousands of pilgrims visit the beloved patron of Cebu.

 The  Santo Niño is actually related to the Magellan story earlier. On the baptism of Raja Humabon and his wife Amihan, they were given gifts by Ferdinand Magellan. Amihan, baptized as Juana, was given a Santo Niño, a sculpture of the child Jesus. Humabon was given the Ecce Homo, a bust of Christ when he was presented to the crowd by Pontius Pilate. These two relics are found in the basilica.

Here some things that you can see or do, while at the area:
 You can line-up to see the Sto. Niño de Cebu up close. The lines though could be long at times, but you will eventually get your chance. 
 You can pray in the church or visit the Holy Eucharist.

 You can take some photos near the fountain.

 You may light a candle and offer prayers. You can have some do a prayer dance for you.
 I remember when I was a kid,  I wanted my mom and dad to buy some balloons when we go to church. It's still there and kids up to this day cannot resist the balloons.
After visiting the Church and the Cross, you can shop at La Fortuna to buy some hopia and other baked goodies.

Our visit was kind of memorable because it felt like the first time. I really want to encourage the locals to visit these places and not take it for granted. We can be tourists in our own city and we should be proud of what we have. Have you had your picture taken in these places? If not, then it's time to go to  Magallenes one of these days. CYA there!!!

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