Thursday, February 24, 2011
The Shrine of Magellan's Cross
The place was Cebu City, central
Philippines. The Shrine stood just
beside Basilica del Santo Niño
Church. It was in that particular
place where Ferdinand Magellan,
a Portuguese explorer who served
for the king of Spain, first planted
the Cross of Christianity he carried
with him in his journey from Spain.
I was lucky to bear witness the
remains of what would prove as one of history's most daring expeditions--the Magellan expedition. He was the first man to circumnavigate the world and has successfully done and proved what no man in his time ever did and tried--to reach the East by sailing West. Back then, explorers and navigators were always haunted by the fear of the unknown, from sailing towards the untried. It would seem like this expedition is a gamble but it was, for Magellan who brought along with him several ships and men, a risk worth taking. He was by far a true explorer at heart. His vision his heart alone can see and he knew, for sure, where he was heading.
Christianity, among other things, was Spain's greatest contribution to this part of the world. And it has been made possible through that voyage Magellan has taken up reaching the islands on March 16, 1521 which would later be called the Philippine Islands. He first called the islands Archipelago de San Lazaro because it was on the date of the festivity of Saint Lazaro when he arrived into the still-to-be-named shores. He later named the islands Las Islas Felipenas in honor of the king of Spain, Felipe.
The Shrine of Magellan's cross has become, for me, a symbol of hope and refuge for all of the travelers from all walks of life who happened to reach this place for some reasons or retreat, and perhaps for some very important reasons, recharging the inner self for another day of spending it all out for good. The journey could still be perhaps a way longer, or even farthest, and this was just one of the stopovers. Inside, you could light up a candle and meditate. Or you could go directly to the Church located just beside it and pray.