July 21, 2010


According to Mrs. Orbita, my grade 2 history teacher, Ferdinand Magellan became the 1st European to set foot on Philippine soil in April of 1521. He was a Portuguese explorer and navigator instructed by the King of Spain to search for the “Spice Island,” (Indonesia) and landed in Cebu instead. He was welcomed by Cebu’s chieftain Rajah Humabon and his wife whom he persuaded to make an alliance with Spain and later on baptized them and some 800 other natives into Roman Catholics.

She also said that Magellan planted a huge cross to signify this very important event and told us that someday, when we are old enough, we should go and see it.

So after 2 decades, there I was, at the Mactan Internal Airport in Cebu, en route to see Magellan’s 400 something year-old cross along with 20 other tourists who was probably taught the same history lesson when they were in grade 2.

From the airport, we took a rented van (60USD for 8hours) and checked in at our hotel. After dropping our stuff, and already in touristy-mode, we drove to the Taoist Temple located in Beverly Hills Subdivision in Cebu City.

Built in 1972 by the Chinese community, the temple is the center of worship for Taoist devotees. It is elevated 300 meters above sea level and is constructed in Chinese architecture.

The temple is open to worshipers and visitors from 8am-5pm.

To get to the temple proper, you might wanna stretch those legs and warm it up a little as you will be climbing close to 90 steps, I lost the exact count when I almost passed out nearing my 50th step. Yes, I’m that out of shape!

Though it offers a view, there’s not much to do in the temple, so after visiting the souvenir shop and taking a few photos, we headed back to downtown Cebu.

TIP: If you plan to visit the Taoist Temple, I suggest you bring your own car, the temple is pretty far from the main road.

Next on the Itinerary, Danggit shopping!

Danggit is a dried salted fish, a popular Cebuano delicacy that is best paired with Sinangag (garlic rice). The best place to buy Danggit is in Carbon Market, located in MC Briones Street, Cebu City.

If you do not like the smell of dried fish, I suggest you sit this one out as the place stench of it.

If you’re worried that you’re hotel room would stink of dried fish, don’t, because most stalls in the market offers a vacuum sealed bag to keep the smell contained.

4 bags of Danggit later, I found myself staring at this large brown wood, saying “I’m here now Mrs. Orbita, I’m finally here.”

Magellan’s Cross is housed on a chapel next to Basilica Minore del Santo Nino in Magallenes Street.

Below the cross lays a sign saying that the original cross is encased inside the wooden
cross to protect it from people who would chip away parts of the original one with the belief
that parts of the cross possess miraculous powers.

Just beside the chapel where the cross was housed is the equally important historical site, the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino, Cebu’s oldest Roman Catholic Church. It was built in 1566 by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Augustinian priest Andres Urdaneta on the very spot where the image of the Santo Nino left by Portuguese and Spanish explorers in 1521 was found preserved in a burned wooden box in 1965.

Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino's altar

By the time we left the Basilica, the sun was already starting to set and what’s the best way to end the day? A hefty dinner of the best pig Anthony Boardain has ever tasted, Lechon!

TIP: For the best lechon, go to CNT Lechon, located at 1377 Rama Ave, Guadalupe, Cebu City. If I can remember correctly, 1 kilo costs about 7USD and around 60USD for the whole pig depending on the size.

written by KIM

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