CEBU, Philippines — If Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan did not arrive in the Philippines in 1521, Christianity might not be the country’s main religion. That means Filipinos might not be celebrating Christmas as early as September.
This year, the world marks the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world done by Magellan. Thus, this Christmas, why not travel south and trace the roots of Christianity and Filipino Christmas in Cebu, where Magellan and the Spaniards first landed to “discover” the Philippines? For those planning a trip to the so-called “Queen City of the South,” here are five sights and experiences to consider.
Upon arriving in Cebu on March 17, 1521, Magellan planted a cross to symbolize the religion he was offering to the locals. The cross is now located next to Basilica Menor del Santo Nino on Magallanes Street, in front of the city center in Cebu.
Cebuanos believe that one’s visit to Cebu would not be complete if you would not visit this historical landmark.
Located in Mactan Island, just off the coast from Cebu City, the historic location hosted the first ever battle in the Philippines. Magellan wanted to introduce Christianity in the area, but a mighty warrior named Lapu-Lapu refused, so the encounter between the locals and the Spaniards became bloody, and Magellan died in the battle.
The Mactan Shrine’s centerpiece is a giant statue of Lapu-Lapu, the first Filipino hero. The shrine also remembers Magellan as the one who introduced Christianity to the country.
The first Citadines Apart’hotel in Cebu City offers travelers warm, personalized services as the serviced residences has been envisioned to combine home and hotel living.
Built in collaboration with Cebu Landmasters, Inc., the recently recognized best developer in the Philippines by the Philippine Property Awards, Ascott Limited’s first property in the “Queen City of the South” is part of the company’s strategic alliance, which will focus on properties in key cities in Visayas and Mindanao, said Daniel Wee, The Ascott Limited’s Country General Manager for the Philippines.
Temple of Leah
Dubbed as Cebu’s Taj Mahal, Temple of Leah is a grand gesture of love from a husband to his late wife. It is a shrine to the memories and treasures of Leah Albino-Adarna, the late wife of Teodorico Soriano Adarna. They are the grandparents of actress Ellen Adarna.
“I built this temple in 2012 A.D. as a symbol of my undying love for and ceaseless devotion to Leah Villa Albino-Adarna, my wife of 53 years,” a brass plaque plastered on the wall beside Leah’s statue reads.
Editor’s note: The tour to Cebu was hosted by Citadines Apart’hotel to promote tourism in the area. At no stage does the host organization have a say on the stories generated from the coverage, interviews conducted, publication date and story treatment. Content is produced solely by Philstar.com following editorial guidelines.
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