Monday, July 02, 2007

Religiosity From The Past

(Click images to enlarge)My late maternal grandmother was of great religious faith, having been born and raised in the City of Cebu, Cebu, one of the islands in the Visayas Region of the Philippines. On this city was planted the cross that circumnavigator Ferdinand Magellan used to symbolize the archipelago’s being deeded and dedicated to Mother Spain as her own; and which to this day, that religious symbol still stands on the very same site and securely protected inside a kiosk

My grandmother was quite steeped in the diligent practice of the many enduring rituals of the Catholic Faith. Said her rosary regularly, read from her many missals and devotional prayer books, went to Mass during Sundays and holydays and other days when able. Everything done in Spanish, the language she was taught by her elders.

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  1. Is the kiosk cross still there? I saw it in '85 and it didn't look very well protected. I certainly wasn't convinced when I examined it. I was reading that Magellan's cross is inside another newer cross stored inside a chapel in Cebu City.

    I'm not enamored of the Spanish. I tend to concentrate on their abuses I suppose. If they had made the indigenous peoples of their colonies actual Spanish citizens instead of looking at them as slave labor to be exploited, who knows, maybe this is a Spanish province. The Spanish squandered it all because of their greed, but that's ancient history.

    I do admire ladies like your grandmother. Sounds like a woman like my own grandmother and mother too--pious Catholic women who love God and don't worry about the abuses of state.

  2. Indeed, the original cross has been embedded inside a bigger wooden cross. I suppose to protect it further. And I am not aware of the original being moved to another location.

    That part of Cebu holds a lot of nostalgic memories for my mother's side of the family. The old settlement, then called Parian, which includes the site of the cross, was where most of the old families of Cebu came from, including my grandma's.

  3. Take a look in Wikipedia under "the cross of magellan." It shows the cross in a chapel. That kiosk was really chintzy back 20 years ago; out in the open, it was all covered with bird droppings and dusty dirty dingy. The picture of the chapel looks great, very reflective and peaceful.

  4. The wife spent 3 weeks in Cebu last February so I asked her about it since she visited on several occasions her favorite church, Santo Nino (located almost in front of original cross site), and she also spent some years enrolled in its parochial school, a block away from the church.

    She confirms that the cross has been moved to another location a little further away in front of the old city hall building. But I assumed along the same street, Magallanes St.

    After reading some, learned that the local city government is in the middle of some urban design project with the old city hall as the centerpiece.

    Although on top of all this, there is still the unresolved controversy that the remnants of the that cross may not be the original after all, some replacement from the Spaniards who came after Magellan.

    But for me I suppose I still cling to the romanticized version, since that was how we understood it as little kids visiting that memorial. From Sikatuna or D. Jakosalem Sts. where our old house stood, we could take a long walk and end up close to Magallanes St. where the old cross stood.

  5. I can understand your attachment to the old cross in the kiosk. In a way it was interesting for me, even knowing that it probably was a replacement because of what its existence says about what is important to folks here. When it comes down to it, all religious questions come down to faith anyway. Not only that, but even if it had been replaced, the replacement cross was probably very old. However I knew intellectually that the chances of a piece of wood surviving from the 1500s in the tropics was a pretty slim proposition.


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