Unlighted candles pile up at Magellan’s Cross | Inquirer News

Unlighted candles pile up at Magellan’s Cross

/ 05:02 AM January 25, 2024

COLORFUL PILE Unlightedcandles left by devotees fill the base of the Magellan’s Cross kiosk in Cebu City on Wednesday, two days after the feast of the Sto. Niño de Cebu. —FERDINAND GADOT

COLORFUL PILE Unlighted candles left by devotees fill the base of the Magellan’s Cross kiosk in Cebu City on Wednesday, two days after the feast of the Sto. Niño de Cebu. —FERDINAND GADOT

CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — A historical landmark here has become a repository of candles following the feast of the Sto. Niño de Cebu over the weekend.

Thousands of unlighted candles in different colors had piled up inside the Magellan’s Cross kiosk on Magallanes Street, in front of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. These were left by devotees who visited Magellan’s Cross during the 11-day Sinulog festivities that culminated in the fiesta celebration on Sunday.


The candles were so many that by Monday, the pile had reached about a meter deep from the base of the cross, which symbolizes the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines more than 500 years ago.


Fr. John Ion Miranda, an Augustinian friar and spokesperson for the basilica, which has jurisdiction over the historic kiosk, said they would sell the candles with the proceeds going to scholars of the Basilica del Sto. Niño Children’s Welfare Foundation Inc.

According to the basilica’s website, the foundation has been providing scholarship grants to poor and deserving students from the Basilica United Vendors and Photographers Association since 2006.

Unknown to many, the candle offering at Magellan’s Cross kiosk has been a practice of devotees for several years now.

“I do not know when that practice [of offering unlighted candles at the kiosk] exactly started. But that has been there for quite some time already,” Miranda told the Inquirer.

The original cross brought by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who led a Spanish expedition that arrived in Cebu in 1521, is encased in a huge wooden cross visible to devotees.

Authorities want to protect the historical cross from people who chipped away its parts as souvenirs or because they believe it possessed miraculous powers.


Miranda said people offer unlighted candles to avoid burning the prominent kiosk. “That is basically for safety purposes,” he said.

Devotees troop to Cebu City every January to honor the Sto. Niño, an icon that Magellan gave to Cebu’s Queen Juana as a baptismal gift in 1521.

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TAGS: Feast of Sto. Niño de Cebu, Magellan’s Cross

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