Man sets himself on fire in Magellan’s Cross kiosk

Posted on September 28, 2012


by Jhunnex Napallacan, Correspondent


Candle vendor Nora Henares points to the spot where a man set himself on fire inside the Magellan’s Cross kiosk (JUNJIE MENDOZA)

A man suffered severe burns after he set his clothes  on fire with gasoline and a lighter  inside the Magellan’s Cross kiosk across Cebu City Hall yesterday morning.

No one  knows exactly why the man tried to kill hmself.

Guards near the landmark recognized him as a frequent local visitor who would go to the Magellan’s Cross in the mornings to pray but  looked mentally disturbed.

He was found lying face down on the floor covered in flames by a roving City Hall  guard.

The guard Brian Felisilda rushed over with a fire extinguisher at 7:30 a.m. when he noticed  flames inside the monument that houses a replica of the wooden cross planted by Ferdinand Magellan in the 16th century.

Felisilda said he sprayed the man’s upper body first. By then the man’s shirt was already eaten up by fire.

“Mi-utong na man to siya, wa na maglihok-lihok ug wa na moestorya,” he added.

(I think he was holding his breath. He was not moving and unable to talk.)

Paramedics brought the victim to  the Cebu City Medical Center. Dr. Ross Villero said the man was in critical condition with second  degree burns in his body, face and head.

His hair was also burned. Villero said 50 percent of the man’s body was affected.

A man claiming to be the victim’s  son said the patient was his 77-year-old father and a  resident of barangay  Lorega San Miguel, Cebu City.

The guard said he earlier saw  the man bringing a a small glass container with him.

A receipt for gasoline bought from a T. Padilla Street gas station and a  lighter was found near  the victim.

Candle vendor Marjorie Salve said she earlier saw the man kneeling in prayer before he set  himself on fire.

Felisilda said other guards in the area recognized the man as a  frequent visitor who would go to  the Magellan’s Cross every morning to pray.

Security guard Albert Jagonal who is detailed at the Sto. Niño Basilica across the street said the man would  also frequent the Pilgrim Center.

He said the man always wore the same clothes and appeared disturbed.

The Magellan’s Cross is  a historical landmark of Cebu that is often visited by tourists and attracts Catholic visitors who ask candle vendors to do a prayer dance for their intentions.

In the mid 1980s, an engineer who taught in a university also set himself on fire in Plaza Independencia in full view of members of his cult, believing that he would be resurrected.

He did not survive./ with Correspondent Chito O. Aragon

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