The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 - Volume 41 of 55, 1691-1700
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831. Then he goes on to treat of the unsupportable hardships suffered in Calamianes by the evangelical ministers. I have thought it best not to omit his relation, in order that one may see how much merit is acquired in the promulgation of the faith amid such anxieties. "But the devil," he continues, "who watches that he may not lose the souls of which he finds himself in quasi possession, has raised up at this time a cloud of dust, by which he has prevented and is preventing in many of these remote parts the obtaining of many souls and is occasioning the loss of others. For as I am advised by the letters of the religious of Calamianes, under date of the eighteenth of the current month and of the twenty-second of the past month of April, that the alcaldes-mayor who have governed that jurisdiction (and even more he who is governing it at present, who is a lad of 21, a servant of the governor and of these islands) cause so great and continual troubles both to the father ministers and to the natives of the country, that the latter, although Christians, have retired from their villages of Taytay, Dumaran, and Paragua to the mountains in order to escape their intolerable oppression. They exclaim that they are not withdrawing from obedience to his Majesty and that they do not intend to abandon their profession as Christians, but that they do not dare to live in the more than enslaved condition in which the alcaldes-mayor, carried away by their insatiable greed, confine them. The father prior of Taytay writes me that he has entered the mountains with every danger from the enemy, in search of his terrified and scattered sheep; and notwithstanding all the efforts and warnings that he has made and given them he has not been able to succeed in getting them to return to their villages, unless another alcalde-mayor be assigned to them, and relief offered for the extreme oppression that is offered to them. They answer the arguments of the father by telling him not to tire himself, 'for we can ill hope,' they say, 'that he who tramples on the sacred dignity of a priest, will have any moderation with regard to us.' They assert this because they saw that the last alcalde-mayor lifted his cane against father Fray Domingo de San Agustin, and struck him while he was putting on his clerical robes to say mass; and that the present alcalde-mayor treated the religious with indignity even to the point of taking from them the one who takes them their necessary support, so that they have had to find for themselves the water that they drink. He has taken from them the sacristans and other servants of the Church without leaving them even anyone to aid them in the mass. He has forbidden the Indians to enter the convent or to assist in any of the things to which they are obliged. He has forbidden them to go out as they ought to the visitas, and to confess, preach, and catechize. It is all directed to the end that the Indians might not be busied in anything else than in getting wax for the alcalde-mayor. Hence this is the source and beginning of the troubles suffered by the poor Indians. They are not only not permitted to make use of their natural right, but are prevented from giving the due execution to his Majesty's orders, from entering and going out, from trading and trafficking one with another, and one village with another, for if they have anything to buy or to sell, it must be entirely for the alcalde-mayor. These notices are necessarily communicated in the lands of the infidels. Just consider, your Reverence, what will be the condition of their minds, when we try to reduce them to the knowledge of our good God, and to the obedience of the king our sovereign. I have informed the governor in regard to this, and since I do not expect any relief from his hand, I entreat your Reverence to procure it from the royal piety with the memorial and documents adjoined. If not we shall have to appeal to God, for such troubles are of very frequent occurrence in various parts of these islands. We never cease to wonder when we see some Spaniards here who are so destitute of Christian considerations, and so clothed in greed, God so permitting by His lofty judgments, in exchange for the martyrdoms that are lacking to us religious in Japon."

832. We believe, although we are not altogether sure, that the suitable relief was given on one and the other side, for in the following years, we find that the Catholic faith made very extraordinary gains in Calamianes. This is proved by the reestablishment of the ancient convents and ministries. It appears that the chapter of 1686 erected a new mission in the village of Tancon which was later moved to the village of Culion. The chapter of 1695 established another distinct mission in the island of Dumaran, and that of 1698 a third one in the island of Lincapan; and we see that that of 1746 has added two other ministries, the first in the island of Alutaya, and the second in the village of Calatan. That is sure proof of the increase of the Christians, when the evangelical laborers are so increased. In regard to the above we must mention what appears from acts and judicial reports which the superior government of Manila sent to the Council of the Indias, and which are conserved in its secretary's office in the department of Nueva Espana; namely, that when our province of Calamianes was again given to us, all the islands contained only 4,500 Christian souls, but that in the year 1715 they amounted to 18,600. And even after the continual and furious persecution, which is mentioned briefly in the third volume [52] had intervened, with which it is undeniable that the number of believers had decreased greatly, father Fray Juan Francisco de San Antonio notes in the history of his province of San Gregorio de Philipinas [53] that there were 21,076 Christian souls in the islands of Calamianes and Romblon in the year 1735. Hence subtracting about five thousand from that number for those of the island of Romblon, there is a remainder of about sixteen thousand for Calamianes. [54] Let us give praises to God who thus maintains the zeal of those fervent laborers and crowns their fatigues with so abundant fruits.

[Section ii of this chapter mentions the virtues and holiness of some of the Indians of the missions of Calamianes. The first mentioned was one Joseph Bagumbayan, a native of Taytay, who was reared in the convent of that village by the Recollects. The rearing of such children is described as follows: "The holy orders of Philipinas are wont to take account of the sons of the chief Indians of the villages under their charge, in order to teach them good morals from childhood, and rear them with those qualities which are considered necessary to enable them to govern their respective villages afterward with success, since the administration of justice is always put in charge of such Indians. They live in the convents from childhood in charge of the gravest fathers. The latter are called masters, although in strictness they are tutors or teachers who would right gladly avoid such service. In this meaning, and in no other, must one understand whatever is said about our religious having servants in the Philipinas. I have heard scruples expressed here in Espana over this bare kind [of service], when it ought to be a matter for edification to see that in addition to the truly gigantic toils that our brothers there load upon their shoulders, they voluntarily take this very troublesome one of rearing a few children who serve only to exercise the patience." Joseph strove to imitate the fathers as much as possible, in self sacrifice and austerity, and desired to become a donne, "which was the most to which he could aspire, since he was only an Indian." That, however, being denied him, he was enrolled in the confraternity of the Correa or girdle, and admitted as a spiritual brother of the Recollect order. He acted as teacher of boys for over fifty years, teaching them reading, writing, arithmetic, and music. At his death he was buried in the Recollect church at Taytay. One of the boys taught by Joseph was Bartolome Lingon. At the age of fifteen he was appointed to assist Fray Alonso de San Agustin or Garcias, who arrived in Philipinas in 1684 and was sent immediately to Calamianes. Although he desired to remain unmarried, he was married at the request of the missionaries to a devout woman named Magdalena Iling. He acted as the chief sacristan of the Recollect church in Taytay, ever taking great delight in the service of the church and his duties therein. He survived his wife three years, dying in January 1696. His wife had been born in Laguna de Paragua but had lived in Taytay most of her life with a Christian aunt. Although she wished to devote her life exclusively to religion she was persuaded by the religious to marry Bartolome. Her devotion led her to teach the girls of the village without pay. Of a gentle disposition she was yet unyielding on occasions of necessity and although tempted by an alcalde-mayor who was enamored of her beauty and made improper proposals to her, she ever maintained her virtue. At her death by cancer of the breast, she was buried in the Recollect church. The last two sections of this chapter have nothing on the Philippines.]


[The first chapter of this decade does not treat of the Philippines.]


Our province of Philipinas attempts a mission to Great China. The life of the venerable brother Fray Martin de San Francisco.

The year 1682

Sec. I

Relation of the anxiety which our province of Philipinas has always had to extend its apostolic preaching to China; and the great effort made in 1682 for that purpose.

[The story of the Recollect attempt to evangelize in China is one of failure, notwithstanding the earnest efforts made by that order to send laborers to that empire. Shortly after the closing of Japanese ports to all missionaries in 1640, the Philippine Recollects began to work up the foreign mission field, but it was not until 1650 that they were able to present memorials to the Roman court, which proved unavailing as the Italians and French were already on the ground in many of the Asiatic countries. In 1667 the father provincial, Fray Juan de la Madre de Dios, received decrees in blank ordering him to send laborers to China, but the royal treasury was in no position to aid them, and the wars both in the islands and in China also prevented the proposed spiritual invasion. Many other mandatory decrees from the king met the same fate, but in the chapter of 1680, the order determined to make the mission if they had to supply all the funds themselves. Three men were told off to study the language in order to prepare for the work in China, and in 1682, one did actually get as far as Macan, but the opposition of the civil authorities there proved the deathknell to all hopes at that time. Again in 1701, and in 1704, abortive attempts were made to enter the great empire, the last being coeval with the arrival of the apostolic visitor Cardinal Tournon.]

[The second section of this chapter treats of Spanish matters.]


A fine mission leaves Espana for Philipinas; and the venerable father Fray Christoval de San Joseph leaves this for the eternal life.

The year 1683

Sec. I

Of the missions of our religious who reached Philipinas during the years of these three decades, and in especial of the mission which made its voyage this year 1683 to the not small luster of the Catholic religion.

... 908. The third volume has already related that a mission left Espana in the year 1660 in charge of father Fray Eugenio de los Santos. [55] He brought in that mission, however, only eighteen choir religious and two lay brothers whose names I have been unable to ascertain, as the instruments with which I would have to do so have not come to me from Espana. They all reached Mexico in the above-mentioned year and since because of various accidents that happened during the voyage, in the islands and in the port of Cavite no ships came from Philipinas to Nueva Espana, either that year or the two following, the mission had to stay in the said city all that time incurring the expenses and fatal consequences that one can understand. In the year 1662 the viceroy of Mexico despatched a boat to the islands to get a report of their condition, for there was fear that they had been invaded by enemies. One of those missionaries ventured in that boat, and arriving at Manila it caused not a little rejoicing to the inhabitants there. The next year ships from Philipinas were seen in the port of Acapulco, and as a consequence fourteen religious took passage in them and arrived at Manila in August 1663, and not in 1684 as was wrongly reported in volume three. The five others remained in Nueva Espana, but they afterwards reached their destination and all served in those fields of Christendom where they were of great use.

909. Father Fray Christoval de Santa Monica, after having been provincial of Philipinas, to which dignity he was elected in the year 1656, was appointed in 63, to come to Espana in order to collect and lead a mission. He came then, having received on the way not a few favors from St. Nicholas of Tolentino—favors which he received under the appreciable quality of miracles, but which we cannot specify for lack of documents. He negotiated in Madrid as successfully as could be desired, and collected a mission of twenty-four religious, all generally of good qualities and with the characteristics that are desired in that province. He set sail with that valiant squadron June 16, 1666. [After various miraculous happenings on the way, the vessel reached Vera Cruz in safety, whence the passengers went across the peninsula to Acapulco. August of 1667 the Recollects all reached Manila save two who remained in Mexico for another year because of sickness.]

910. In the year 1668, the venerable father Fray Juan de la Madre de Dios, of Blancas, was elected president of Mexico in the provincial chapter of Mexico, and father Fray Agustin de Santa Monica, commissary for Espana. The latter died aboard ship, and on that account, when the former arrived at Mexico, he found an order within two years to go to the court of Madrid in order to discuss some matters of not small magnitude, and to give his vote for the province in the general chapter. The authority and money for the conduction of a mission were long delayed, but at last he received them both at the end of 1674, whereupon he displayed so good zeal that he took passage with twenty-six religious in June 1675. He reached Mexico with his gospel militia, where he was ordered by the province to return to Espana to conduct certain matters that could only be entrusted to his person. Thereupon, sending his accounts to Philipinas, the mission went to the islands in the year 1676 in charge of another prelate, and father Fray Juan bent his steps toward his new destiny.

911. Another father, Fray Juan de la Madre de Dios, a native of Cuenca, had gone to Philipinas in the mission of father Fray Christoval de Santa Monica; in the year 1680, that definitory appointed him commissioner to Espana. He sailed the same year from the port of Cavite in the galleon named "San Telmo." [After a voyage tempered with the mercy obtained by St. Nicholas of Tolentino, in several dangerous situations, the father arrived at Acapulco, January 22, 1681, and was detained some time in Nueva Espana by the fever. Reaching Spain in November of the same year, he hastened to lay his supplications at the royal feet, and was given a decree calling for a mission of forty religious fathers and five lay brothers. "He also obtained a royal decree dated April 16 of the abovesaid year [1682] in which his Majesty continued the annual alms of one hundred and fifty pesos for the medicines which are used in our infirmary of Manila; and another of the thirtieth of the same month, in which he also continued the alms of two hundred and fifty pesos and a like number of fanegas of rice per year for the maintenance of the four religious of Ours who were in charge of the Indians in Manila."]

914. In view of this, the edict for the mission was published by our father vicar-general. An excellent mission was collected at Sevilla for the purpose of taking passage in the fleet which was about to sail to Nueva Espana in charge of General Don Diego de Saldivar. Thereupon the mission sailed from Cadiz on the fourth of March, 1683, and consisted of the following religious.

1. The father commissary, Fray Juan de la Madre de Dios, native of Cuenca.

2. The father vice-commissary, Fray Fernando Antonio de la Concepcion, native of Aldea del Cardo, of the bishopric of Calahorra.

3. The pensioned father reader, Fray Juan de la Concepcion, known as Moriana, an Andalusian.

4. Father Fray Agustin de San Juan Bautista, a native of Leganes near Madrid.

5. Father Fray Juan de la Encarnacion, of Talavera.

6. Father Fray Francisco del Espiritu Santo, of Xarayz in La Vera de Plasencia.

7. Father Fray Antonio de San Agustin, of Madrid.

8. Father Fray Juan de San Antonio, of Alcala de Enares.

9. Father Fray Juan de San Nicolas, of Daymiel in La Mancha.

10. Father Fray Alonso de San Agustin, of Villa de Garcias in Estremadura.

11. Father Fray Joseph de la Encarnacion, of La Nava del Rey.

12. Father Fray Francisco de la Ascension, of Madrid.

13. Father Fray Francisco de la Madre de Dios, of Malaga.

14. Father Fray Pablo de San Joseph, of Toboso.

15. Father Fray Joseph de San Geronimo, of Calcena in Andalucia.

16. Father Fray Juan del Santissimo Sacramento, of Logrono.

17. Father Fray Vicente de San Geronimo, of Lupinen, near Huesca.

18. Father Fray Sebastian de San Marcos, of Toboso.

19. Father Fray Gaspar de San Guillermo, of Villanueva Messia.

Brother Choristers

20. Brother Fray Alonso de la Concepcion.

21. Brother Fray Diego de San Nicolas, of Madrid.

22. Brother Fray Antonio de la Encarnacion, of Xetafe.

23. Brother Fray Joseph de la Madre de Dios, of Toboso.

24. Brother Fray Juan de San Agustin, of Oran, Africa.

25. Brother Fray Francisco Antonio de la Madre de Dios, of Alcantara.

26. Brother Fray Francisco de Santa Maria, of Madrid.

27. Brother Fray Ignacio de San Joseph, of Buxaraloz, Aragon.

28. Brother Fray Joachin de San Nicolas, of Anon, Aragon.

29. Brother Fray Joseph de Santa Getrudis, of Villafranca de Panades, Cathaluna.

30. Brother Fray Joseph de la Trinidad, of Urrea de Xalon, Aragon.

31. Brother Fray Joseph de Santa Lucia, of Caspe, Aragon.

32. Brother Fray Francisco de San Joseph.

33. Brother Fray Pedro de San Miguel, of Porcuna, kingdom of Jaen.

34. Brother Fray Raphael de San Bernardo, of Berja, kingdom of Granada.

35. Brother Fray Manuel de la Concepcion, of Sevilla.

36. Brother Fray Juan de la Ascencion, of Moral, in the archbishopric of Toledo.

37. Brother Fray Alonso de San Joseph.

38. Brother Fray Juan de Santa Monica.

Lay Brothers

39. Brother Fray Pedro de la Virgen del Pilar, of Barcelona.

40. Brother Fray Agustin de Santa Monica, of Ecinacorva, Aragon.

41. Brother Fray Roque de San Lorenzo.

42. Brother Fray Joseph de Jesus.

43. Brother Fray Juan de Jesus, of Alcazar de San Juan, La Mancha.

915. All the above, minus the one named at number 22 who died at sea, and those included under numbers 9, 12, and 14, who hid in Puerto Rico, in order that they might return to their provinces, as they did do, arrived with the great good-will of the fleet, at Vera Cruz, June 1, 1683, whence they went to Mexico with all possible haste. There they comported themselves with the greatest rigor, observance, abstraction, and example, so that the hospitium appeared a desert. Thus they succeeded in obtaining the favor of the viceroy, the count of Paredes, [56] and the venerable archbishop Don Francisco de Aguiar y Seyjas, who visited the fathers in the hospitium, and that not only once. During that winter those who had not completed their studies, continued them, and in that the father lector, Fray Juan de la Concepcion and others who were not lectors, but were worthy to be, worked with especial zeal. By the fifth of March, 1685, they began to go out in bands to Acapulco, whence they set sail April 4, in the almiranta, called "San Telmo." They anchored in the port of Sorsogon, in Philipinas, on the fourteenth of July, and arrived in Manila some time in August. There they were given a fine welcome and were allowed some time to rest after so long a voyage. But they afterward began another greater work in that vineyard with the fulfilment which was hoped of not resting until they obtained their reward in glory.

[Chapter iv, treating of the general chapter of 1684, notes (p. 457) that the first definitor chosen for Philipinas was father Fray Francisco de San Nicolas, and the second definitor, Fray Miguel de Santa Monica; as first and second discreets (p. 458), were chosen father Fray Blas de la Concepcion and father Fray Nicolas de Tolentino.]

[Most of chapter v is taken up with the life of father Fray Juan de la Madre de Dios, called also Blancas. He was born in the town of Blancas, Aragon, of honorable parentage, his family name being Garcias. From his early years of a religious turn of mind, he at length attained the height of his desires by professing (June 15, 1635) in the convent of Borja. In 1650, after having preached very acceptably at the convent of Zaragoza, he enlisted in the Philippine mission organized by father Fray Jacinto de San Fulgencio. On his arrival at Manila he preached at the convent in that city and engaged in other work (being also the confessor of the governor Sabiniano Manrique de Lara) until December, 1655. At that time his health giving out because of an accident, he went with the then father provincial, father Fray Francisco de San Joseph, to the convent at Bolinao in the Zambal district, leaving behind with the governor a folio MS. book which he had written during the preceding two years entitled Governador Christiano, entre Neophitos (Christian governor among neophytes), for spiritual guidance in all sorts of matters. In Bolinao, the change of climate and work restored the father's health in a short time, but he remained in that place until the new provincial chapter in Manila. At that chapter he was chosen prior of the Manila convent against his wishes. Again in 1658 ill health compelled him to go to Bolinao, where he remained this time four years. His efforts to keep the natives there quiet during the times of the insurrections were of great fruit. He labored zealously in that district even visiting the schools in addition to the regular duties of a missionary. He received a number of devout women into the tertiary branch of the order. He was untiring in his efforts for both the spiritual and corporal good of his charges.]

Sec. V

Father Fray Juan de la Madre de Dios founds a village of Indians, converted by dint of his zeal. He is elected definitor and retires from the commerce of men to adorn himself with the perfection of his virtues.

... 984. In a site called Cacaguayanan which means "the place of many bamboos," six leguas or so from Bolinao there were for years back a not small number of Indians, who had fled from the surrounding villages, and who are there called Zimarrones. They having abandoned in its entirety the faith which they had received at baptism, and accompanied by many heathen, not only rendered vain the attempts of mildness and of force which had several times been practiced to reduce them to a Christian and civilized life, but either by declared war, or by means of skilful cunning, did not cease to cause constant depredations in the Catholic villages which were subject to Spanish dominion. So true is the statement contained in various parts of this history, that our ministers of Philipinas, although they dwell in mission fields already formed, go forth to living war against infidelity, and although the Christianity of Zambales was the first one converted by our discalced order, even there our religious have no lack of meritorious occupation. From the first time that our venerable father was in Bolinao, he worked with his accustomed zeal in order to place those people in the pathway of their eternal salvation. He had obtained from them that the Christians should be obedient to the law, and that the heathen should leave the opaque shades of paganism, so that it was conceded to him to found a new settlement in the island of Poro with them, with a general pardon and the accustomed privileges. Moved by so good hopes the father went to chapter, and since he had so much influence with the governor of the islands to whom the giving of such licenses pertains, he procured one for the founding of the village which he was attempting, with all the privileges that those Zimarrones and idolaters could desire. But since the religious to whom it was charged, did not succeed in finding the means prescribed by prudence to unite spirits dissimilar in other regards, not only was the project not obtained, but their good-wills having been irritated, the desired attainment came to appear impossible.

985. So passed affairs, when renouncing the priorate of Manila, as we have said above, that gleaming sun returned to illumine the hemisphere of Bolinao, and not being able to prevent the activity of his light, he immediately shed his reflected light even to the darkest caves where those Indians were taking refuge in the manner of wild beasts, fleeing from their own good and blindly enamored of the most unhappy freedom. Again did the father establish the compacts for their conversion. In the first step that he took in the undertaking, he made the greatest sacrifice of himself, by exposing his life to a danger which might make the most courageous man tremble, if he were less holy. For when he heard that the fugitive Christians and a great number of heathens and some Chinese idolaters were celebrating a solemn feast to the demons, in the above-mentioned place of Cacaguayanan, he determined to go thither in person with the intrepidity suitable to his valor, and almost alone to oppose so sacrilegious worship and at the same time reduce those who paid that worship. In these ceremonies called Maganitos in the language of the country, intoxication is the most essential part of the solemnity. And since the Zambal Indians are extremely warlike, esteeming it the principal part of their nobility, unless they are illumined with the Catholic faith, to lessen with inhuman murders the species of which they consider themselves as individuals, adding to this that they consider it as an attention paid to their religion, to take away the life of any Christian who approaches their district, where they pay such adorations to their deities, then one can conjecture the great risk that beset that soldier of Jesus, when he attacked such an army of infernal furies, in order to withdraw them from a darkness so dense into the refulgent light of the Catholic religion.

986. But its good outcome deprived the action of the censure of temerity, which showed that it was governed by a special motion of the Holy Spirit, whose impulse at times trespassing the lines of what the world calls prudence, causes one to undertake projects which our finite reason qualifies as rashness. The fact is that when the venerable father arrived at the dense part of a solitary thicket in whose melancholy shades those Indians had gathered to worship as a god one who is not a god, he met them with the qualities of meek sheep, when he might have feared to find them like ferocious wolves, who would consider it a sport of their cruelty to rend him to pieces. Beyond any doubt the hand of God, who wished to preserve the life of one who despised it for His sake, was in this; for since the infernal fury with which the heathen clothe themselves on such occasions is assured, one cannot attribute their gentleness on this occasion to natural causes. That most zealous minister put his hand, then, to the double-edged sword of the preaching, and fighting with it according to his wont so skilfully, made himself master almost without any resistance of those hearts which were filled with apostasy and infidelity, setting up in them the banner of our holy Catholic faith. The complete attainment of so famous a victory was retarded somewhat, because of the outbreak of the insurrection of Pangasinan. In him was verified what experience has always demonstrated, namely, that a very quiet disposition is needed so that the divine word may be born in souls by the faith. But at last when all the heads of that monstrous hydra were cut off, the blessed father had the happiness to obtain the fruit of his zeal by constructing a new village in the site called Mangasin. That was the most suitable place in the island of Poro, and was called by another name Cabarroyan. From the beginning he counted eighty houses in it and a like number of families, all drawn from the captivity of the devil to the perfect liberty of the kingdom of Christ.

[The father preached many sermons to the Zambals in their own language, which he had begun to learn when he first went to Bolinao, so many in fact that they formed two MS. volumes in quarto; and of them copies were made for the use of those not so well versed as himself in the Zambal tongue. In April 1662 he was chosen definitor at the provincial chapter, and lived for the three years of that office in the Manila convent. At the following chapter in 1665, father Fray Juan was elected provincial against his will. His term was one that needed his strong rule, for there were troubles with the governor, Diego Salcedo, who offered obstacles to the smooth ordering of affairs. He materially advanced his order and brought some new stability into the body which had suffered in the recent earthquakes, and the Chinese and native insurrections. At the completion of his triennium he was chosen president of the Recollect hospitium in Mexico. Setting sail for his destination, July 4, 1668, the port of Acapulco was reached only on the twenty-second of the following January, after a voyage replete with storm and sickness. Proceeding to his destination the father entered the hospitium of Mexico on the twelfth of February of the same year. In 1671, as related above, Father Juan de la Madre de Dios was ordered to cast the vote of his province in the general chapter held in Spain in 1672, and also to attend to various matters for his order. There his stay being somewhat prolonged because of lack of funds and other things he was made visitor general of certain Spanish convents, and was later elected to high officers of the order in Aragon. Returning to Nueva Espana with a band of missionaries he was again sent to Spain on business of the order, but a broken arm received while on his way from Sevilla to Madrid, caused his retirement to the Zaragoza convent, where he died January 10, 1685, at the age of 68. Throughout his life, he was most humble and led an austere existence.]

[Section ii of the following chapter treats of the life of father Fray Thomas de San Geronimo. This father was born at the village of Yebenes, in the archbishopric of Toledo, his family name being Ayala. He took the habit in the Madrid convent, July 28, 1646. Upon going to the Philippines he was sent to the missions of the Visayas. Devoting himself there to the study of the languages he learned several of the Visayan tongues, especially the Cebuan, "the principal Visayan tongue." In that language he translated the catechism, which was printed at Manila in 1730; compiled an explanation of the Christian Doctrine, which was printed in 1730; and composed a vocabulary in the Cebuan tongue, and another in the dialects spoken in Cagayan and Tagaloan. In addition he left two volumes of sermons in the vernacular of the country. He served as prior for six years in the convent of Billig, Mindanao; six years in Cagayan, and various times at the island of Romblon, and finally in Siargao. In 1680 he was elected provincial, and served his term so faithfully and well, visiting and working assiduously, that he was reelected in 1686 against his will. But he was destined not to fill that office again for death took him May 19, 1686. After his first term he served in the island of Romblon. He was a most zealous missionary. The remainder of the chapter and chapter vii following do not deal with Philippine affairs.]


Our missionaries illumine the islands of Masbate with the preaching. The fourteenth general chapter is held. Two excellent religious die in the province of Aragon.

The year 1688

Sec. I

Our province of Philipinas takes charge of the spiritual administration of three islands, namely, Masbate, Ticao, and Burias, with no little luster to the Catholic religion.

... 1108. In the great archipelago of San Lazaro, as one enters the Philipinas from Marianas, the islands of Luzon, Mindoro, Panai, Zebu, and Leyte form among themselves an almost perfect circle which has a circumference along the beaches from the center of about two hundred leguas encircling the above-named islands, which are very near one another. Within this circumference, toward the part of Mindoro and Panay, are located the islands of Romblon, and toward the part of Leyte those of Masbate, Ticao and Burias, which belong to the bishopric of Nueva Caceres in ecclesiastical matters, and to the alcaldeship of Albay in political matters. Masbate, which is the chief island, is sixty leguas southwest of Manila. It lies in a latitude of about sixty degrees, has a circumference of fifty leguas, a length of nineteen, and a breadth of five or six. [57] The island of Ticao is about nine leguas long, four and one-half wide, and about twenty-three leguas in circumference. [58] That of Burias has a circumference of twenty-six leguas, four wide and twelve long. [59] Masbate has the reputation of having the richest gold mines that were found by the first Spaniards, and from which they benefited to a great extent. Their working has not been continued, either for lack of people suitable for this work or for other reasons which do not concern us. That of Burias abounds in the palm called Buri, of whose fruit and even of whose trunk, the Indians make an extraordinary bread. That of Ticao produces many woods, excellent for the construction of medium-sized boats. The natives of those three islands are of the same qualities as the rest of the Philipinas. However, they have become very sociable because of the almost continuous intercourse that they have with the Spaniards, on account of the many who pass on their way to other countries.

1109. Those islands were reduced to the crown of Espana in 1569 by Don Luis Henriquez de Guzman, a knight of Sevilla, whose conquest made them thoroughly subject in everything to Captain Andres de Ibarra. Thereupon, scarcely had the way been opened by arms, when the venerable father, Fray Alonso Ximenez, an Observant of our order, entered Masbate to preach the law of grace. He, as is asserted by father Fray Gaspar de San Agustin, may be called the apostle of that island, in consideration of the great amount of his labors therein for the extension of the Catholic faith. Other apostolic workers of the same institute followed his tracks later, and they went to Ticao and Burias. Consequently, in the year 1605, the province of Santo Nombre de Jesus founded a mission composed of the above three islands. The first prior appointed was father Fray Francisco Guerrero, instructor of Christian doctrine, who was of well-known zeal. But our calced fathers kept the care of their administration only until the year 1609, when the intermediary chapter resigned that district and its villages into the hands of the bishop of Nueva Caceres, Don Pedro de Arce, in order that he might appoint secular clergy as he wished, who could attend to the Christian Indians with the bread of the doctrine. [60] From that time until the year 1688, various curas had successive charge of the administration of those souls in order to teach them the road of glory. But notwithstanding that that district had only two hundred and fifty families when they took charge of it (as the above-cited Father Gaspar confesses) whose number continued to decline afterward because of the Moro invasions, one cura could in no way be maintained, and scarce could one be found to take charge of that church.

1110. Things were in this condition, then, when the most illustrious master, Don Fray Andres Gonzales, who deservedly ascended to the bishopric of Nueva Caceres from the ranks of the Order of Preachers, represented to the king on May 28, 1682 that in order that the villages of his diocese might be rightly administered spiritually, it would be indispensable to assign its curacies in another manner and give some of them into the charge of religious. In consideration of that he petitioned his Majesty to commit the approbation of the new plan considered to his governor of those islands, so that as vice-patron, he might proceed in it. The king conceded what that prelate asked by his decree dated Madrid, August 13, 1685, and his Excellency presented the new formation of districts to the governor with all its changes. By it he applied to our province all the mission of Masbate, and its adjacent islands, as well as the villages of Ingozo, Catanavan, Vigo, and the rancherias contiguous, all located in the island of Luzon, which hitherto had belonged to the curacy of Piriz, so that another new mission might be formed under charge of our discalced order. The governor was the admiral of galleons, Don Gabriel de Cruceleygui, knight of the habit of Santiago. By an act of November 26, 1686, he approved in toto the idea of the bishop, and, as a consequence, the assignation made to us of the above-mentioned villages, so that we might administer them as curas. However, because of several troubles that resulted, our province accepted only the mission of Masbate, and renounced the right that they might have had to the other villages of the island of Luzon, for they could be administered by the fathers of St. Francis with less trouble.

1111. The constant reasons for the acts by which the bishop assigned to us the above-mentioned district were reduced to the fact that there was but one secular priest in it, and he was insufficient for its administration. For it was proved that only four persons had died with the sacraments within the long space of four years, while those who had passed to the other life without that benediction numbered one hundred and eighteen. Add to this that the baptism of small children had been delayed many months as the parish priest did not go but very seldom to visit the distant villages. This ought not to induce inferences against the well-proved zeal of those venerable priests, that they had neglected their duties in attending to the obligations of the ministry. For since there was but one ecclesiastic in all three islands, and those islands occupy so great an extent, and the villages are so distant from one another, how could he attend to so many parishioners with the pastoral food? It is a fact that even after our religious had entered there and three or four were kept busy continually, scarce could they fully attend to all their duties as spiritual directors, without some inculpable lack being evident; and that notwithstanding that each one labored as many, for not few of them have lost their health because of the work, as we shall see hereafter. Consequently, one ought not to be surprised if those Indians were poorly administered before, for it is undeniable that one person cannot attend to so many laborious cares, as can many, although he may equal them in zeal.

1112. The bishop and governor convinced, then, in this matter, despatched the fitting provisions in November 1686 in order that our reformed branch might take charge of those souls. This plan was of great moment to the province, for the said islands, besides being the necessary passage way and very suitable station for those who voyage from Manila to Carhaga and Zebu, are the stopping place of the ships which sail from Cavite to Acapulco and return from Nueva Espana to Philipinas. It is very common for the ships to stop in their ports to get fresh supplies, and await suitable winds. On that account there originated the greatest convenience in possessing them in our custody, because of what makes for the spiritual: for the provincials, when they sail out upon their visits; for the commissioners when they come to Espana for missions; for the missions themselves when they arrive at the islands; and for the multitude of our religious who journey from one part to another, employed in the holy commerce of souls. Without doubt those reasons somewhat aided the zeal with which our tireless workers in those countries have always procured the good teaching of the faithful, and the conversion of the faithless, at the cost of their own very great fatigue and of great penalties. On that account it was determined in the intermediary chapter of 1687 to accept the charge of that reasonable territory to whose labor God called them by the mouth of the bishop. And more when it was learned that, although the number of the Christians was greatly diminished, the interiors of the islands of Masbate and Burias were densely inhabited with innumerable Indians, apostates from the faith and assembled there not only from their villages, but also from other parts, in whose reduction a great service would be done to God and the king, and with this fruit the sweatings of the spiritual administration would be eased, which by themselves alone gave much to grieve over.

1113. Finally matters having been arranged, fathers Fray Juan de San Phelipe, the outgoing provincial, and Fray Juan de la Encarnacion, with another associate, of whose name we are ignorant, left Manila in May 1678 [i.e., 1688] to take charge of the above-mentioned district. They went to the village of Ticao, where they met the cura, then Bachelor Don Christoval Carvallo, who had been notified by the suitable acts in the month of August. The latter agreed without the least repugnance to surrender the churches and his administration. He did it gracefully on September 2 of the same year in the village of Mobo, a site in the island of Masbate, which was, and is, the chief village of all the others, and that mission remained from that time on subject to our discalced order. The Indians received the religious with signs of the greatest rejoicing. It is a fact that they knew our holy habit some years before, because some of our gospel missionaries had stopped in their port on account of storms, when they were passing by Masbate on their way to their destinations, and had attended to instructing them and even administering them the sacraments. From that came the almost general joy with which the discalced Augustinians were received there; and from that reception originated the great fruit which they obtained with their preaching. The fathers endeavored to have the love shown them by the Indians increase, not being unaware that the good-will of the hearers is a very plausible disposition so that the work of the preachers may be useful. Knowing also that the good opinion of the evangelical minister gives great force to his words, in order that theirs might be increased they aimed to confirm them with works. They bore themselves as saints in private and public in order to give a good example in all things. With that method, one can believe the great number of Christians that were gathered to Catholicism in the said islands, as we shall relate later.

1114. But since it was necessary for this attainment to found some convent, they erected it that same year in the village of Mobo, which had the most inhabitants. It has Nuestra Senora de los Remedios [i.e., our Lady of Remedies] as titular, and a very costly church is being built which abounds in reredoses and other adornments with a sacristy provided with vestments [? jocalias] and ornaments. The house is very capacious and has all the necessary rooms and has moreover cells for the religious who generally live in it. That convent was the refuge of the gospel ministers who lived in it in suitable number to look after the Christians in spiritual matters and to allure the apostates to the bosom of the Christian religion which they had abandoned. Thence, as swift moving clouds, they went out to fertilize the other villages with the water of their doctrine and having become hunters of souls, to overrun the deserts and mountains. Although there were not more than six villages in the three islands when our discalced religious entered to administer them, in a few years they established three more where they could shelter those who were being reduced to our holy faith. And hence the workers of that mission with inexplicable toil cared for a great number of souls who dwelt in the capital of Mobo, and in its annexed villages or visitas of Ticao, Burias, Balino, Palanog, Habuyoan, Tagmasuso, Buracan, and Limbojan. In that extensive territory not few times did God explain His mercies with repeated miracles in confirmation of the faith which Ours were preaching. Some received with baptism the health of the body, and others found themselves freed from their pains by the prayers of the ministers, accompanied by the laying on of hands. However, inasmuch as the manuscripts give us these notices without specification, we cannot name the individual miracles.

1115. A very lamentable event for the islands which happened in the year 1726, was the reason for the founding of another convent in Ticao. It happened as follows. The galleon "Santo Christo de Burgos," while making its voyage to Nueva Espana, anchored at the port of Ticao in order to await good weather before taking to the open sea. But it was shipwrecked there by a storm which came upon it. On board that vessel was Don Julian de Velasco, a minister assigned to the Audiencia of Mexico. He managed to obtain his spiritual improvement from that disaster so transcendental to all classes of Philipinas by the practice of good works. He did not care to return to Manila, although he could have done so, but remained with all his family in the said port until he could get passage the next year. Among what he was able to save of his lost possessions, he placed his first attention in seeing that the holy image of the holy Christ of Burgos which was on the ship as its titular, should not be lost; for it was his intention to place it at his own expense in some church, so that it might have public veneration for the benefit of souls. Scarcely, then, did he have that celestial treasure in his hands, when he exposed it to worship on the high altar of the church of Ticao with ornaments suitable to his devout affection. Thereafter followed the assignment of some income so that there might be a resident evangelical minister there, both so that a chaplain might not at least be wanting to the holy image, and so that the Indians might not lack more continual teaching. For that reason, the province afterward determined to found a convent in Ticao. To it were assigned the villages situated in the islands of Ticao and Burias, and to the convent of Mobo those of the island of Masbate. The ministers were thus able to obtain more relief because their number had increased, although they still had much to do in order to attend to everything.

Sec. II

Relation of the progress made by Catholicism in those islands by the preaching of our laborers; and the great hardships that they suffered for that end.

1116. In the year 1724, the province of Philipinas begged the king to confirm, by special decree, the possession that had been given them in his royal name of the islands of Masbate. His Majesty ordered the governor of Philipinas and the bishop of Nueva Caceres, on the eleventh of February, 1725, to make no innovation in regard to the spiritual administration of the said district until he should provide what was needful in his royal Council. He ordered them also to inform him of the progress that had been made by the faith in that territory since it had been in our charge. On that account some juridical investigations were made in Manila in order to inform the king with acts. By them it appeared that, although there had been only one single parish priest in all the district of Masbate before, since it had been placed in charge of the Recollect fathers, three religious at least had always lived there; and that, as was proved by the books of the royal treasury, in the year 1687, anterior to our possession, there were only one hundred and eighty-seven families in the whole mission, while in the year 1722, there were five hundred and eighty-five: so that in the space of thirty-four years they had increased by three hundred and ninety-eight. For that reason the governor, Marques de Torrecampo, gave his king June 30, 1727, a very favorable report of our discalced order in the terms of this honorable clause. "The district of Masbate, in charge of the discalced Augustinians, has had an increase of 398 whole tributes through the apostolic zeal of those ministers. They, not only in that district, but also in the rest of these islands, dedicate themselves to the propagation of our holy Catholic faith with the greatest toil and with the most visible fruit."

1117. These increases will be of greater moment if we consider that, if the families be reduced to the number of four persons each, as is customary there, the said district consisted, at the time it was given to us, of 748 souls, and in thirty-eight years it had increased to 2,340, the increase amounting to 1,592 persons. But sixteen years later (namely, the year 1738, when father Fray Juan Francisco de San Antonio printed the first volume of the history of his seraphic province of Philipinas), those increases were almost doubled. [61] Then directing his pen to the end that leads to truth, he assures us that there are new villages in the island of Masbate with three thousand three hundred and forty-five souls; in that of Ticao, two, with four hundred and seventy-five persons; and one in that of Burias, with one hundred and eighty. Whence it is inferred that three more villages were newly established: namely, in Masbate, those of Navangui and Baraga; and in Ticao, that of San Jacinto, at the port so named, where the ships now stop for fresh supplies, before taking to the open sea. Also the number of souls has increased to one thousand six hundred and sixty by the impulses of the preaching of our reformed branch, aided efficaciously by divine grace. All the increase of this district since it has been in our charge has been six newly-created villages, and three thousand two hundred and fifty-two souls brought to the Catholic bosom. And we even ought to infer that many more have been converted, for by the invasions of the Moros, which are told at length in the third volume, [62] the number of the Christians could not but be lessened.

1118. It only remains now to ascertain whence proceeded those Indians who so increased the above-mentioned villages. It was stated in another place in the third volume [63] that there was a great number of mountain Indians in the islands of Masbate and Burias, who are there called Zimarrones. They were feared, for they lived without God, or king, and were given up to the liberties of paganism. Those were certain men, if they can be called so, who having apostatized the faith, had taken to the deserts and high places, where they defended their native barbarity at every step, against those who were trying to reduce them and to procure their own good. They had gathered there, either they or their ancestors, from the villages of the same islands, as well as from Zebu, Leyte, and others, to escape the punishment due them for their crimes. Consequently, they were people especially fierce. Among them were found to be many heathens, as they had been born in those places where the sound of the preaching did not penetrate. The others were still worse, as they had abandoned Christianity. They did notable damage to the villages, and they even robbed the boats that were anchored in the ports or bays, treacherously taking many lives. The matter had assumed such proportions that one could not cross those islands by their interiors; and to approach their shores was the same thing as putting in at an enemy's port. But at present all the Zimarrones are reduced to the faith, and to the obedience of the king without any exception. Hence one can travel through the islands without the slightest risk, and boats can go thither even to the uninhabited places. From that and from no other beginnings have come the increase of that church, and there is not small praise to our reformed branch from it.

1119. That progress of the faith was preceded by many hardships that were suffered by the religious, some of which I shall state, noting that innumerable others are omitted, in order not to bore our readers by their relation, and because they resemble those that we shall relate. It has already been stated, then, that for the space of more than thirty years there was but one convent in the three islands, which was established in the village of Mobo, whence the gospel laborers went out to administer all the settlements of the district. For that purpose, it was absolutely necessary for them to sail many leguas by boisterous seas, or to travel by land in some parts by rough mountains, threatened in the one place with shipwreck and in the other by continual dangers. Since the new convent was established in the island of Ticao, the administration is more tolerable, although it is always accompanied by indescribable fatigues. For the religious of Mobo have to sail completely about the island of Masbate in order to fulfil their obligations, or if they prefer to journey by land, as they are able, to one or two villages, they have to do it afoot with the greatest discomfort, through inaccessible mountains, and exposed to dangers wellnigh insupportable. The missionaries of Ticao, besides having to coast a great part of that island have to go many times during each year to that of Burias, crossing the very stout currents of the sea from the rapidity of which some of the missionaries have found themselves in the utmost consternation. On the other hand, all the time that the Indians remained Zimarrones, they allowed no passage to the zealous laborers without them risking their lives to innumerable dangers; and even after they had been reduced, the Moros were a substitute for them on the outside, and inside many sorcerers, who tried, some by violence, and others by their diabolical arts, to drive thence, and even from the world, the ministers of souls. And who can tell all that they suffered from all these causes? It was so great that some religious, never more alive than when they were dead, came to die in the campaign like good soldiers.

1120. Father Fray Ildephonso de la Concepcion was one of those who sweated most in that ministry, and one of those who entered to cultivate it in its early beginnings. By the ardor of his zeal, by the example of his life, and by his apostolic preaching, he reduced many apostates to the Catholic faith. Some of them were gathered into the villages already established, and others, up to the number of eighty families, founded through his influence, another new village on the opposite coast from Mobo. Going then, from one to another part of the islands, the solicitous fisher of souls had the boat in which he journeyed swamped twice, one-half legua from shore, while another time his boat was driven by storms on some reefs and dashed to pieces; dangers in which many of those who accompanied him were lost, while the father escaped miraculously with his life after having endured a thousand anxieties. The Zimarrones, infidels, and bad Christians, given up to doing ill to whomever procured their total welfare, now as declared enemies, and again as wily friends, placed him almost continually in monstrous danger of exhaling his last breath. In order that he might visit promptly the new village which he had erected, he opened a road from Mobo to it through the interior of the island. He crossed it many times on foot, it being necessary for him to traverse very lofty mountains exposed to all the inclemencies of the weather. He suffered indescribable things for the faith, with the great hardship that his vast zeal occasioned him, and which those Indians caused him with their obstinacy. Finally he fell grievously ill, his pains originating from the penalties of the said road which he frequented several times in the course of a single month, as well as from the heat and showers which he endured when going through the mountains in search of those rational wild beasts. He died through the apostolic zeal, in the manner in which all gospel laborers ought to depart this life.

1121. Father Fray Benito de la Assumpcion, a religious who seemed born for the labors and successes of the spiritual administration, followed that laborer in the care of that vineyard. He believed that, without passing the limits of prudence, it would be very seasonable for the souls of his parishioners to reduce them to living closer together in a fewer number of villages, and he thus tried to bring it to pass. Especially did he propose to himself the plan that the Indians shortly before reduced to the new village which we have mentioned in the preceding number, should move to the capital or chief village of Mobo, for he formed the correct judgment that they would be better Christians if they had at all hours the good example of their ministers before their eyes. It is not so difficult to move a whole village in Philipinas as it would be in Europa; for the Indians build their houses without cost and easily. They also find in all parts lands suitable for their cultivation without any expense from their pockets. Yet notwithstanding that one cannot easily tell the vast labors, watches, and afflictions that come upon the religious when they attempt such reductions of the Indians. The latter desire with too great endeavor, to have their residence where they cannot be registered, in order to work with greater freedom, and excuse themselves if possible from all human subjection, and even from divine law, without caring greatly for their own spiritual interests, but each one going at will to his rancheria or field where it is not easy for the father minister to visit them or assist them with the holy sacraments during their sicknesses. For that reason all hell is conjured against the teacher of the doctrine, if he tries to place such reductions into effect, from which many spiritual interests would follow. That venerable father suffered so much with his undertaking that he caused universal wonder that it did not cost him his life, and the worst thing was that he could not see it accomplished.

1122. Not only in this, but also in other projects of known utility, did he have much to endure and much from which to gather merit. With the zeal of Elias did he relentlessly persecute divine offenses, while he at the same time loved the persons most especially. It was the same for him to discover any trace of superstition or the slightest vestige of the badly extinguished infidelity, and to fly to its destruction with all his power. Amid continual risks of losing his life, he exercised his gigantic charity for many years in directing the souls of those islands to God, without any fear of death whose scythe he saw upon him many times. The Moros with their stealthy attacks, the infidels or apostates with open malice, and the evil Christians with their subterfuges and deceits made him almost continually suffer for justice. But he worked on manfully as one who had the refuge of his life in God, and consoling his weakened heart with the divine grace he supported the persecutions from which the Lord wove him a crown. In the above-named village a chief Indian named Canaman irritated by the attempted reduction, and because the father checked him publicly for a certain scandalous concubinage, raised his head in open mutiny. With many followers he sought the father and persecuted him in order to deprive him of life. At that revolution the venerable religious was sorely grieved, and it was considered as a special prodigy that he could escape from so sacrilegious hands. Finally, for the same reason another Indian of the village of Ticao (exasperated by the just reprehension and punishment which that famous minister had applied to him as an indispensable medicine for his faults) caused him to be the holocaust of his burning zeal for the good of souls, by the hidden method of poison, through the potency of which father Fray Benito lost his life, in order to obtain a better one in glory.

1123. After the above fathers, father Fray Diego de San Gabriel entered to take up the toil with the profit of increased fruit in the cultivation of that field. He was the amazement of charity in regard to God because of his care for self-perfection, and in regard to his neighbor, because of the way in which he desired his salvation. In order that he might attain that end he pardoned no toil, if it were fitting for the spiritual welfare of the Indians. He showered favors upon his parishioners by trying to take them to the kingdom of heaven. And although for this the latter loved him more, some were not wanting among so many who persecuted him, returning him evil for good. But like another David when they troubled him with their injuries, the venerable father clad himself in haircloth, humbled his soul in fasting, and occupied himself in prayer. By that means he delighted himself in God, taking pleasure in hardships as if they were the fountain of health. In order to induce his parishioners to the devotion of the most holy Mary he composed and published in the Visayan language a book of the miracles of our Lady of Carmen; and the most sweet Virgin repaid his good zeal by liberating him with circumstances that appeared miraculous from several shipwrecks, and from other innumerable multitudes of dangers. On the beach of the village of Balino a certain Indian gave him a cruel wound with a dagger, because he checked some faults in him. The father recognized as a favor of the Mother of Mercy, not only the fact that he was not quite killed, as might have happened, but also the cure of the wound, almost without medicine. But at last, as he was sailing as secretary, which post he had obtained later, to visit those villages and others of Visayas, a storm coming down upon him swamped the boat and he was drowned, together with the father provincial, then our father Fray Juan de San Andres.

1124. And now in order to conclude in a few words, a matter that we can not even with many words consider adequately, we add that the venerable fathers Fray Antonio de Santa Monica and Fray Thomas de San Lucas said many times without a trace of boasting that, although they had been many times in the doctrinas and missions, in none of them had they found so much to suffer as in that of Masbate. Father Fray Francisco de Santa Engarcia was twice in imminent danger of death; first in shipwreck and later because an Indian tried to kill him, for the reason that he had tried to get him to give up a certain concubinage. But God having freed him from those dangers, allowed him to perish in another through His occult judgments. It was a fact that that father when attending to the fulfilment of his obligation gave motive that certain of the Zimarron Indians whom he was endeavoring to establish soundly in the Catholic faith gave him certain death-dealing powders in his food, which although they did not deprive him of life rendered him insensible and he became most pitiably insane. Many other religious, whom we shall not mention for various reasons, suffered so much while ministers of those islands, by shipwreck, bad weather, and persecution, that if they did not obtain the crown to which they aspired by death, they were left with their health totally lost, and lived amid continual aches and pains, until their last breath opened for them, after some years, a pathway to heaven in order that they might enjoy the reward of their well endured conflicts.

[The remaining sections of this chapter and the two final chapters of the book do not touch Philippine matters.]


Extracts from Juan de la Concepcion's Historia

[It is thought advisable to append to the above extracts from the Historia of Pedro de San Francisco de Assis, the following extracts from Concepcion's Historia. The first extract is from vol. viii, pp. 3-16, and includes a portion of the first chapter. It treats of the transfer of the province of Zambal to the Dominicans, and the occupation of the island of Mindoro by the Recollects.]

2. Continuing with the events of this government, we must note that Don Diego de Villaroto represented in the supreme Council of the Indias that the island of Mindoro had a vast population who still retained the dense darkness of their heathen blindness; and that if the spiritual conquest of that island were given to some order, it would be easy to illumine its inhabitants with the true light. That representation was met by a royal decree, dated June 18, 1677, ordering the governor of these islands, together with the archbishop, to entrust the reduction of Mindoro to the order that should be most suitable and fitting for that ministry; and that the curas employed in that island should be appointed to chaplaincies or prebends. That royal decree was presented to the royal Audiencia of Manila by Sargento-mayor Don Sebastian de Villa-Real in October, 78. His Majesty's fiscal offered no objection to its observance, and prompt obedience was rendered to it. It was directed to his Excellency the archbishop, then Don Fray Phelipe Pardo. That most illustrious gentleman, during the two times when he was provincial of his order or province, urged as a thing greatly to be desired and demanded by his brethren the Dominicans, that the Augustinian Recollects yield them the province of Zambales, as it was very fitting for communication with their province of Pangasinan, and of the latter with Manila, and of those religious among themselves, who could thus make their visits more comfortably, by always crossing through their own ministries, thus avoiding the voyage through the territory of others, which they regretted. Notwithstanding that those matters were discussed with great courtesy (as is the case at present) yet that was a demand that offended greatly the discalced Augustinians, who regarded the Zambals as the true sons of their spirit, and the land as watered with the blood and sweat of many of their members, and a land which, being their firstborn, was most tenderly loved. The Dominicans could never obtain their demand, although softened by exchanges, for ministries were offered in which there was even more than enough room for zeal.

3. By reason of the said royal despatch, his Excellency formed the idea of completely removing the Recollects from Zambales and giving them in exchange the island of Mindoro. He set about that with great zest. The Recollect provincial resisted, alleging that it was contrary to their constitutions to abandon thus the province of Zambales. That would mean treating it as their own possession. It would be better to recognize it as a territory distributed by the universal patron; and, admitting that it was impossible to surrender it without his royal consent, individual laws communicate no right, especially when such mission fields are ad interim. He also pleaded that the Indians of Mindoro, both infidels and Christians, had as soon as they heard that regular ministers were to be given them, urgently requested Jesuits. On the contrary, the Zambals, when they were notified that it was the intention to withdraw the Recollects from their midst in order to introduce Dominicans, almost declared their opinion in a terrible tumult. The Recollects preferred, therefore, that such a change should not take place. But the archbishop was firm in his resolution, and trampled all obstacles under foot. He united with the governor, and both of them together forced the Recollect provincial, Fray Joseph de San Nicolas, by threats, to agree to the change. The governor pacified the Indians of Mindoro by means of his corregidor, so that they should receive the Recollect fathers; and the Zambals by means of the alcalde-mayor of Pangasinan, so that they should allow the Dominicans to enter. Thereupon, the three seculars who had been in charge of Mindoro were accommodated by suitable chaplaincies, and an act was passed by the royal Audiencia, charging the Recollect fathers with the administration of that island, with absolute clauses based on the royal decree, without any provision or obligation to leave the missions of Zambales for it. That decree was accepted when it was announced, and was extended to the judicial cession of those missions, when signed by the provincial of the Recollects, although protest was made against it in the name of their province, by two influential religious. On that account a second act was enacted in which those missions were adjudged to the fathers of St. Dominic, for the archbishop was very much in earnest in those arrangements.

4. Those decrees having been announced and accepted, the Dominicans assumed possession of the cordillera of Zambales. That province had on its coast eleven villages with actual missions, which were increased in the neighboring mountains. The Recollects handed over that administration without making any public disturbance, although all the religious who had labored there protested vehemently, all of which appeared in the judicial reports. The Augustinian Recollects went to Mindoro with the fitting despatches for that corregidor ordering him to deliver the administration [of that island] to them. Father Fray Diego de la Madre de Dios, then definitor, was given charge of the district of Baco, after it had been resigned by Bachelor Don Joseph de Rojas, who held it; father Fray Diego de la Resurreccion of the curacy of Calavite, in place of Licentiate Don Juan Pedraza, its parish priest; while the curacy of Naohan was taken possession of by the father definitor, Fray Eugenio de los Santos, who was exchanged for Bachelor Don Martin Diaz. The whole transfer was completed before the end of the year 79. Three other religious remained with the above three religious as associates and coadjutors, and those six ministers began to scatter throughout the island. That island is in the center of this vast archipelago, and was formerly called Mainit; but the Spaniards gave it the name of Mindoro from a village called Minolo, located between Puerto de Galeras and the bay of Ylog. It is triangular in shape, its angles being three promontories: that of Calavite, facing west; that of Dumah or Pola, facing north; and that of Burruncan, facing south. In size it is the seventh of the more important islands, and is about one hundred leguas in circumference. Its temperature is naturally hot, but is tempered by the great dampness arising from frequent rains. The height of its mountains aids also in that. On account of such circumstances it is a very fertile land, and, although not very healthful for strangers, good and favorable to its inhabitants. The latter made themselves feared by their neighbors, especially on the sea, where they attacked the most powerful, carrying blood and fire everywhere. Notwithstanding, they were of great simplicity, for when they saw the Europeans wearing clothes and shoes—which they did not use—they imagined that that adornment was natural to them. They are but little given to the cultivation of the soil, and are content with wild fruits; sago, which they get from the palm and which is a good food for them; the flesh of wild animals; and fish, which the rivers and seacoast offer them in great plenty. They have little rice, on account of their sloth in sowing and tending it, for they make up that lack sufficiently in roots and fruits. If they are weak, although corpulent, it is because of their transcendent vice in being hostile to work.

5. Captain Juan de Salcedo made a beginning in the conquest of the district of Mamburao, in the year one thousand five hundred and seventy. That conquest was completed from the point of Burruncan to that of Calavite by the adelantado Miguel de Legaspi, in the beginning of the following year. Gradually the remainder was subdued by the missionaries, by whose treatment the rudeness of the manners of those people was softened. Consequently, the encomienda of that large island was very desirable. The Observant Augustinian fathers were employed in its spiritual cultivation and founded the village of Baco. The discalced fathers of St. Francis also labored there for some time, it being ceded to them by the Observant Augustinians. They worked along the Calavite side to Pola, which they abandoned either because those natives were not at all disposed [to accept the faith], or because those fathers had slight esteem for that island when compared with what was offered them in Ylocos and Camarines. The Jesuits also labored there, but always by the method of temporary missions, from time to time, and had no stability. It only appears that they were more continual in Naohan (which they founded), as long as it was preserved by Father San Victores. When the latter went to the Marianas, the Jesuits resigned that portion into the hands of the archbishop. It is probable that the latter was Senor Poblete. [64] He immediately formed two curacies for the secular clergy to look after those souls. Although there were but few souls, the extent of their territory was so vast that it was necessary to establish a third parish. Those seculars maintained what was conquered, but that district did not yield a sufficient recompense for the three ministers, and they were paid from the royal treasury and from other pious funds. It was also even difficult to find seculars who cared to take charge of such districts, which were truly little to be desired. But obedience caused that there never was a lack of seculars there, who maintained themselves until the year 76, when the Recollects went there to take their places. As the latter immediately placed six ministers there, they furthered the conquest and reduction greatly in all parts. Hence, while they only received about four thousand Christians, those were multiplied in a few years and the number rose to eight thousand, and in 1716 they reached the number of twelve thousand. There are still a great number of people in the mountains, which are inhabited by wild men. Some of those men are quite light-complexioned, and are believed to have originated from the Chinese and Japanese established there for the convenience afforded by the island, or who have put in there because of shipwreck, or been driven thither by the winds. Others are Cimarron Negritos, who are the first inhabitants, and, as it were, more native. Trustworthy persons say that those people have a hard little tail in the proper place for it, which prevents them from sitting down flat. If it is true (and I do not doubt it, notwithstanding that it is disputed), it is not so strange that I have no examples of it. Those prominences of the sacral bone are considered as rare; but a beginning having been made in one, it could have become natural in its propagation.

6. Thus did those Recollect religious find that island, and, believing it to be important for the reductions, they continued to establish their regular administrations. The first was in Baco. There, inasmuch as it was the capital, lived the corregidor, but the capital was later moved to Calapan. In that district they formed the villages of Calapan, Baco, Suban, Ylog, Minolo, and Camoron, with a number of annexed villages or visitas. The second was in Naohan, which was extended into six annexed villages, namely, Pola, Pinamalayan, Balete, Sumagui, Maliguo, and Bongabon. The third was in Calavite, which formed the visitas of Dongon, Santa Cruz, Manburao, Tubili, and Santo Thomas. The fourth was in Mangarin, which was extended into its dependencies, Guasic, Manaol, Bulalacao, and Ililin. They also began an active mission in order to reduce the heathen Mangyans, which had no other work than to employ itself in those glorious reductions and conversions of grace. For one single man it was an immense work, but the superior government gave no more stipends. That mission was established on the bay of Ylog, and ministers and infidels were pledged not to allow [there] any of the former Christians, who might pervert the conversions. By that arrangement it grew to a very large village, and there were practiced some of the old customs that belonged to the primitive church. All that fine flower-garden has been trampled down and even ruined by the Moros, as will be related in due season.

7. The Dominican fathers also applied themselves to the work in the province of Zambales. That province had already eleven villages formed, although they were small, because that province has but few people. It appeared to the new fathers that that number of villages made their administration difficult; consequently, they tried to reduce their number by uniting some of them. That incorporation was difficult; hence they increased the troops and arms of the presidio of Paynaven, the center of that province. Through the protection afforded by those troops, they broke up the whole province. The village of Bolinao, which had a fair population, was located on an island, which is separated from the land by only a channel, which forms its famous and secure port. [65] It was fertile and pleasant. They moved it to the mainland, to a sandy shore, useless for anything, even for the ordinary fields. Its lack of water they supplied with wells which they opened. There they obtained some water, but it was thick, and in the time of the dry season it entirely disappeared. The Indians who were harmed by this measure were so angry at that moving, that many families retired to Ylocos. In truth, that site is despicable. An eminence which looks upon and almost dominates the port would have been much more suitable, and they would have obtained better air there; while their boats, which cannot navigate by the channel to the village during the blowing of the north wind, so that the cargo has to be carried for a long distance on the shoulders, would have obtained shelter. There are many other inconveniences but one cannot think of a single advantage. They moved the village of Agno [66] from the coast into the interior, to a site which is a swampy mudhole when there is the least rain. The village of Sigayan was moved to another site, where the only advantage was a near-by river of fresh water which was unnavigable. They left Masinloc [67] on its pleasant site, while the village of Paynaven was moved inland to a site called Iba, [68] from which the new village took its name, moving that village in order to get it away from the commandant of the fort, whose proximity was annoying to them. They did not regard it as a recompensable hardship for the minister of that village to go on feast-days in order to say mass in the presidio, and to repeat it afterwards in his own church. In order to increase that place and give it the name of capital, they brought families from Bolinao, who formed a large barangay. It has already been seen that they made use of the fort in this, and that those who were moved were not very well pleased. The Dominicans also founded, or better, made from other villages, the village of Cabangaan [69] in an obscure site, which was rough and surrounded by dense mountains, and suitable only for a hermit and solitary life, but so far as others were concerned, a place of profound melancholy. They also formed the village of Subic [70] from other villages, which had only the advantages of its port to recommend it, while in other respects it was most unpleasant. They also filled the vacant places left by the many families who retired to the mountains as a result of the violence exercised, with others whom they brought from Pangasinan, a province abounding with people, who because they are so numerous, and there is no room for all, leave their homes more easily. In fact, they did that, too, in order to be surer of the Zambals, in whose severe and warlike minds they did not have the greatest confidence. Thus did they soften those people, or let us say frankly, checked their vehemence. The reduction of the people of the mountain, however much it is talked about, is not known, as neither is the place where they could form villages or a village from them. Let us leave then exaggerations, which, when they offend by comparison, cannot fail to be odious. We shall treat of the restoration [of that province] below, in its proper place. [71]

[The following extract is from the same volume, and includes pp. 135-144.]


The Augustinian Recollect fathers assume the spiritual government of the islands of Masbate, Ticao, and Burias. A geographical description of those islands is presented.

1. Under the metaphor of husbandmen, the prophet Amos describes those who are employed in the cultivation of souls. The chroniclers of the Augustinian Recollect fathers describe those fathers for us as zealous and laborious in their never-ceasing application in planting and cultivating the word of God in humble hearts. The Recollects assumed charge, in addition to the fields already mentioned of the island of Masbate with the neighboring islands of Ticao and Burias. Those islands belong to the bishopric of Nueva Caceres in ecclesiastical matters, and to the alcaldeship of Albay in political affairs. Masbate is sixty leguas from Manila, in a latitude lying between twelve and thirteen degrees. It is about fifty leguas in circumference, nineteen leguas long and five or six broad. It was formerly famous for its rich gold mines, which, when they tried later to work them, it was found did not produce expenses. The island also has fine copper mines, samples from which in very recent times were excellent. Information was given of them by Don Francisco Salgado; and when everything necessary and expert Chinese for working them had been prepared, he abandoned them, for he saw that they had much less metal than he had thought. The island of Ticao is about twenty-three leguas in circumference, nine long, and more than four wide. That of Burias extends its circumference to twenty-six leguas, twelve in length, and four in width. These calculations must be understood only approximately, for they had not been exactly determined. All three possess excellent timber, from which pitch is distilled in plenty, and makes excellent pitch for vessels. One of those trees produces the fragrant camanguian; [72] another very abundantly a kind of almond, larger than that of Europa, for which it is mistaken in taste. They have many civet-cats; civet is a drug which was obtained there long before this time, and had a good sale in Acapulco, although that product is not in so great demand now.

2. Don Luis Henrriquez de Guzman, a knight of Sevilla, reduced those islands to the crown of Espana in the year one thousand five hundred and sixty-nine. Their conquest was finished and they were left thoroughly subdued by Captain Andres de Ybarra. Protected by arms, father Fray Alonso Ximenez, an Observant Augustinian, introduced the evangelical law. In that he did excellent work and obtained much fruit in Masbate. Other religious, imbued with the same spirit and of the same institute, followed, and spread the work into Ticao and Burias. By that means a suitable mission field was established, and the Augustinians conserved the administration thereof until the year six hundred and nine. At that time they resigned that district into the hands of the bishop of Camarines, who employed seculars instead of those regulars. There were various seculars in charge of the administration there, until the year one thousand six hundred and eighty-eight. The district handed over by the Augustinian fathers had two hundred and fifty regular families; but that number was diminished by the terrible invasions of the Moros, so that the corresponding stipend was not sufficient for the maintenance of one cura, and no one could be found who was willing to take care of that district. On that account his Excellency, Master Don Fray Andres Gonzalez of the Order of Preachers, their bishop, represented to his Majesty that it was absolutely necessary to apportion the curacies in another manner for the just spiritual administration of his bishopric, by placing some of them in the charge of regulars; and he petitioned that his Majesty approve his new plan, by ordering his governor of those islands to proceed in it as vice-patron. The king consented to what the prelate asked, and despatched his royal decree, under date of Madrid, August thirteen, eighty-five. With that order his Excellency presented to the governor the new distribution of districts, with the changes necessary and fitting. In that distribution he applied all the ministry of Masbate to the province of San Nicolas of the Augustinian Recollects, and also on the mainland of Luzon the villages of Ingoso, Catanavan, and Vigo with its neighboring rancherias, of which was formed the curacy of Piris. The governor, Don Gabriel Curuzalaegui, by an act of November twenty-six, of eighty-six, approved the plan conceived by his Excellency the bishop, and informed the said Recollect fathers of the part of the distribution that pertained to them. They accepted the assigned administration. In the territory on the mainland disputes were imminent with the Franciscan fathers in regard to the ownership of those territories. Accordingly the Recollects only accepted the district of Masbate, and resigned the right that they could have had to the village on the continent of Luzon to the Franciscan fathers, who could administer them with greater ease. By that means all rivalry was checked.

3. The parties [i.e., the Recollects and Franciscans] having come to an agreement, and between themselves the governor and bishop, the two latter despatched suitable measures so that the Recollects could take charge of those souls. In the distribution the Recollects had their proportionate advantages, for those islands are a way-station which is necessary to pass in going to Caraga and Zebu, where this order had distant missions. The bishop obtained them [for that order] because, that district having been reduced to one single secular, the latter proved insufficient for its administration. Consequently, in the space of twelve years, only four persons had died with the sacraments, although one hundred and eighteen had passed from this life without that important benefit. The baptism of children was postponed for many months, as the cura went to the visitas in the distant villages but seldom. For it was not easy for one single individual to acquit himself of so laborious cares; consequently, this is not to admit that they were ill administered. The government was interested in them, as was also commerce, as Ticao was an anchorage for the Acapulco ships in its famous port of San Jazinto, [73] on both the outward and return trips, where fresh supplies were procured, wood and water provided, and winds awaited to take them out of the dangerous currents of the Embocadero of San Bernardino. The Recollect fathers accepted that charge, and were received affectionately by the Indians. They founded their headquarters in Mobo, [74] a famous village of Masbate. They built a church there, under the advocacy of Our Lady of Remedies. It was a costly edifice, adorned with good reredoses, and had a sacristy well supplied with vestments, besides a capacious house with its suitable quarters and dormitories for the resident and transient religious. Thence they made their apostolic excursions for the conversion of the heathens, who were still numerous, and the reduction of fugitive apostates. The settlements already established numbered six, and three new villages were established with the increase of those who settled down.

4. This province of San Nicolas petitioned his Majesty in the year one thousand seven hundred and twenty-four to confirm that possession which had been conferred on it in his royal name. His Majesty ordered the governor of Philipinas and the bishop of Nueva Caceres to make no innovation in the spiritual administration of that district until his royal Council should provide what was suitable. He also ordered them to report on the progress of the faith in that territory since it had been under their charge. Judicial investigations were made in Manila by the government, in order to inform the king with reports. From them it appeared that, although the entire district of Masbate had formerly had only one parish priest, since the Recollect fathers had taken charge of it, three religious at least had lived there. It was proved also by the books of the royal accountancy, that in the year preceding their possession, that is, in the year eighty-seven, the entire ministry contained only one hundred and eighty-seven families; while in the year seven hundred and twenty-two there were five hundred and eighty-five families. Consequently, the present governor, the Marquis de Torre Campo, reported that the district of Masbate had had an increase of three hundred and ninety-eight whole tributes through the apostolic zeal of those ministers. The Recollects not only in those districts, but also in the remainder of these islands, devote themselves to the spread of our holy Catholic faith with the greatest toil and with the most visible fruit.

5. That progress was not made without great toil and hardship. They had to do with a great number of mountain Indians and Zimarrones, who became fearsome when abandoned to liberty. Apostates from the faith and from civilized life, they had taken to the deserts and to the roughest mountains, where they defended their barbarous mode of life at all hazards, by resisting with arms those who tried to reduce them. Various people had also gathered there from other islands, fleeing from the settled villages and from the punishment due their atrocities. Consequently, the latter were extraordinarily fierce. Many heathen were numbered among them, accustomed long since to that rudeness of life and savagery, and they were all the worst kind of people. They committed notable depredations on the civilized villages, robbed the boats that anchored in the ports and bays, and treacherously committed many murders. Their boldness rose to such a pitch that one could not cross through the interior of those islands, and to arrive at their shores was the same as to make port in a land of enemies. It was also a laborious and dangerous task to navigate along the coasts, trying to find those rancherias. Consequently, Father Fray Ildefonso de la Concepcion was twice overturned in the sea, and another time had his boat dashed to pieces on some reefs. In that shipwreck he miraculously escaped with his life, although some of his companions perished in the water. Those dangers came to him in his visits to a new village established on the opposite coast. In order to avoid such dangers and visit that village more frequently, the father opened a road through the interior from Mobo over rough mountains, where many other risks were run because of the heathens. In that continual crossing the father fell grievously sick, his pains having originated from the hardships of such a road, with the showers and heat. He died at last, succumbing to such fatigues. But those sufferings were continued by others, who conquered that stubbornness by their constancy and fervent application, although with the well-known risk of losing their lives. Consequently, those ministers who were there in the beginning say that, although they have been many years in other doctrinas and missions, they had not so much to suffer and endure in any of them as in that of Masbate.

[The third extract from Concepcion's Historia is from vol. ix, pp. 123-150, and comprises all of the fourth chapter except the last paragraph.]


By sentence of the royal Audiencia, the province of Zambales is restored to its first conquistadors, the discalced Augustinian Recollect fathers.

1. The Zambal Indians, of an intractable disposition, people of wild customs, and little or not at all content, were furious with the Dominican ministers in the reductions; they were groaning under the yoke of a life more regulated than their inclinations permitted. This made them think of insurrections and uprisings. The presidio of Painaven, well reenforced, restrained them; and the raids of the commandant, with detachments of men, into the mountains, intimidated them in their plans. They thought that the government of the Recollect fathers was milder, and hence they sighed for it. Those fathers tolerated their barbarous customs among a people so ferocious, and succeeded by their patience in softening and reducing them. Not so with the Dominican fathers, who learned the Zambals' tenacity at their own cost. In the village of Balacbac was an Indian chief named Dalinen; although he lived in that village, he kept his valuables in the mountains under charge of a nephew. Another Indian, a Cimarron, named Calignao, killed the latter treacherously. In order to avenge that murder, Dalinen retired with many of his followers to the dense woods. Father Fray Domingo Perez, [75] who was the minister of that mission, tried to prevent that flight, but was quite unable to remedy it; for seventeen families fled with Dalinen. The commandant of the fort attacked them with his men and burned the rancheria of Aglao, the next village to Balacbac, to which the murderer and the injured man belonged.

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