The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898: Volume XII, 1601-1604
Edited by Blair and Robertson
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Toward the end of the past month this city took fire; and, as the wind was strong, half of its houses were burned, including those of the richest citizens and merchants, and the royal warehouses. Through this loss and that of the ships this whole community, both ecclesiastical and secular, is in great straits, hard pressed and very needy. On this account your Majesty will favor it by your royal power, that it may not be ruined altogether. We are confident in the Lord, that if this letter reaches your Majesty's royal hands, with information in the other matters above mentioned, our Lord will be served, and this commonwealth and the Filipinas Islands aided and favored by your Majesty—whom may our Lord protect during many long and happy years, for the welfare and increase of His dominions. Manila, December 11, 1603.

The chaplains and vassals of your Majesty: Don Juan de Bivero, dean of Manila. Sanctiago de Castro, precentor of Manila. The canon Diego de Leon The licentiate Marcos Maldonado, canon. The canon Ranullo de Cartagena The canon Pablo Ruiz de Talavera Francisco de Cavranca


This order has thought best to send to Espana, to negotiate its affairs, father Fray Diego de Guevara, prior of this house at Manila, as your Majesty will be informed. This has pleased me much, for, besides that business, I have communicated to him things which intimately concern the service of God and your Majesty, which he will explain to you—particularly the need for reformation in this province. I beseech your Majesty, if such be your pleasure, to give him audience, and to remedy without delay the matters concerned. In my opinion, the most important thing is to have some person come here from Hespana, who is zealous for both services—a man of great energy and integrity, and sufficient power so that, with another of the same qualifications, to be chosen here, as the former there, they can settle this matter aright, for it is very necessary. I refer you to the said father procurator, who will make a complete report concerning this and other matters here. I will say no more than that I am taking this measure because it touches my obligations, and my bounden duty to your Majesty's service. If this be done, I am certain that all will be in fitting order. May our Lord protect the Catholic person of your Majesty, according to the needs of Christendom. From your Majesty's convent of San Pablo, at Manila, December 17, 1603.

Fray Pedro Arce, provincial.


The Order of the illustrious St. Augustine which resides in these islands, has need of austere [28] friars from Castilla to carry on the conversion which they have wrought in this land, and have commenced in Japon. Some friars of ability will be necessary to help them, considering that those who become friars in Mexico are not esteemed in this country. For this reason the said order is sending father Fray Diego de Guevara, hitherto prior of the convent in this city, to bring religious here. He is a thorough religious himself, and zealous for the good of his order. This convent of your Majesty, and of the minor friars of our father St. Francis, deprives itself of him for the greater good. I humbly beg your Majesty to be pleased to command that the said father be sent back, without delay, so that he may continue to carry out his earnest desires; for in this he does great service to God and to your Majesty, whom may our Lord protect for the welfare and growth of Christendom. Manila, from this convent of Nuestra Senora de los Angeles; December 19, 1603.

Fray Joan de Garrovillas, definitor and guardian.


Letter from the Audiencia


By way of Nueva Espana this Audiencia has informed your Majesty of occurrences up to that time; and although this letter will be very uncertain, as it must go by way of Portuguese India, it has seemed best to write it, giving an account of what has happened since, as it is so important.

By the last letter of this Audiencia, dated on the fifth of July of this year, we gave your Majesty an account of three mandarins from the kingdom of China who had come to this city, and the innovation which they had instituted, on account of which the governor and captain-general considered the plan of fortifying this city, and providing, in case anything should happen, the supplies necessary and suitable for its defense and safety. This caused some disturbance among the Chinese, who began to confer among themselves, in secret, concerning the means of insurrection. Although great care was taken by this Audiencia and the governor to keep them quiet, and to relieve them of the fear which they were said to have on account of the aforesaid precautions, it was not sufficient, and following their resolve, on the night of the last St. Francis' day, at about eleven o'clock, they revolted. They chose for their leader a Christian Sangley named Joan Untae, who, according to the investigations made in regard to him by this Audiencia, appears to have revolted in the name of one Joan Baptista, governor of the Chinese. On him and the others exemplary justice has been rigorously visited. The Chinese gathered on the other side of the river of this city to the number of ten or twelve thousand, many other people remaining in their Parian and fortifying themselves as well as they could. On this night they burned several houses, and the orchard of a citizen of this city named Captain Estevan de Marquina, with whom they commenced, killing him and his wife and four children and several servants. From here they went to a village called Quiapo, on the other side of the river, which they burned, killing several Indian children and women. The governor and captain-general noticing this, and knowing what had happened on the preceding days when there had been considerable disturbances, notified Don Luis Dasmarinas, formerly governor of these islands, who lived in a place called Minondog, sending him some troops so that he might keep watch of the enemy. On the next morning Don Luis was reenforced by a number of people picked from the citizens of this city, and with these he went to meet the enemy in the place where they were located, which was very near the village of Tondo. The Spaniards went out from there, and having fought with them, as it was a country where there were many thickets and heavy woods, and which was mountainous, the enemy surrounded them with such a number of men that they could not retreat; and at last Don Luis was killed, with more than a hundred Spaniards.

Later, the next Monday, the enemy met, and after their custom drew lots, as usual in war; and finding these in their favor and learning from them, as they say, that they would take this city, they decided to go on to the Parian, and united with the people who remained there. With great force and impetuosity they attacked this city, in several parts of the wall, with many contrivances which they brought along to assault it. Those inside defended themselves well, killing many of the Chinese and doing all they could in our defense. The Spaniards succeeded in setting fire to the Parian, obliging them to retreat to a stone chapel, the erection of which had been begun, twenty paces from the wall, named Avocacion de Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria, where our men made a sortie to meet them and caused them great loss. When the Chinese saw that they could not maintain themselves there, they divided into three bands and went inland, doing much damage. An attempt was made to reach them still, for which purpose one of the old captains of this city, called Don Luis de Velasco, was sent with a good force Of soldiers. He attacked them one morning at dawn and killed more than three hundred. On the same day, when he returned with the intention of doing them more damage, he went so far into the enemy's country that they killed him there with four or five other soldiers and two Franciscan friars. The enemy placed and fortified themselves in a very strong place called San Pablo de los Montes, about fifteen leguas from this city, more or less. They sent to meet him there the captain and sargento-mayor of this camp, Christoval de Axqueta. He, with a hundred Spaniards, a number of native Indians, and some Japanese whom he took with him, having located them and had a few engagements with them, invested and took their fort, killing many of them. Those who could escape fled, and all those who had remained were overcome and killed. Thence he went on to the other army which was situated in a place called Vatangas, about six leguas from the first. There our men used their utmost efforts to overcome them. Finally, both on account of the laudable efforts of the captain, as he is one of the best soldiers of this camp, being a veteran and a good warrior, and likewise by the good behavior of the soldiers and the help of the natives, they killed all the enemy without losing a man, which was a very fortunate ending. This was the end of this incident, but it has caused much anxiety as to what may be expected from China. On this account provision is being made and everything necessary is being put to rights and the fortifications are being repaired. The governor and captain-general is aiding with great pains and diligence, and he will give a longer account to your Majesty of this incident, to which account we refer you.

The citizens of these islands have been very ready on this occasion in lending aid, as have likewise the natives of this district, particularly those of the provinces of Panpanga, Laguna, and Bulacan.

Father Fray Diego Guebara, prior of the Augustinian convent of this city, is going [to Spain] on the affairs of his province, by which he was chosen and elected for that purpose, as he is a religious of much virtue, learning, and most Christian life, for which reason he was sent to establish the order in Xapon. He did so very satisfactorily. From him your Majesty, if you be so pleased, may order information on the affairs of this country, of which he will give a full account, as he is well informed in all things. There is nothing else which we can report to your Majesty. May our Lord protect your very Catholic person according to the needs of Christendom. Manila, December 12, 1603.

Don Pedro de Acuna

The licentiate Don Antonio de Ribera Maldonado

The licentiate Tellez Almacan

The licentiate Andres de Alcaraz

The licentiate Manuel de Madrid y Luna

[Endorsed: "Manila; to his Majesty; 1603. The governor and Audiencia; December 12. September 26, 1606. Examined, and to be joined with the other papers which treat of this matter."]



This country is greatly in need of relief, for it is rapidly going to destruction. All its injury and loss is due to this, that the decrees and orders of your Majesty, sent for the good government of these islands, are not complied with. If these were observed, there would be no more prosperous city in all your Majesty's dominions. Situated here in sight of so many heathen, it would seem that the Lord had set it here to be a new Rome, whence the gospel would go out through all these kingdoms. The worst of the matter is that there are not lacking persons here who maintain that the decrees of your Majesty are not binding on the conscience, which gives opportunity for some to violate them without any fear. It is nearly seventeen years since the Order of St. Dominic was founded here; and in all this time they have always preached the importance of obeying the royal decrees, and that, if they were disregarded, the country must be ruined. The truth of this has been seen this year, for our sins; for this country was on the verge of ruin through the uprising of the Sangleys, who attempted to make themselves masters of the city. They were emboldened to this by seeing themselves so numerous, for they were more than sixteen thousand; and these, added to those in the fleet when it came from China, amounted to twenty thousand. The city was very hard pressed, and in danger of being lost, together with the faith here (which has been established at such a cost to the royal exchequer), and the hopes for the increase of the church and its extension through our new worlds. It could be clearly seen that the Lord alone led the war for the destruction of this enemy—so pernicious for the spread of the gospel, and averse to natural law, for they were a very Sodom; and with their intercourse with the natives, this cancer was spreading. It is certain that if the Sangleys had had a concerted leadership, they would have been masters of the city with little enough opposition; for they could have entered as they usually did on their business, and taken possession of the weapons of the citizens, which were all left in the houses without being guarded, as the people lived without fear or apprehension. The Sangleys are clever at all things, but the Lord blinded them so that this might not come about. If your Majesty should ask who is to blame in this so serious matter, we should say that it is they that have not kept the decrees of your Majesty; for your Majesty commanded years ago that no Sangleys should be left here except those strictly necessary for the service of the city, [29] and its cabildo has repeatedly petitioned that only three thousand be allowed. This has not been complied with; but, on the contrary, each year more and more have been allowed to stay, until the said sixteen thousand have gathered here. Finding themselves so numerous, they plotted the said treason. Your Majesty's decree providing reformation for the future was the occasion for so many remaining; for, as licenses in writing were given to those who remained and paid the said license fees, this vicious profit was the cause for this evil. In one of the past years I heard that these licenses had cost sixty thousand pesos, which seemed to me almost incredible. This year its possibility was demonstrated by an incident that happened to me. There came to me several Sangleys recently arrived from China, and besought me to procure licenses for them to remain in the country. I told them that I would not do so; but within a few days they returned and showed me the licenses that had been given them, for which five tostons each had been exacted. When I recounted this occurrence to a God-fearing person, he told me that there were licenses that cost as high as seven and eight pesos, and others sold at five or six. For the punishment of past acts, and in provision for the future, your Majesty must send a rigorous inspection, in order that those who have put the country and the faith in such danger may be punished. Your Majesty should not trust the various papers that come from here, for it is evident that those who feel themselves in the wrong, will attempt to clear themselves of the blame. Some person should come to make the investigation who is zealous for the honor of God and the service of your Majesty, that he may punish the guilty and provide better things for the future. We, the servants of your Majesty, pray to the Lord of light and to your Majesty to send such a person; but we believe that if he be not an ecclesiastic, all will remain in darkness; for, as your Majesty is so far away, there is not here due fear of punishment. One of the auditors of these islands told me years ago that the judges in Castilla ordinarily performed their duties well because they were seeking honor, and this they could not gain except by such behavior; but that in the Yndias it was the reverse, and that what the judges seek is to enrich themselves. If this be their aim, they must needs fail in their obligations. Your Majesty, for the love of God, must have compassion on this land, and send someone to remedy it. Your Majesty has holy prelates here who could assist in this. May our Lord protect your Majesty for the good of His church for many years. Manila, December 15, 1603.

Fray Bernardo de Santa Catalina, vicar, and provincial of the Order of St. Dominic, and commissary of the Holy Office.

Sire: The infidel Chinese, whom your Majesty's ministers have allowed in these islands, had come to be so numerous that in their alcaiceria alone, and in the suburbs adjoining Manila, there were about fifteen thousand of them without counting those in other parts of the islands. There were among these a certain number of worthless persons, vicious and criminal, who on that account did not dare to return to China. As the multitude of Chinese was so great, and this low and vicious element was among them, they were emboldened; and, excited by a rumor (which was false, although by no means absurd to them) that the Spaniards intended to kill them, they revolted, on the night of the eve of St. Francis' day of this year, six hundred and three. With clubs for weapons, they killed on that same day many Spaniards, who were marching against them. These were of the most noble and valiant men in the islands, and in the prime of life, under the command of that most Christian and valiant man, Don Luis Perez Dasmarinas. On the third day, with their clubs only, and the few weapons secured from our men whom they had killed, they sallied out and forced us close to this city. God fought with us, and delivered us, for the good of this Christian community, which is steadily growing in this region. There is no doubt that if God had not blinded them, so that they should not succeed in their mode of warfare, it would not have taken them two hours to kill us all in Manila, and make themselves masters of all this country without the least risk to themselves. This did not come about through any neglect on your Majesty's part to command the Audiencia of these islands to drive out these infidels, nor through lack of advice from here, but it was due to the fault of your Majesty's chief officers here, in not complying with what your Majesty has ordered them; so they have put this country in the greatest danger, and perchance will cause its entire and irremediable ruin in the near future.

Even since this, the enemy from Mindanao, who are naked savages, have come and carried away many hundreds of captive Indians, many of whom straightway became their servants. Nothing is heard in these islands but the accounts of misfortunes. These matters, and the many expenditures that have been made and are still going on in your Majesty's royal exchequer in these islands, as well as many other serious affairs, demand, Sire, that your Majesty send a general inspector here, and choose for this a man who is of great integrity and with great reputation for purity from all taint of greed. If this inspection be not made, there is no redress for this land. All the said Chinese, about fifteen hundred, have been killed, except it be a few who have been kept as slaves in your Majesty's service. The Spanish residents of this city greatly aided in the fighting, and in their conscientious behavior and in prayer the Indians were very loyal—as also the Christian Chinese, except some seven or eight of them. It is not known how this affair will be considered in China. If the alcaiceria of the infidel Chinese is again permitted, I assure you that a second uprising will surely occur. Let them come, but remain in their ships and sell their goods. Your Majesty should not trust the Spaniards, on account of their greed, in anything which may prove the ruin of this country. I can do no more than advise.

This letter is brought by a father of the Order of St Augustine, named Fray Diego de Guevara, prior of the convent of San Augustin here. His order is sending him on its own affairs, which are serious and call for much amelioration; accordingly they are sending the said father to your Majesty's presence. I recognize in him a very religious and learned man. I am sure that it would be for the great service of the Lord if your Majesty would listen to him, and give your royal favor and attention to all he may say in regard to reformation, and the general welfare of his order, and the betterment of this land—as to a man who was present in this affair of the Chinese, and knows the misfortunes and captures in these islands due to the naked Indian wretches of Mindanao, and as to a learned and religious man. Manila, December 16, 1603.

Fray Miguel, bishop, and archbishop elect of the Philipinas.

[Endorsed: "Manila, to his Majesty; 1603. The archbishop; December 16, 1603." "September 26, 1606. Have this placed with the other letters-credential of Fray Diego de Guevara."]



Having written and sealed the folio which will go with this, on Friday the eve of St. Francis' day of this year, and set thereto the date of the following day, when some one was to depart and take it, on that same Friday night there occurred the insurrection of the Chinese which I shall recount in this.

In the letter of the third of July of this year, which went with the ship which left here for Nueva Hespana, I wrote to your Majesty that three mandarins had come to this city from the kingdom of China, under pretense that they were coming to investigate a lie which a Sangley who had been here had told to their king—saying that in Cavite there was a great quantity of gold; and that with that and the silver which could be obtained from this kingdom every year his vassals might be relieved from tribute. The care which was exercised in this matter, and what occurred to me in regard to it, I have written to your Majesty in the said letter. I told you how I was preparing, being in uncertainty, what appeared to me necessary, so that if anything should happen I should not be caught unprepared; accordingly, as the houses of the Parian were very near to the wall, I had several of them demolished so that this space might be free. I wrote to the alcaldes-mayor and magistrates of this district, and they sent me a memorial concerning the natives in the jurisdiction of each one, what weapons they possessed, and in how far they might be trusted. I had them visit the Sangleys, and see what arms and provisions they had, particularly the stone-workers, lime-burners, sawyers, fishermen, and gardeners, as they were people who reside in the country, and for this reason it will be right to exercise more caution in living with them; and likewise in order to have them make arrows, bows, pikes, baqueruelos, and other articles for the royal warehouses, as it is from these that all of the military supplies are provided. I likewise ordered that they should collect, bring together, and transport as many provisions as possible. I was not careless in regard to the walls, but rather with much diligence repaired what was necessary; and I continued the building of the fort which I wrote your Majesty was being made on the point, as it was so necessary a defense, and the supplies and other articles had to be gathered and guarded there. To this end I had brought a great number of Sangleys for the works, and had contracted with them to construct a ditch in the part where their Parian and alcayceria stand, and along the whole front from the river to the sea; and, as the plan shows, this may be flooded with water at high tide, which enters through the river. As all the Sangleys had knowledge of this, and there were among them restless and vagabond people who had nothing to lose, and who on account of their crimes, evil life, and debts could not go back to China without being punished there for these things with much severity, they took this as a pretext to win over the merchants and quiet people, persuading them that the precautions and measures which I was taking were in order to kill them; and, since the Sangleys were so many and we so few, it would be well to be beforehand with us and kill us, taking our lands. When this came to my knowledge I had them assemble several times, and explained to them the mistake under which they were laboring, and that the Spaniards were not a people to harm anyone who did not deserve it. I told them to be calm, and confide in me; and that I would do them no harm if they on their part gave me no reason to do so. It appeared that they were quieted, but the gamblers and worthless people—who were very numerous, and had been the prime instigators—incited and persuaded them in such manner that they made them believe that I and the friendly Spanish merchants who were with them and conferred with them were deceiving them. Accordingly many of those in the Parian withdrew from there, and went over to the other side of the river, as if fleeing from the Spaniards because they wished to kill them. Although this was publicly known eight days before their uprising, and I was aware of it all the time, it was supposed that they were fleeing out of fear, and merely to place themselves in safety. They left in the Parian about 2,500 Sangleys who were considered peaceable, and among them five or six hundred Avays who are merchants and people of better conduct than the others, for these gave information of what the others were doing. Although the same effort was made to stir them up, they never belonged to that party, or attempted to leave the Parian; for they are a gentle and prosperous people, with a liking for trade. The rest assembled at a place about a legua from Manila, close to the monastery of San Francisco del Monte, whereupon followed what is contained in the relation which will go with this, to which I refer you.

The Audiencia has proceeded against Christian Sangleys who are implicated in this uprising; and in a few cases justice has been executed, particularly on Juan Baptista de Vera. They have confiscated his goods, which are understood to amount to 15,000 pesos, including that part of them which went this year to Nueva Hespana. From the investigations which have been made in this connection, and what some of those implicated have declared, it is understood that this uprising was instigated from China; and that it was discussed with the mandarins who were here, or with some one of them. However that may be, at any rate it is considered quite certain that it was due to the restlessness of worthless people, with a hankering for innovations, so that they might enjoy the freedom which they usually have on such occasions, having no other gods than their own vices. Undecided as to what to do with the five hundred or more Sangleys who have been kept alive for the galleys, I have continued the fortifications, with the work of other natives. Likewise several bastions have been erected which were still incomplete, and the wall is being made higher in those parts where it is necessary. They are opening trenches and helping at other very necessary works; and therefore I already have things in good condition, and the fort on the point repaired, to put it in a state of defense; and this work is being continued very diligently.

Likewise it has seemed best to me to send notice to China concerning the event, lest by chance some ships of Sangleys may have fled thither, and by gilding their crime and insubordination may have succeeded in throwing the blame upon the Spaniards; for this, if there were no advices there of the truth, might at least disturb traffic, and make the merchants uncertain as to whether to come this year, which would be an irreparable loss for this whole commonwealth. Thereby the treasury of your Majesty would lose more than 52,000 pesos, which is the usual value of the duties collected from merchandise that comes from China—to say nothing of what is paid and the increase in value at Acapulco, Mexico, and other parts where the cloth is taken. I have accordingly despatched a ship with a person of ability and prudence, carrying letters, some for the viceroys of Canton and Chincheo and other mandarins, and others from the Sangley Avays who could be found alive, written to their relatives and kinsmen, and the partners of the dead men. All these give an account of the event, and tell how the property of the Avays which they left in the hands of their Spanish friends is deposited at good interest, to be added to it for whomsoever is the owner; and that the debts which were owed by Spaniards to Sangleys who were not implicated in the uprising would also be paid. The Chinese were also informed that the merchants could proceed with their commerce for the future, and that they would find a hearty reception; but that they must go back in their ships the same year. Although this is so pressing a reason for sending this information, I was also led to do so in order that we might learn whether in China they were getting together a fleet directed against this country, as has been suspected since the coming of the mandarins, and as we were led to believe by the letter which they wrote to me before they disembarked, a duplicate copy of which I sent to your Majesty. The whole city is very apprehensive of this, and chiefly the archbishop and the orders, particularly the Dominicans. Although, as I have said, I have left nothing undone in any way which could provide for the defense and protection of this land, yet it would be of much importance to obtain definite knowledge beforehand. This despatch is directed to Malan [sic; sc. Macan] which is a settlement of Portuguese in the land of China itself. I wrote to the commandant of the place, and to the bishop and the fathers of the Society (which, I am told, takes considerable part in the affairs of state), and to the other orders and to private persons, recounting to them this event. I sent to each of them a copy of the letter which I wrote to the Chinese viceroy, so that, as they possess more extensive and intimate knowledge of the Chinese customs, and of the conditions, and methods of negotiating, they might advise the person who takes the despatch what he should do in order the better to achieve his object and attain success in his undertaking—representing to them the service which they will render to your Majesty, and the obligation to them under which these islands will be. Since, considering the great amount of gunpowder and munitions which have been expended on this occasion, these supplies may fail us, owing to what we fear from China, and other troubles which every day arise, I wrote likewise to those persons that they should buy for me and send as much gunpowder and saltpeter as possible, on your Majesty's account; and that the royal officials there should send it upon the credit of this treasury, so that it could be paid for in this city—for only enough money was sent for anchorage—money for the ships, and the expenses which are necessary there. The Chinese will listen to no one if they are not paid first, and it is a custom very strictly observed among them. If we are cut off from China the many ordinary dangers cannot be overcome; and in a country so surrounded by enemies and so far from reenforcements, it is very necessary that these resources should remain, and not fail us. May God grant that all come out according to our need; for if the trade with China should fail, in no wise could this country be maintained, nor could your Majesty sustain the great expenses here without much difficulty. For the duties which the Chinese pay here, and what the merchants who carry the cloth pay in Nueva Hespana, amount to much more than what is expended here, as we are always waging war with some nation or other, besides the ordinary expenses; and the Christian religion which is so recently established among these natives would be in great danger.

As soon as I arrived in this city I went out to inspect the Parian of the Chinese, which certainly needed inspection. Considering the many who were there, and those whom I met on all the streets and everywhere I went, it appeared to me that there were great numbers there. Accordingly I desired to learn under what regulation they were living and residing there. Learning that the Audiencia had it in charge, I spoke with the auditors about it, and told them that it was my affair—I being the governor and captain-general, in whose charge was the defense of the country, and not in that of the Audiencia or any auditor who was caring for it. They answered me that your Majesty had entrusted it to them and put it in their charge by a royal decree, and that each year an auditor was chosen for this commission; and that, if I wished it, it would be assigned to me in turn, but that they could not give it up without giving an account thereof to your Majesty, although they saw that I was right. This troubled me much, and therefore I advised your Majesty of it in my letter of the eleventh of July in the past year, one thousand six hundred and two.

Before this uprising of the Sangleys, immediately upon the departure of the mandarins from here, as some disturbance had resulted from their coming, among other precautions which I took was that of ordering the establishment of several infantry captaincies for the natives, particularly in the provinces of Pampanga, Bulasan, La Laguna de Vay, Tondo, Bombon, and Calilaya. These are more reasonable people, and more prosperous and civilized than the other Indians, because they are nearer the city of Manila, and show more affection for the Spaniards, and likewise because they have more courage and spirit. I wrote to the alcaldes-mayor and the fathers; they sent me a memorandum of those who appeared to them most fit, saying that they had told them that they should immediately get their people ready and well armed, each one with rations for a month. While this was being agreed upon, the uprising took place, and this precaution was of the greatest importance; for they were able to come without delay, and be of so much use that without them I know not what would have happened. They are very proud of being soldiers and of serving your Majesty in military affairs, and therefore they have proved to be excellent troops. I have made much of them, given them presents, and thanked them for what they have done, for which they are grateful, and contented with whatever may come to them. In every way it has been of the greatest importance that these natives have lost their fear for the Sangleys, and have declared against them. There are among them a number of arquebusiers and musketeers. They are all a people fitted for the work, and if captained by Spaniards they would be of much use. I have been continuing the permission which they before had from the previous governors to carry, in some cases, arquebuses and other arms; and as they have proved to be good and faithful, the object has been attained.

In the said letter of the eleventh of July, 1602, I informed your Majesty that I had not found a single armed galley, or crew therefor; and that I had only fitted up a galeota, and that I was arming it with the few condemned criminals who were here, and with those whom I brought from Mejico and others whom I had joined with them. This vessel remains still in service, for although I had resolved to set it aside in some other business, as it was old and poorly designed and needed a great deal of repair, on this emergency of the Sangleys it appeared to me best to maintain it—and likewise a new one of nineteen benches which I built and had armed, and another small galeota which I had here, which used to be in Cebu. Although the latter was not designed for a galeota, I had it so fitted up, and it will serve for the present. Another galeota, of twenty-two or twenty-three benches, I am having finished to serve as flagship; it will be launched inside of twenty days, and will, I believe, be very good, according to the curves which it has. Accordingly I shall arm four vessels—the new one, this one which is being finished, the old one which was here, and the little galeota (which has no more than fifteen benches). I have much confidence in them in case the Chinaman should come; because great loss could be inflicted on his ships, before he could disembark and get ashore; and in any event they will be of use, for, although they must be manned with Sangleys, this will necessitate greater prudence, and all will be well arranged.

It has been a great help to me that I brought with me from Cartagena and Nueva Hespana several skilful men experienced in regard to galleys, who have been known to me from the time when I sailed with them from Hespana—especially Captain Francisco Romanico, captain of one of the armed galleys of the fleet on the Yndia route. As I knew him well and was certain that he was a man of long service and great activity, with much experience—for I have seen this on many occasions, as the adelantado of Castilla would tell you if he were alive, as he set much store by him—and fearing that I should find affairs here ill-provided for, I persuaded him to come with me and leave the galleon, as it was all for the service of your Majesty. I begged General Marcos de Aramburu to give him permission for this, as he did. Accordingly he has been setting things to rights, which without his aid could not have been done, for there are no boatswains, or officers, or persons who understand the management or working of galleys; and accordingly they are being built anew, with labor enough on his part and mine, of which I have wished to give your Majesty an account.

I likewise wrote to your Majesty in the said letter of the third of July of this year, that as I had had word in the month of April past that they were taking up arms in Mindanao to go and harry the Pintados (as they are accustomed to do each year), I had the old galeota armed. I ordered General Don Juan Ronquillo to go with a company of infantry to Oton, which is opposite Mindanao; so that with these troops, and others which are there and in Cebu, he might oppose the enemy, and do them what damage he could. Having met several caracoas on the way, they fled from him, and he could not overtake them. He went on to Oton, where he remained with a few armed caracoas, in readiness for what might occur. For the time being, the enemy did not make any attempt to come to the islands, and as I was informed that they were arming for the monsoons of September (as that time and May are the only seasons of the year in which they make their raids), I notified the said Don Juan Ronquillo to be waiting attentively, and ready to help wherever the enemy might attack. That he might the better do this, I sent him the new galeota of nineteen benches with more infantry troops, and with them went the said captain Romanico. Having received news that the enemy were on the point of setting out from Mindanao, or had already gone, Don Joan left Oton in search of them; and while on the way he was informed of the uprising of the Sangleys, and my order that he should not embark, as the Mindanao enemy were already in the Pintados. He did not stop to look for them or to oppose them, but with all the troops on the expedition he came back here, leaving in Cebu thirty paid men and as many more in Oton, so that with them the citizens and residents of those places might defend themselves, which was decided upon in a council of war. Considering that the troops which Don Juan Ronquillo had in his fleet amounted to two hundred men and more, and that those named in the relation died on the way, it appeared that the former might be of great importance here, and that it was very necessary that they should come to the defense of this city, even though they should be putting the Pintados in danger; for, if this city were out of danger, it might repair the other losses. It was likewise taken into consideration that even if their recall were not necessary on this occasion of the uprising, it would be so if the Chinese came with their fleet between now and the month of March, at which time they are expected, and during this whole season. When this opportunity is passed, the galeotas cannot come nor can the troops, seeing that the weather is contrary and navigation is very difficult and dangerous. In short, the galeotas arrived here, both of them with the troops, and remained in this fort. I was very glad to see them here, as affairs turned out.

Among the prisoners who were taken by the Mindanao people last year was Captain Martin de Mendia, a worthy man and an old encomendero in this land. The enemy gave him his freedom on account of his good reputation, and trusted him for his ransom. As he had given his word to other Spanish prisoners whom they were also taking into captivity that he would return to negotiate for their freedom—being resolved upon this, and to ransom native chiefs from these islands who had been taken captive at that time, and likewise to learn whether the said Mindanao was arming to come back here—having arrived at the said island of Mindanao and spoken with the commander Umpi, who was the head of the army of the year past, the latter was greatly pleased to see him, and agreed with him in regard to everything which he desired. He gave to Captain Mendia, without ransom, three or four Spaniards whom he held captive, and besought him with much importunity to make him a friend of the Spaniards. He gave him a letter for me, and likewise sent with it a nephew of his. Another chief, named Silonga, [30] who holds the most authority of all in affairs of war, did likewise. He also gave up without ransom two other Spaniards, a few natives, and a priest, and likewise sent one of his nephews. They are both here; and within the few days since they have arrived it is understood that fifty ships from Mindanao have gone against the islands of Leyte and Camar, which are in the province of Cebu, and have wrought havoc there; the commander was Buycan, another chief from Mindanao. Between these three, Umpi, Silonga, and Buycan, and the present king, Rajaniora, the whole country is divided, and the military power; likewise each one has his own following and people, set apart and acknowledged. They have usually dissensions and controversies among themselves, for he who has the most people and wealth seeks to be more esteemed than the others. But against the Spaniards and their other enemies they confederate and unite, and ordinarily Silonga has the most power. His nephew and others claim that he is not to blame for the expedition of Buycan—saying that although he knew of it, and desired that he should not go out upon the raid, and even asked him not to, and to that end gave him a bonus of gold, he could not prevail upon him; nor was this a matter for him to forcibly interfere in, because there is no subjection of the one to the other. It is thus that matters stand, and we needs must tolerate it for the present, since nothing else can be done, considering the news which we are expecting from China. If this had not intervened, we had resolved to seek them with the galeotas and other oared vessels in their own country in this month of January, and to harry and lay waste their coasts, obstructing their harbors and rivers and burning their vessels. This, by not allowing them to depart from their own coasts, would inflict great damage upon them; but it is necessary, as I said, to employ some other means which is now being examined into. I shall advise your Majesty as to what resolution is taken, by way of Nueva Espana.

I likewise informed your Majesty of the straits in which your royal treasury was because of the little money which had come from Mejico this year—not only for the treasury, but for the citizens as well; and because of the expenses which have been incurred in this affair with the Sangleys, and others which are presenting themselves every day. The treasury is so poor and needy that I find myself in a thousand difficulties, having no place whence to draw money; and it is necessary that it should not fail when occasion demands, or we shall lose everything. Although all the people are encouraged to do all in their power, and the natives help, yet as they are poor—because their property is in the power of the Mejicans, who will not send it back, saying they have not permission therefor, as I explained to you in the last letter—it is little they can do in this matter. Indeed, in order to send advices to China it was necessary for the citizens to lend here a plate and there a pitcher, and other pieces of silver, for money there is none; and the little silver which remained to me, after the loan which I had made to the fund for aiding the soldiers, I also gave on this occasion and with all ... this infantry, to pay two instalments of their pay; and as they were not given rations they endured much suffering, so that I was greatly troubled by the difficulties and weakness that resulted—and at the time when it was most reasonable to keep them content and paid. I beseech your Majesty to be pleased to order that the viceroy of Nueva Espana be notified to provide immediately a considerable quantity of money, so that this embarrassment may at once cease; as it is a very great difficulty that when anything is brought for the treasury we can make no use of it except to pay past debts, and it is not even sufficient for that. May our Lord preserve your Majesty in that prosperity which is needful for Christendom. Manila, December 18, 1603.

Don Pedro de Acuna

[Endorsed "Manila; to his Majesty; 1603. Don Pedro de Acuna; December 18. Duplicate."]


In a clause of a letter which I have just written to your Majesty, I give a particular account of the uprising of the Sangleys who rebelled against this city. I set forth the measures which I immediately took upon my arrival here to have the Audiencia refer to me the licenses for the Sangleys who were allowed to remain here, since I was charged with the defense of the country against them and other nations who come here to trade. I also desired this in order to remove and prevent certain difficulties which arose by reason of this, in connection with my proceedings, from those who have that matter in charge, and from your ministers, whom I have informed on various occasions to be careful in what they did. The whole city blames them, as it appears that, although it was agreed that there should not be more than four thousand Sangleys, yet there were found in the uprising more than eighteen thousand. This is a matter which has much to do with the condition of affairs here, and it requires an investigation, because the people keenly feel their losses, and are complaining. I give an account hereof to your Majesty, so that the matter may be understood. May our Lord protect the Catholic person of your Majesty, according to the needs of Christendom. Manila, December 23, 1603.

Don Pedro de Acuna

[In the margin: "This matter is already provided for as appeared expedient; (between the lines: "In a letter of December 18, 603"); and as to the matter of the licenses, the inconveniences mentioned should be well considered, as they result from giving so many licenses."]

[Endorsed: "July 21, 1606; examined and provided for within."]


By Father Pedro Chirino, S.J. Roma: printed by Estevan Paulino, in the year MDCIV.

Source: This is translated from the original printed work, for which purpose have been used the copies belonging to Harvard University and to Edward E. Ayer, of Chicago.

Translation: This is made by Frederic W. Morrison, of Harvard University, and Emma Helen Blair.


By the Fathers of the Society of Jesus.

By Father Pedro Chirino of the same Society Procurator for those Islands.

At Roma, By Estevan Paulino, in the year MDCIV. By permission of the Superiors.

This relation of the Philippines, composed by Father Pietro Cirino, having been examined by three theologians of our Society, may be printed if it shall seem advisable to the most reverend Monsignor Vicegerent and to the most reverend Father Master of the Sacred Palace.

Claudio [Aquaviva], general of the Society.

Let it be printed, at the pleasure of the most reverend Father, master of the Sacred Palace.

B. Gypsius, vicegerent.

This account of the affairs of the Philippine Islands, by the reverend Administrator Father Petrus Chirinus, of the Society of Jesus, is published with permission. Nothing in it, in my opinion, is repugnant to the orthodox faith or the decrees of the Church, or morality; on the contrary, I praise the diligence, learning, and piety which I find in no small measure in the author and his book.

Fray Thomas Malvenda, of the Order of Preachers.

Let it be printed.

Fray Joseph Maria, master of the Sacred Apostolic Palace.


Sent to our very reverend Father Claudio Aquaviva, general of that Society, by Father Pedro Chirino, procurator for those islands.

I am about to relate to your Paternity the state and condition of our insignificant Society in the Filipinas, in accordance with the obligation of my office as procurator sent here from those regions in the month of July, six hundred and two, and as one who has spent there fourteen years of the best of his life. [31] I shall follow the thread of incidents which have befallen the Society in that region, and the hardships that it has undergone while preaching our holy faith. I shall also consider how that Society has grown in connection with its services toward the holy Church. That I may do so more conveniently, my narrative will begin at the time when our religion was first established in those islands, treating of the islands themselves, their characteristics, and those of the nations and peoples who inhabit them. I shall touch somewhat upon their history and upon events that have occurred there, noting only what concerns my purpose, and that briefly; for a complete and copious history of those islands has been written, [32] with exceeding care, truth, and eloquence, by Doctor Antonio de Morga of the Council of his Catholic Majesty, and his auditor in the royal Chancilleria of Manila. Moreover, apart from the consideration of the above book, it is neither my obligation nor my profession to write a history; although there certainly are in that land magnificent, singular, and wonderful things, both profitable and pleasing to know. I feel confident, however, that the matter contained in this short narrative will not fail to please your Paternity, in proportion as you are informed of the fidelity and truth with which our Lord (may He guard your Paternity) is served in those most distant parts of the world by your sons who are there.

Of the name of the Filipinas, their discovery, and location. Chapter I.

The Filipinas are a part of the many islands which recent cosmographers consider adjacent to Asia—as the Canarias and the Terceras [i.e., Azores] are to Africa; and Inglaterra [England], Escocia [Scotland], Hibernia, Irlanda, Olanda [Holland], Gelanda [Iceland], and the Oreadas [Orkney] Islands, to Europe. Some of the islands of this great archipelago cross the equinoctial line, or the torrid zone, and following the coast-line of Great China and India, terminate on the north side with the islands of Japon, which extend beyond the fortieth degree; in the south the archipelago has as yet no known termination. The Filipinas are between the Malucas and the islands of Japon; and it is a thing to be wondered at that the exertions and diligence of the Portuguese, who discovered, explored, and settled Maluco, China, and Japon, the outermost and peripheral islands, should not have discovered the middle part, or center, namely, the Filipinas. It is true, they were informed concerning the island of Burney, which is the most southern of the archipelago; they did not, however, stop there, being bound for the islands of Maluco, in eager quest of spices and drugs, which are to be found there in such abundance. It was this very desire to secure drugs that caused the Spaniards, or Castilians, to discover and settle the Filipinas, as is well known. For when Hernando Magallanes was in quest of the aforesaid drugs for the crown of Castilla, in the days of the emperor Charles Fifth, he came upon the island of Sebu, where, at the expense of his life, [33] he proved that the entire voyage from Nueva Espana could be made, avoiding the tedious route through the Strait and the necessity of sailing thither from Spain. [34] Villalobos did the same soon after, but our Lord destroyed his fleet, leaving the captain and his crew shipwrecked on the island of Maluco, where necessity compelled them to fraternize and remain with the Portuguese. [35] Father Cosme de Torres, our illustrious apostle of Japon, took part in this expedition, and was found in Maluco by the Blessed Father Francisco, who received him as his companion, and as a member of our Society. [36] The Castilians persisted in making a third attempt to send a fleet from Nueva Espana for the same purpose. With the warning and experience of the two former expeditions, they well knew the locality of Sebu, and cast their anchors there. God, who destined them not for Maluco but for the Filipinas, caused them to abandon the thought of Maluco and to settle the latter islands, thus bringing them to the bosom of the Church and to the crown of Castilla; they gave these the name of Filipinas, out of respect to, and to perpetuate the memory of, King Filipo Second. [37] It was during his reign that this third expedition took place, as well as the discovery and conversion of the islands—which was accomplished by only five hundred Spaniards with six Augustinian religious, holy men and learned. Among them was the reverend Father Martin de Herrada, [38] a great cosmographer and mathematician, but still more distinguished as a holy and truly apostolic man. He was the first who made converts to Christianity in the Filipinas, preaching to them of Jesus Christ in their own tongue—of which he made the first vocabulary, which I have seen and have also studied.

The discovery of an image of the child Jesus, which gave its name to the city of Sebu; the holy patrons of the same and of Manila. Chapter II.

The city of the natives in the port of Sebu was at that time so large and populous that it extended a space of more than a legua along the beach, on the spot where now stands the city and fortress of the Spaniards. As the Indians had already in the past experienced the valor of the latter, and were fearful at thought of their treachery in killing Magallanes years before, they greatly feared our men on this occasion. Upon sighting our vessels, they began to offer all possible resistance with their bows and arrows, lances and shields—such being their arms—to prevent our men from landing. When our people saw the islanders disposed to hostility, they discharged some cannon into the air, frightening them to such an extent that they abandoned their houses and fled inland. Thereupon our men leaped ashore unimpeded and began to seek food in the houses (as is the custom among those who have just disembarked after a long voyage). At this juncture it happened that a Biscayan who was rummaging among the movables and ornaments of one of the houses, found in a basket, among other things, a carved image of the holy child Jesus, presumably left as a trophy of the devotion of some good soldier of the first expedition of Magallanes. [39] The Indians, partly on account of the novelty of the image, which they understood to be the God of the Christians, and partly on account of the respect and reverence with which our Lord himself inspired them, held the object in great veneration, as was afterwards learned, and had recourse to it in all their necessities—making sacrifices to it after their custom, and anointing it with their oils, as they were accustomed to anoint their idols. And our Lord exercising, moreover, His wonted mercy toward those who honored Him without knowing Him, did not act otherwise toward those who, in their ignorance of Him, were at the same time offending Him; He succored them most liberally in their needs, as a token and pledge of the greater favors which He had marked out for them when they should come to a knowledge of Him, and preserved for these times which they are now enjoying. For which reason they had recourse frequently to this image in their necessities, calling it "the Divata of the Castilians;" for among them "Divata" is God, whom the inhabitants of Manila call Bathala or Anito, [40] as we shall see later. The good Biscayan upon seeing the holy Child, was filled with a strange joy and happiness, and desiring to share it with the rest of the expedition, began to cry aloud in his own absurd language, "Bear witness to God, thou hast found His Son." The religious at once took possession of the image, regarding it as a good omen; and out of respect and devotion to it named the city that they founded Santissimo Nombre de Jesus, and placed the image in a church of their order erected in the city. There it remains in highest veneration, and has wrought many miracles, particularly in childbirths, whence it is both facetiously and piously called El Partero ["man-midwife"]. Each year it is borne in solemn procession from the church of St. Augustine to the spot in which it was found, where a chapel has since been erected. The procession takes place upon the same day when the discovery was made—namely, on the twenty-ninth of April, the feast of the glorious martyr St. Vital, who is patron of the city, and as such that day is kept as a solemn feast in his honor. One of the regidors, appointed each year for this purpose, brings out the banner of the city; he is on that day clad in livery, and invites the public to the festivals. [41] There are bull-fights and other public festivities and rejoicings, with many novel fireworks, such as wheels and sky-rockets, which the Sangleys make the night before; on this occasion they construct things well worth seeing, and which appear well-nigh supernatural. The city of Manila holds similar festivities on the feast-day of the glorious apostle St. Andrew, who was chosen as its patron because, on his feast-day, the city was delivered from the blockade of the pirate Limahon. At that time the city had no fortress or walls, or any stone buildings; and in all the islands there were no more than five hundred Spaniards, as I learned from one of them. These few men alone compelled the enemy, who numbered more than a thousand fighting men, to withdraw from the city; and they even pursued and harried the pirates in such wise, by blocking the mouth of the river Pangasinan (where they had retired with their ships), that to escape the fury of our men they were obliged to construct some light craft within their fort. They are said to have calked these, for want of pitch, with their own blood; and to have carried them on their shoulders for several leguas over land, until they succeeded in launching them into the sea, and fled under full sail. They left their ships in the river and dismantled the forts and camps, where our men found some spoils, of which I saw a part. But satisfaction over the booty was outweighed by chagrin at losing the enemy whom they had practically in their hands. The enemy, however, had received such a lesson that they never returned.

Some years afterwards they planned to elect another patron against hurricanes, which are called in those parts vagios, and by the Portuguese tufones. [42] They are furious winds which, springing up ordinarily in the north, veer toward the west and south, and move around the compass in the space of twenty hours or more.

One of these days of tempest is a very Judgment day; especially if it overtake one in the night-time, and in a wooden house. It rends some houses, and turns others over on one side; still others (and most frequently) it destroys and hurls to the ground. With the assistance of the bishop of Yucatan, [43] who was at that time dean of the church, the cathedral of Manila had been temporarily erected, with pillars of the very strongest trees, so large that two men could not reach around them; and all the timber above and below was on the same scale; yet in half an hour one of these typhoons destroyed the newly-built cathedral, and left only the tabernacle of the most Holy Sacrament between four pillars. In this accident some people were killed: for, fleeing from their houses, which were falling to pieces over their heads, they betook themselves for greater safety to the church. The vessels in the bay were hurled ashore the distance of a stone's throw, and those who were caught in the tempest were carried away like straw. To remedy so great an evil, lots were cast with great solemnity at a concourse of all classes; from these came forth the [name of the] most glorious virgin St. Potenciana—not without much mystery; for, on the day when the event took place (the 19th of May), one of the earliest settlers, hearing her name called, arose and said: "Hers is the day when we first entered Manila, by which it is meant that our Lord chose to inform us of the obligation that we owe to this glorious Saint." What followed confirmed his statement; for from that time forward there has been a notable improvement in this respect, the storms and the fury of the winds recognizing the favor and protection of this blessed virgin.

How the Spaniards spread over all the Filipinas to Manila. Chapter III.

The people of Sebu did not remain a long time in retirement. Assured of the good friendship of the Spaniards for them, and that through it they should have many commodities which they needed, together with defense and help against their enemies, and peace in the islands (of which they were so desirous, being weary of the continual and grievous wars and evils with which they had harassed one another), they all repaired to the Spaniards to be baptized, and to offer them their services. They entered, moreover, into such fraternal and confidential relations with the Spaniards that they soon came to long for the honor which might be theirs from association with them, and from serving them with their industry and lands—not only providing them with what was needful for their sustenance, but acting as guides in the exploration and conquest of the other islands as far as Manila, which is the principal and foremost island among them all.

For this reason the Sebuans are privileged and exempt from taxation, as a reward for their friendly services and loyalty. In the beginning the pacification of the Islands was strongly resisted, and some deaths among our men ensued; yet, in spite of this, those few reduced and subjugated everything and began to establish our holy faith, gently bringing the villages, with their chiefs, into obedience to the Church and to the crown of Castilla. The method which they pursued was consistent with the practice of those nations in forming a friendship—a method not altogether their own, as it was a custom among the most ancient heathen peoples, mention of which we find in serious authors. Those who made peace in the name of the rest, and established the pacts of perpetual friendship, pricked and wounded their own arms; the Indian sucking the blood of the Spaniard, and the Spaniard that of the Indian. In this wise they became as if of the same blood, and were closer than brothers. These are called sandugo, which means "consanguineous," or "of the same blood."

Of the entry of the fathers of the Society into the Filipinas. Chapter IV.

These islands offer good inducements to the Spaniards, as well as for ecclesiastics and religious, to make settlements: to the former, because the islands are numerous and thickly inhabited by a people who, though not rich, were accustomed to wear cotton and silk garments, and gold pieces (not merely of thin plate) and brooches to fasten them; and rich necklaces, pendants, ear-rings, finger-rings, ankle-rings, on the neck, ears, hands, and feet—the men, as well as the women. They even used to, and do yet, insert gold between their teeth as an ornament. Although among the other ornaments which they used were to be found articles of considerable interest and curiosity which could be described, there is one practice which seems more worthy of attention than the others—namely, that of wearing rings upon the instep of the foot. This seems to be precisely the same custom that the ancients wrote about when they mentioned nations who used gold for fetters and chains, especially among the nobles. Their ornamenting the teeth is also worth notice, although it is a barbarous practice to deprive them of their natural whiteness, which God conferred upon the teeth for the beauty of man. On the other hand, they showed themselves to be both skilful and prudent in trying to maintain them as necessary instruments for the preservation of health and life. They are thus very diligent in rinsing out their mouths and cleansing their teeth after eating, and upon arising in the morning. For the same purpose they treat and adorn their teeth in the following way: From early childhood they file and sharpen them, [44] either leaving them uniform or fashioning them all to a point, like a saw—although this latter is not practiced by the more elegant. They all cover their teeth with a varnish, either lustrous black or bright red—with the result that the teeth remain as black as jet, or red as vermilion or ruby. From the edge to the middle of the tooth they neatly bore a hole, which they afterward fill with gold, so that this drop or point of gold remains as a shining spot in the middle of the black tooth. This seems to them most beautiful, and to us does not appear ugly.

These people were and still are very sagacious, and keen in traffic and bargaining, and in buying and selling; and they applied themselves to all gainful pursuits—and not least to agriculture and to the breeding of animals, regularly carried on for the profits thus made. They have not only great harvests of rice (which is their ordinary bread), but also crops of cotton, with which they clothe themselves, and from which they manufacture quantities of cloths, which were, and are yet, much esteemed in Nueva Espana. For this reason, the Spaniards regarded them as a people from whom large profits might be gained, and they were not mistaken, for, from the gains on cotton fabrics alone (which there they call lompotes), one encomendero left an estate of more than one hundred and fifty thousand pesos in a few years. The soil is not only good and favorable with a sunny climate, but fertile and rich. Besides possessing many gold mines and placers—of which they make but small account, because of the China silks which bring them more profit—they raise fowls in great abundance. Besides the domestic fowls, which are most numerous and very cheap, the fields are full of wild ones. There is an infinite number of domestic swine, not to mention numberless mountain-bred hogs, which are very fat, and as good for lard as the domestic breed. There are also many goats which breed rapidly, bearing two kids at a time and twice yearly; there are entire islands abounding with them. As to the buffaloes, there called carabaos, there are beside the tame and domestic breed, many mountain buffaloes, which are used [as food] the same as those in Europe—although somewhat less ugly in appearance, and with singularly large horns, three times the size of those of our breed. They have remarkable skill in striking with these horns; lowering the beard to the breast, with the point of the horn they lift up the most minute object. In spite of these formidable qualities both Indians and Spaniards hunt and slay them. Their flesh, whether fresh or dried, is as good as the most excellent beef. Deer are so abundant that the Japanese import cargoes of their hides from these islands. The sea abounds in all kinds of delicate fish; trees, fruits, vegetables, and garden-stuff are abundant—especially bananas, of which there are as many different kinds as in Europe there are varieties of apples and other fruits. There are six or eight species of orange, the most famous of which is an orange as big as a large-sized melon or gourd. Some of these are white inside, like limes; others are as red as our oranges are yellow; and all kinds are as well-flavored as bunches of delicate grapes. In general, the fruits of those regions, although different from ours in species and form, have much the same flavor as the European fruits. The palms, of which there are many and varied species, are the vineyards and olive-orchards of that country. For beside the many other uses and advantages of this tree, it yields wine, vinegar, and oil in sufficient quantities not only to supply that region abundantly, but likewise to ship and send away to other neighboring regions—especially furnishing wine to Japon, Maluco, and Nueva Espana. The rigging of vessels is also manufactured from this tree. In fact, there is such an abundance of the materials necessary for the construction of ships that a vessel which is built in Nueva Espana or Peru in several years' time for fifty or sixty thousand pesos, is constructed in the Filipinas in less than one year, and at a cost of less than eight thousand pesos. The cane is in itself another miracle, especially the kind called cauayan, the size and thickness of which are incredible. I shall not say what I have seen of that species during fourteen years; but one of our Society lately told me in Lisboa, while discussing this subject, that in the river of London he had seen a vessel which had one of these canes for a pump. In addition to Pliny, [45] the most ancient writer who makes much mention of these canes, there are many moderns who testify to their size—especially one who, from information received by those of his nation who have coursed these seas (to our detriment and their own danger), has written an account of these canes and of other plants and fruits of that New World. Although this cane is so large, it is so easily worked that it is employed in whatever is needed for any of the uses of life; from vessels and houses (which can be made from it in all their parts), its use extends to the pot and wood for cooking. It seems to me that its uses could go no farther; and in these it corresponds, too, with what Pliny [46] writes of the reed and the papyrus—particularly as within the hollow of the cane, there are membranes somewhat similar to beaten and glazed paper, on which I have at times written. In some of the canes there is also found a juice or liquor which is drunk as a luxury. There is nothing especially remarkable in the fact that so much abundance should be deposited in the hollow of these canes; for, just as in other regions trees need water, in the Filipinas some are found which furnish it—acting as a perpetual fountain for a whole community, even though it may be on the apparently dry uplands. In all that locality there are no other springs than these trees. The method which they employ for obtaining the liquid from the tree is to make some cuts or incisions in the trunk and the thicker branches; and out of these is distilled and flows a clear, sweet water, in ample quantities. But, to return to the subject of the canes, it should be known that in our church of Manila were erected two ladders, each of which had only two canes somewhat more than eight brazas in length: the steps consisted of strips and slips cut from the said cane. They were used in decorating the church and each one would sustain at its top two or three men; they were erected without any prop being needed to sustain them. Each cane was at the lowest part about three palmos in circumference, which crosswise or in diameter would be about one palmo. [47] These ladders are well adapted to such needs, for being, as they are, strong and yet hollow, they are not very heavy, or hard to move. From these canes they make in China the whips which with three or four blows kill a man.

To this abundance and fertility was added the proximity of China, India, Japon, Malaca, and Maluco. From China they not only began to ship their riches in silks and glazed earthenware, as soon as they learned of our wealth of four and eight real pieces; but they also stocked the islands with cattle (which have since multiplied there exceedingly) and with horses and mares, and great stock-farms have been established. The Chinese have also supplied provisions, metals, fruits, preserves and various luxuries, and even ink and paper; and (what is of much more value) there have come tradesmen of every calling—all clever, skilful, and cheap, from physicians and barbers to carriers and porters. The Chinese are the tailors, the shoemakers, the blacksmiths, the silversmiths, sculptors, locksmiths, painters, masons and weavers; in short, they represent all the trades of the community. Their labor is so cheap that a pair of shoes costs no more than two reals, and so many are made that they have been shipped even to Nueva Espana. From India, Malaca, and Maluco come to Manila male and female slaves, white and black, children and adults; the men are industrious and obliging, and many are good musicians; the women excellent seamstresses, cooks, and preparers of conserves, and are neat and clean in service. The islands also import drugs, spices, and precious stones; marble, pearls, seed-pearls, carpets, and other riches. From Japon are imported much wheat, and flour, also silver, metals, saltpeter, weapons, and many curiosities. All of these things make life in that region pleasant and an object of desire to men; and indeed it seems a copy of that Tyre so extolled by Ezekiel.

In the second place, as concerns the religious, there was from the very beginning the very tractable disposition displayed by so many natives of the islands in embracing the faith. But as the many and excellent ministers whom the holy Order of St. Augustin promptly sent thither were not sufficient for the task of converting the natives, nor were those who were sent by the Order of the seraphic father St. Francis, [48] which in the year 1580 already had in the islands some establishments, and had made many conversions—the fathers of the Society of Jesus were also needed. They were introduced, in that year, by the first bishop of these islands, Don Fray Domingo de Salazar, [49] a priest of the Order of St. Dominic—who afterward died in the city of Toledo, as archbishop of Manila. This great prelate had left his province of Mexico to consult with the Catholic king, Don Felipe Second, concerning matters of grave importance; and, being by his Majesty appointed bishop of the Filipinas, he soon sought from the king permission to take with him to the islands members of the Society—as appears from the same royal provision made for them in Nueva Espana. Accordingly he took with him from that country the first members of the Society to enter those islands—namely, Father Antonio Sedeno and Father Alonso Sanchez. These, our fathers, entered the city of Manila without cloaks, as I have heard Father Antonio Sedeno himself relate, in commending their poverty; for those which they brought with them from Mexico had worn out and rotted in the voyage. They went to rest at [the convent of] San Francisco, where those blessed fathers received them with much charity until they found an abode—which they chose in a suburb of Manila, called Laguio, very wretched and closely packed, and so poorly furnished that the very chest in which they kept their books was the table upon which they ate. Their only food for many days was rice boiled in water without salt, oil, meat, fish, or even an egg, or any other thing; sometimes as a dainty, they secured some salted sardines.

But the good bishop who had brought them did not leave them long in such straits; for not only did he offer us his library, and show us other acts of kindness and charity as a true father, but he tried to improve the site of our habitation, as soon as he saw that those first fathers had no wish to change it for another. Thus, with two ground-plots given them by Andres Cauchela, accountant for the Catholic king in those regions (who owned some lands in Laguio); with property of the Catholic king, obtained at the instance of the aforesaid bishop and at the order of the governor, Don Gonzalo Ronquillo [50]; and with the addition of private offerings of charity—a fine wooden house was constructed (which I myself saw), wherein was fitted up their church, in which our fathers exercised their ministry, with a large attendance, and to the great advantage of the Spaniards.

Three years later their number was increased. The Catholic king sent his royal Audiencia to the islands in the year 1583; and as its president, the governor of the islands and the representative of his Majesty, Doctor Santiago de Vera, who was a member of his council, and judge in the royal Chancilleria of Mexico. [51] He, at the time of his departure from Mexico, requested of the Father Doctor Juan de la Placa, who was then provincial in Nueva Espana, permission to take with him to the islands some of the fathers. Not only did he himself urge this, but also other personages, even the king's ministers, who all insisted that he should in no case go without them. Under this influence the father provincial was constrained to draw from the few members then in his province four individuals: these were Father Ramon de Prado, a Catalan; Father Francisco Almerique, an Italian; Padre Hernan Suarez, a Castilian; and, as coadjutor, the brother Gaspar Gomez—all of whom, as we shall later see, were of great benefit to those regions. So great was the satisfaction of this most Christian man, upon receiving the message of our provincial (who had given him two of Ours, and those other four on his own responsibility), that he immediately fell on his knees before them, and gave thanks to our Lord that he had obtained the ministers whom His Divine Majesty employs for the conversion of peoples, as he has so said. They reached the Filipinas in May or June of the year 1584, and afforded great companionship, comfort, and aid to those who were in the islands. Father Hernan Suarez was especially useful, for God had endowed him with special grace in winning hearts and bringing them to His service—and this, in familiar conversation and ordinary discourse, as well as in the pulpit and the confessional. In this way the whole community was dependent on him; he settled all matters that might give rise to discord, and no one took any step without his opinion and counsel. He ministered to his flock jointly and severally in public and in private, with much charity on his part and satisfaction on theirs. But this very thing was the cause, in a short time, of his death. Exhausted by so much toil, but especially by the fierce heat of the sun—to which he was exposed at every hour, in journeying on foot from Laguio to Manila and back again—and wearied and often perspiring from the sermons which he so frequently preached, he died a holy death within two or three years, to the universal sorrow of his entire congregation which celebrated his obsequies as those of a true father.

For this reason and at the order of Father Antonio de Mendoca, provincial of Nueva Espana, who did not wish that our members should dwell so far from Manila, they were obliged to change their abode and come within the city. Many devout persons and friends of our Society helped them greatly to this end with offerings, some giving them pieces of land, on which was a wooden house of moderate size; others offerings of money, with which they bought more land. Here we dwelt until Captain Juan Pacheco Maldonado, a regidor of Manila, and Dona Faustina de Palacios y Villa Gomez, his wife, our excellent benefactress, erected for us a beautiful stone edifice. This work was begun, with great piety and devotion, on the same day when this Christian captain received the news that the English had robbed a vessel in which he had a great quantity of goods. The mariscal Gabriel de Ribera, another notable benefactor of ours, erected temporarily a very neat wooden church, which was used until the stone church, which we now have, was finished. The greater part of this was done at the expense of this captain, Juan Pacheco. The rest was accomplished with the aid of large gifts contributed by the devout people. In short, this post at Manila began to assume permanent form; our very reverend Father-general Claudio Aquaviva, accepted it as a college, and appointed, as its first rector, in the year one thousand five hundred and eighty-nine, Father Antonio Sedeno.

Of the employments of the fathers of the Society in the Filipinas. Chapter V.

In the residence at Manila (which was the only one that our Society then had in the Filipinas), of the five priests who had gone thither only three remained. For, as we have said, Father Hernan Suarez urged himself on to work until he died of sheer exhaustion—but certainly with most abundant harvest, and having brought great consolation to that commonwealth, where his loss was deeply felt, and his memory was held for many years in great tenderness and affection by all. Father Alonso Sanchez, although inclined by nature to retirement and solitude, could not hide his light, since he was a man of great courage and ability. His retirement was perpetually beset by bishop, governor, royal ministers, prelates of the church, and regidors of the commonwealth. Both within and without Manila, he was forever busied in important affairs—whether concerning the welfare of souls, the peace of men's consciences, the tranquillity and prosperity of the commonwealth, or the service of his Majesty the Catholic king, our sovereign. On this account not only did they send him on several journeys to China and Malaca, but finally despatched him to Europe upon like undertakings, where he was well known at the court of Espana and afterwards at that of Roma. The three who were left behind did not remain idle. Father Antonio Sedeno, in addition to his ordinary occupation of preaching—in which he was so effective that he could move stones by his eloquence—in his capacity as superior attended to the temporal affairs of the residence and to the construction of buildings. He was all the more busy in this latter occupation, from the scarcity, at that time, of architects and builders in Manila; for there were none at all. First he taught this art to the Indians, and then to the Chinese; and he inspired the bishop to build the first stone house ever erected in Manila. Encouraged by this example, they continued to build others, until finally the city reached its present greatness. At this time it is one of the most beautiful and delightful cities in the Indias. Formerly the houses, though large and roomy, were all constructed of wood or cane. In short the good father was the architect of the city, and the people caused him no little labor in inspecting, planning, and arranging its edifices; he aided them out of pure charity and zeal for the advancement of the holy Church, which he hoped would be very great in those regions. The first fort constructed in Manila for the defense of the city was erected under his direction, and with his plans, supervision, and aid, which cost him no little effort. This is the fortress that they call Guia, because it is situated at the principal gate of the city which leads out to the chapel of Nuestra Senora de Guia that stands in front of our house. I once accompanied him when he went to furnish the plans for a stairway in one of the principal houses; and he showed so much patience and indulgence toward the errors which the Indians had committed in his absence that he did not lose his temper in either word or look, but merely had what was wrong taken apart and done over again.

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