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The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898: Volume XII, 1601-1604
Edited by Blair and Robertson
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In this way, at the time when Father Francisco Almerique was here, not one man, as this one, but entire villages came in—the good father choosing their location, and helping them to erect the houses. In the village of Antipolo, in one year alone (either ninety-four or ninety-five), nearly a thousand souls arrived at the mission, more than five hundred of whom were baptized in that same year. They had come down from some very rugged mountains, far from there, where they had their houses and cultivated fields; but they neglected all these, out of love and esteem for our holy faith. No one remained in the mountains but a few catolones, for thus the priests of their idols are styled. As soon as this was ascertained, efforts were made that a person able to do so should remove them from that place, to suppress this cause of offense to those who were weak. This was done with much gentleness, and they were brought to us. Thereupon the good father, with his holy prudence and with the example of his righteous life, subdued their leader, whom the rest obeyed, and baptized them all. This leader said that the father's anito (thus they style their deities) was greater than those of other men, and for that reason they recognized him as superior. This pagan priest, while offering his infamous sacrifices, was possessed by the Devil who caused him to make most ugly grimaces; and he braided his hair, which for his particular calling he wore long, like that of a woman. But he, beginning (like the Magdalen) with his hair, cut it off publicly, and with it the power of the Devil, who held him captive; and receiving baptism, constrained the others by his example to do the same, consigning his idols to the fire where they were consumed.

In this baptism of five hundred people, there were two old women whose conversion showed the special and admirable providence of our Lord. One of them, at least, showed an age of more than one hundred years; and both came down with the rest from the mountains, desiring holy baptism. Hardly had they received it when, leaving this mortal life (for they could no longer sustain the burden of so many years), they were renewed and bettered by the eternal life for which our Lord in his infinite mercy had preserved them during so many years.

The Tagalos, which is the name of the whitest and most civilized race of Manila, were not the only ones who descended from the mountains and from afar to range themselves alongside the sons of the new Jerusalem, that is, the holy church [76]—which multiplying in numbers, augmenting the joy at the sight of the vineyard of the Lord, and producing new plants, extends its shoots until it penetrates the sea and embraces and incorporates all its islands. After the men came the beasts of burden (namely, the Negrillos, who are more fierce, and dwell in the mountains) who came with outstretched hands to place themselves in those of their swift Angels, sent to succor this abject and ruined people. By this I mean that the Negrillos, of whom I have already spoken—who are the ancient inhabitants of some of these islands, including Manila, in which there are many of that race who live, as I said, in the mountains, merely like wild beasts—impressed by the example of the others, began to be peaceable and tame, and to prepare themselves for holy baptism. This, for those who are acquainted with their savageness and brutality, is wonderful beyond exaggeration. But this very brutal and barbarous nature renders them (a marvelous thing!) less incapable of our holy faith, and less averse to it—because in their state of pure savagery they have not, as I know from observation, any idolatries or superstitions, neither are they greatly averse to the gospel and baptism. The others—who to their own detriment and misfortune, are more civilized—abandon more regretfully their idols, ceremonies, priests, sacrifices, and superstitions; and, although they renounce them in holy baptism and are converted (vanquished by the light of Catholic truth), the vestiges of the evil which they have sucked from their mothers' breasts are not so easily forgotten as to unburden us, their teachers, of many cares. This was clearly seen that year in that very village of San Juan del Monte, where, although all the inhabitants had been baptized and included many good Christians, those same good Christians informed us of a fire of idolatry which in its great fury was burning up our harvests. In order that this may be better understood, it will be well first to give some account of their idolatries and superstitions in a separate chapter; and then we will relate what happened in Taitai and how it was remedied.



Concerning the false heathen religion, idolatries, and superstitions of the Filipinos. Chapter XXI.

Although upon entering into the dark abyss of such blind idolatry I find a disorderly confusion of the vilest and most abominable things [77] worthy of its inventor, although in examining the walls within this infernal cave, I discover an infinitude of loathsome creatures, foul, obscene, truly damnable, it is my task, aided by the light of truth, to reduce them to order—so that we who upon opening our eyes find ourselves within the light of truth may offer praise to Almighty God, and have compassion for those who, blinded by their ignorance, love and prize these things of darkness, and cannot open their eyes to any light beyond. I shall speak first concerning the false belief that they hold concerning the divinity of their idols; second, of their priests and priestesses; third, and last, of their sacrifices and superstitions. Their art of writing was of no service to them in any one of these three things, or in matters of government and civilization (of which I shall perhaps later tell the little that I know); for they never used their writing except to exchange letters, as we have said. All their government and religion is founded on tradition, and on custom introduced by the Devil himself, who spoke to them through their idols and the ministers of these. They preserve it in songs, which they know by heart and learn when children, by hearing these sung when they are sailing or tilling their fields, when they are rejoicing and holding feasts, and especially, when they are mourning their dead. In these barbarous songs they relate the fabulous genealogies and vain deeds of their gods—among whom they set up one as the chief and superior of them all. This deity the Tagalos call Bathala Mei capal, which means "God the creator or maker;" the Bissayans call him Laon, which denotes antiquity. These songs relate the creation of the world, the origin of the human race, the deluge, paradise, punishment, and other invisible things, relating a thousand absurdities, and varying much the form, some telling it in one way, others in another. To show better what lies and fables these all are, there is one story that the first man and the first woman came from the knot of a cane which burst off from its plant. After that, certain disputes resulted concerning the marriage of these two, on account of the difficulties arising from the first degree of blood-relationship, which among them is inviolable, and thought to be allowed only that first time from the necessity of propagating mankind. [78] In short they recognized invisible spirits, and another life; also demons, the enemies of men, of whom they were in abject fear from the evils and dread which these caused them. Accordingly one of Ours converted many of them by means of a well-painted picture of hell. Their idolatry is, in a word (as with many other nations), an adoration and deification of their ancestors—especially of those who distinguished themselves through valiant deeds, or cruelties, or obscene and lewd acts. It was a general practice for anyone who could successfully do so to attribute divinity to his old father when the latter died. The old men themselves died with this illusion and deception, imputing to their illness and death and to all their actions a seriousness and import, in their estimation, divine. Consequently they chose as a sepulchre some celebrated spot, like one which I saw on the shore of the sea between Dulac and Abuyo, in the island of Leite. This man directed that he should be placed there in his coffin (which was done), in a solitary house remote from any village, in order to be recognized as the god of sailors, who would offer worship and commend themselves to him. There was another, who had caused himself to be buried in a certain place among the mountains of Antipolo; and out of reverence to him no one dared to cultivate them, fearing that he who should go thither might meet his death. This lasted until Father Almerique relieved them of their fear, and now those lands are cultivated without harm or dread. In memory of these departed ones, they keep their little idols—some of stone, wood, bone, ivory, or a cayman's teeth; others of gold. They call these Larauan, which signifies, "idol," "image," or "statue;" and in their necessities they have recourse to these, offering to them barbarous sacrifices.

They also worshiped, like the Egyptians, animals and birds; and, like the Assyrians, the sun and moon; they attributed moreover, a sort of divinity to the rainbow. The Tagalos adored a blue bird, as large as a thrush, and called it Bathala, which was among them a term of divinity. [79] They also worshiped the crow (as the ancients worshiped the god Pan and the goddess Ceres). It bore the name Mei lupa, which signifies "master of the soil." They held the cayman in the utmost veneration; and, whenever they made any statement about it, when they descried it in the water, they called it Nono, which means "grandfather." They softly and tenderly besought it not to harm them; and to this end offered it a part of what they carried in their boats, casting the offering into the water. There was no old tree to which they did not attribute divinity; and it was a sacrilege to cut such a tree for any purpose. What more did they adore? the very stones, cliffs, and reefs, and the headlands of the shores of the sea or the rivers; and they made some offering when they passed by these, going to the stone or rock, and placing the offering upon it. I saw many times in the river of Manila a rock which for many years was an idol of that wretched people. This scandal, which occasioned great evils, lasted until the fathers of St. Augustine (who dwell near by) with holy zeal broke it to pieces, and erected in its place a cross. While sailing along the island of Panai I beheld on the promontory called Nasso, near Potol, plates and other pieces of earthenware, laid upon a rock, the offering of voyagers. [80] In the island of Mindanao between La Canela and the river [i.e., Rio Grande], a great promontory projects from a rugged and steep coast; [81] always at these points there is a heavy sea, making it both difficult and dangerous to double them. When passing by this headland, the natives, as it was so steep, offered their arrows, discharging them with such force that they penetrated the rock itself. This they did as a sacrifice, that a safe passage might be accorded them. I saw with my own eyes that although the Spaniards, in hatred of so accursed a superstition, had set a great many of these arrows on fire and burned them, those still remaining and those recently planted in the rock numbered, in less than a year, more than four thousand arrows; they certainly seemed as many as that, to all of us who passed that point. [82]

Besides these, they had a thousand other superstitions. If they beheld a serpent or lizard, or heard anyone sneeze, they would always retrace their steps, and on no account go further at that time, for such an occurrence would be an evil omen. The ministers of the Devil also cast lots for them; this was another fraud and deceit which I must not describe for fear of being too prolix. Nor can one express the blindness in which they were, ignorant of their Creator: let what has already been said suffice. In regard to the first point, they had no places set aside for worship, or public days for general festivities. Not until we went to Taitai did I learn that in many of the houses there was another one, but smaller, made of cane, as it were a little tower, fashioned somewhat curiously, to which they passed from the main house by a short bridge, also made of cane. In these were kept their needlework and other sorts of handicraft, by means of which they concealed the mystery of the little house. From information that I received from some of the faithful, it was in reality dedicated to the anito, although they offered no sacrifice in it, nor did it serve for other use than as it was dedicated to him—perhaps that he might rest there when on a journey, as Elias said to the other priests. [83] I had all these houses demolished, so that not one remained. I also found in some little hamlets of the Pintados a small house at the entrance of the village with only the roof and ground floor, which served as a place where sacrifices are performed. But, after all, it was not the general practice to have any common place of worship, as did the ancient Pagans, or to come together to any one place for solemn rites, or to have public and general sacrifices offered in the name of the community. Individuals, however, made offerings, each one for his own intention or need, and in his own house or other private place; but they chose jointly their own priest, male or female (of whom there were many), according to their own devotion and taste. In Mindanao I saw many houses furnished on the outside with small platforms made not unskilfully, of cane, and on these stood some little wooden idols very poorly carved; and in front of the idols was an earthen pot containing some hot coals and a little of some disagreeable aromatic, which must have been a sacrifice to the idols. But although those people had no temples, they had, in the second place, priests and priestesses, whom the Tagalos call Catolonan, and the Bissayans Babailan. They vied with each who could best contrive with the Devil (who deceived them) to take advantage of the blindness of the people, to deceive them by a thousand frauds and artifices. Father Antonio Sedeno related how, at the time when he was living in Florida, he undeceived the Indians concerning one of these impostors of their own nation. This man pretended to heal diseases by applying a tube to that part where the sick man felt most pain, and then with his mouth at the other end sucking the air from within: after this operation, he spat from his mouth three small pebbles, which he claimed to have extracted from the body of the patient. [84] The father, by a very efficient means, once made him spit the pebbles out of his mouth before applying the tube, and thus his deception was revealed. In like manner these priests practice many deceptions upon those blinded infidels—especially in cases of sickness with which the latter are afflicted, which so oppress them that they seek at once a remedy, and whomsoever gives or promises it to them they revere and worship, and give him their all. Indeed there are some of these priests who have a special compact with the Devil, who lends them signal aid and assistance, Almighty God permitting this for his own hidden purposes. The Devil communicates with them through their idols or anitos, playing the role of the dead man whom they are adoring; and often he enters into the person of the priest himself, for the short space of the sacrifice, and makes him say and do things which overwhelm and terrify the onlookers. This divine fervor is also attained (the duties of the office being taught) through special friendship, or kinship, or as a legacy. This inheritance is highly esteemed by them, in their blindness—and through cupidity, for, besides the renown and honor with which all look up to them, those infernal ministers obtain rich offerings (that is, the third part), all of which are for them. For no one will be present at the sacrifice who does not make an offering—gold, cotton, a fowl, or other things.

These things, added to the principal offering, that made by the person for whom the sacrifice was offered, which was a rich one—and, moreover, additional to the sacrifice itself, which most often was a fine fat hog—amounted to a large quantity of goods, of much value and profit. Consequently, those ministers usually went about in handsome garments, and adorned with jewels and valuable ornaments. The house is the usual place for the sacrifice, and the victim is, as I have said, a fine hog, or a cock. The mode of sacrifice is to slay the victim with certain ceremonies, and with dance movements which are performed by the priest to the accompaniment of a bell or kettle-drum. It is at this time that the devil takes possession of them, or they pretend that he does. They now make their strange grimaces, and fall into a state of ecstasy; after that has passed, they announce what they have seen and heard. On this day a grand feast is prepared; they eat, drink, and become intoxicated, the priest or priestess more than the rest. [85] Consequently, among them all is drunkenness, excess, and blindness—a pitiful sight for those who see it and can appreciate it in the light of truth.



Of the idolatries which were secretly practiced in San Juan del Monte and how they were abolished Chapter XXII.

The devil was gradually introducing into the village of San Juan del Monte [i.e., Taytay] a great plague of idolatry (nourished by some ancient remains of heathenism which had clung to certain persons in that village), in the form which I shall relate.

In the town there was a band of worthless women, of the Catolonas [i.e., priestesses] as we have said. These in secret maintained a tyrannical hold upon the village by various means and plots compelling many to repair to them upon every occasion, as they formerly did before they became Christians. Among these women, one who was a leader claimed that her anito was a very close friend of the anito of the Christians and had descended to the earth from heaven. This woman most stirred up the fire on account of the power that she wielded, not only on account of the sagacity which she certainly possessed, but by her influence and reputation in the village. Not only was she herself of high family, but she was very well connected; and had several sons who were married, and thus related to the most prominent families of the village. By these means she was, on the one hand, powerful enough to draw to her the weak, and on the other, to compel the more influential to dissemble with her, and to refrain from betraying her for fear of exposing themselves to risk. Nevertheless, this woman and her following proceeded with great caution and secrecy and rigorously enjoined those who had relations with them to do the same. If any of those women died, she appointed an heir, and successor—to whom, after she had been accepted and received, her idol was brought in great silence by some chiefs, from the house of the dead person, in the middle of the night. Then they celebrated a feast during three continuous days, with banqueting and abundance of wine, which is their greatest solemnity. The idol of the chief priestess was made of gold, and she kept it in concealment, through the contrivance of the Devil (who through it held close communication with her), in a part of her house where it was most difficult to find it. It is estimated that for two years this secret pestilence had been going on, tyrannizing over the inhabitants to such a degree that there was hardly a sick person whom they did not attend with all diligence—persuading each one to demand urgently that they should cast lots to ascertain whether the sick man were to live or die, and, consequently, whether sacrifice should be offered to the anito for his health. We have already explained the manner of sacrifices and offerings they made, and the profit and gain which these infernal furies derived from them. There was one woman among them who cleared, in the short time that I have mentioned, almost three hundred escudos; but she did not enjoy them long, for God would not allow the conflagration to spread further. His Divine Majesty influenced some of his faithful ones, who, all aflame with the greater conflagration of His honor and service, hastened to give account of what they heard and saw and knew of this matter. With the help of this information, beginning among the weaker members of the band, in a short time they succeeded in discovering those of secondary rank—and thus, step by step, they reached the chief priestess herself. Their second care (which they put into execution) was to take away from these people the idols, a great number of which were seized. Some of these were of clay, others of wood; and two, in particular, were made from two great teeth of the cayman, set in gold, in which metal the head of the anito was shaped at the point of the tooth. In neither the residence nor the country house of the head priestess, however, could her idol be found; nor could it be discovered by means of her, or by rummaging through her furniture and utensils, and searching often and most diligently; nor would she reveal it. This idol had promised her, so she said, that they should never find it, even if they should tear down and destroy the house; consequently, it enjoined her not to fear the father who was conducting this search, or any of his agents or helpers; for it was more powerful than any of them. But, as God is indeed more powerful, He influenced the faithful and zealous heart of Father Diego de Santiago—who was then instructing that village, and made these investigations at the instance and orders of the vicar-general and provisor of Manila—to decide that he would not relax or give up the search for this demon until he should find it. Being quite certain that it was in the house (although he had already searched there for it several times), he returned for the last time with the determination to demolish the house, and to examine every part of it, piece by piece, to see if by chance he might find the idol hidden in some hole. Before setting about this task, his glance fell upon a cane prop—old, weather-beaten, and stained by smoke—which from a joist of the house, supported the ridge-pole of the roof: this is the mode of construction used for strengthening the houses. I do not know what he saw in that prop, but he immediately ordered it to be cut down and its contents to be examined. This time, "he who was more powerful than all others" was overcome; for, being found like all the rest, and the gold being removed for the service of the church, this idol went, with the others, into the fire.

The demon was so insulted and hurt at this trick that, not being able to wreak any other vengeance, he began (accompanied by many others) the following night to torment the poor Catolona with visions and cruel threats. Already undeceived as to the weakness of her idol, she sought for conversion, and, hating the demon, begged for mercy. With the help of a cross which was given her as a defense, although the terror continued, the threats were not put in execution; and finally the demon abandoned her as she had him. On one of the feast-days, all their errors were publicly refuted in the church, and the priestesses remained convinced, repentant and reconciled—by the authority of the ordinary, as I have stated. They all betook themselves to a place where, removed from temptations, they could not relapse into their evil ways [bolver al bomito]. They were placed in charge of devout and Christian persons, in whose company they lead Christian and exemplary lives. The people were so thoroughly undeceived by this event that for several days they not only brought in their idols, garments, vessels, and other belongings of their ancestors, so that not a trace of that lineage remained; but there was the utmost religious fervor, and a great number of general confessions, by means of which their consciences were purified. Into many good souls there entered such fear and awe, and such distrust and scrupulosity regarding this evil, that the, hearing of these general and oft-repeated confessions (made even by those who had no share in it) lasted months, and even years. I can affirm, as one who has seen it all and touched it with my very hands, that of this wound which the devil tried to inflict upon that tender part, the entire body of that mission and encomienda not only remained sound, through the great mercy of God, but much stronger than ever before, as will be seen in the rest of this narrative. But as a conclusion to this incident I must not neglect what befell Don Francisco Amandao, chief of that village—an aged man, of excellent judgment, and a devoted friend of ours. Upon the occasion of a certain illness, he allowed himself to be persuaded to make a similar sacrifice to the devil, induced by the suggestion that he should at least give half of his body to the anito to see if he could heal it. That half of his body at once became paralyzed, so that he could not move it at all, and thus he lived several years, giving public testimony of his infidelity. In great repentance for his sin he came to die a Christian death, at the time when the above events took place.



What the Society accomplished in Sebu until the year 1597. Chapter XXIII.

As soon as Father Antonio Sedeno passed away in Sebu (as we have said), Father Antonio Pereira returned to Maluco, his own province, whence he had come. I was therefore compelled to remain alone in that college with one brother, not a little disconsolate at the loss of so valued a companion and brother, with whom I had passed a very pleasant year in Tigbauan, Leite, and Sebu; and whose help was so efficacious in our duties that through the gracious and thorough manner in which he performed them, we were all greatly esteemed and sought for in the province of Pintados, and especially in the city of Santissimo Nombre de Jesus. Here this father had previously remained alone during almost another year, in the convent of San Agustin, where those most godly fathers received him into their house as if he were one of their own order. He, in turn, served them and the whole city with such edifying results as contributed not a little to win their affection; and greatly influenced them to demand our fathers, and receive us in their city—which was done, as we have said. Don Rodrigo Ronquillo de Penalosa, alcalde-mayor of the city—a son of Don Goncalo Ronquillo, who died while governor and lieutenant in these islands for the Catholic king, Don Felipe Second—aided us much with his authority, as also did his cousin Don Goncalo Ronquillo de Vallesteros, who was leaving the same office. All of those gentlemen have ever professed great devotion to our humble Society.

Considering that we were alone, our ministrations in our church to both Spaniards and Indians were sufficiently frequent, and I often preached in the cathedral. Moreover, ascertaining that in the Chinese quarter of the city there were more than two hundred souls, and only one of them a Christian, and that they had no one to minister to them, although they were well disposed to receive our holy faith if there were any one to teach it to them, I applied myself to studying and learning their language—at which they were much rejoiced, and many came to me every day at an appointed hour to give me instruction. In this way I acquired sufficient knowledge to begin instructing them—in which undertaking I received much help from Governor Don Luis de las Marinas, who sent me from Manila a very bright young Christian lad of that nation, who helped me to instruct those who were to be baptized. It was thus that I spent Advent in the year fifteen hundred and ninety-five. We celebrated Christmas Eve and the feast of the Nativity with solemnity and joy, preparing in the meantime to celebrate our first feast of the Circumcision, for which we had decorated the church and invited father Fray Bartolomeo Garcia—at that time the preacher in the Sebu convent of the glorious doctor St. Augustine; and now associate of the right reverend bishop of Sebu, and commissary of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in that bishopric—to preach for me. At this time I fell ill, exhausted by my labors, which, although not excessive, were too much for me, as having little strength. It was upon this occasion that the fathers of that holy order gave proof of their great charity and the great affection and fraternal feeling which they profess toward Ours; for all of them on that day, leaving their own church (which also is named Santissimo Nombre de Jesus, out of respect for the holy Child, which is deposited therein), came with their singers to our church, where they celebrated on the day before most solemn vespers, and on the day of the feast officiated and sang solemn high mass and preached a sermon—all of which I could not attend, on account of being, as I have said, ill. To grant me a further favor and charity, they chose to be my guests and partake of our poverty. It pleased God, in His mercy, to give me health, so that I might acquit myself in part of this obligation and the many others which we owe to them. Thirteen days later, which was the day on which they celebrate their feast of the most holy name of Jesus, I visited them and preached for them, and ate with them. Some days afterward, there arrived from Manila two discalced religious of the holy Order of St. Francis, who had come to embark in a vessel which was fitting out in that port for Nueva Espana. They disembarked near our house, which stands at the edge of the water; and, in acknowledgment of the debt that we also owe to that holy order and its blessed fathers—who, in so great self-abnegation and aversion to worldly things, in all seek only the things of Jesus Christ—I begged them to accept the use of our house. During their stay with me they displayed toward me the most signal charity; and I, on my part, was equally consoled and edified, until last Pentecost of the year fifteen hundred and ninety-six. At this festival they assisted me, before their departure, in the solemn baptism of two prominent Chinese, and of I know not how many others; we baptized them, with their Bissayan wives, celebrating their marriages and conferring the nuptial veils, with great solemnity and rejoicing, the whole city assembling to witness the ceremonies. The two chief men were Don Lorenco Ungac and Don Salvador Tuigam. The Chinese are not accustomed to cut their hair, which they comb and make ready every morning, and wear it fastened on the head in pleasing and graceful fashion; but when we baptize them we are in the habit of cutting it off, so that in this way we may have more certainty of their faith and perseverance. These two, before baptism, had entreated and supplicated me not to cut off their hair; and in this they were not without reason, for, as one of the suppliants himself explained to me, to wear their hair was honorable among them, and a custom of their nation, as with us the wearing of mustaches or beard. But as I did not dare to act in opposition to what the prelates and other judicious ministers and religious are accustomed to do in this matter, I announced to them my decision that, unless their hair was cut, I would not baptize them. With this they submitted and obeyed, and in token of greater submission to my intentions, Tuigam came to me on the morning of the baptism, accompanied by others of his nation, and placing in my hands some scissors, asked me to cut the first handful of his hair. This I did, and another finished the task. From that time on none of them made any objection to the rule; in fact, without our speaking of it, they came to baptism with their hair cut like ours.

Father Diego de Aragon, of the holy Order of Preachers, had also come to embark in the vessel. This truly spiritual, virtuous, and exemplary man had been waiting during an entire year for the departure of the vessel; and, on account of its inability to leave at that time, was glad to live and remain with me in our house, for his own order has none in that city. I received him very gladly, and with gratitude to God our Lord, for the opportunity thus afforded me of serving a person and order whom I so highly esteemed, and to which our own Society is so much indebted, and which it recognizes here, there, and in every region. He was a source of great edification to me—and to many others of our Society who had come to me from Manila and who were afterward my guests—by his great piety, austerity, eloquence, penitence, and blameless and exemplary life. In this way time passed until September of the year fifteen hundred and ninety-six, when, the division and allotment of the fourteen fathers who had arrived in the previous August having been made, I began to have guests and companions—with whom I could not only maintain our ministries in better condition, but also go to ascertain the condition of our affairs in Mindanao, which upon the death of Father Juan del Campo, were left, as we shall see, without a master. This college was finally occupied by six of the Society, who were soon busied in ministering to the Spaniards, Portuguese, Chinese, Bissayans, Tagalos, and many other nations who resort to that city for trading and other affairs. Two of us exercised the Chinese language, besides the Bissayan and Tagalo tongues, which are usually employed for preaching, confessions, and the other Sacraments. One of the brethren, who was a skilful scribe, continued the children's school gathered by Father Antonio Pereira, where reading, writing, and numbers were taught, together with Christian doctrine and customs.



Of the island of Leite, and those who were baptized there. Chapter XXIV.

The circuit of the island of Leite is about a hundred leguas—its length stretching from east to west for forty leguas, and its extent from north to south being narrow. It is divided almost in the middle by a large mountain ridge called Carigara, which occasions a remarkable inequality and variety in its temperature and seasons. For example, when in its northern part there is winter (which is the period of the winter months in Espana), in the south there is summer; and in the other half of the year the contrary occurs. Consequently, when half of the island's inhabitants are sowing, the other half are gathering in their harvests; in this way they have two harvests in one year, both very abundant. This island is surrounded by very many adjacent islands, inhabited and uninhabited. It abounds in fish from the sea and its many rivers, in cows from China, in fowl, deer, wild and domestic hogs, fruits, vegetables, and roots of many species. It is inhabited by a very numerous people, whose villages therefore are not far apart; and there is not one of them which does not possess a large grove of palm-trees and a fine, full-flowing river. Those palms, as well as other trees which the whole island produces in abundance, shade the roads to a great extent—providing a comfort and refreshing coolness indispensable for those of us who must travel on foot for lack of any other convenience; throughout the island the roads traverse groves and forests, with foliage so cool and abundant that even at high noon the sun caused us no annoyance. Many of the trees have trunks more than twelve brazas in circumference, which are sawed into excellent planks. The temperature is not so hot as that of Manila, although the island is two degrees nearer the equinoctial line—a common condition in that entire province of the Pintados. The inhabitants are honest, simple, and intelligent, and possess among other good and laudable customs two in particular, which are common to all the neighboring islands. The first is, that they have no need, in journeys upon land or sea, of stores or wallets; to whatever place they come, they are sure of being welcomed, sheltered, and offered food. The second is that, whether their harvests be good or bad, they never raise or lower the price of rice among themselves, which they always sell to one another at a fixed rate. They practice these two customs through the friendly relation that exists among them, such as the apostle sought from his Corinthians. [86] To the two residences that were in that island (one in Dulac, and the other in Carigara) there were added, with the new reenforcement of laborers, three others—in Paloc, Alangalan, and Ogmuc. As each one of these is still new, we shall not have as much to say about them at present as later on; for as the number of Christians increased so did the number of notable facts and events worthy of record. Nevertheless, I shall not omit to mention here each one of those stations separately; in general, however, I may say that during the first two years a great number of Christians were made throughout the island, considering that Ours were preparing them very gradually, as being so new a people, for the faith, and for acquaintance and intercourse with us.



What was accomplished in Dulac and its territory. Chapter XXV.

Father Alonso de Humanes and Father Juan del Campo were the first to instruct the dwellers in and about Dulac. Father Alonso de Humanes was sent to Sebu, by Father Antonio Sedeno, as superior of our Society in the island of Leite; and arriving at Carigara (which is the first of the missions), he left there as superior his companion, Father Mateo Sanchez, and taking with him Father Juan del Campo, who had been superior in Carigara, proceeded with him to Dulac. Father Alonso de Humanes held Father Juan del Campo in the highest estimation as a spiritual and eloquent man, fervent, learned, and talented, and very sagacious in practical affairs; for these reasons he laid hold of him for greater help and companionship. He remained with him, however, only for a short time; for they soon sent him to Mindanao, as we shall later see. In the time that they spent together, they erected the first church in Dulac; established a school for children, many of whom they baptized; and formed a long list of catechumens, whom they prepared and baptized, with great solemnity and rejoicing, to the increase of reverence for this holy sacrament. Besides this, Father Juan del Campo, traveling throughout that district, gained the good-will of all those villages and marvelously influenced them to receive our holy faith. They went forth from his hands such model Christians that those who before baptism were fierce, rude, and intractable, you would see today, after baptism, tractable, gentle, pliant, and loving; they are now wholly freed from error, and feel a horror of their idols and former vices, and extreme love and affection for Jesus Christ our Lord, and for His mysteries. Children so small that they could hardly yet speak, gave such a good account of the Christian doctrine that they seemed to have been born instructed. Those who two days before had not known or heard of Him now repeated with pleasure and gentleness, "May Jesus Christ be praised;" and, indeed, it all seemed to be His work, and wrought through His instrumentality.



What took place in Carigara in those early days. Chapter XXVI.

As we have already said, the post at Carigara was the first where the Society began the mission villages of this province; and it was there that we said the first mass, and celebrated the first feast with great solemnity in honor of the holy cross. There, too, occurred the first baptism, when with my own hands (although unworthy); as a beginning to this new Christian community, I baptized a goodly number of children already capable of reason. At all the services of this feast there was a great concourse from the whole district who solemnized it, beginning the night before, with mirth, rejoicing, and games. Afterward, Father Juan del Campo and Father Cosme de Flores began to instruct some of the older persons in the Christian faith. At that time, and through that exercise, those two fathers learned the language of the natives in a very short time—especially Father Cosme, who spoke it with masterly skill. Father Juan del Campo departed from Dulac, and leaving in his stead, Father Mateo, both pursued their task of winning souls for Jesus Christ, His Divine Majesty so attracting the people that soon in Carigara a very flourishing Christian church began to appear. Although there are many notable things which might be related about it, I shall refer only to two baptisms which seemed, to us who were there, worthy of consideration.

The first was that of a child of five years, who filled with the fervor of heaven came to us from his village for the sole purpose of asking baptism. His infidel mother and stepfather, upon learning this, at the instigation of the Devil (who unwillingly relinquished that booty) came after him with an infernal fury, to carry him back with them—by force, if necessary. But as they could not do this, out of respect to the fathers, they tried to impede him through others—their relatives, friends and acquaintances; and, adding persuasion to threats (and, for a child so tender in years, but little effort sufficed), they used all their energies to divert and dissuade him from his holy purpose. But God our Lord, who gave him a man's strength—and, in giving it to him, made him all the stronger by adding a gentle force to his own tender will, caused him to persevere with such constancy that he finally overcame these influences, saying that he desired to be a son of God, since those who were not Christians were slaves of the Devil. He offered other arguments, so ingenious that they compelled those who were present to defend and aid him; and earnestly reproving those who unreasonably opposed him, he constrained them to leave him in peace. Thus he departed with his request granted, and with holy baptism, with a satisfaction that words cannot express, and greater than might be expected from a much older person and a more developed reason. Again, a woman of rank had refused and fled from baptism against the influences of God and our own persuasions—solely concerned with the indissolubility of matrimony taught by our holy law; for she maintained that it was hard that she could not abandon a husband who displeased her, as was the custom among them. Finally one of her brothers, who was seeking holy baptism, persuaded her to accompany him, and so she did; but, when on the point of receiving the sacrament, she withdrew without it, although her brother was baptized. This weakness was a source to her of great confusion and remorse, and consequently of renewed energy and effort (as it was with the pope St. Marcellinus [87]); for on the following day she returned to the church pierced with remorse for the wrong that she had done, confessing herself to be foolish and lacking in sense, and admitting that her withdrawal had been caused by silly fear. She told the father that she was deeply grieved at what she had done, and besought him, that, since now she had returned meek and submissive to all the mandates of the holy gospel law, she might be granted holy baptism—which she ardently desired, knowing that without being a Christian she could not be saved. Finally, after giving us satisfactory pledges as to her desire and perseverance, she was accorded holy baptism, which she received with great devotion and joy.



What took place in Paloc and its coast. Chapter XXVII.

Until September or October of the year fifteen hundred and ninety-six, when Father Christoval Ximenez went to reside in Paloc—where he learned the language well, and gathered much fruit, as we shall later see—that village possessed not one permanent priest; only Father Mateo Sanchez, accompanied by a brother, rendered them timely aid in some journeys which he made from Carigara. This station lies between Carigara and Dulac, on the banks of a beautiful river, and is distant from the sea about a half a league inland. It is surrounded by many villages, having a large population; and all those natives are very good people. Here I received a most cordial welcome when I visited those stations, the year before, with Father Antonio Pereira; the people entertained me by their friendly conversation were delighted in hearing the things of God, and asked me many intelligent questions about them. But there must have been some ministers of the Devil among them, who (as they lose through our holy faith their prestige and vile gains) had perverted this people, as I believe, in such a way that the next time Ours visited them they were not only churlishly received, but there was hardly one person to greet them, to speak either good or evil. For they found that the people had fled inland, and the few who remained in their houses looked upon the fathers with such coldness and aversion that they were compelled to turn their eyes toward God, and await from His divine hand consolation for being thus afflicted and deserted. This His divine clemency soon accorded them, changing the aspect of affairs, and causing us to know that only His power can conquer hearts; and He so subdued theirs that the very persons who had fled desired us again, in a few days, and complained that we visited them but seldom. When our fathers did repair to them, they would not let them depart at once, maintaining that they did not tarry long enough. Some of them sought with great earnestness and fervor holy baptism, and the Christians adopted the Christian mode of life with love, ardor, and satisfaction. Accordingly, they could be seen at prayer, both morning and evening, repeating the sermons, and chanting the doctrine in their houses and fields and boats (when they are traveling in these, they carry a little bell to ring for the Ave Marias). They were very careful in attending church, and devout in confessing, especially during that first Lent; and showed great fervor in disciplining themselves, particularly during Holy Week; in the procession on that occasion there were many who scourged themselves until the blood came, and still others accompanied them, bearing four hundred lights, all preserving great silence and order. It was learned in many individual cases, that God our Lord chose very opportunely to influence them through various means to receive His holy faith, and afterward to confirm them in it, by marvelous and supernatural visions, of things both good and bad, and causing both joy and terror—miraculously healing, for example, many who lay at the point of death, and bestowing special inward inspirations. One of these Christians passed in front of a house where a minister of the Devil was offering to the demon his abominable sacrifice; and this very demon told him to prevent that Christian from entering; "for," he said, "I am afraid of those Christians." How could those who heard this refrain from following that powerful God, when they saw that he whom they considered as such feared not only Him, but also, on account of their being Christians, those who formerly feared and worshiped him? A sick woman, in an exhausted condition, offered herself to God, in her desire for health, and leaving her bed was carried near some images. God our Lord cooperated with her faith in such a way that soon she was healed; and she made it public that the holy images had cured her. In a village near that one, there was a sick woman, very aged, who was so obstinate in her infidelity that she would not be softened by the persuasions of the father who visited her. A child who accompanied him took her hand, and described to her in vivid language the torments of hell, and so impressed her that she asked him: "Dost thou know this?" The child responded: "Yes, for God has said it, and so I believe it." With this he subdued her, and prepared her so that, after she better understood the catechism, she could receive after it holy baptism, and, at the same time, health of body and soul.



Of the Residence of Alangalang. Chapter XXVIII.

This station lies in the interior of the island of Leite, five leguas distant from Carigara. Its district is well inhabited, and has the advantage of a good soil. Its distance, however, was so great that it could not well be visited from Carigara, especially considering the number of its population. On this account, and as, in the allotment of the fourteen [new laborers], only one was assigned to Carigara (namely, Father Francisco de Enzinas), the latter was obliged to remain there in company with Father Mateo Sanchez; and Father Cosme de Flores had to go to establish the Christian faith in Alangalang, on account of his knowledge of the language, and the esteem and affection in which he was held by the Indians. The first care of this blessed father was to bring together, with great gentleness and kindness, the inhabitants of all those villages, especially those who were most remote and could be less easily assisted to reaching that station—so that a large colony might be formed there, as was done. He was establishing his church, his house, and his school among them, and beginning a Christian community, when it pleased our Lord to take him unto Himself, leaving his Indians orphans, disconsolate, and alone. Thus they remained for several months, for there was at the time no one who could supply their need except a brother who had accompanied the father; and he consoled them by teaching them—but without administering the sacraments, as he was a lay-brother. The fathers at Carigara could not help them, being prevented by their own occupations.



Of the entrance into Ogmuc. Chapter XXIX.

The station of Ogmuc lies on the shore of the sea, in the southern part of the island of Leite, on the coast almost directly opposite to Carigara, which is in the northern part. It has in the same island a very good vicinity, as well as three smaller islands adjacent, which they call Polo. All those people are friendly and docile and received Ours with much affection and pleasure. This post was assigned to Father Alonso Rodriguez with another companion; and it seems that the gentleness and kindness of this father had its influence upon the Indians even before they saw him as also later when they met and knew him. Their governor and other persons came out to sea to receive him, with much joy; and the chief, without delay, made arrangements on the spot for his conversion, and wrote out the prayers, that he might learn them. The rest followed his example, and not only in this matter, but in at once offering all their children, with whom the father formed a very promising school. Some of the youngest children were exceedingly bright; and it was indeed a marvel to see the mass served, with grace and address, by a child who was scarce able to move the missal. Many of these children also helped us greatly in catechizing and instructing their elders and in preparing them, and even urging them, to receive holy baptism. This was done by a little child of only four years, who seeing his father somewhat lukewarm in this respect, urged and incited him with such energy that he aroused the father, and caused him to entreat us urgently for baptism. They not only fulfilled this office with their parents but even interceded with us in their behalf, urging that we should not delay granting this favor. An incident befell one of these children which in its very childishness gave token of the esteem with which our holy gospel faith takes root in these tender little hearts. He found himself among some heathens who were eating meat on a Friday, and, without thought of wrong, began to eat with them. Upon taking the first mouthful he was reminded of the day; and, spitting it out, descended from the house and came in haste to Ours in great sorrow at having committed a sin. Our fathers reassured him and sent him away consoled; and were themselves greatly edified and pleased at such a specimen of Christian faith, although so young and so recently planted. Nearly all of those people were converted to Christianity without much difficulty; but there was one man who was much troubled on account of having three wives—all, like himself of high rank. Although the thought of renouncing two of them was painful to him, his greatest consideration was the dowry which he must thus lose. The good father saw his predicament, and was greatly concerned lest this man, for at slight temporal interest, might lose eternal gain. Inspired by God our Lord, he formed a plan, and went to talk with the woman who was most beloved by the man, hoping to persuade her to receive baptism. Much persuasion, however, was not necessary; for she herself desired it, and expressed herself to that effect—adding that, even though it should displease her husband, she would begin the task; and that, instead of returning to his house, she would go directly to that of a Christian woman, who should instruct and prepare her for baptism. These sentiments she expressed privately not only to the father, but even to her husband, before many other persons. As she said, so she acted; and her solemn baptism was celebrated with many feasts, dances, and rejoicings. The husband seeing this, put away the other two wives, giving them the amounts of their dowry; and, freed from this obstacle, received baptism and was married in Christian fashion. On the feast-day of the glorious resurrection of Christ our Lord, we celebrated the baptism of this man and eleven other chiefs, who were also baptized amid great festivities and rejoicing, and with the concourse of many people.

I have thus given an account of what took place in the five stations in that island of Leite. Before we pass on to the rest, it will be fitting to explain, as far as we can, their usages in marriage and divorce—as well to make more intelligible what we have already related as to have a better understanding of a topic which in the course of our remaining narrative must frequently arise.



Of marriages, dowries, and divorces among the Filipinos. Chapter XXX.

I had lived in the Filipinas for almost ten years before I learned that there was any man who had married several wives; and I did not know it until I went to the islands of Ibabao and Leite, for in Manila, Mindoro, Marinduque, and Panai, I had not observed the practice of such a custom. I had, however, been once told by a Spaniard that in a certain part of Mindanao, toward Dapitan, it was the custom for the Bissayan women (the inhabitants of Mindanao also are Bissayans) to marry two husbands; the practice of having several wives I had understood to belong only to the Mahometans who dwell in Mindanao and Burnei. It is certainly, however, not a general custom in the Filipinas to marry more than one wife; and even in the districts where this is done the practice is by no means general. The most common and general usage is to marry one woman. The Bissayans always try to procure a wife from their own class, and closely connected with them in relationship. The Tagalos do not insist so much on this latter point: they are satisfied if the wife be not of inferior rank. As I have already stated, in neither race is any other impediment considered than the first degree of kindred. Uncle and niece marry as readily as do first cousins; but brother and sister, grandfather and granddaughter, or father and daughter, can in no case marry. There is a marked distinction between concubinage and wedlock; because the latter, besides consent, has its own ceremonies, as we shall later see. For marriage, moreover, they have distinct formalities of betrothal, which are accompanied by conventional penalties, most rigorously executed. Here is an example: Si Apai promises to marry Cai Polosin; these married persons make an agreement with another married pair, while the wives are with child, that if the wombs of their respective wives should bear a male and a female those two children shall be joined in marriage, under a penalty of ten gold taes. This compact is solemnized by a feast, where they eat, drink, and become intoxicated; and he who later is the occasion of breaking the compact must pay the penalty. This is betrothal. In the marriage there figures a dowry, and the surrender of the woman, with consent for the present, but not perpetual. It is not the wife, but the husband, who gives her the dowry—an amount agreed upon, and fixed in accordance with his means. This is what some authors [88] relate of various nations, which were accustomed to purchase women as their wives. In addition to the dowry the husband is wont to make some presents to the parents and relatives—more or less, according to his means. While I was in Tigbauan the chief of the island of Cuyo came to marry his son to the daughter of Tarabucon, chief of Oton, which is close by the town of Arebalo and a mission-village under the fathers of St. Augustine They were married by a minister of high standing in that order, named Father Pedro de Lara, [89] who was then vicar of that convent. From him and from another religious of the same house I learned that besides the dowry (which was very large), and a generous offering sent to the convent, the husband bestowed, in his grandeur and munificence, presents upon the parents of the bride, her brothers and relations, and even upon the numerous slaves. The marriage lasted no longer than did peace between them; for they are divorced on the slightest occasion. If the cause of the divorce is unjust, and the man parts from his wife, he loses the dowry; if it is she who leaves him, she must restore the dowry to him. But if the man has just cause for divorce, and leaves her, his dowry must be restored to him; if in such case the wife leaves him, she retains the dowry. For the husband, the adultery of his wife is sufficient ground for divorce; for the woman, just cause for divorce is more limited. In case of divorce, the children are divided equally between the two, without distinction of sex; thus, if they are two in number, one falls to the father and one to the mother; and in a state of slavery the same thing occurs when husband and wife belong to different masters. If two persons own one slave, the same division is made; for half belongs to each, and his services belong to both alike. These same modes of marriage and divorce are in use among those who marry two or three wives. The man is not obliged to marry them all in one day; and, even after having one wife for many years, he may take another, and yet another—indeed, like the Mahometans as many as he can support. I believe that this evil custom in the islands of Mindanao and Leite has been derived from that sect; for they are increasing throughout the world, propagating their cursed doctrine with as much zeal and concern as we do our holy faith. It had taken root in Burnei before we took possession of the Filipinas; and from that island they had come to preach it in Manila, where they had begun to teach it publicly when our people arrived and tore it up by the roots. Less than fourteen years ago it was introduced into Mindanao, on this side of the island, which is no small reason for sorrow and regret. While the marriage-bond lasts, the husband is, as with us, the lord of all; or, at least, all the wealth is kept together, and both parties endeavor to increase it as much as they can—although they are wont to steal from each other for their own purposes.



Of the island of Ibabao, and how the Society entered it. Chapter XXXI.

It is this island which first gives joy to the vessels which sail hence for the Filipinas; for it is the first land descried in our passage westward. A headland on its coast is the celebrated cape of Espiritu Santo, which we sight on arriving at the islands, and for which we sought. With this island on the left, and the great island of Manila on the right, we enter directly the Filipinas Islands, leaving the islands of the Ladrones three hundred leguas behind. It also forms with the island of Leite, which lies south of it, a very narrow strait, through which a few ships have penetrated—especially those which under stress of weather, and driven back by the force of the storms, have been compelled to take refuge in the port of Cebu. The island is large and populous, and all around it are many adjacent islands, also inhabited. All its people are generally regarded as very peaceable, and they have made an excellent beginning in receiving the gospel, the chiefs being most distinguished in this regard—which is a matter of considerable importance, as they open the way for the others by their example. The first one of the Society to enter that island for instruction was Father Francisco de Otaco, who went thither with two companions. Although in the beginning hardships did not fail them, through their lack of material resources, they were so well provided with those that were spiritual that one could well recompense the other. They arrived on the western side of the island, which is eastward of the archipelago, at a village called Tinagon, [90] without any fixed or chosen post, and arrived there very opportunely for their purpose since at that time a plague, communicated from other districts, prevailed in that part of the island, causing the death of many people. Accordingly, they at once set about their task, and labored diligently, going from house to house, and from one sick person to another, teaching and baptizing. But the unexpected results lightened their toil; for the number of those who were thoroughly prepared for and received baptism was very great, and the number of baptized persons who died from the disease reached a thousand souls. Besides the church of this central station which was recently built, six other churches were erected in that district, not far distant from it. In each one of them was a school with a goodly number of children, and a master to instruct them; and the pupils were so devoted to it that the threat that had most effect on them was to say their teacher would leave them. Our fathers went through those villages, visiting the sick and aiding them, as well as they could, with remedies for both body and soul. In the course of these visitations an incident occurred which well exhibits the forbearance with which God awaits our conversion, the ease with which we find Him when we seek Him, and the patience and perseverance which a minister of the gospel needs in teaching, convincing, entreating, urging, and waiting for the conversion of a soul. One of the fathers had been visiting the sick of a certain village, and was on his way homeward, some distance away, to partake of a little nourishment and obtain repose, as night was closing in. Turning his eyes to one side he descried a wretched house which he did not remember to have visited that day. To satisfy himself of this he mounted a few steps of the ladder, and looking from the door into the interior of the house beheld a man stretched upon the floor. Upon approaching he found him motionless and almost dead, but with enough consciousness to answer "No" to the father's query if he desired baptism. The father remained with him a long time, seeking to convince him. Finally, seeing how little this availed, and that the hour was late, he concluded to leave him. But grief at seeing that soul lost, and the secret strength which our Lord gave him, constrained him to wait, and to persist in urging the sick man—an action so opportune that the latter at last said "Yes," and listened to the short instruction which is wont to be given upon such occasions. Thus, in sorrow for his sins he expired immediately after baptism, with an "Oh, God!" on his lips, torn from his very heart.

One of the islands adjacent to Ibabao is Maripipi, whose inhabitants were all baptized in one day in the following fashion. This island is three leguas distant by sea from Ibabao, for which reason our fathers could not visit it as often as the people desired. Seeing this, its inhabitants all resolved to embark in their boats and come themselves to seek holy baptism. The chiefs disembarked at Tinagon, and, after them, all their followers with their wives and children, all of them eagerly seeking the sacrament; but the father told them, through a chief who acted as spokesman, that they must first learn the doctrine, and that when they understood it he would baptize them. The chief's only answer was to recite the doctrine, after which he said that he had learned it from the others. With the evidence of such faith and good disposition, the father baptized them all; and, satisfied and joyful, they embarked again for their island.

Some months later, Father Miguel Gomez was sent from the college of Sebu in order to ascertain the disposition of the inhabitants of the eastern part of the island for receiving our holy faith; he found them so well inclined that, erecting a church in a village called Catubig, not far from the cape of Espiritu Santo, he converted many of that district to Christianity; indeed, whole villages of that island came to him, and even many from islands lying adjacent to it in that broad sea. He was particularly astonished at one of the chiefs of Catubig, a man who lived, under the natural law, without blame and had good principles, one of which was to abominate polygamy. This chief was exceedingly pleased at hearing the catechism, and, requesting holy baptism, for this purpose cut off his own hair, which is esteemed as much among those people as among the Chinese. There was another, a sick old man, who, before he saw our fathers, learning that they were in that place, sent to request holy baptism, which he afterward most devoutly received. In this mission many special incidents occurred which gave evidence that this harvest was fully ripe to be gathered for Christ; but, as it was not quite ready for the reaping, [91] and the father was needed in his own college whence he had departed, he was obliged to return to it, with this good news of his journey. These villages, with their new Christians, were assigned to the fathers of Tinagon, who ministered to them so far as they could, until more suitable provision could be made for them by sending a father who could more readily assist them; this has not yet been done, through lack of workers.



Of the island of Bohol, and the entry of the Society therein. Chapter XXXII.

Bohol is one of the smaller islands of the Filipinas, but is actually large and populous, inhabited by a people of lighter complexion, and generally more comely, than are the other Bissayans. They are a race of such spirit and valor that they have spread through many neighboring islands, where their descendants still preserve the name of Boholans of which they are very proud—just as we, when in foreign kingdoms, are proud of the name of Spaniards. The island is rich in mines and placers of gold, and abundantly provided with game, fish, rice, sugar-cane, palms, and other kinds of food. In the year one thousand five hundred and sixty-four, the adelantado Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived there with his fleet—entering through the channel which they call El Frayle ["The Friar"]—when, as we have stated, he set out from Nueva Espana in quest of those islands. A chief of that island, named Catunao—whom our fathers have now baptized, as we shall soon relate—gave information to Miguel Lopez of Sebu (which is six leguas distant from Bohol), and, accompanying him thither as a guide, was of great assistance to him in the reduction of the island. It was the good fortune of Father Juan de Torres and Father Gabriel Sanchez to instruct this people, for they were the first preachers of Jesus Christ in Bohol. They entered the island with much confidence and consolation, on learning that its people, like those in the neighboring island of Sebu, did not practice polygamy—an affliction which to the fathers in Ibabao and Leite was a source of great sorrow, since they found in this evil custom a serious impediment to the conversion of many who were not otherwise hindered from receiving holy baptism. Not only were the Boholans free from this, but none of their immoral practices (for they had others) could hinder their conversion; for all at once they abandoned all of these, together with their idolatry. Those fathers wrote to us concerning two in particular, of which—although they are not peculiar to the people of that island, but are general among all the others—I desire to give an account for the better understanding and greater clearness of this narrative; one relates to their dead, and their mode of shrouding and burying them; the other, to their feasts, festivals, and drunken revels. I shall speak of the general practices in both, beginning with the first.



The manner which the Filipinas had of shrouding and burying their dead. Chapter XXXIII.

The first and last concern of the Filipinos in cases of sickness was, as we have stated, to offer some sacrifice to their anitos, or divatas, which were their gods. These sacrifices were offered, as we have said, with dancing to the sound of a bell; and it would happen, as I have sometimes heard, that in the most furious part of the dance and the bell-ringing, when the catolona or bailana was exerting most force, all at once she stopped at the death of the sick person. After the death there followed new music, the dirges and lamentations, which were also sung, accompanied by weeping, not only by the mourners but by others—the former on account of their sorrow and grief; the latter for their wages and profit, for they were hired for this purpose, as is and has been the custom among other nations of greater reputation. To the sound of this sad music they washed the body of the dead person, perfuming it with the gum of the storax-tree and other aromatics which they are wont to use, and clothing it in the best garments which the dead man possessed; then, after having kept and mourned over it for three days, they buried it. Others anointed the body with aromatic balsams which prevent corruption, especially with the juice of a sort of ivy which grows there abundantly, and is truly a very valuable drug, which they call buyo. [92] It is very pungent, and for the living is a notable stimulant, also strengthening the teeth, hardening the gums, and sweetening the breath. Consequently both Spaniards and Indians make much use of it, and always carry it in their mouth, as they use the coca in Piru. With the juice of this plant, then, they anointed the dead body, and so injected it through the mouth that it penetrated the whole body. Thus prepared, many bodies have been found uncorrupted after a lapse of many years; but they did not place the corpses in the earth, but in their dwellings, enclosed in coffins of the hardest wood, incorruptible, and with the cover so fitted that it was impossible for the air to enter. Moreover, they placed gold in the mouths of the corpses, and laid with them many articles of value; and thus they buried them, under the house, richly adorned, and with the corpse another chest, containing garments. Besides this, they usually were careful to carry to the burial various viands, which they left there for the dead person. In former times, they would not let them depart to the other world alone, but gave male and female slaves to accompany the dead. These slaves, having first eaten a hearty meal, were then immediately killed, that they might go with the dead man. It once happened that they buried with a chief a vessel manned by many rowers, who were to serve him in his voyages in the other world. The usual place of burial was the dead man's own house, at least in the lower part—where a great pit was dug, in which the coffin was placed. A small railing was constructed about the pit, and, leaving it open, they placed inside the food which they brought. Others buried their bodies in the open field, and for several days burned fires beneath their houses and set guards, so that the dead man might not return and carry away with him those whom he had left.

After the burial the mourning ceased, but not the feasting and intoxication, which lasted more or less time according to the rank of the deceased. The widow or widower, and the orphans and other relatives who felt most keenly their grief, expressed their sorrow by fasting, abstaining from meat, fish, and other viands—eating during this period only vegetables, and those in very small quantities. Among the Tagalos the color for mourning is black, and among the Bissayans white. The latter also tear out their hair and eyebrows, which makes them ugly indeed. Upon the death of a chief, silence must be observed in the village during the period of mourning, until the interdict was raised—a longer or shorter time, according to his rank; and during that time no sound of a blow or other noise might be heard in any house under penalty of some misfortune. In order to secure this quiet, the villages on the coast placed a sign on the banks of the river, giving notice that no one might travel on that stream, or enter or leave it, under penalty of death—which they forcibly inflicted, with the utmost cruelty, upon whomsoever should break this silence. Those who died in war were extolled in their dirges, and in the obsequies which were celebrated the sacrifices made to or for them lasted for a long time, accompanied by much feasting and intoxication. If the deceased had met death by violence, whether in war or in peace, by treachery, or in some other way, the mourning habits were not removed, or the interdict lifted, until the sons, brothers, or relatives had killed many others—not only of the enemies and murderers, but also other persons, strangers, whoever they might be, who were not their friends. As robbers and pirates, they scoured the land and sea, going to hunt man and killing all whom they could, until they had satiated their fury. When this was done, they made a great feast for invited guests, raised the interdict, and, in due time, abandoned their mourning.

In all these practices may be clearly seen traces of the paganism and of those ancient rites and usages so magnified and recorded by noted writers, by which many other nations more civilized—and, perchance, some more barbarous than this one—made themselves famous and deserving of mention. Certainly balsams, and the perfumes, not only of ointments and fragrant spices, but of herbs and odoriferous flowers, are all known to have been in most ancient use among the Greeks and Romans, and in the Hebrew commonwealth—derived, perhaps, from intercourse with pagan peoples, as we read of it in the grave and burial of King Asa. [93] The bathing of the dead and of those who touched them is also found in Holy Writ; and in accounts of the commonwealths of the Egyptians and Persians, and is practiced at the present day, among many nations; also the custom of placing food in their sepulchres, which is rebuked by St. Augustine. [94]

Who does not know that the men and women hired as mourners are the mourners and singers whom the sacred authors so repeatedly mention? and that, even before the commonwealth of the Hebrews was established by God our Lord, the holy Job called upon those who were ready to fulfil this office and to raise their voices in wailing and lamentation for anyone who would hire them, to lament the day of his birth as if it had been the day of his death? [95] This practice extended later to an infinite number of nations, especially to the Canaanites, who formed their troop of singers and musicians, and, with much skill and effect, mourned the deceased, as they did at Sifara—the mother beginning to intone a chant, which was then taken up by those most learned and skilled in that office." [96]

The preservation of bodies, as far as possible, from corruption is a common practice among all those nations who desired and attempted to perpetuate the memory of their dead by burning the bodies and preserving their ashes; by erecting sumptuous mausoleums or pyramids (in their estimation, eternal); or by engraving in bronze or hard stone the names and deeds of their dead.

Burial in the house of the deceased was a custom of the Ethiopians; and burial at their gates, of the Persians. The adornment of the corpse with jewels and rich garments was practiced by the Hebrews, Persians, and Indians, and, before their time, by all the eastern Arabs of the age and country of holy Job; they filled their houses (which were rather their sepulchres than their abodes) with treasures of gold and silver." [97] The custom of placing in the mouth of the corpse gold or other means for the purchase of necessities and, in particular, of a safe passage, is much ridiculed by Lucian, in those ancients of theirs negotiating for the boat and ferry of Charon; and indeed it served no other end than to excite the covetousness of those who, to profit by the gold, opened the sepulchres and disinterred the dead—as Hyrcanus and Herod desecrated the grave of David, and the Ternates did in Bohol, as we shall later see." [98]

As for the banquets, they were precisely those which occurred at the ancient festivals and funeral feasts practiced by all countries and nations, sacred and profane. [99]

The observance of silence seems to be what not only the profane writers meant by summoning mortals to the shades and darkness, mute and silent; but what the sacred writers intended in calling death and dead men mute.

In the sacred tongue they called the sepulchre itself "silence," [100] or "the place of silence"—on account both of the dumbness of the deceased, who was no longer able to have intercourse with the living, and of the silence and wonder in which the living remained, their grief for the dead, and the solitude in which they sat, depriving them of voice and speech; even more effectual for this was the consideration of the wretchedness, insignificance, and transientness of their own species, which they saw in their neighbor, friend or relative, when in so evil a plight, a threat and warning to them of a like fate. [101] In short, since all these usages arose, partly from some confused perception or conjecture of the natural reason, partly (and more probably) from the blindness and madness into which the devil plunged them, those islanders practiced rites and customs similar to those of former times and nations, for they too were men, subject to the same deception. Truly in this, as in a thousand other things, is verified that grave saying and query of the Wise Man: "What is it that is now happening?" and he answers himself, saying, "That which happened in the past." Again he asks himself: "What were the customs of our ancestors?" and again he replies, "Those which will be, and which those who are yet unborn will practice." [102] The same I would say of the following.



Of feasting and intoxication among the Filipinos. Chapter XXXIV.

The time for their feasts, wherein they ate and drank to excess (and they drank, too, much more than they ate), was, as we have said, upon occasions of illness, death, and mourning. Such was also their custom at betrothals, weddings, and sacrifices, and with guests and visitors. Upon all these occasions there was not a door closed against anyone who might desire to go to drink with them—for they designate a feast by the term "drinking," not "eating." In the feasts which they held upon occasions of sacrifice, they were wont to place at one side of the table a plate, upon which he who chose would throw, by way of religious ceremony, some mouthful of food, which he refrained from eating out of respect to the anito. They eat, sitting in a low position; and their tables are small, low, and round or square in shape, without covering or napkins, the plates containing the victuals being placed on the table itself. They eat in groups of sufficient number to surround the table; and it may happen that a house is filled from one end to another with tables, and guests drinking. The food is placed all together upon various plates, and they have no hesitation in putting the hands of all into the same dish, or in drinking out of the same vessel. They eat but little, drink often, and spend much time in the feast. When they are satiated with food and intoxicated with the drink, they remove the tables and clear the house; and, if the feast is not one of mourning, they sing, play musical instruments, dance, and in this way, spend days and nights, with great uproar and shouting—until finally they fall, exhausted and drowsy. But they are never seen to become, in their intoxication, so frenzied or crazed that they commit excesses; on the contrary, they preserve, in the main, their ordinary conduct, and even under the influence of wine, act with as much respect and prudence as before, although they are naturally more lively and talkative, and utter witty remarks. It is proverbial among us that none of them, upon leaving the feast late at night in a state of intoxication, fails to reach his home. Moreover, if they have occasion to buy or sell anything, they not only make no mistake in the bargaining, but if it be necessary to weigh the gold or silver for the price (which is the common usage among those nations, each person carrying for that purpose a small pair of scales in his wallet), they do it with such accuracy that the hand never trembles, nor is there any error in the weight.



Of the labors of Father Juan de Torres and Father Gabriel Sanchez in the island of Bohol. Chapter XXXV.

All these evils and excesses were abandoned when our fathers entered that island, for after their arrival there God our Lord brought it about that the wonted songs and noises were no longer heard, the natives abstaining from them in order not to displease the fathers. The greatest difficulty which one encounters among those peoples is to teach the prayers to the adults, who are naturally lazy and negligent; and to the old men, who are hindered by their age. The plan and method which is followed in this matter is, not to constrain them too much. In this regard the Boholans acted with such liberality that our fathers, upon arriving at some villages, found the old men learning, of their own free will, the prayers from their children. When asked if they wished to become Christians, they answered that they were already preparing themselves, and that after they had learned what was needful, they would receive holy baptism. So well were they inclined toward the good. They have excellent dispositions; and whenever any good habit or civilized custom is taught to them, they do not fail to practice it—which is no small pleasure and comfort for those who teach them. In the church they conduct themselves devoutly and reverently, kneeling on both knees with hands clasped across their breasts. They attend baptismal services, at the conclusion of which they embrace the newly-baptized and, kneeling, recite with these a "Salve," as a token of thanksgiving. A pestilence, attended by pains in the stomach and head, had attacked this people, and was so fatal that entire villages of the island were being depopulated. But our Christians, in the ardor of their faith, took holy water as a medicine and were healed, so that not one of them died. An instance of this occurred, which I shall relate. An infidel woman was reduced by this sickness to such a pass that they did not expect her to live throughout the night. They summoned the father, and representing to him the woman's danger, besought him urgently to baptize her at once. The father did not think that such haste was necessary, or, at least, that the sick woman was entirely prepared for holy baptism, and so contented himself with repeating to her some of the catechism appropriate to the occasion, to wait until morning came. As a further kindness, in order to cure her body, he asked her if she believed that the holy water, by virtue of Almighty God, our Creator, could heal the sick. Upon her answering "Yes," he gave her some to drink, and with that left her. In the morning they came to tell him that she whom they had regarded as half dead was already healed. A little girl had been reduced by the same disease to the last extremity, and they were already bewailing her as dead; the father hastened to the spot and grieving lest she should die without the sacraments, asked for holy water, that he might give her a possible remedy for body as well as soul. Seeing that the child was unable to drink it, he asked those who were present if they believed that God our Lord, and not their idols, could by means of that water give health to the sick one, and all answered "Yes." The water was then applied to that part where they said the child felt the greatest pain; and, consoling her parents with good hopes, he left her; and within a few hours they sent to tell him that the child was well. Accordingly, they use this holy medicine frequently in all their sicknesses, and it has become a general practice throughout all these islands. I have often seen an Indian woman approach the basin of holy water with her babe in arms, and taking some in her hands, give it to the little one to drink, so ordinary and universal is this devotion.

In Bohol, within only eight months, they gained the village of Baclayun with its hamlets (which was the first station that our Society maintained in that island), besides the villages of Lobo (which is a river of much volume), where more than three thousand souls were instructed and catechized, as well as many in the villages of two other islands adjacent to Bohol. In all those places were baptized a large number of those best prepared and able to receive the sacrament, among them the good old Catunao (whom we mentioned above) with his wife. Between the two, they surely had lived two hundred and thirty years, and the woman was younger than he, Our Lord did not see fit to take him away until He had repaid him for his good services in having been the guide who introduced Christian people into the Filipinas. He was always seated, for he could no longer walk. So satisfied was he at being baptized that during the remainder of his life (which was little more than a year) he was continually repeating, with much delight, "Jesus, Mary."

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