Today in Philippine History, February 13, 1565, Miguel López de Legazpi landed on the shores of Cibabao

Sunday February 12, 2012 ()

On February 13, 1565, Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi and his troops arrived in the Philippines and landed on the shores of Cibabao (present day Samar island).

Earlier, on November 21, 1564, Legazpi set sail from Puerto de la Navidad, Mexico, sighted Gua Island in the Ladrones on January 21, stayed there for about 11 days. Sailed for 11 more days mostly of good weather and then finally came in sight of the Filipinas. In the afternoon of February 13, 1565, Legazpi cast anchor in the bay called Cibabao and remained there for 7 or 8 days.

   Miguel López de Legazpi
   (Miguel López de Legazpi)

During his stay in Cibabao one of his men, Francisco Gomez, was killed by the natives. Gomez was killed after he disembarked to make blood-friendship with them, a ceremony that is considered inviolable. This is observed in this manner: one from each party must draw two or three drops of blood from his arm or breast and mix them, in the same cup, with water or wine. Then the mixture must be divided equally between two cups, and neither person may depart until both cups are alike drained.

While Gomez was about to bleed himself, one of the natives pierced his breast from one side with a lance.

Leaving the Cibabao bay, Legazpi sailed south reaching the end of the island, where the land turns west. Just south of this island are other islands between which and this island there is a straight channel running west. The fleet passed through this channel, and on the second day from the departure from Cibabao, after having sailed nearly thirty leagues, Legazpi reached a port of Tandaya Island and later into the port of Bohol.

From the port of Bohol, Legazpi reached the port of Cebu on a Friday, April 27, 1565, the same date 44 years earlier, in 1521, when Magellan was killed in Mactan.

On June 24, 1571, López de Legazpi finally established a permanent settlement in Manila and also ordered the construction of the walled city of Intramuros. June 24 is now celebrated yearly as "Araw ng Maynila". He proclaimed the town as the island's capital and permanent seat of the Spanish colonial government in the western Pacific Ocean.

Lopez de Legazpi became the first Spanish governor of the Philippines and worked to convert the natives to the Catholic religion. He governed the Philippines for a year before dying of heart failure in Manila in 1572. He was laid to rest in San Agustin Church, Intramuros.

Relation of the voyage to the Philippines Islands, by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi - 1565
The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803, Volume II, 1521-1569, Edited by Blair, Emma Helen, et. al.
Philippine News Agency archives


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