11th of November, 1521

Monday, the 11th of November, Chechilideroix, one of the above-mentioned sons of the King of Tarenate, came with two prahus to the ships sounding drums: he was dressed in red velvet. We learned that he had near him the widow and sons of Francisco Serrano. When we knew him, being aware that he was an enemy of the King of Tadore, we sent to ask him whether we might receive him in the ships, which, as we were in his port, we would not do without his consent. The king sent us word to do whatever we pleased. But meantime Chechilideroix, seeing our hesitation, had some suspicion, and moved further off from the ships. We then went to him in a boat, and made him a present of an Indian cloth of gold and silk, with some looking-glasses, knives, scissors, etc.: these things he accepted but disdainfully, and soon after departed. He had with him an Indian who had become a Christian, named Manuel, the servant of a certain Pedro Alfonzo de Lorosa, a Portuguese, who, after the death of Serrano, had come from Bandan to Tarenate. Manuel being able to speak Portuguese, came on board the ships, and told us that although the sons of the King of Tarenate were enemies to the King of Tadore, yet they were disposed towards the service of Spain, Then, by means of him, we wrote to De Lorosa to come to our ships without any suspicion or fear.

These kings have as many ladies as they please, but one only is the principal wife, and all the others are subject to her. The King of Tadore had a large house outside the city, where there were two hundred of the ladies he was most fond of, and as many more to serve them. The king eats alone, or with his principal wife, on a kind of raised dais, from which he can see all the others sitting round, and he decides upon the one who most pleases him to come to him. When the king’s dinner is finished, the ladies all eat together if he permits it, or else each one goes to eat in her own room. No one without special permission from the king can see those ladies, and if anybody by day or by night were found near their house he would be killed immediately. Each family is bound to give one or two daughters to the king. Rajah Sultan Manzour had twenty-six children, of whom eight were boys and eighteen girls. In the island of Tadore there is a kind of bishop, and the one that was there in our time had forty ladies and very many children.


10th of November, 1521

On the 10th of November—a Sunday—we had another conversation with the king, who wished to know how long a time we had been absent from Spain, and what pay and what rations the king gave to each of us; and we told him all this. He asked us for a signature of the king and a royal standard, since be desired that both his island of Tadore, and also that of Tarenate (where he intended to have his nephew named Calanogapi, crowned king) should become subject to the King of Spain, for whose honour he would fight to the death; and if it should happen that he should be compelled to give way, he would take refuge in Spain with all his family, in a new junk which he was having constructed, and would take with him the royal signature and standard.

He begged us to leave with him some of our men, who would always keep alive his recollection of us and of our king, as he would more esteem having some of us with him than our merchandise, which would not last him a long time. Seeing our eagerness to take cloves on board, he said that for that purpose he would go to an island called Bachian, where he hoped to find as much of them as were wanted, since in his island there was not a quantity sufficient of dry cloves to load the two ships. On that day there was no traffic because it was Sunday. The holiday of these people is on Friday.

It may please your illustrious lordship to have some description of the islands where the cloves grow. They are five—Tarenate, Tador, Mutir, Machian, and Bachian. Tarenate is the principal island. Its king, whilst he lived, had almost entire dominion over the other four. Tadore, the island in which we were, has its own king. Mutir and Machian have no king, but are governed by the people; and when the kings of Tarenate and Tidore are at war, they furnish them with combatants. The last is Bachian, and it has a king. All this province in which the cloves grow is called Maluco.

When we arrived here, eight months had not elapsed since a certain Portuguese, Francisco Serrano, had died in Tarenate. He was captain-general of the King of Tarenate when he was making war on the King of Tadore; and he acted so strenuously that this king was compelled to give his daughter in marriage to the King of Tarenate, who also received as hostages almost all the sons of the chief men of Tadore. Peace was then made, and from that daughter was born the nephew Calanopagi, of whom I have spoken. But the King of Tadore never forgave Serrano in his heart; and he having come several years later to Tadore to traffic in cloves, the king had him poisoned with some betel leaves, so that he survived hardly four days. The King of Tarenate wished to have him buried according to their own usage, but three Christian servants that Serrano had with him did not consent to it. In dying he left a little son and a little girl that he had of a lady he had taken in Java major, and two hundred bahars of cloves.

Francisco Serrano was a great friend and a relation of our unfortunate captain-general, and he it was who induced him to undertake that voyage, for when Magellan was at Malacca, he had several times learned by letters from Serrano that he was here. Therefore, when D. Manuel, King of Portugal, refused to increase his pension by a single testoon[230] per month, an increase which he thought he had well deserved, he came to Spain and made the proposal to his Sacred Majesty to come here by way of the west, and he obtained all that he asked for.

Ten days after the death of Serrano, the King of Tarenate, named Raja Abuleis,[231] drove out from his kingdom his son-in-law the King of Bachian, whose wife, the daughter of the King of Tarenate, came to Tarenate under the pretext of concluding peace, and gave him (her father) such a poison that he only survived two days, and dying left nine sons, whose names were told to me as follows: Chochili[232]-Momuli, Jadore Vunghi, Chechilideroix, Cilimanzur, Cilipagi, Chialinchechilin, Cataravajecu, Serich, and Calanopagi.


8th of November, 1521

Friday, the 8th November of 1521, three hours before sunset, we entered a port of the island called Tadore,[229] and having gone near the shore, we cast anchor in twenty fathoms, and discharged all our artillery. Next day the king came to the ships in a prahu, and went round them. We went to meet him with a boat to show him honour, and he made us enter his prahu, and sit near him. He was sitting under a silk umbrella, which sheltered him. In front of him was his son with the royal sceptre, there were also two men with gold vases to give him water for his hands, and two others with gilt caskets full of betel.

The king gave us a welcome, and said that a long time back he had dreamed that some ships were coming to Maluco from distant countries, and that to assure himself with respect to this, he had examined the moon, and he had seen that they were really coming, and that indeed they were our ships. After that he came on board our ships, and we all kissed his hand: we then conducted him to the poop, but he, in order to avoid stooping, would not enter the cabin except by the upper opening. We made him sit down on a chair of red velvet, and placed on him a Turkish robe of yellow velvet. In order to do him more honour we sat down before him on the ground. When he had heard who we were, and what was the object of our voyage, he said that he and all his people were well content to be the most faithful friends and vassals of the King of Spain; that he received us in this island as his own sons; that we might go on shore and remain there as in our own houses; and that his island for the future should not be named Tadore, but Castile, in proof of the great love he bore to the king our master. Then we presented to him the chair on which he sat, and the robe which we had put on him, a piece of fine linen, four ells of scarlet cloth, a robe of brocade, a cloth of yellow damask, a piece of the whitest Cambay linen, two caps, six strings of glass beads, twelve knives, three large mirrors, six scissors, six combs, some gilt goblets, and other things. We gave to his son an Indian cloth of gold and silk, a large mirror, a cap and two knives. To each of the nine chief men of his suite we made a present of a piece of silk, a cap and two knives; and to many others of his suite we made a present, to one of a cap, to another of a knife, until the king told us not to give any more presents. He then said that he had got nothing worthy to be sent as a present to our king, unless he sent himself, now that he considered him as his lord. He invited us to come closer to the city, and if any one attempted to come on board the ships at night, he told us to fire upon him with our guns. He came out of the stern cabin by the same way by which he had entered it, without ever bending his head. At his departure we fired all the cannon.

This king is a Moor, of about forty-five years of age. rather well made and of a handsome presence. He is a very great astrologer. His dress consisted of a shirt of very fine white stuff, with the ends of the sleeves embroidered with gold, and a wrapper which came down from his waist almost to the ground. He was barefooted; round his head he had a silk veil, and over that a garland of flowers. He is named Raja Sultan Manzor.


6th of November, 1521

Wednesday, the 6th of November, having passed beyond these two islands, we discovered four other rather high islands at a distance of fourteen leagues towards the east. The pilot who had remained with us told us those were the Maluco islands, for which we gave thanks to God, and to comfort ourselves we discharged all our artillery. It need not cause wonder that we were so much rejoiced, since we had passed twenty-seven months less two days always in search of Maluco, wandering for that object among the immense number of islands. But I must say that near all these islands the least depth that we found was one hundred fathoms, for which reason attention is not to be given to all that the Portuguese have spread, according to whom the islands of Maluco are situated in seas which cannot be navigated on account of the shoals, and the dark and foggy atmosphere.


26th of October, 1521

Making for the south-east we found four islands, named Ciboco, Birabam Batolac, Sarangani, and Candigar. Saturday, the 26th of October, about nightfall, whilst coasting the island of Birabam Batolac, we met with a very great storm, before which we lowered all our sails, and betook ourselves to prayer. Then our three saints appeared upon the masts and dispersed the darkness. St. Elmo stood for more than two hours at the mainmast head like a flame. St. Nicholas at the head of the foremast, and St. Clara on the mizenmast. In gratitude for their assistance we promised a share to each of the saints, and we gave to each an offering.

Continuing our voyage we entered a port between the two islands Sarangani and Candigar, and cast anchor to the east, near a village of Sarangani, where pearls and gold are found. This port is in 5° 9′ N. latitude, and fifty leagues from Cavit. The inhabitants are Gentiles and go naked like the others.

Having remained here a day we compelled by force two pilots to come with us to show us the way to Maluco. We were directed to take a south-south-west course, and passed between eight islands partly inhabited, partly uninhabited, which formed a kind of street. These were named Cheava, Caviao, Cabiao Camanuca, Cabaluzao, Cheai, Lipan, and Nuza. At the end of these we reached an island which was very beautiful, named Sanghir.[226] But having a contrary wind, which did not allow us to double the cape, we tacked about backwards and forwards near it.

On this occasion, profiting by the darkness of the night, one of the pilots whom we had caught at Sarangani, and with him the brother of the king of Mindanao with his little son, escaped by swimming and reached that island; but we learned later that the son not being able to hold on well to his father’s shoulders, was drowned.

Seeing that it was impossible to double the head of this island we passed below it, where we saw many small islands. This large island has four kings whose names are Raja Matandatu, Raja Laga, Raja Bapti, and Raja Parabu. These are Gentiles. It is in 3° 30′ N. latitude and twenty-seven leagues from Sarangani.

Continuing our course in the same direction we passed near five islands named Cheoma, Carachita, Para, Zangalura, and Cian.[227] This last is ten leagues distant from Sanghir. In this island there is a rather high mountain, but not one of great extent. Its king is named Raja Ponto. We came next to the island Paghinzara,[228] which has three high mountains, and in it the king is Raja Babintan. We saw at twelve leagues to the east of Paghinzara another island, Talant, and also two islands, not large but inhabited, called Zoar and Mean.


29th of July, 1521

On Monday, the 29th of July, we saw coming towards us more than a hundred prahus, divided into three squadrons, and as many tungulis, which are their smaller kind of boats. At this sight, and fearing treachery, we hurriedly set sail, and left behind an anchor in the sea. Our suspicions increased when we observed that behind us were certain junks which had come the day before. Our first operation was to free ourselves from the junks, against which we fired, capturing four and killing many people: three or four other junks went aground in escaping. In one of those which we captured was a son of the king of the isle of Luzon, who was captain-general of the King of Burné, and who was coming with the junks from the conquest of a great city named Laoe, situated on a headland of this island opposite Java Major. He had made this expedition and sacked that city because its inhabitants wished rather to obey the King of Java than the Moorish King of Burné. The Moorish king having heard of the ill-treatment by us of his junks, hastened to send to say, by means of one of our men who was on shore to traffic, that those vessels had not come to do any harm to us, but were going to make war against the Gentiles, in proof of which they showed us some of the heads of those they had slain.

Hearing this, we sent to tell the king that if it was so, that he should allow two of our men who were still on shore, with a son of our pilot, Juan Carvalho, to come to the ships: this son of Carvalho’s had been born during his first residence in the country of Brazil: but the king would not consent. Juan Carvalho was thus specially punished, for without communicating the matter to us, in order to obtain a large sum of gold, as we learned later, he had given his liberty to the captain of the junks. If he had detained him, the King Siripada would have given anything to get him back, that captain being exceedingly dreaded by the Gentiles who are most hostile to the Moorish king.

And, with respect to that, it is well to know and understand that in that same port where we were, beyond the city of the Moors of which I have spoken, there is another inhabited by Gentiles, larger than this one, and also built in the salt water. So great is the enmity between the two nations that every day there occurs strife. The king of the Gentiles is as powerful as the king of the Moors, but he is not so proud; and it seems that it would not be so difficult to introduce the Christian religion into his country.[207]

As we could not get back our men, we retained on board sixteen of the chiefs, and three ladies whom we had taken on board the junks, to take them to Spain, We had destined the ladies for the Queen; but Juan Carvalho kept them for himself.

The Moors of Burné go naked like the other islanders. They esteem quicksilver very much, and swallow it. They pretend that it preserves the health of those who are well, and that it cures the sick. They venerate Mahomed and follow his law. They do not eat pig’s flesh…..[208] With their right hand they wash their face, but do not wash their teeth with their fingers. They are circumcised like the Jews. They never kill goats or fowls without first speaking to the sun.[209] They cut off the ends of the wings of fowls and the skin under their feet, and then split them in two. They do not eat any animal which has not been killed by themselves.

In this island is produced camphor, a kind of balsam which exudes from between the bark and the wood of the tree. These drops are small as grains of bran. If it is left exposed by degrees it is consumed: here it is called capor. Here is found also cinnamon, ginger, mirabolans, oranges, lemons, sugarcanes, melons, gourds, cucumbers, cabbage, onions. There are also many animals, such as elephants, horses, buffaloes, pigs, goats, fowls, geese, crows, and others.

They say that the King of Burné has two pearls as large as a hen’s eggs, and so perfectly round that if placed on a smooth table they cannot be made to stand still. When we took him the presents I made signs to him that I desired to see them, and he said that he would show them to me, but he did not do so. On the following day some of the chief men told me that they had indeed seen them.

The money which the Moors use in this country is of metal,[210] and pierced for stringing together. On one side only it has four signs, which are four letters of the great King of China: they call it Picis.[211] For one cathil (a weight equal to two of our pounds) of quicksilver they gave us six porcelain dishes, for a cathil of metal they gave one small porcelain vase, and a large vase for three knives. For a hand of paper they gave one hundred picis. A bahar of wax (which is two hundred and three cathils) for one hundred and sixty cathils of bronze: for eighty cathils a bahar of salt: for forty cathils a bahar of anime, a gum which they use to caulk ships, for in these countries they have no pitch. Twenty tabil make a cathil. The merchandise which is most esteemed here is bronze, quicksilver, cinnabar, glass, woollen stuffs, linens; but above all they esteem iron and spectacles.

Since I saw such use made of porcelain, I got some information respecting it, and I learned that it is made with a kind of very white earth, which is left underground for fully fifty years to refine it, so that they are in the habit of saying that the father buries it for his son. It is said that if poison is put into a vessel of fine porcelain it breaks immediately.

The junks mentioned several times above are their largest vessels, and they are constructed in this manner. The lower part of the ships and the sides to a height of two spans above water-line are built of planks joined together with wooden bolts, and they are well enough put together. The upper works are made of very large canes for a counterpoise.[212] One of these junks carries as much cargo as our ships. The masts are of bamboo, and the sails of bark of trees. This island is so large that to sail round it with a prahu would require three months. It is in 5° 15′ north latitude and 176° 40′ of longitude from the line of demarcation.[213]

On leaving this island we returned backwards to look for a convenient place for caulking our ships, which were leaking, and one of them, through the negligence of the pilot, struck on a shoal near an island named Bibalon;[214] but, by the help of God, we got her off. We also ran another great danger, for a sailor, in snuffing a candle, threw the lighted wick into a chest of gunpowder; but he was so quick in picking it out that the powder did not catch fire.

On our way we saw four prahus. We took one laden with cocoanuts on its way to Burné; but the crew escaped to a small island, and the other three prahus escaped behind some other small islands.

Between the northern cape of Burné; and the island named Cimbonbon, situated in 8° 7′ N. latitude there is a very convenient port for refitting ships, and we entered it; but as we were wanting many things necessary for our work, we had to spend there forty-two days. Each one worked at one thing or another according to the best of his knowledge or ability; but our greatest labour was going to get wood in the thickets, as the ground was covered with briars and thorny shrubs, and we had no shoes.

In this island there are some very large wild boars. Whilst we were in a boat we killed one which was crossing from one island to another. Its head was two and a half spans long, and its tusks were exceedingly long.[215] Here also are crocodiles; those of the land are larger than those of the sea-coast. There are oysters and very large turtles; of these we caught two. The flesh alone of one of them weighed twenty pounds, and of the other forty-four pounds. We caught a kind of fish with a head like that of a pig, and which had two horns; its body was all covered with bone, and on its back it had a kind of saddle: this was a small one. In this island are also found certain trees, the leaves of which, when they fall, are animated, and walk. They are like the leaves of the mulberry tree, but not so long; they have the leaf stalk[216] short and pointed, and near the leaf stalk they have on each side two feet. If they are touched they escape, but if crushed they do not give out blood.[217] I kept one for nine days in a box. When I opened it the leaf went round the box. I believe they live upon air. The island in which we were is called Pulaoan.

On leaving this island—that is to say, the port which is at the extremity of it—we met a junk which was coming from Borneo. We made signals to it to strike its sails; but as it would not obey we overtook it, captured and pillaged it. It had on board the Governor of Pulaoan, with a son and a brother of his. We made them all prisoners, and put them to ransom to give within seven days four hundred measures of rice, twenty pigs, as many goats, and four hundred and fifty fowls. They caused all this to be given us, and besides added spontaneously cocoanuts, figs, sugarcanes, and vessels full of palm wine. We, in consequence of his generosity, restored to him some of his daggers and arquebuses; we also gave him a flag, a garment of yellow damask, and fifteen ells of linen. We gave to his son a cloak of blue cloth, and to his brother a garment of green cloth, and to the others other things, and we parted good friends.

We turned backwards, passing between the island of Cagayan and the port of Cipit,[218] taking a course east and a quarter south-east, to seek the islands of Maluco. We passed between certain little mountains,[219] around which we found many weeds, although there was there a great depth. Passing between these islets it seemed that we were in another sea.

Having left Cipit to the east, we saw to the west two islands called Zolo[220] and Taghima,[221] near which islands pearls are found. The two pearls of the King of Burné, of which I have spoken, were found there, and this is the manner in which he obtained them, according to the account which was given me of it. The King of Burné married a daughter of the King of Zolo, who told him that her father had these two big pearls. He desired to have them, and decided on getting them by any means, and one night he set out with five hundred prahus full of armed men, and went to Zolo, and took the king with his two sons, and brought them to Burné, and did not restore them to liberty until they gave him the two pearls.

Continuing our course east and a quarter north-east we passed near two inhabited places called Cavit and Subanin, and passed near an island called Monoripa, ten leagues distant from the before-mentioned islets. The inhabitants of this island always live in their vessels, and have no houses on shore. In these two districts of Cavit and Subanin, which are situated in the same island[222] as that in which are Butuan and Calagan, the best cinnamon of any grows. If we could have remained here only two days, we could have laden the ships with it; but we did not wish to lose time, but to profit by the favourable wind, for we had to double a cape and some islets which were around it. Wherefore, remaining under sail, we made a little barter, and obtained seventeen pounds of cinnamon for two big knives, which we had taken from the Governor of Pulaoan.

Having seen the cinnamon tree, I can give some description of it. It is a small tree, not more than three or four cubits high, and of the thickness of a man’s finger, and it has not got more than three or four little branches. Its leaf is like that of the laurel. The cinnamon for use which comes to us, is its bark, which is gathered twice in the year. Its wood and leaves when they are green have the taste and force of the bark itself. Here it is called Cainmana, since cain means wood and mana sweet.[223]

Having set the head of the ship to north-east, we made for a large city called Maingdanao, situated in the same island in which are Butuan and Calagan, in order to get precise information of the position of Maluco. Following this course we took possession of a bignaday, a vessel similar to a prahu, and being obliged to have recourse to force and violence, we killed seven out of eighteen men who formed the crew. These men were better made and more robust than all those we had seen hitherto, and they were all chief men of Mindanao. There was among them a brother of the king who said that he well knew where Maluco was. Afterwards, following his indications, we left the north-east course which we held, and took a south-east course. We were then in 6° 7′ N. latitude and thirty leagues distant fom Cavit.

We were told that at a cape of this island near to a river there are men who are rather hairy, great warriors, and good archers, armed with swords a span broad. When they make an enemy prisoner they eat his heart only, and they eat it raw with the juice of oranges or lemons.[224] This cape is called Benaian.[225]


27th of April, 1521

We set out from Zubu at midnight, we were sixty men armed with corslets and helmets; there were with us the Christian king, the prince, and some of the chief men, and many others divided among twenty or thirty balangai. We arrived at Matan three hours before daylight. The captain before attacking wished to attempt gentle means, and sent on shore the Moorish merchant to tell those islanders who were of the party of Cilapulapu, that if they would recognise the Christian king as their sovereign, and obey the King of Spain, and pay us the tribute which had been asked, the captain would become their friend, otherwise we should prove how our lances wounded. The islanders were not terrified, they replied that if we had lances, so also had they, although only of reeds, and wood hardened with fire. They asked however that we should not attack them by night, but wait for daylight, because they were expecting reinforcements, and would be in greater number. This they said with cunning, to excite us to attack them by night, supposing that we were ready; but they wished this because they had dug ditches between their houses and the beach, and they hoped that we should fall into them.

We however waited for daylight; we then leaped into the water up to our thighs, for on account of the shallow water and the rocks the boats could not come close to the beach, and we had to cross two good crossbow shots through the water before reaching it. We were forty-nine in number, the other eleven remained in charge of the boats. When we reached land we found the islanders fifteen hundred in number, drawn up in three squadrons; they came down upon us with terrible shouts, two squadrons attacking us on the flanks, and the third in front. The captain then divided his men in two bands. Our musketeers and crossbow-men fired for half an hour from a distance, but did nothing, since the bullets and arrows, though they passed through their shields made of thin wood, and perhaps wounded their arms, yet did not stop them. The captain shouted not to fire, but he was not listened to. The islanders seeing that the shots of our guns did them little or no harm would not retire, but shouted more loudly, and springing from one side to the other to avoid our shots, they at the same time drew nearer to us, throwing arrows, javelins, spears hardened in fire, stones, and even mud, so that we could hardly defend ourselves. Some of them cast lances pointed with iron at the captain-general.

He then, in order to disperse this multitude and to terrify them, sent some of our men to set fire to their houses, but this rendered them more ferocious. Some of them ran to the fire, which consumed twenty or thirty houses, and there killed two of our men. The rest came down upon us with greater fury; they perceived that our bodies were defended, but that the legs were exposed, and they aimed at them principally. The captain had his right leg pierced by a poisoned arrow, on which account he gave orders to retreat by degrees; but almost all our men took to precipitate flight, so that there remained hardly six or eight of us with him. We were oppressed by the lances and stones which the enemy hurled at us, and we could make no more resistance. The bombards which we had in the boats were of no assistance to us, for the shoal water kept them too far from the beach. We went thither, retreating little by little, and still fighting, and we had already got to the distance of a crossbow shot from the shore, having the water up to our knees, the islanders following and picking up again the spears which they had already cast, and they threw the same spear five or six times; as they knew the captain they aimed specially at him, and twice they knocked the helmet off his head. He, with a few of us, like a good knight, remained at his post without choosing to retreat further. Thus we fought for more than an hour, until an Indian succeeded in thrusting a cane lance into the captain’s face. He then, being irritated, pierced the Indian’s breast with his lance, and left it in his body, and trying to draw his sword he was unable to draw it more than half way, on account of a javelin wound which he had received in the right arm. The enemies seeing this all rushed against him, and one of them with a great sword, like a great scimetar[187] gave him a great blow on the left leg, which brought the captain down on his face, then the Indians threw themselves upon him, and ran him through with lances and scimetars, and all the other arms which they had, so that they deprived of life our mirror, light, comfort, and true guide. Whilst the Indians were thus overpowering him, several times he turned round towards us to see if we were all in safety, as though his obstinate fight had no other object than to give an opportunity for the retreat of his men. We who fought to extremity, and who were covered with wounds, seeing that he was dead, proceeded to the boats which were on the point of going away. This fatal battle was fought on the 27th of April of 1521, on a Saturday; a day which the captain had chosen himself, because he had a special devotion to it. There perished with him eight of our men, and four of the Indians, who had become Christians; we had also many wounded, amongst whom I must reckon myself. The enemy lost only fifteen men.

He died; but I hope that your illustrious highness will not allow his memory to be lost, so much the more since I see revived in you the virtue of so great a captain, since one of his principal virtues was constance in the most adverse fortune. In the midst of the sea he was able to endure hunger better than we. Most versed in nautical charts, he knew better than any other the true art of navigation, of which it is a certain proof that he knew by his genius, and his intrepidity, without any one having given him the example, how to attempt the circuit of the globe, which he had almost completed.[188]

The Christian king could indeed have given us aid, and would have done so; but our captain far from forseeing that which happened, when he landed with his men, had charged him not to come out of his balangai, wishing that he should stay there to see how we fought. When he knew how the captain had died he wept bitterly for him.

In the afternoon the king himself with our consent, sent to tell the inhabitants of Matan, that if they would give up to us the body of our captain, and of our other companions who were killed in this battle, we would give them as much merchandise as they might wish for; but they answered that on no account would they ever give up that man, but they wished to preserve him as a monument of their triumph. When the death of the captain was known, those who were in the city to trade, had all the merchandise at once transported to the ships. We then elected in the place of the captain, Duarte Barbosa, a Portuguese, and a relation of the captain’s, and Juan Serrano a Spaniard.

Our interpreter, who was a slave of the captain-general, and was named Henry, having been slightly wounded in the battle, would not go ashore any more for the things which we required, but remained all day idle, and wrapped up in his mat (Schiavina). Duarte Barbosa, the commander of the flag ship, found fault with him, and told him that though his master was dead, he had not become free on that account, but that when we returned to Spain he would return him to Doña Beatrice, the widow of the captain-general; at the same time he threatened to have him flogged, if he did not go on shore quickly, and do what was wanted for the service of the ships. The slave rose up, and did as though he did not care much for these affronts and threats; and having gone on shore, he informed the Christian king that we were thinking of going away soon, but that if he would follow his advice, he might become master of all our goods and of the ships themselves. The King of Zubu listened favourably to him, and they arranged to betray us. After that the slave returned on board, and showed more intelligence and attention than he had done before.


26th of April, 1521

Friday, the 26th of April, Zula, who was one of the principal men or chiefs of the island of Matan, sent to the captain a son of his with two goats to make a present of them, and to say that if he did not do all that he had promised, the cause of that was another chief named Silapulapu, who would not in any way obey the King of Spain, and had prevented him from doing so: but that if the captain would send him the following night one boat full of men to give him assistance, he would fight and subdue his rival. On the receipt of this message, the captain decided to go himself with three boats. We entreated him much not to go to this enterprise in person, but he as a good shepherd would not abandon his flock.


14th of April, 1521

Sunday morning, the fourteenth day of April, we went on shore, forty men, of whom two were armed, who marched before us, following the standard of our king emperor. When we landed the ships discharged all their artillery, and from fear of it the people ran away in all directions. The captain and the king embraced one another, and then joyously we went near the scaffolding, where the captain and the king sat on two chairs, one covered with red, the other with violet velvet. The principal men sat on cushions, and the others on mats, after the fashion of the country. Then the captain began to speak to the king through the interpreter to incite him to the faith of Jesus Christ, and told him that if he wished to be a good Christian, as he had said the day before, that he must burn all the idols of his country, and, instead of them, place a cross, and that everyone should worship it every day on their knees, and their hands joined to heaven: and he showed him how he ought every day to make the sign of the cross. To that the king and all his people answered that they would obey the commands of the captain and do all that he told them. The captain took the king by the hand, and they walked about on the scaffolding, and when he was baptised he said that he would name him [183] Don Charles, as the emperor his sovereign was named; and he named the prince Don Fernand, after the brother of the emperor, and the King of Mazzava Jehan: to the Moor he gave the name of Christopher, and to the others each a name of his fancy. Thus, before mass, there were fifty men baptised. After mass had been heard the captain invited the king and his other principal men to dine with him, but he would not. He accompanied the captain, however, to the beach, and on his arrival there the ships fired all their artillery. Then, embracing one another, they took leave.

After dinner our chaplain and some of us went on shore to baptise the queen. She came with forty ladies, and we conducted them on to the scaffolding; then made her sit down on a cushion, and her women around her, until the priest was ready. During that time they showed her an image of our Lady, of wood, holding her little child, which was very well made, and a cross. When she saw it, she had a greater desire to be a Christian, and, asking for baptism, she was baptised and named Jehanne, like the mother of the emperor. The wife of the prince, daughter of this queen, had the name of Catherine, the Queen of Mazzava Isabella, and the others each their name. That day we baptised eight hundred persons of men, women, and children. The Queen was young and handsome, covered with a black and white sheet; she had the mouth and nails very red, and wore on her head a large hat made of leaves of palm, with a crown over it made of the same leaves, like that of the Pope. After that she begged us to give her the little wooden boy to put in the place of the idols.[184] This we did, and she went away. In the evening the king and queen, with several of their people, came to the sea beach, where the captain had some of the large artillery fired, in which they took great pleasure.[185] The captain and the king called one another brother.

At last, in eight days, all the inhabitants of this island were baptised, and some belonging to the neighbouring islands. In one of these we burned a village because the inhabitants would not obey either the king or us. There we planted a cross because the people were Gentiles: if they had been Moors, we should have erected a column, as a sign of their hardness of heart, because the Moors are more difficult to convert than the Gentiles. The captain-general went ashore every day to hear mass, to which there came many of the new Christians, to whom he explained various points of our religion. One day the queen came with all her state. She was preceded by three damsels, who carried in their hands three of her hats: she was dressed in black and white, with a large silk veil with gold stripes, which covered her head and shoulders. Very many women followed her, with their heads covered with a small veil, and a hat above that: the rest of their bodies and feet were naked, except a small wrapper of palm cloth which covered their natural parts. Their hair fell flowing over their shoulders. The queen, after making a bow to the altar, sat upon a cushion of embroidered silk, and the captain sprinkled over her and over some of her ladies rose water and musk, a perfume which pleases the ladies of this country very much. The captain on that occasion approved of the gift which I had made to the queen of the image of the Infant Jesus, and recommended her to put it in the place of her idols, because it was a remembrancer of the Son of God. She promised to do all this, and to keep it with much care.

In order that the king might be more respected and obeyed, the captain-general got him to come one day at the hour of mass with his silk robe, and summoned his two brothers, one named Bondara, who was the father of the prince, and the other named Cadaro, and some of his chief men, whose names were Simiut, Sibuaia, Sisacai,[186] Magalibe, and others whom it is unnecessary to name separately; and he made them all swear to be obedient to their king, whose hand they all of them kissed. He then asked the king to swear that he would always be obedient and faithful to the King of Spain, and he took the oath. Then the captain drew a sword before the image of the Virgin Mary, and said to the king that when such an oath had been taken by anyone, he should rather die than be wanting to his oath. After that he himself promised to be always faithful to him, swearing by the image of our Lady, by the life of the emperor his sovereign, and by the habit which he wore. He then made a present to the king of a velvet chair, and told him that wherever he went he should always have it carried before him by some of his attendants, and showed him the way in which it should be carried. The king told the captain that he would do all this on account of the affection which he bore him, of which he wished to give him a token, preparing for that purpose some jewels to present to him; these were two rather large gold rings for the ears, two others for the arms, and two for the ancles, all of them adorned with precious stones. The finest ornaments of the kings of these countries consist in these rings, for otherwise they go naked and barefooted, with only a piece of cloth from the waist to the knees.

The captain-general, who had informed the king and all those who had been baptised of the obligation they were under of burning their idols, which they had promised to do, seeing that they retained them and made them offerings of meat, reproved them severely for it. They thought to excuse themselves sufficiently by saying that they did not do that now on their own account, but for a sick person, for the idols to restore him his health. This sick man was a brother of the prince, and was reputed to be the most valiant and wise man in the island, and his illness was so severe that for four days he had not spoken. Having heard this, the captain, seized with zeal for religion, said that if they had a true faith in Jesus Christ, they should burn all the idols, and the sick man should be baptised, and he would be immediately cured, of which he was so certain that he consented to lose his head if the miracle did not take place. The king promised that all this should be done, because he truly believed in Jesus Christ. Then we arranged, with all the pomp that was possible, a procession from the place to the house of the sick man. We went there, and indeed found him unable to speak or to move. We baptised him, with two of his wives and ten girls. The captain then asked him how he felt, and he at once spoke, and said that by the grace of Our Lord he was well enough. This great miracle was done under our eyes. The captain, on hearing him speak, gave great thanks to God. He gave him a refreshing drink to take, and afterwards sent to his house a mattress, two sheets, a covering of yellow wool, and a cushion, and he continued to send him, until he was quite well, refreshing drinks of almonds, rosewater, rosoglio, and some sweet preserves.

On the fifth day the convalescent rose from his bed, and as soon as he could walk, he had burned, in the presence of the king and of all the people, an idol which some old women had concealed in his house. He also caused to be destroyed several temples constructed on the sea shore, in which people were accustomed to eat the meat offered to the idols. The inhabitants applauded this, and, shouting “Castile, Castile,” helped to throw them down, and declared that if God gave them life they would burn all the idols they could find, even if they were in the king’s own house.

These idols are made of wood, they are concave or hollowed out behind, they have the arms and legs spread out, and the feet turned upwards; they have a large face, with four very large teeth like those of a wild boar, and they are all painted.

Since I have spoken of the idols, it may please your illustrious Highness to have an account of the ceremony with which, in this island, they bless the pig. They begin by sounding some great drums (tamburi), they then bring three large dishes, two are filled with cakes of rice and cooked millet rolled up in leaves, and roast fish, in the third are Cambay clothes, and two strips of palm cloth. A cloth of Cambay is spread out on the ground: then two old women come, each of whom has in her hand a reed trumpet. They step upon the cloth and make an obeisance to the Sun: they then clothe themselves with the above mentioned cloths. The first of these puts on her head a handkerchief which she ties on her forehead so as to make two horns, and taking another handkerchief in her hand, dances and sounds her trumpet, and invokes the Sun. The second old woman takes one of the strips of palm cloth, and dances, and also sounds her trumpet; thus they dance and sound their trumpets for a short space of time, saying several things to the sun. The first old woman then drops the handkerchief she has in her hand, and takes the other strip of cloth, and both together sounding their trumpets, dance for a long time round the pig which is bound on the ground. The first one always speaks in a low tone to the sun, and the second answers her. The second old woman then presents a cup of wine to the first, who, whilst they both continue their address to the sun, brings the cup four or five times near her mouth as though going to drink, and meanwhile sprinkles the wine on the heart of the pig. She then gives up the cup, and receives a lance which she brandishes, whilst still dancing and reciting, and four or five times directs the lance at the pig’s heart, at last with a sudden and well aimed blow she pierces it through and through. She withdraws the lance from the wound, which is then closed and dressed with herbs. During the ceremony a torch is always burning, and the old woman who pierced the pig takes and puts it out with her mouth, the other old woman dips the end of her trumpet in the pig’s blood, and with it marks with blood the forehead of her husband, and of her companion, and then of the rest of the people. But they did not come and do this to us. That done the old women took off their robes, and ate what was in the two dishes, inviting only women to join them. After that they get the hair off the pig with fire. Only old women are able to consecrate the boar in this manner, and this animal is never eaten unless it is killed in this manner.

(Here follows an account of a custom, for a description of which see De Morga’s Philippine Islands, p. 304.)

When our people went on shore by day or by night, they always met with some one who invited them to eat and drink. They only half cook their victuals, and salt them very much, which makes them drink a great deal; and they drink much with reeds, sucking the wine from the vessels. Their repasts always last from five to six hours.

When one of their chiefs dies they always use the following funeral ceremonies, of which I was witness. The most respected women of the country came to the house of the deceased, in the midst of which lay the corpse in a chest; round which were stretched cords after the manner of an enclosure, and many branches of trees were tied to these cords: a strip of cotton was fastened to each of these branches like a pennant. Under these the women I have mentioned sat down covered with white cotton cloth. Each of them had a damsel who fanned her with a palm fan. The other women sat sadly round the room. Meanwhile a woman cut off by degrees the hair of the dead man with a knife: another who had been his principal wife, lay extended on him, with her mouth hands and feet on the mouth hands and feet of the dead man. When the first woman cut off the hair, she wept, and when she stopped cutting, she sung. Round the room there were many vases of porcelain, with embers in them, on which, from time to time, they threw myrrh, storax, and benzoin, which gave out a good and strong smell in the room. These ceremonies last for five or six days, during which the corpse is kept in the house, and I believe that they anoint it with oil of camphor to preserve it. They afterwards put it in a chest, closed with wooden bolts, and place it in an enclosed place covered with logs of wood. The islanders told us that every evening towards midnight, there used to come to the city, a black bird of the size of a crow, which perching on the houses whistled, and caused all the dogs to howl, and these double cries lasted four or five hours. They would never tell us the cause of that phenomenon, of which we also were witnesses.