Saturday, 24 March 1565

Four hours before daybreak, at this time that we anchored, I saw a canoe by the light of the moon and this same day, as dawn was breaking around 6 or 8 canoes came and the people told us that this was the Butuan River. Among them were two canoes of Moros who said they were from Luzon which is 6 or 8 days’ voyage north of Burney. These Moros came with merchandise to trade in Butuan. Later, these Moros entered the ship and asked where we were from. And we answered that we were from Castilla and that our King was a friend of the King of Butuan. Then the captain called the interpreter whom we had brought from Nueva España who did not understand the Malayan language very well but the armada had no other interpreter. So, we did not understand the natives except by signs. And these Moros understood the Malayan language very well as well as the language of the natives. And these Moros who were on the ships asked what we were bringing to sell because they had much gold in Butuan and also much wax to sell. This, being understood by the officials of the King, they showed them silks and fabrics of all colors, and pearl necklaces and other kinds of beads and showed them a large bag of tostones to be exchanged with gold. And the officials agreed with them that for the weight of 6 testones they would give the weight of 6 of gold. And they had to be given five additional pesos in tostones so that for the weight of one of gold the equivalent would be 6 of silver and thus they bartered around 1000 pesos in gold and 100 tostones. They brought 20,000 which was also bartered.

A brother of the King came alongside the ship and the Governor invited him to come inside to see the ship and the merchandise that they were bringing from Castille. And he replied that he did not want to. The captain, had our interpreter tell the Moro to advise the King’s brother that we were from Castilla, we were here in behalf of the King of Castilla and that we had not come to cause them any trouble. Then a present was given and this was a garment of green velvet and two yards of taffeta and pearls and a red bonnet. And through the Moro, the Captain told the King’s brother that he wished to send the King a present. And the Moro, in behalf of the King’s brother said that he would leave 3 or 4 Moros and 3 or 4 principales of the land.

The said pilot was ordered by the Captain to take the present to the King. I said I would do as I was told. The present I brought was a red cape decorated with blue velvet, and a velvet hat with a gold cord; and a mirror, and 3 or 4 yards of taffeta. And I boarded the canoe where the King’s brother was and with the Moro servant and the servant we were bringing, went to the town named Butuan to talk to the King. And arriving there we headed for the King’s house and the first thing they made us do in the house of the King was to sit down. Then later seven or eight beautiful women came out some dressed in silk from India. They said it was a custom of the land for the women to come out first.

He asked the Moro what were the names of the King and of the Queen, he said that King was Lumanpaon and the Queen Bucaynin; their son was Lean, and the King’s brother, Figoan. And the King came out and sat down. I told the servant to tell the King that I was a pilot of the ship and that I had come by order of the captain to bring him those presents and he received them and later put them on. And I told him that the Captain had come by order of the King so that his officials might bring merchandise to sell to the natives, and whether he would allow those fabrics to be sold to his vassals, he answered: “yes”; that some Indios had much gold, and others a little; that each one would buy what he could. And he asked if we had more ships coming. I told him none would come because we did not want to disturb them. He told me to enter by the river, I told him that we would if there were enough water at the mouth. And I bade him goodbye.

When I had left the Moro took me to see their boat which was a big, parao and had a foremast and a main mast, He showed me a bronze culverin, He asked if we brought many reales. I said “yes.” He said that he had 3 quintales of gold and that he would barter them for reales. And he asked whether we wanted wax. I said, “yes.” He said that there was much wax in their land, I asked him if it came from China, He told me that it did not; that the Chinese came to his land with porcelain, iron tips of lances, dagger and that the Chinese brought these to be sold here, And for this merchandise they exchanged their gold which the Chinese took to their land. And that they also came for wax.

With this information, | was returning to the ship when i came across another big parao which was almost like the other one, with a bronze culverin. They told me that below, they had three or four more culverins and much gold. And so l was returning and the Moro asked me once again if we would buy wax. And I told him, “yes,” and that he should take the wax to the ship.

The next day, they brought many bars of wax. And they agreed with the officials that a bar which weighed two arrobas and 16 pounds would be equivalent to 14 1/2 tostones. And the Spaniards bought a great quantity of wax,
After payment had been made, the bar was cut in half and they found that it was full of soil inside. And cutting open all the bars, they found the same thing. The Moros were nervous. The Captain warned them to watch out and return the tostones and take their wax back. This was done. The Moros made excuses for this deceit saying that they had received the wax this way from the people of the land. And the people from the land who were on the ship said that the Moros had done it. And so they left for the town. The next day, they came with their canoes full of wax in bars. They told us to cut them into two; we did, and found they were somewhat better that those of the day before. And it was decided that they cut them at the corners and they found pieces of mangrove wood as heavy as lead. The Moros again said that the people from Butuan had done it. And removing these pieces of wood, the Spaniards bought a great quantity of wax from them,.They would have bought more if they had wanted to exchange the wax for fabrics and silk. But they did not care for anything but reales.

Many natives came to buy beads, pearls, and they brought gold to buy them with. The Moros were on hand to warn the natives not to buy anything with their gold. And so they brought porcelain and would barter for nothing else but tostones. We knew that they had been persuaded by the Moros because on the first day we arrived, they did not want tostones and now they came asking for them. Also in other canoes, Indios and Indias came with rice, coconuts, shrimps, sugar cane and the food the land produced, all small things that they gave in exchange for beads and bells. Some of them brought porcelain for which the Castilians bartered beads. Little cinnamon was bartered here. They asked the King’s brother where this cinnamon could be obtained. He said that it came from
the town called Cagayan whose principal was Gomit. They said that this town was on the western part. Here, there could be bartered much gold and wax and porcelain were it not tor the Moros who kept agitating the natives and prevented them from giving us anything except in exchange for reales and in this I understood the King’s brother made a large profit. I saw he had a dagger with the tips and the handle made of gold and I thought the gold on it was worth more than 300 pesos of good money.

While those Moros thought we had reales, they came to the ships frequently. The King came twice, But not one of them wanted to go on board the ship. We told the Moro to ask the King to board the ship to see the merchandise we were bringing from Castilla, And even before talking to the King, the Moro took it upon himself to answer that the King did not wish to board. And so we realized that the friendship the Moro was demonstrating was merely greed for the reales that we had. Once the King came without the Moro with a canoe of fully armed men. Another canoe that came in his behalf brought a pig and a jug of wine and a little rice, all these were thrown into another canoe for they dared not go on board the ship. They merely said that these were for the captain. And so we realized that the Moros had put us in a bad light with him and that they were such great scoundrels that they imposed upon the natives to demand a real for a chicken whereas before, they had been content with bead necklaces.

We asked the Captain to get one of those Moros because it would be advantageous for the whole armada because they understood the Malayan tongue and the language of the land very well. He said he would do it. The
officials and a friar who were with us on the ship meddled saying that if we did that, it would cause trouble in the land. Thus, this was not done and we decided to go back to the island of Bohol where our Governor was and tell him everything that had happened.

This King of Butuan had in his town around 80 to 100 houses which were what could fit in the place, There were also houses in the woodland and upstream and by what I saw it seemed he had 400 to 500 men. They also told me that in the land which was a journey of four or five days from his town, there would be about 1000 men and that in that place they also mined gold. They bartered a civet for 4 or 5 strings of pearls, From the mouth of this river to the town there was a distance of 1/6 of a league. Bateles could reach up to the houses which were built on stilts on water a braza deep and up the river, and in the capes, it was the same and so one could go on the bateles up to the houses. And | would advise you to turn to the left up this river until you get to the houses because inside the mouth of the river it is 2 or 3 brazas deep. And the river at the left is the one that leads to the town.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin