Part 2

Magellan in Cebu and Mactan

July 10, 2020 Icon


We then went northwest, passing among 5 islands:

  • Ceylon
  • Bohol
  • Canighan
  • Baybai
  • Gatighan
    • This has bats as large as eagles. We killed one which resembled chicken in taste.
    • There are doves, turtledoves, parrots, and certain black birds as large as domestic chickens, which have a long tail.
    • The last mentioned birds lay eggs as large as the goose, and bury them under the sand, through the great heat of which they hatch out. When the chicks are born, they push up the sand, and come out. Those eggs are good to eat.
    • 20 leguas separates Masawa from Gatighan.

From Gatighan, we headed west to Cebu around 15 leguas (75km)

  • The king of Masawa who sailed slowly so we waited for him at three islands:
    • Polo
    • Ticobon
    • Pozon
  • When he caught up with us he was greatly astonished at the rapidity with which we sailed.

At noon on Sunday, April 7, we entered Cebu, passing by many villages with many houses built on logs.

  • All the artillery was fired, an action which caused great fear to those people.

Magellan sent a foster-son of his as ambassador to the king of Cebu with the interpreter.

  • They found a vast crowd of people with the king, all of whom had been frightened by the mortars.
  • The interpreter told them that that was our custom when entering into such places, as a sign of peace and friendship, and that we had discharged all our mortars to honor the king of the village.
  • The king and all of his men were reassured, and the king had us asked by his governor what we wanted.

The interpreter replied that:

  • his master, Magellan, was a captain of the greatest king
  • Magellan was going to discover Moluccas
  • Magellan visited the Raja Humabon:
    • because of the good report from Raja Colambu and
    • to buy food with his merchandise.

The king told him that:

  • he had come at a good time but that it was their custom for all ships that entered their ports to pay tribute
  • it was but 4 days since a junk from Thailand laden with gold and slaves had paid him tribute.

The king pointed to a Moro merchant from Thailand who had remained to trade the gold and slaves.

Magellan’s son refused to pay tribute and threatened war.

  • Then the Moro merchant said to the king “Cata raia chita” that is to say, “Look well, sire.” “These men are the same who have conquered Calicut, Malaca, and all India. If they are treated well, they will give good treatment, but if they are treated evil, evil and worse treatment, as they have done to Calicut and Malaca.”

The interpreter understood it all and told the king that:

  • the Spanish king was:
    • more powerful than the king of Portugal
    • was the king of Spain and emperor of all the Christians
  • if Raja Humabon did not care to be his friend then he would next time send so many men that they would destroy him.

The Moro related everything to Humabon who said he would deliberate with his men and answer tomorrow.

  • Then he had refreshments of many dishes, all made from meat and contained in porcelain platters, besides many jars of wine brought in.

Raja Colambu was the most influential after Rajah Humabon and ruled many islands.

  • He went ashore to speak to Humabon

Monday morning, our notary, together with the interpreter, went to Cebu.

Humabon, with his chiefs, came to the open square where we sat down near him.

  • He asked the notary whether there were more than one captain with us and whether Magellan wished him to pay tribute to the Spanish king.
  • The notary replied that we had only one captain and wanted only to trade
  • Humabon was satisfied.
    • He said that if Magellan wished to become his friend, he should make a blood compact. Magellan agreed. Both sides then gave mutual presents

Tuesday morning, Raha Colambu came to the ships with the Moro merchant.

  • He saluted Magellan in behalf of Humabon.
  • He said that Humabon was collecting as much food as possible to give to him, and that after dinner he would send one of his nephews and two others of his chief men to make peace.


  • had one of Colambu’s men armed with European arms
  • told the Moro that we all fought in that manner.

The Moro was greatly frightened.

  • But Magellan told him not to be frightened for our arms were soft toward our friends and harsh toward our enemies
  • Magellan told it to the Moro as he seemed more intelligent than the others, and might tell it to Humabon.

After dinner, the king’s nephew, who was the prince, came to the ships with Raha Colambu to make peace with us together with:

  • the Moro
  • the governor
  • the chief constable
  • 8 chiefs

Magellan was seated in a red velvet chair, the principal men on leather chairs.

  • The others sat on mats on the floor.

Magellan asked them through the interpreter whether it were their custom to speak in secret or in public, and whether that prince and Raha Colambu had authority to make peace.

  • They answered that they spoke in public, and that they were empowered to make peace.

Magellan said many things concerning peace, and that he prayed God to confirm it in heaven.

  • They said that they had never heard any one speak such words, but that they took great pleasure in hearing them.
  • Magellan saw that they listened and answered willingly, so he began to advance arguments to induce them to accept the faith.
  • Asking them who would succeed to the seigniory after the death of the king, he was answered that the king had no sons but only daughters, the eldest of whom was the wife of that nephew of his, who therefore was the prince.
  • [They said that] when the fathers and mothers grew old, they received no further honor, but their children commanded them.

Magellan told them that:

  • God made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything else
  • He had commanded us to honor our fathers and mothers
  • whoever did otherwise was condemned to eternal fire
  • we are all descended from Adam and Eva, our first parents
  • we have an immortal spirit, etc

All joyfully entreated Magellan to leave them at least one man, to instruct them in the faith and would show them great honor.

  • Magellan refused and instead said that:
    • our priest would baptize them if they wished to become Christians
    • next time he would bring priests and friars to instruct them in our faith.

They answered that they would first speak to their king, and that then they would become Christians.

And so we all wept with great joy.

Magellan told them that:

  • they should not become Christians for fear or to please us, but of their own free wills
  • he would not cause any displeasure to those who wished to live according to their own law, but that the Christians would be better regarded and treated than the others.

We all cried out with one voice that they were becoming Christians out of their own free will.

If they became Christians:

  • Magellan would leave a suit of armor as commanded by the King of Spain
  • we could have sexual intercourse with their women without committing great sin since they were no longer pagans, and
  • the devil would no longer appear to them except in the last moment at their death.

They said that:

  • they could not answer the beautiful words of Magellan, but that they placed themselves in his hands
  • Magellan should treat them as his most faithful servants*.

*Maharlika note: This is not credible since Lapu Lapu rejected Magellan.

Magellan embraced them weeping. He clasped one of the prince’s hands and one of the king’s between his own and said to them that, by his faith in God and to his sovereign, the emperor, and by the habit which he wore, he promised them that he would give them perpetual peace with the king of Spagnia.

They answered that they promised the same.

Then the prince and Raha Colambu:

  • presented some baskets of rice, swine, goats, and fowls to Magellan on behalf of Raha Humabon
  • asked Magellan to pardon them, for such things were but little [to give] to one such as he.

Magellan gave the prince:

  • a white cloth of the finest linen
  • a red cap
  • some strings of glass beads
  • a gilded glass drinking cup
    • Those glasses are greatly appreciated in those districts.

He did not give any present to Raha Colambu for he had already given him a robe of Cambaya, besides other articles.

He sent to Raja Humabon:

  • a yellow and violet silk robe, made in Turkish style
  • a fine red cap
  • some strings of glass beads, all in a silver dish
  • 2 gilt drinking cups in our hands.

When we reached the city, we found Raja Humabon in his palace surrounded by many people.

  • He was seated on a palm mat on the ground, with only a cotton cloth before his privies, and a scarf embroidered with the needle about his head, a necklace of great value hanging from his neck, and two large gold earrings fastened in his ears set round with precious gems.
  • He was fat and short, and tattooed with fire in various designs.
  • From another mat on the ground he was eating turtle eggs which were in two porcelain dishes, and he had four jars full of palm wine in front of him covered with sweet-smelling herbs and arranged with four small reeds in each jar by means of which he drank.

Having duly made reverence to him, the interpreter told the king that his master thanked him very warmly for his present, and that he sent this present out his intrinsic love for him. We dressed him in the robe, placed the cap on his head, and gave him the other things. I then kissed the beads and put them on his head, I presented them to him.

He doing the same [i.e., kissing them], accepted them. Then the king had us eat some of those eggs and drink through those slender reeds. The others, his men, told him in that place, the words of Magellan concerning peace and his exhortation to them to become Christians.

After supper, the prince took us with him to his house, where four young girls were playing instruments.

  • One was a drum like ours but resting on the ground
  • The second was striking two suspended gongs alternately with a stick wrapped thickly at the end with palm cloth
  • The third, one large gong in the same manner
  • The last, two small gongs held in her hand, by striking one against the other, which gave forth a sweet sound.

They played so harmoniously that one would believe they possessed good musical sense. Those girls were very beautiful and almost as white as our girls and as large. They were naked except for tree cloth hanging from the waist and reaching to the knees. Some were quite naked and had large holes in their ears with a small round piece of wood in the hole, which keeps the hole round and large.

They have long black hair, and wear a short cloth about the head, and are always barefoot. The prince had three quite naked girls dance for us. We took refreshments and then went to the ships. Those gongs are made of brass [metalo] and are manufactured in the regions about the Signio Magno which is called China. They are used in those regions as we use bells and are called aghon.

One of our men died on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday morning, I asked Raja Humabon where we could bury him.

  • He replied, “If I and my vassals all belong to your sovereign, how much more ought the land.”

I told the king that we would like to consecrate the place, and to set up a cross there.

  • He replied that he was quite satisfied, and that he wished to adore the cross as did we.

The deceased was buried in the square with as much pomp as possible, in order to furnish a good example.

  • Then we consecrated the place, and in the evening buried another man.

We carried a quantity of merchandise ashore which we stored in a house.

  • The king took it under his care as well as four men who were left to trade the goods by wholesale.

The Cebuanos

Those people live in accordance with justice, and have weights and measures.

  • They love peace, ease, and quiet.
  • They have wooden balances, the bar of which has a cord in the middle by which it is held. At one end is a bit of lead, and at the other marks like quarter-libras, third-libras, and libras. When they wish to weigh they take the scales which has three wires like ours, and place it above the marks, and so weigh accurately.
  • They have very large measures without any bottom.
  • The youth play on pipes made like ours which they call subin.
  • Their houses are constructed of wood, and are built of planks and bamboo, raised high from the ground on large logs, and one must enter them by means of ladders.
  • They have rooms like ours; and under the house they keep their swine, goats, and fowls.

There are large sea snails [corniolli] called laghan which are beautiful and can kill whales.

  • The whale swallows them alive, and when they are in the whale’s body, they come out of their shells and eat the whale’s heart.
  • Those people afterward find them alive near the dead whale’s heart.
  • Those creatures have black teeth and skin and a white shell, and the flesh is good to eat.
  • They are called .

Zula was a chief of Mactan island.

  • On Friday, April 26, he sent one of his sons to present two goats to Magellan and to say that the other chief Lapulapu had refused to obey the king of Spain and so he could not send him all the articles he had promised.
  • He requested Magellan to send him only one boatload of men on the next night, so that they might help him and fight against the other chief.
  • Magellan decided to go with three boatloads.
  • We begged him repeatedly not to go, but he, like a good shepherd, refused to abandon his flock.
  • At midnight, 60 of us set out armed with corselets and helmets, together with Raha Humabon, the prince, some of the chief men, and 20-30 balanguais.
  • We reached Matan three hours before dawn.

Magellan did not wish to fight then, but sent a message to the natives through the Moro merchant to the effect that if they would obey the king of Spagnia, recognize Raha Humabon as their sovereign, and pay us our tribute, he would be their friend.

  • But that if they wished otherwise, they should wait to see how our lances wounded.
  • They replied that if we had lances they had lances of bamboo and stakes hardened with fire.
  • [They asked us] not to proceed to attack them at once, but to wait until morning, so that they might have more men.

They said that to induce us to search for them.

  • They had dug certain pitholes between the houses for us to fall into.
  • When morning came 49 of us leaped into the water up to our thighs, and walked through water for more than two crossbow flights before we could reach the shore.
  • The boats could not approach nearer because of certain rocks in the water.
  • 11 men remained behind to guard the boats.

When we reached land, the natives of more than 1,500 had formed in three divisions.

  • When they saw us, they charged down upon us with exceeding loud cries, two divisions on our flanks and the other on our front.
  • Magellan formed us into two divisions and we began to fight.
  • The musketeers and crossbowmen shot uselessly for about a half-hour because the shots only passed through the shields which were made of thin wood.
  • Magellan cried to them, “Cease firing! cease firing!” but his order was not at all heeded.
  • When the natives saw that we were shooting our muskets to no purpose, they redoubled their shouts to stand firm.
  • When we fired muskets, the natives would never stand still, but leaped about covering themselves with their shields.
  • They shot so many arrows at us and hurled so many bamboo spears (some of them tipped with iron) at Magellan, besides pointed stakes hardened with fire, stones, and mud, that we could scarcely defend ourselves.
  • Magellan sent some men to burn their houses to terrify them, but made them more furious.
  • We burned 20-30 houses at the cost of two of our men being killed.
  • So many of them charged down upon us that they shot Magellan through the right leg with a poisoned arrow.

He ordered us to retire slowly, but the men ran away except 8 of us who remained with Magellan.

  • The natives shot only at our legs, for the latter were bare.
  • So many were the spears and stones that they hurled at us, that we could offer no resistance.
  • The mortars in the boats could not aid us as they were too far away.

So we continued to retire for more than a good crossbow flight from the shore always fighting up to our knees in the water.

  • The natives continued to pursue us, and picking up the same spear four or six times, hurled it at us again and again.

So many turned on Magellan that they knocked his helmet off his head twice, but he always stood firmly like a good knight, together with some others.

  • Thus we fought for more than one hour, refusing to retreat
  • A native hurled a bamboo spear into Magellan’s face, but Magellan immediately killed him with his lance which stayed in the native’s body. Magellan could not retrive it as he was wounded in the arm with a bamboo spear.
  • When the natives saw that, they all hurled themselves upon him.
  • One of them wounded him on the left leg with a large cutlass which caused Magellan to fall face downward.
  • They immediately rushed upon him with iron and bamboo spears and with their cutlasses, until they killed him
  • Magellan turned around many times to see whether we were all in the boats.

We then retreated, as best we could, to the boats, which were already pulling off.

  • Raja Humabon would have aided us, but Magellan told him not to leave his balanghai, but to stay to see how we fought.
  • When the king learned that Magellan was dead, he wept.
  • Had it not been for Magellan, not a single one of us would have been saved in the boats, for while he was fighting the others retired to the boats.

I hope that the fame of Magellan will not become effaced in our times.

  • He was more constant than ever any one else in the greatest of adversity.
  • He endured hunger better than all the others, and more accurately than any man in the world did he understand sea charts and navigation.
  • And that this was the truth was seen openly, for no other had had so much natural talent [183]nor the boldness to learn how to circumnavigate the world, as he had almost done.
  • That battle was fought on Saturday, April 27, 1521.
  • He wanted to fight on Saturday, because it was the day especially holy to him.
  • Eight of our men were killed with him in that battle, and four natives, who had become Christians and who had come afterward to aid us were killed by the mortars of the boats.
  • Of the enemy, only 15 were killed, while many of us were wounded.

In the afternoon, Humabon sent a message with our consent to the people of Mactan, to give us Magellan and the other dead men and we would give them as much merchandise as they wished.

  • They answered that they would not give up such a man, as we imagined [they would do], and that they would not give him for all the riches in the world, but that they intended to keep him as a memorial

On that day, the four men who had remained in the city to trade, had our merchandise carried to the ships.

Then we chose two commanders Duarte Barboza, a Portuguese and Magellan’s relative and Johan Seranno, a Spaniard.

  • Henrich our interpreter, was wounded slightly, he would not go ashore any more to attend to our necessary affairs, but always kept his bed.
  • Barboza cried out to him that although Magellan was dead, he was not free.
  • On the contrary Barboza, would see to it that when we should reach Espagnia, he should still be the slave of Doña Beatrice, Magellan’s wife.
  • He threatened to flog Henrich, so Henrich arose and went ashore to tell Humabon that we were about to leave very soon, but that if Humabon followed his advice, they could gain the ships and all our merchandise.
  • So they arranged a plot, and Henrich returned to the ship where he showed that he was more cunning than before.

On Wednesday morning, May 1, Humabon sent word to the commanders that the jewels which he had promised to send to the king of Spagnia were ready, and that he begged them and their other companions to come to dine with him that morning, when he would give them the jewels.

24 men went ashore, among whom was our astrologer, San Martín de Sivilla. I could not go because my face was swollen by a poisoned arrow.

  • Jovan Carvaio and the constable returned.
  • They told us that they saw the man who had been cured by a miracle.
  • He took the priest to his house.
  • But they left that place because they suspected some evil.
  • We suddenly heard loud cries so we immediately weighed anchor and fired many mortars into the houses and drew in nearer to the shore.
  • We saw Johan Seranno in his shirt bound and wounded, crying to us not to stop firing, for the natives would kill him.
  • He told us that all the others were dead except Henrich.
  • He begged us to redeem him with some of the merchandise.
  • But Johan Carvaio, his boon companion, and others would not allow the boat to go ashore.
  • We then immediately departed. I do not know whether he is dead or alive.

Cebu is a large island with dogs, cats, rice, millet, panicum, sorgo, ginger, bananas, oranges, lemons, sugarcane, garlic, honey, cocoanuts, nangcas, gourds, flesh of many kinds, palm wine, and gold.

  • It has a good port with two entrances—one to the west and the other to the east northeast.
  • It lies in x degrees of latitude toward the Arctic Pole, and in a longitude of 164 degrees from the line of demarcation.
  • We heard of Moluccas there before the death of Magellan.
  • Those people play a violin with copper strings.

18 leguas from Cebu is another island called Bohol where we burned the ship “Conceptione,” for too few men of us were left [to work it].

  • We stowed the best of its contents in the other two ships, and the laid our course toward the south southwest, coasting along the island called Panilongon, where black men like those in Etiopia live.


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