Half a Millenium after Magellan

Analysis and Opinion

By Irineo B. R. Salazar

The late Yoyoy Villame sang “on March 16, 1521, the Philippines was discovered by Magellan” and the late Edgar Lores can be seen practically singing along in an old comment. That a wise man like Edgar likes a comedian’s song is not surprising to me, as Filipino humor is often a form of wisdom. Villame captures what the “discovery” means to Filipinos by praising the coming of Catholicism but also making fun of Magellan getting killed: “Mama, Mama, I am sick, call the doctor very quick!” Events of half a millennium have made the Philippines what it is now, and it somehow started then.

Magellan in the Philippines (source: Pinterest)


Some comments after Karl says: “were they looking for the spice girls. carlos de cinco must have wanted a carlos de sais. Instead he had felipe and Felipe is so makulit he kept on saying Felipe no, thus we are called Filipinos.” Well, indeed they were after spices, as Magellan had been part of the conquest of Malacca in 1511. His friend Serrão made his way to Ternate in the Moluccas, the Spice Islands, and was a sort of adviser to the Sultan there, getting killed the same year as Magellan.

This article is about what happened back then and the ensuing trajectory to today’s Philippines.



Accounts that Serrão was stranded in Mindanao on his way are unlikely, as the Moluccas to Mindanao is more than a thousand kilometers; maybe it was Manado in Sulawesi. By the same principle, I doubt that the the first mass was in Mazaua, Butuan and not in Limasawa. The sources say Kolambu, the first Filipino (Waray) chief they encountered, had volunteered to guide them to Cebu, and it simply doesn’t make sense to go the long way to Cebu, especially if a local is on board helping.

The master’s thesis „THE SPANISH PACIFICATION OF THE PHILIPPINES – 1565 – 1600“ is thorough with sourcesand easily readable. This disclaimer is obligatory though as it is a US Navy officer’s thesis: “The opinions and views expressed therein are those of the student author and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College or any other governmental agency”. The account of how rude Magellan actually was to Humabon, how the attack at Mactan took place at low tide (the chronicler Pigafetta writes that their cannons were out of range) and of course Humabon inviting Magellan’s men to a banquet after their defeat – to slaughter them – make me wonder if Lapu-Lapu and Humabon were just pretending to be enemies (moro-moro). Even as rivals over sea tolls, they may have engaged in a temporary alliance (pintakasi).

Written accounts are only the testimonial evidence of history, and the forensic evidence of history like archaeology and genetics can tell us about trade and living conditions or about migrations, but little about actual persons and events. In any case, Warays were documented as friendly to Magellan in March 16, 1521, but not as friendly to Villalobos (the one to call the archipelago Felipinas) over twenty years later. It is possible that they may have heard of what happened – and remembered.

Indian Ocean Trading Network of two millennia ago (Source: Discover Magazine)


Recent research has revealed fascinating things about the bigger picture too, such as an Indian Ocean trading network which joined all three continents of Asia, Europe and Africa that already existed two millennia ago, nearly forgotten by history. Recent publications mention an earlier  maritime trading network in the Indian Ocean by Austronesians, the first humans to venture oceanic voyages, with monsoon winds helping them get all the way to Madagascar. Filipinos are Austronesians, related not only Indonesians and Malaysians but also to the peoples of the Pacific. And they were not touched by foreign influence the first time in 1521. An article of mine here has described how Indian and Islamic influences reached maritime Southeast Asia way before Magellan. And Arab maps may well have helped the Portuguese find their way in the Indian Ocean. This does put Magellan into context.

Commenter sonny asks in the comment thread where his fellow Ilocano Edgar sings: “Magellan stumbled upon our part of the Malay archipelago because of what? The standard answer is to seek the best route to the islands of Ternate & Tidore. The known route then was to hug the African coastline by going as far south as one can and then hang a left at the Straits of Malacca and go eastwards to the two islands. The Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494 is part of the answer. A non-dashed straight line through the Atlantic split up the world between Spain and Portugal, very presumptuous, but it basically gave most of the Americas to Spain (Brazil just barely juts out of that line) and the Asian areas to Portugal. So Magellan decided to sail around the globe to get to the Moluccas, and possibly the sea currents that also pass through Guam where he was as well account for the drift. In any case, the expedition still even made a profit with spices Elcano brought back from Tidore, the rival of Ternate in the Moluccas. Two expeditions – Loaisa in 1526 and Saavedra(from Mexico) in 1528 – went straight for the Moluccas, but just managed to end up captured by the Portuguese.

So the Treaty of Zaragoza in 1529 put the Philippines to the West of a Pacific Ocean demarcation line, on the Portuguese “side” of the world. Villalobos nonetheless went for and named the Philippines in 1544. He ended up dying in Portuguese captivity. A mountain of silver discovered in Potosí, Bolivia in 1545 as the resource that was to fuel the galleon trade changed the business equation. Still the next expedition to sail to the Philippines started only in 1564 from Mexico – by order of Philipp II himself.

Legazpi was back in Cebu in 1565, including an episode described in the military master’s thesis with tuba (Cebuano liquor), young women and temptations which might amuse our commenter LCPL_X.  Raja Tupas of Cebu was wary of the Spaniards who had this time come from Mexico in huge force. Urdaneta found the northward Pacific current and the tornaviaje, the way back to Mexico from there via the California coast, and soon reinforcements came. Finally Visayans from Panay and Cebu joined Legazpi in 1571 when he ventured towards Manila, then a Muslim ally of Brunei,and conquered it.


Through several challenges – Limahong in 1574, the attemptto attack Brunei in 1578 and the Tondo conspiracy of 1587-88(which had rebelling Manila nobles asking for help from Brunei and Palawan), Spanish Manila soon consolidated itself as hub of the galleon trade, mainly Chinese wares for silverfrom the Andes. Ming dynasty loyalist Koxinga in 1620 (who finally occupied Taiwan) was a further challenge that caused Spain to pull its troops out of most of Mindanao and the Moluccas. Finally, we have Sultan Kudarat saying this to Maranao datus in 1639: “Do you realize what subjection would reduce you to? A toilsome slavery under the Spaniards! Turn your eyes to the subject nations and look at the misery to which such glorious nations [Tagalogs & Visayans] have been reduced to.”



Commenter sonny also asked this question:  How do we draw the historical trajectories we would like to be enlightened by? what national pathology would we like to trace and understand? our economics? our politics? our“damaged culture”? our “pathetic” religiosity? our colonial mentality? Questions, questions and more questions.Journalism 101 suggests we find the answers as to the Who, where, what, when, why, how of things. Our textbooks through the decades have fed us partial answers to these questions. Or is it just me who wonder about these things in this manner?I attempt to find answers to that question using history, looking at trade, industry, land, power and freedom.

TRADE. The Suma Oriental of Tome Pires who had stayed in Malacca fascinatingly tells of Luçoes, most probably Luzonians, having three ships there, trading in gold, honey and beeswax and also trading with Borneo, that most were “heathens”, have “no kings, just elders” and are described as hardworking. Raiding, Trading and Feasting by Laura Lee Junker says the Philippines (Manila, Mindoro, Pangasinan, Cebu, Jolo and Cotabato) had trade with Thailand, Borneo, China and Japan (the latter mostly with Mindoro and Manila) at that time while the Sultanates of Maguindanao, Sulu and Brunei are mentioned as having been intermediaries in the China-Moluccas trade. After the Galleons by Benito Legarda furthermentions Filipino trade with Canton and the future“Indochina”.

The growing East Asian trade the Philippines was becoming part of died down in favor of the galleon trade. Native elites were shut out of it. Spaniards in the Philippines held precious cargo space on galleons based on their rank. The enterprising nature of Filipinos still came through with Filipinos jumping ship in Acapulco, where “tuba fresca is sold to this day, Mexicans with Malay features in the state of Guerrero, and even Filipino religious groups in Mexico City that existed in early years.

Cash crop planting, mainly sugar, tobacco and abaca from the late 18th century onwards did revive foreign trade, with parts of the native elites (by then assimilated into the system as principalia), Chinese and Spanish mestizos rising up as a new elite, with a few foreigners and Spanish in the mix.

INDUSTRY. Junker mentions that craftsmen enjoyed a special status in the early Philippines and were protected by chiefs as the goods they produced were important for foreign trade. Blacksmiths that produced weapons (including Malay cannons called lantakas which defended the old wooden fortress of Manila), wood carvers, carpenters who built houses and boats, weavers of high quality. The Filipino carpenter my father usually hired produced furniture similar to the Balinese furniture sold for a high price in the West. Filipino weavers especially among the indigenous still produce magnificent cloth. One could think of craftsmen as the growing middle class of the old Philippines.

The galleon trade had use for hardworking Filipinos to build galleons and to man them – but not for the products they could create. Shipbuilding and weapon making of course regressed;I guess the Spaniards had no interest in technologies that could be used to attack them. The plantation economy that got started in the late 18th century did bring wealth and some technology that was used to process crops – sugarcane to sugar, making abaca shippable, tobacco into cigars etc. – but mostly stopped there as processing into finished products (for example shipping rope) was done abroad.

Low literacy will also have impeded industrialization – the Philippines only had 20% literacy pre-WW1, with rapid school expansion in the 1930s bringing it to middle range (30-75%) by the 1950s. But some say the US$-PHP fixed exchange rate of 1:2 after Independence in 1946 was a disadvantage as imported US goods were cheap and local goods uncompetitive internationally, the opposite of the situation in some other Asian countries. And reactive as sovery often, all the Philippines did when the exchange rate was lowered in 1962 and 1970 was to increase coconut land. The Bretton Woods era of fixed exchange rates only lasted until 1973, when the floating exchange rates of today started.

Marcos did try to attract foreign manufacturing via EPZA (export processing zones), a mechanism known as PEZA today, with heavy tax breaks. Even the later BPO boom heavily relied on PEZA. Walden Bello says that going all-in for neoliberalism from 1995 onwards damaged local industries such as shoes as they were exposed unprepared to foreign competition.

Real industrialization and innovation means investment. Seems it was always easier to make money with crops and with Filipino labor – indirectly as well via monopolistic utilities, malls and subdivisions.

LAND. William Henry Scott in Prehispanic Filipino Concepts of Land Rights mentions that land was not bought or sold in the Philippines before Spanish times. Junker says Spanish 16thand 17th century sources say the datu owned the lands and distributed them to his people – though those people were nebulously defined by the chief’s alliance network that expanded or contracted over time. Cordilleran leader Macli-ing Dulag famously said during the Marcos era that “Only the race owns the land as the the race lives forever”. Farmers were free in any case, not sharecroppers in those days.

Early Spanish conquest in the Philippines gave encomiendasto Spanish officers, exploitative land grants. The burden on the local economy including abandoned fields and formerly free peasants turned into debt slaves due to over taxation is known, causing private encomiendas to be abandoned unlike in Latin America. Public encomiendas, especially those run by monastic orders continued. Inquilinos, often native elites, leased land from the Church and had sharecroppers till the soil in exchange for a part of the harvest. Scott mentions how some native elites bought and sold land.

The reduccíon put Filipinos “under the bells”, though forced labor and taxation made some become remontados, while of course many in isolated areas were only gradually touched by colonial rule.  Coconut planting started in 1642 as it supplied material for the galleons. Cash crop planting, mainly sugar, tobacco and abaca from the late 18th century onwards as well as population increasing from one to eight million in the 19thcentury decreased subsistence land, making banditry rampant.By contrast, Legarda says that the Philippines exported a lot of rice to China in the 1820s-1850s.

A Spanish initiative to legalize land titles in the late 19thcentury as well as the Torrens titling during the US period further concentrated property among those with awareness of the law. A Harvard Business School paper notes that many people were not able to title their land in the early American period as they lacked the money for the necessary legal fees. The sale of friar lands by the United States mostly benefitted those who already had money/power. The Colorum and Sakdal revolts of the 1920s and 1930s were due to yet more landless peasants. Land reform attempts all have failed.

Around 1600 there were around 800 thousand people in Luzon and the Visayas – a population density of five people per square kilometer, and around 250 thousand people in Mindanao – just 2.5 people per square kilometer. Metro Manila has 500 thousand people per square kilometer today, with no space left for pigs, chickens or goats some urban poor once kept. In rural areas mining and subdivisions have further reduced total arable land. Forest cover has declinedsignificantly (70% of the Philippines covered in 1900, 40% in the 1960s and only 23.7% by 1987), endangering watersheds.

POWER. Mayor Duterte infamously taunted Mar Roxas in a Presidential debate that one who is afraid of killing or being killed cannot be President. Bagobo tribal leaders in Mindanao also had tattoos as a mark of how many they had killed like the Visayans (called Pintados by the Spaniards due to their tattoos) and others did, but their leadership also arose from recognized maturity: “Followers can withdraw allegiance when the figure is no longer regarded as having preserved that admirable or compelling core energy.”  What led to the present distortion of ancient tribal warrior values?

A paper with an objectionable name has revealing contents, mentioning how often Spain relied on native soldiers to suppress uprisings, and that often the native:Spanish ratio was 5:1. Some native soldiers joined due to debt, some for glory and ambition. Being soldiers against one’s own people, often with forced conscripts or even criminals as colleagues on the Spanish side, must have been one root of todays often mentioned culture of impunity. Spanish introducing the Guardia Civil in the 19th century (with Filipinos serving in it too), American introduction of the Constabulary in the 20thcentury (mainly Filipinos) and Marcos’ national consolidation of police forces just continued things.

Bagobo shield from Davao, pre-1910, from the University of Pennsylvania Museum


Though King Philipp II in 1594 recognized the rights of native elites, the principalia, they only had positions like cabeza de barangay (basically barangay captain) and gobernadorcillo (mayor) open to them. Province governors and above were Spaniards. Nobody in Aguinaldo’s Republic had experience running anything above municipal level. That gradually changed during American rule (Philippine Assembly in 1908, Senate from 1916, Insular Government) until the Commonwealth in 1935.

Even then after the war until 1991 the Philippines did not have to defend itself from outside threats, and only seriously embarked on what should have been the consequence of throwing out US bases – Armed Forces Modernization – in the time of President Benigno Aquino III.  Filipino armed forces only fought against foreign troops in 1646 (against the Dutch with Spain), from 1896-1902 (against Spain and the USA) and 1942-44 (against Japan with the USA), otherwise mostly against Filipinos. General Tadiar NOT firing on fellow Filipinos on EDSA in 1986 strongly stands out in this context.

Local political families were already violent during Commonwealth times and often became warlords after World War 2. Some of them are vividly described in Alfred McCoy’s An Anarchy of Families. Martial law had centralization of armed power, ostensibly to deal with warlords and rebels, including a Communist rebellion that had reignited barely a decade after Magsaysay, and the Muslim rebellion partly rooted in land conflicts due to postwar migration to Mindanao.  Gloria Arroyo restoked internal conflicts and it seems boughtmilitary leaders. The old issues in the countryside and the newer issues with urban poor remain unresolved, brutality still the main answer and worst today. This is all intertwined with issues of land in rural areas and not enough industry in urban areas.

FREEDOM. For centuries, uprisings were local in character, often due to over taxation, though some had an idea of freedom: Dagohoy for instance, a Visayan local leader who went up the mountains with his followers, who held out until after his death. Diego Silang allied with the British in trying to establish an independent Ilocano state, with his wife Gabriela continuing his fight after his death. Sometimes it was religious freedom: Tamblot was a very early rebel, a native priest who led a group of apostates in Bohol from 1621-22. HermanoPule was a leader of a native Christian group with 4000 followers in the 19th century. Filipino priests fought for equal status as well.  Jesuits were initially expelled from the colony as they were considered too radical by some, and later allowed to return.

The 19th century also had the Bayot brothers in 1822 and Andreas Novales in 1823, all Philippine-born Spanish officers, shortly trying to go the same way as the creole Spaniards in Latin America. The children of the new commercial elites of the Philippines were able to attend college, and noticed the struggle between liberalizing and reactionary forces in Spain. Governor Carlos Maria dela Torre ruled from 1868-1871 and entertained the non-Castilian elites of the country in his palace. His successor Rafael Izquierdo was the opposite. A mutiny of soldiers in Cavite in 1872 was blamed on Gomburza(the reformist Filipino priests Gomez, Burgos and Zamora) who were garroted. Their execution politicized an entire generation, even some who went to Europe to study, much easier by then as the Suez Canal had opened in 1868. Rizal was of course among these ilustrados (enlightened ones).

Rizal portrayed in his novels how those with independent ideas were called filibusteros (subversives) by priests and authorities, the 19th-century equivalent of red tagging, with very similar dangers.

Jim Richardson’s “The Light of Liberty: Documents and Studies on the Katipunan, 1892-1897” and the page http://www.kasaysayan-kkk.info/ with original source material show that Bonifacio’s Katipunan had “membership.. from all classes” and saw themselves as continuing the work of Rizal, Marcelo del Pilar and other propagandists” i.e. the ilustrados in Europe and “was at its core a modern, forward-looking organization, rationalist and secular.” Certainly it had members who used cult-like symbols, and bandit-like characters. Bonifacio mentioned that without well-being (kaginhawaan) and decency (kabutihang-loob) there was no use for freedom. The former I think recognized the enormous gap in wealth and the latter echoed Rizal’s “what if the slaves of today become the tyrants of tomorrow”. Both Rizal and Bonifacio I think recognized the potential of Filipinos to be nasty to one another.

Manolo Quezon describes the Philippine revolution, the Japanese occupation, the late Marcos era and the present pandemic as major economic catastrophes with grandparents as witnesses to the previous one. Economic precariousness can often breed a mentality of every group for itself.

Add to that a middle class not mainly built upon own industrialization or a stable agricultural base. Bonifaciobelonged to a new middle class employed in foreign trade houses, just like today’s new middle class was partly due to BPO money. Though the old middle class was instrumental to EDSA, a lot of them had already left from 1965-1985 and even more left afterwards. A stable middle class is essential to a real democracy, but the new middle class from OFW and BPO money voted Duterte. Does that come from the same insecurity that attracted the old middle class to Marcos before 1972?

Also interesting is that the first Philippine election law in 1907 required one to have been a local official in the Spanish Philippines, have a certain minimum wealth or be literate. Literacy was retained as a requirement in the 1935 Constitution but dropped by the 1973 Constitution. Previously I mentioned that broad literacy only existed starting with the 1950s. Let us also consider what world many Filipino’s grandparents or parents grew up in. Manila did have first electricity in the 1890s, but by 1969 only 5.8% of homes in rural areas were electrified. In addition the public education system was already messed up in the 1970s; I recall that children from Balara dropped out because of a no-fail policy because of which some no longer managed to catch up with subjects. I know of a former teacher in Cagayan who in the 1970s went uphill to teach kids who did not even speak Ilocano, much less Filipino or English. I guess many like her left the country due to those conditions and low salary.Creating the broad general education needed for democracy seems to have failed, looking at this.

By EDSA Dos/Tres society had become highly fragmented.The 2016 election, the political ignorance of many who got Facebook via free data and later high poll ratings for Duterteshocked many people.



Of course I am not an expert, just someone trying to put together a huge puzzle with missing pieces. But what I have been able to put together so far, also in the Going Home seriesof articles together with Karl, could explain a lot of the issues many have observed about the Philippines today:

  • Weakness of civic society and democratic institutionscaused by lack of conviction/cohesion
  • Social injustice caused by huge wealth gaps and lack of strong industry and agriculture
  • Power that often rejects accountability and people who try not to offend the powerful
  • A violent streak in society coming from both the powerful and the desperately powerless
  • A unevenly educated, mostly unenlightened society thatoften demonizes thinkers/activists

Joe already has identified the messed-up situation when it comes to land and lack of opportunity as major factors that need to be addressed for the well-being of most Filipinos. Filipinos going abroad as OFWs since 1975 may actually have saved the country from major implosion or total civil war. Inspite of EPZA, later PEZA, foreign factories have come and gone, so a stable base of blue-collar jobs is still missing. BPO did help create the new middle class but that is transitory if not used to ramp up one’s own innovation. Just as an own stable industrial base and productive agriculture are important.

My essay The National Village was about the persistence of village-like attitudes even when it comes to the nation. Gideon Lasco also says in The Philippines Is Not A Small Countrythat the Philippines is bigger than Italy and significantly larger than Britain, and that Mindanao is larger than Ireland – and that thinking the Philippines is small is self-limiting. The classic “Heritage of Smallness” essay of Nick Joaquin already said: “Society for the Filipino is a small rowboat: the barangay. Geography for the Filipino is a small locality: the barrio.” Lots of Filipinos are only generations removed from there. The Netflix series Trese and the comic that preceded it indeed go by a very interesting premise: “When Filipinos moved out of the provinces to the city, did they bring their monsters and gods with them?”


The supernatural detective Alexandra Trese is also described as a babaylan, the term for the ancient priestesses of the Philippines, who were displaced by Spanish friars in the villages of old. The friars employed clever strategies in the islands, such as teaching the children of the principalia first as well as using the fiesta, latching onto the power of chiefs and the old culture of feasting. A culture whose languages are all still basically gender-neutral imbibed a strong patriarchal influence in the process.

The unique mix of native and Christian elements, the role of cultic symbols even in the Katipunan which was at its core progressive, the mix of Christian symbolism and democratic ideals at EDSA, the contrasts between the fictional Padre Damaso and the meteorologist Padre Faura, the male Black Nazarene and the female Lady of Peñafrancia – all of this has very old roots, most certainly even the present clashesbetween President Duterte and those around him with a lot of strong women.

Possibly the difficulty some Filipinos have in understanding satire has to do with being taught to receive what is said by elders, the powerful and the knowledgeable as gospel truth. Recently, satire by Duterte Watchdog on Twitter was believed by many. He made Tito Sotto “say” that two doses of Sinovacvaccine have 100% efficacy because each has 50% efficacy. Interestingly, Jim Paredes, whose band Apo Hiking Society had heavily satirized Marcos in a live album back in 1985, was one of the first to ask whether it was satire. Filipino humor was often part of resistance, even in Rizal’s Noli.

My article about Widening Philippine Horizons was also about how the world of perceptions and the world of what is dictated as true by many figures of authority prevent a more enlightened attitude. Now we certainly learn from past generations and would be naked without them, but it is also important for new generations to add their lessons learned to the culture (the sum total of all a people has learned in millennia, in my personal definition) so that it can adapt to new challenges.

For instance in the old days, you were a follower of a chief,nowadays of a politician or an ideological grouping. National settings may need a concept of pluralism, which Karl interestingly defines like this in his EDSA article (excerpt): “In my opinion, there should be a balance among the isms from Socialism to Neoliberalism. After all, another ism, called the prism, has many colors. Democracy does not mean irresponsible freedom. ..With inspirational leadership, there would always be trust.”


Will Villanueva though reacted to Karl’s EDSA article as follows (excerpt): ..No. Nothing works in the Philippines, nothing changes mindset, nothing pulls warring political tribes from the brink but God Himself.. ..The country is impervious to any change, as a gabi leaf resists water. It’s no wonder that President (ugh!) Duterte’s first acts were to distance himself and the country from God our redeemer by calling Him stupid and cursing the Pope..” Major point, as it is always shared beliefs that keep pluralism from turning into chaos. Even a Constitution is a secular kind of Ten Commandments.

In a recent lecture, novelist Ninotchka Rosca said that Filipinos – unlike Japanese, Koreans and even Indonesians – lack introspection. Opinions like above exchanged due to Karl’s recent EDSA article, also on Twitter, show the mustard seed of introspection can grow. It may need to be watered more.

Half a Millenium After Magellan, how will Filipinos take charge of their future national trajectory? What path to the future and what kind of future will they decide on? Will it be for better or worse?

Irineo B. R. Salazar

München, 23 February 2021


274 Responses to “Half a Millenium after Magellan”
  1. “Today, we commemorate the landing of the Magellan-Elcano expedition 500 years ago in what would become #PH. Warays gave comfort & succor to the sick & starving crew of the expedition. The @nqcPhilippines leads the commemoration w/ a series of events beginning TODAY.”

  2. https://philippinediaryproject.com/2021/03/05/the-magellan-expedition-and-elcanos-circumnavigation-500-years/

    Antonio Pigafetta, a Florentine navigator who went with Magellan on the first voyage around the world, wrote, upon his passage through our southern lands of America, a strictly accurate account that nonetheless resembles a venture into fantasy. In it he recorded that he had seen hogs with navels on their haunches, clawless birds whose hens laid eggs on the backs of their mates, and others still, resembling tongueless pelicans, with beaks like spoons. He wrote of having seen a misbegotten creature with the head and ears of a mule, a camel’s body, the legs of a deer and the whinny of a horse. He described how the first native encountered in Patagonia was confronted with a mirror, whereupon that impassioned giant lost his senses to the terror of his own image.
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Laureate Lecture

    Thus did Gabriel Garcia Marquez begin his 1982 Nobel Lecture. A Filipino looking at this lecture by the Father of Magical Realism might then turn to our very own Father of Tropical Baroque, Nick Joaquin, who, in a lecture of his own, delivered at the University of San Carlos in Cebu on April 21, 1979 put forward this argument:

    I know that the current approved fashion is to assert that our 400 years as a Western colony was merely an irrelevant interlude: not our history but an interruption of it; and that our true history is our development into a free nation of Asian culture. In this view, Lapu-Lapu is important as the first in a long line of heroes to resist the culture of the West; and our colonial history must be read as one long resistance movement, a movement that continued Lapu-Lapu’s heroic refusal to submit to the invading culture.
    That refusal was, of course, a definite reaction; but I think we tend to think that to react is always to go against: to resist or to reject. But to accept is also a reaction. To modify what is accepted is also a reaction. To change and be changed is also a reaction. Our folk Catholicism is as much a reaction to Christianity as, say, the novels of Rizal.
    Our resistance to Western culture is part of our history, of course, but only one part. The other half is our acceptance of that culture, the way we adapted it to our own uses, the way we modified it and were modified by it.
    When we say yes to something we are reacting as definitely to it as when we say no. In fact, when it comes to culture, reaction is often both a yes and a no at one and the same time. This is obvious in today’s Pinoy rock, which is our reaction to Western pop music. We say yes to that music by accepting its beat; but at the same time we say no to it by filipinizing that beat, by recreating rock into a “sariling atin.”
    Who of us would say now that the carabao-with-plow is not Philippine? Yet that entity, the carabao-and-plow, was a colonial creation, being our version of Western agriculture as it was in the 16th century. When we accepted the plow and the idea of a draft animal, weren’t we making history? Or are we to say that this development in our agriculture is not part of our history because “true” Philippine history must always mean the rejection, not the acceptance, of the invading culture? Yet the Filipino, if he is anything at all, is the product of the plow, not to mention the wheel, the road and bridge, the Roman alphabet, the printing press, the guitar, and all the other tools that invaded us in the 16th and 17th centuries.
    That is why I say that the Filipino is the result of a reaction to Western culture. And that is also why I can not say that the Filipino is the result of a reaction to Asian culture. And why not? Because there was little or no Asian culture for us to react to. Because, throughout our prehistory, Asia is conspicuous by its absence. In fact, all those centuries before 1521 should not have been a prehistory for us but a fully enlightened history, if Asia had been generous enough to make us a part of its history, of its culture, of itself. But, to repeat, Asia, before 1521, was conspicuous by its absence in Philippine culture.
    Nick Joaquin, “Lapu-Lapu and Humabon: The Filipino As Twins.” Paper read at the Symposium on Lapulapu, held at the University of San Carlos on April 21, 1979, under the auspices of the Cebuano Studies Center, the History Department of USC and the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development (Region VII).

    • https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2348350395298554&id=100003708496009 – Xiao Chua:



      Michael Charleston “Xiao” B. Chua
      Pamantasang De La Salle Maynila

      Noong 2019, ginunita ang ika-limandaang taon (Kwinsentenaryo) ng paglalayag ng ARMADA DE MALUCO (MAGELLAN-ELCANO EXPEDITION). Sa Martes gugunitain naman ang ika-limandaang taon ng pagkakapadpad nila dito.

      Ngunit ano ba ang kahalagahan nito sa ating kasaysayan?

      Noong pagsisimula ng ika-16 na siglo, nais ng kapwa Espanya at Portugal na mamayani sa paglalayag at pagdiskubre ng mga lupain dahil sa pangangailangan na makapangalakal ng kahit anong maitutumbas sa ginto. Ang tawag sa sistemang ito ay merkantilismo.

      Gayundin, nagkaroon sila ng mga tratado sa Santo Papa na tinatawag na Patronato Real, upang ang mga kaharian na ito ay mapondohan ang mga misyunero na magpapakalat ng Katolisismo kapalit ng pagkilala sa awtoridad ng Espanya at Portugal sa kanilang mga sinakop na lupain.

      Sa pamamagitan ng Kasunduan ng Tordesillas noong 1494, hinati ng Simbahan ang mundo. Lahat ng hindi pa nasasakop na lupain sa kaliwa ng 46°30′ kaliwa ng Greenwich ay sa Espanya habang ang sa kanan naman nito ay sa Portugal.

      Isang lugar na nasakop ng mga Portuges sa Asya ay ang Malacca (nasa Malaysia ngayon), kung saan dinadala ang mga rekado na nagmumula sa mga isla ng Moluccas (nasa Indonesia ngayon), ang tinaguriang “Spice Islands” na hawak ng mga Muslim.

      Isang kawal na Portuges, si Ferdinand Magellan, na nadestino na sa Malacca noon ay lumipat sa Espanya at nagpanukala sa hari nito na kaya niyang tumungo sa Moluccas nang hindi dumadaan sa Asya o sa mga Portuges dahil nga bilog ang mundo, at dahil dito may posibilidad pa na masakop ng Espanya ang Moluccas dahil wala na ito sa lugar na para sa mga Portuges.

      Nagustuhan ng Hari ng Espanya, ang Santo Emperador Romano na si Carlos Quinto ang mungkahi ni Magellan. Nangutang ang hari sa mga bangkerong Aleman na Fugger upang tustusan ang grupo ng limang barkong tinatawag na “nao” at iba pang gastusin upang nakapaglayag ang ekspedisyon. Ang grupo ng barko, o Armada, ay binubuo ng limang nao: Ang Trinidad ang pangunahing barko kung saan si Magellan mismo ang kapitan, San Antonio, Concepcion, Victoria at Santiago.

      Isinama ni Magellan sa paglalakbay si Antonio Pigafetta, isang maginoong taga-Venecia na ang papel sa ekspedisyon ay sumulat ng mga tala ng kasaysayan ng ekspedisyon; at ang kanyang alipin na si Enrique na nakuha niya mula sa Malacca na naging mahalagang bahagi ng paglalakbay pagdating sa kapuluang ito dahil maalam pala siya sa mga wika ng mga narito.

      Maraming nagtaas ng kilay sa pagkakatalaga sa isang kaduda-dudang dayuhan tulad ni Magellan para sa misyon. Isa na dito ang makapangyarihang pinuno ng Casa de Contratacion ng Espanya na si Obispo Juan Rodriguez Cardinal Fonseca subalit nakakuha rin sa Magellan ng kasunduan sa hari at sa Casa de Contratacion na kung anuman ang kikitain sa mga nasakop na lupain para sa Espanya ay makikinabang at magkakaroon ng bahagi ang mga tagapagtuklas at ang kanilang mga susunod na salinlahi!

      Ito ang diwa ng empresa at pakikipagsapalaran na nagdala kay Magellan, bagong kasal lamang sa isang dilag na taga-Sevilla na iwan ang kanyang aristokratang pamumuhay at pamunuan ang Armada de Maluco na umalis ng Espanya noong 20 Setyembre 1519.

      Ang Armada de Maluco ang naging dahilan ng pagkakadiskubre ng ruta upang makalusot ang mga barko mula Atlantiko patungong Pasipiko. Ito ay naisakatuparan sa kabila nang bagyo, lamig, lungkot at napakahirap na kapaligran sa pinakadulong bahagi ng Timog Amerika. Dito napatunayan ang galing ni Magellan bilang manlalayag at sa kanyang tagumpay ipinangalan sa kanya ang lagusang ito—ang Straits of Magellan.

      Ang paglalakbay ni Columbus patungo sa America ay tatlumpu’t limang araw lamang, ngunit inabot ng mahigit isang taon na ang paglalakabay ni Magellan. Hapong-hapo at gutom na gutom na sila sa dami ng buwan sa karagatan at iba’t ibang problema tulad nang pag-aalsa at pagtakas ng ibang kasamahan, nang matagpuan nila ang Guam at ang Pilipinas.

      Akala natin na ang dumating ang mga Espanyol sa Pilipinas na malalakas na mga mananakop pero dumating talaga silang lupaypay at takot. Ngunit nilapitan sila ng ating mga ninuno mula sa Suluan (ngayo’y Guiuan, Eastern Samar) at kahit hindi nagkaintindihan, alam ng mga ninuno na nangangailangan ang mga ito. Sanay rin sila sa pakikipagkalakalan at walang kinikilalang kulay o lahi ang kanilang kabutihan. Bumalik sila nang may dalawang bangkang pagkain at kinalinga ang mga maysakit. Maaaring namatay na sa panghihina ang mga tao sa Armada sa puntong iyon at wala tayong pag-uusapan na unang pag-ikot ng mundo.

      At bagama’t pinasisinungalingan ang sinasabing nadikubre ng mga Espanyol ang mga Pilipino ng mga historyador ngayon, mas maganda sigurong sabihin sa sa mga pangyayari noong 1521 ay mas nadiskubre o mas nakilala natin ang isa’t isa.

      Ang pagkakapadpad nila sa Pilipinas ang muling nagbigay sigla sa paglalakbay dahil sa kasaganaan na kanilang nasumpungan sa mga islang ito. Ito ay sa kabila ng pagkamatay ni Magellan dito noong 27 Abril 1521 sa kamay ni Lapulapu at ng mga taga Mactan; at ng iba pang mga pinuno ng armada sa kamay ng mga taga Cebu. Ito ay matapos panghimasukan ang ating mga ugnayan. Kumbaga, pinapakita ng mga ninuno natin na mabuti kami sa lahat ngunit aalma kami sa panghihimasok ng dayuhan.

      Ngunit sa kabila nito, ang pagkapadpad sa Pilipinas ang nagbigay daan para ang ang natitirang tatlong barko ay makatungo sa Moluccas at nakuha rin nila ang mga rekadong kanilang pinakaaasam-asam.

      Sa 260 katao na lumayag kasama ng ekspedisyon noong 1519, 18 na nangangayayat at hapong-hapong mga tauhan na lamang ang nakabalik sa Espanya sakay ng iisang barko, Ang Victoria, noong 1522 ngunit dala-dala nila ang mga mahahalagang rekadong sibuyas at kanela. Ang kinilala ng hari na pinakaunang umikot sa mundo ay ang pinuno ng Armada na nakabalik, si Juan Sebastian Elcano, subalit alam natin na hindi niya ito matatamo kung wala si Magellan at ang kanyang diwang mapagsapalaran. Mas nakilala natin ang mundong ating ginagalawan nang dahil sa kanya.

      Ang pagkilala na ito sa tagumpay na dulot ng Ekspedisyong Magellan-Elcano at ang palitan ng kultura na nangyari dahil sa enkuwentro na ito ng mga Espanyol at mga Pilipino ay hindi dapat na maging daan upang hindi naman kilalanin na ang mga paggalugad na ito ang nagbigay-daan sa magiging kolonisasyon ng Pilipinas at dapat matuto rin at pag-usapan ang mga hindi magandang naiduliot nito.

      Dahil bahagi ang Pilipinas sa kuwento ng trahedya at punyagi ng Armada de Maluco, na isang tagumpay sa sandaigdigan, ay dapat lamang nating pag-alayan ng interes at pagpapahalaga ang kuwento nito lalo na ngayong kwinsentenaryo o limandaang taong anibersaryo ng Tagumpay at Pakikipagkapwa-tao sa Mactan sa 2021.

      For further reading:

      Bergreen, Laurence. 2004. Over the edge of the world: Magellan’s terrifying circumnavigation of the globe. New York: Perennial.

      Gerona, Danilo Madrid. 2016. Ferdinand Magellan: The Armada de Maluco and the European discovery of the Philippines. Naga City: Spanish Galleon Publishing.

      Guillemard, Francis, Antonio Pigafetta, Francisco Albo, and Gaspar Correa. 2008. Magellan. England: Viartis.

      Pigafetta, Antonio. 1906. Magellan’s voyage around the world (3 volumes), James Alexander Robertson, trans. Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark.

      Pigafetta, Antonio. 2017. Unang paglalayag paikot ng daigdig, Phillip Yerro Kimpo, trans. Metro Manila: Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino.

      Zweig, Stefan. 2011. Magellan. London: Pushkin Press.

  3. https://twitter.com/mlq3/status/1371672243797827587 – more details on population which slightly correct my figures above:

    “From the 1500’s when we had 2.6 million people which in 300 years only tripled; from then, we now have over 100 million: a growth of about 14x in 200 years.”

    “Interesting is pre-American censusus (under Spain) begins with quoted figure of 667,612 taxable souls: but reckoning for that was actually per 4 heads, so: 2,670,448 in 1591! 1st Spanish government census in 1878: 5.5M; 1887: 5.9M; 1898 census never completed (7.8M is quoted).”

  4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_route#Austronesian_maritime_trade_network

    The first true maritime trade network in the Indian Ocean was by the Austronesian peoples of Island Southeast Asia,[52] who built the first ocean-going ships.[13] They established trade routes with Southern India and Sri Lanka as early as 1500 BC, ushering an exchange of material culture (like catamarans, outrigger boats, sewn-plank boats, and paan) and cultigens (like coconuts, sandalwood, bananas, and sugarcane); as well as connecting the material cultures of India and China. They constituted the majority of the Indian Ocean component of the spice trade network. Indonesians, in particular were trading in spices (mainly cinnamon and cassia) with East Africa using catamaran and outrigger boats and sailing with the help of the Westerlies in the Indian Ocean. This trade network expanded to reach as far as Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, resulting in the Austronesian colonization of Madagascar by the first half of the first millennium AD. It continued up to historic times, later becoming the Maritime Silk Road.[52][14][15][53][54] This trade network also included smaller trade routes within Island Southeast Asia, including the lingling-o jade network, and the trepanging network.
    In eastern Austronesia, various traditional maritime trade networks also existed. Among them was the ancient Lapita trade network of Island Melanesia;[55] the Hiri trade cycle, Sepik Coast exchange, and the Kula ring of Papua New Guinea;[55] the ancient trading voyages in Micronesia between the Mariana Islands and the Caroline Islands (and possibly also New Guinea and the Philippines);[56] and the vast inter-island trade networks of Polynesia.[57]

    (most sources mentioned in the Wiki as footnotes are very recent, i.e. this century. Lots of new evidence has been found)

    • sonny says:

      “… This trade network also included smaller trade routes within Island Southeast Asia, including the lingling-o jade network, and the trepanging network.”

      The first time (centennial year, 1998) I heard of this network was in the book edited by former Sec of Education, Ding de Jesus. It was in relation to slave raids of Muslims from Mindanao which were run at different times of the year for the purpose of slave labor from the other parts of the Philippine islands to keep the commercial trade with the Chinese. Trepang (sea cucumber) seemed to be an important trade item for the Chinese market.

      • sonny says:

        An exhaustive analysis of the slave trade by Moro raiders conducted around the Philippines can be found in the book Philippine Social History: Global Trade and Local Transformations

  5. “What struck e most was Ninotchka’s observation that Filipinos lack introspection.

    Growing up (maturity), developing one’s character and learning from mistakes are products of introspection.

    Is she saying that Filipinos have arrested development?”

    “Thanks, Ireneo.
    The context is: Most Filipinos seems to always rely on something outside themselves to give them power instead of looking inward and finding that power in themselves. The Darna touch is edifying.”

  6. “Today, @Philippine_Navy’s BRP Apolinario Mabini will meet the approaching @Armada_esp’s Juan Sebastián Elcano at sea, as the Elcano ship lands at Suluan Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar #PH, to symbolically reenact the historic event 500 years ago.”

  7. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=277989960356210&substory_index=1&id=100044356242925

    Note on the Balangiga bells – they were repatriated also thanks to US veteran groups that lobbied for it..

  8. LOOK: PhilPost employees show off the 200mm by 220mm 1734 Murillo Velarde map – the first scientific map of the Philippine archipelago nearly 300 years ago. (MB Photos by Ali Vicoy)

  9. sonny says:

    “Commenter sonny also asked this question: “How do we draw the historical trajectories we would like to be enlightened by? what national pathology would we like to trace and understand? our economics? our politics? our“damaged culture”? our “pathetic” religiosity? our colonial mentality? …”

    I formulated these questions way back during the Philippine Centennial year 1998. The VFA was then happening. For me, it was a welcome event to counteract the “mistake” of the pullout of Clark and Subic bases. I also recall American pubic opinion was for the cost reduction of foreign bases expenditures; the bad taste of James Fallows’ A DAMAGED CULTURE, I never recovered from; the “pathetic” religiosity of Filipinos is something the secular mind will never understand nor sympathize with.

    • sonny says:

      pubic = public, 🙂 as Karl would say Freudian typing slip. LC made me do it.

      • LCPL_X says:

        LOL! but actually MRP was the master of sexual innuendos and hidden meanings, I tend to be less poetic about these things. More direct, and practical, ie. over-population & nutrition solution.

        “Legazpi was back in Cebu in 1565, including an episode described in the military master’s thesis with tuba (Cebuano liquor), young women and temptations which might amuse our commenter LCPL_X. “

        From the same book above, the description of Spanish sailors and Humabon’s female constituents was pretty direct. I’ve always wanted to read it in its original from Pigafetta’s. Essentially, the sailors presented the young Cebuanas with trinkets and it was off to the forest they went for some DNA mixing, back when Cebu still had forests.

        Now most of that is done on Mango Street.

        I’ve always wondered what happened to the progeny of that first mixing. Did they all end up in Showbiz back in the 1540s? Or in the Lifestyle section of the newspapers back in the 1500s? By 1560s , when Legazpi returned, all that European-ness would’ve dissipated, so as historians and anthropologist only that small window of 1530s to 1550s is of interest, so the 50/50 mestizos would be the first, no?

        Probably the southern parts would already have Arab mestizos. But with Europeans that would be the first.

        The most similar encounter I read of, was in the Lewis & Clark expedition when they camped for the winter in the Mandan village, where they had a celebration in which young braves “donated” their wives to old braves (retired and old) in hopes of receiving their “medicine”– or power/luck/conatus . York, who was Clark’s slave was the most popular in said celebration as documented by the expedition.

        I’m thinking Humabon encouraged his dalagas or even maybe wives , to assert close encounters of the seventh kind , hoping to gain from the visit. What that power may have generated is of interest, not just for Showbiz and Lifestyle sections.

        p.s. — Ireneo, I wanted to introduce Walter Bagehot’s “English Constitution” (available as pdf and in youtube) to the previous blog, but I think its relevant here too per sonny‘s “Philippine software” comment below. As we know, there’s no written Constitution for the Brits, so Bagehot’s compendium is it. In it, Bagehot differentiates between Dignified and Efficient, efficient being the day to day routine of governance, whereas Dignified is the role of the Sovereign , its been chipped away for sure, but still what remains is the myth that the Crown answers to God alone, not the people. Very much like the Pope myth, or Quiboloy.

        There’s no portion allocated for Dignified in the US Constitution as well as the Philippine Constitution. So maybe more Filipinos should be reading Walter Bagehot (pronounced like gadget). Just a thought. I gotta feeling chemp would be the expert on him amongst all of us here. If you can get him to comment on Bagehot, karl, please do. Paging chempo!

        • Karl Garcia says:

          Have not been in touch with chempo for a long time, the last time was him sending holiday greetings in messenger to me.

        • LCPL_X, the entire journal of Pigafetta is now on the Web, day by day, thanks to MLQ3:


          As for the episode with Legazpi, here it is:

          Page 276: “The resignation to Spanish rule by Tupas represents the beginning of the pacification of the islands. During this initial period four issues arose that tend to reveal the differences and conflicts among the two cultures. The first concerned the drinking of tuba. After friendly relations had been established the people of Cebu began bringing various goods to the Spanish encampment, among these the drink tuba. Legazpi at ostensibly banned the trade in tuba because he stated that it was slightly alcoholic and encouraged people to go around drunk. However, the tuba vendors tended to be young women of the dependent class who had different attitudes regarding sex, noted in chapter two, than the staid and moralistic Legazpi. He forbade the women to enter the Spanish camp or to stay overnight, and admonished Tupas and the other elders for the
          practice bot they made light of the situation. As a result of the prohibition, a lively market in tuba bars sprung up in the village.”

          Mango Street, 1565?

          • LCPL_X says:

            Ah, thanks, this is perfect!!! But now, having flipped and scrolled thru these pages, the link you’ve given and am cross checking it to the only digitized version (in French , and I don’t speak a lick of French) available online that i’ve found,

            the date in question is MLQIII’s 15th-25th April 1521 log,

            [92] Those people go naked, wearing but one piece of palm-tree cloth about their private parts. The males, both young and old, have their penis pierced from one side to the other near the head, with a gold or tin bolt as large as a goose quill, and in both ends of the same bolt, some have what resembles a spur, with points upon the ends, and others [have] what resembles the head of a cart nail. I very often asked many, both old and young, to see their penis, because I could not believe it. In the middle of the bolt is a hole, through which they urinate. The bolt and the spurs always hold firm. They say that their women wish it so, and that if they did other- wise they would not have intercourse with them. When the men wish to have intercourse with their women, the women themselves take the penis, not in the regular way, and commence very gently to introduce it [into their vagina], with the spur on top first, and then the other part. When it is inside it takes its regular position; and thus the penis always stays inside until it gets soft, for otherwise they could not pull it out. Those people make use of that device because they are of a weak nature. They have as many wives as they wish, but one of them is the principal wife.

            [93] Whenever any of our men went ashore, both by day and by night, they invited him to eat and to drink. Their viands are half cooked and very salty; they drink frequently and copiously from the jars through those small reeds, and one of their meals lasts for five or six hours. The women loved us very much more than their own men. All of the women from the age of six years and upward have their vaginas gradually opened because of the men’s penises.


            I am thinking now that William Manchester in his description has taken some creative liberties from Pigafetta’s above account. The original Italian is lost, but from perusing thru this online digitized French copy, I think the above MLQIII link is the same as pages 98-102 here, https://collections.library.yale.edu/catalog/2017752

            Do you speak French, Ireneo? I’m trying to figure out what that “spur” is. Tribes in Papua New Guinea have gourds, I don’t think this is the same set-up.

        • sonny says:

          My allusion to Philippine hardware & software is mostly metaphorical, of course. The various primary sources cited by the various witnesses to the events between 16 Mar 1521 up to the exit of the Trinidad and Victoria are the data generated by the intersection of East meets West that is to become the new datum of the Filipino nation: the reports of the witnesses regarding the geographic stage (features of the archipelago, the real-estate) is verified and certified, the hardware so to speak; upon this physical stage, we can now trace the different complexes that are imposed by the different prisms (c. Karl) of human knowledge (anthropology, sociology, religion, governance, science, technology) IOW the software that we can now securely know is based on truth of, time, place and reflective thought.

          • sonny says:

            PS. Lapu-lapu in all likelihood was past 60 yrs of age and his men, not he, killed Magellan. He was defending his bastard son as he died fighting; his remains were cannibalized by Lapu-lapu’s men as trophy. (I cherry-picked these bits).

          • sonny says:

            PPS. The European discoverers of the Philippines were mostly of Visigothic extractions (Spain & Portugal); the litttoral Malay settlements were of Malay & Chinese (probably) provenance. Our Misses Universe, World, International, Earth are of Malay, Chinese, European physiognomies. The world is round indeed.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        It happens to the best of the UNC, though I believe that LCX inspired you.
        Re the comedy part and the corny stuff I have been asking you back then…
        Irineo decided to retain it against the wishes of someone close to him.
        Sometimes, we are given the latitude to express our sense of humor.
        That is what I like about TSOH, so long as the timing is apt.

    • sonny says:

      All the points in this article must be laid bare bcoz they constitute the Philippine “computer” hardware from which the Philippine software must be designed around for posterity.

      • Well, the Philippine condition has been described in different ways by different generations of observers both local and foreign, and there are both tight spots and saving graces even today.

        For instance the FB post below shows a strength of the culture not being too far removed from the village – people planting on empty spaces in Metro Manila as food prices rise is part of the capability to survive. A weakness of that would be the lack of deeper systemic understanding, Joaquin’s Heritage of Smallness which often does find ways where bigness fails. The key to a better future may indeed be in organizing subsidiarity to meet today’s challenges, upgrade it from a consciousness that among many is probably still better suited to the situation in the 16th to 18th centuries than that of the 21st to a modern one, though modern need not mean imitating what fits elsewhere. Let us see.


        • sonny says:

          I brought up these recurring questions in light of the pivot of events from an American hegemony to one in favor of China.

          • sonny says:

            (This belongs under my previous statements: ” I formulated these questions way back during the Philippine Centennial year 1998. The VFA was then happening. … etc” Sorry.)

  10. https://philippinesfreepress.wordpress.com/1961/03/18/the-death-of-the-guy-march-18-1961/ OT, Nick Joaquin’s reportage on Magsaysay’s death on March 18, 1957.

    Sonny, you are one of the few among the blog regulars that experienced that time. Karl was 14 when EDSA happened while you would have been 13 when Magsaysay died and two million of 20+ million attended his funeral.

    • sonny says:

      Irineo, the year was 1957, I just turned 13. The death of Pres Magsaysay was the first national tragedy my age group was exposed to. I was 2nd yr HS. The event was pre-empted for me by the death of my grandmother. I know the Magsaysay years were a heady time – the Huks were under check; There was general integrity in politics as we knew it; the controlled mayhem was only in sports (NCAA, UAAP, MICAA, Asian Games), UP was a warm bed of student activism, etc. There was literally plenty of room at a population of 32 million, foreign affairs were exactly that, foreign.

  11. More stuff from the master’s thesis: (page 218-220)

    Many people from surrounding districts were baptized during the
    following week. Estimates as to the numbers are guesswork but
    Transylvanus, from survivors’ figures, gives 2200.7 According to
    contemporary accounts, Cebu extended four to five statute miles along
    the seashore. It was a town of considerably larger size than any in the
    surrounding islands and therefore probably possessed a correspondingly
    greater influence through familial alliances. Magellan, probably
    interpreted the size of the barangay to be the determining factor in
    influence and so decided that establishing a strong Christian base in
    Cebu would allow for the establishment of preeminence over the
    surrounding islands and provide an effective defense against the
    Portuguese. He assumed, as did later voyagers, that the social
    hierarchy of the Cebuans also followed the European model and could use
    this as an effective means of control. That this is the case is
    indicated by Magellan, shortly after the baptism, attiring Humabon in a
    yellow and violet silk robe signifying royalty, compelling the
    neighboring chiefs at a formal ceremony to swear allegiance to the
    Cebuan datu, and compelling Humabon, in turn, to swear allegiance to the
    king of Spain. The most incongruous action in furtherance of this
    strategy occurred when Magellan presented Humabon with a red velvet
    chair and gave him instructions to have it carried before him at all
    public ceremonies. 76
    Having achieved the wholesale baptism of the Filipinos, Magellan
    then insisted that they burn their old religious idols. The natives
    replied that they could not because they were offering sacrifices for
    the datu’s brother, a man very well respected, who was seriously ill.
    That they were keeping their old idols because of the sick man was
    probably a polite excuse to an impolite demand. The flexible, almost
    pantheistic, nature of Filipino culture noted in chapter one of this
    paper would not have abided the destruction of their idols–particularly
    those containing the anitos of their ancestors. Prohibitions against
    destroying idols had been recognized in the written Filipino codes that
    have come down to us and the punishment for such offenses was death.
    Magellan continued to insist that the Christian God would cure
    the sick man if only he were baptized and the pagan idols burned. In
    dramatic fashion, Magellan organized a procession to the house of the
    sick man, who was in a coma. After baptizing the man, his wives, and
    his children, a mattress, sheets, pillow, and coverlet were provided for
    the man to rest on, as were sweet preserves to eat and perfume. The man
    recovered and Pigafetta states the natives themselves destroyed their
    holy places. Noone, however, doubts the veracity of this statement and
    poses an alternative hypothesis. Pigafetta states that the natives
    destroyed their own temples in a state of religious ecstacy crying out
    “Castiglia, Castiglia”Th but it is likely that Pigafetta was being
    purposely disingenuous. Noone proposes that, instead, the natives may
    have been shrieking “Pastilan, Pastilan”–a term expressing great horror
    or sorrow–as they saw their idols destroyed before their eyes by the
    religiously enraptured Europeans.9
    Combined with the Spanish actions regarding the idols another
    source of friction with the Filipinos may have been sexual in nature.
    While making no specific mention of such excesses Pigafetta does talk
    about the mutilation of the male sexual organs practiced by the natives
    and the preference for the Europeans which the native women had..

    (LCPL_X, there he quotes the part you mentioned, there is also Page 225:)

    Many theories have been put forth concerning the reason for the
    ruse avd subsequent slaughter. As noted earlier, Pigafetta attributed
    it to the mistreatment and resulting machinations of Enrique. Another
    theory put forth by one of Pigafetta’s contemporaries posits that four
    other datus of Cebu had threatened Humabon with death if he did not
    drive out the Spaniards and so he relented to their demands. Most
    significantly, however, an investigation conducteo by the king’s court
    in 1522, after the arrival of the survivors, determined that the
    massacre was due to the disreputable conduct of the men, in particular
    Magellan, in Cebu–especially noting the mass conversions before
    religious instruction, and the cases of sexual relations with and rape
    of the Cebuan women.11

  12. https://www.thediarist.ph/500th-anniversary-of-magellan-half-a-millennium-of-staying-the-same/ – by MLQ3:

    ..most of all what struck me was that in each Filipino painter—and probably, viewer (we all received the same basic programming in school)—lives a contradiction we’re so comfortable holding that we don’t explore it much at all.

    This contradiction was best expressed back in 1979 by Nick Joaquin in a talk on Lapulapu he gave during a symposium in Cebu. Referring to the two chiefs, Humabon of Cebu and Lapulapu of Mactan, whose story bookends the life of Magellan and the start of our own formal history, he said they could be viewed like twins, permanently joined by their different reactions to the arrival of Europeans in our shores. Humabon welcomed the Europeans, submitted himself, to enjoy the advantages of association; Lapulapu rejected association with the Europeans precisely because it would place Humabon, whom Magellan had proclaimed overlord of all the chiefs in Cebu, over him (meaning, Lapulapu). For Nick Joaquin, here, on one hand, was the birth of the idea of a Philippines larger than, and including, its component island, and also, the birth of the refusal to dream big and prefer, instead, to stay small: after all, Joaquin pointed out, Mactan is a “microscopic isle,” yet even that place was divided into two, with two rulers; thus, said Joaquin, began “the ambivalence in the character of the Filipino.”..

    ..The key lies in something Ambeth Ocampo wrote in 2016, when he called attention to the book of Danilo Madrid Gerona, a historian from Bicol. Like all historians, Ambeth believes in going back to basics, that is, the original sources as far as we can tell, to strip away the layers of legend and misinformation that have stuck to the facts and often overshadowed them, over the ages. He pointed to Danny Gerona because he (Gerona) went back to existing records to try to piece together what, exactly, is known about Lapulapu. Among other things, Humabon of Cebu was related by marriage to Lapulapu of Mactan; and that, furthermore, Lapulapu himself was old, at the time of the Magellan’s ill-fated expedition to try to intimidate Mactan..

    ..The Filipino of today may find it hard to relate to the past of half a millennium ago but if you read even just Pigafetta’s account—knowing he was an admirer of Magellan—you will surely be struck by how familiar many of the power dynamics were, as observed by him and as chronicled by him. The need to obtain the local bigshot’s approval to engage in business; the absolute absence of any division between personal gain and political gain: indeed, how the two always go arm-in-arm; the perennial infighting, even among those closely-related with their own turf; and the violence not far from any disagreement.

    If you read Pigafetta in April 1521 alone (see my timeline) you will find things we still encounter today: the influence of faith on power, the influence of personal gain, familial pride, and of force to settle disagreements, and if you add what the scholars are discussing and revealing to us, it makes one suspect that the real victor of Mactan wasn’t Lapulapu—because neither he nor his settlement made it past the return of the Spaniards—but the way we treat each other, and outsiders, too; whether Humabon or Lapulapu, or everyone else, you can see us, as in we, the people and in particular the lords and ladies of today, in those of half a millennia ago…

  13. https://bobcouttie.wordpress.com/2020/12/19/tiniklings-mysterious-roots/

    ..Former Australian diplomat, Philip Coggan, happened to send me a video of an elderly man hopping between the familiar clacking bamboo sticks. But this was not the Philippines, it was Chin state in Myanmar, formerly Burma. The Karen people of Myanmar also have the same bamboo dance.
    Across the border in Mizoram, North East India, which is believed to have been populated by immigration from Myanmar, the bamboo dance is also performed, as well as Bangladesh.
    Further digging found it in Malaku – the Mollucas – and in an arc that includes the Indochinese states of Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and neighbouring Thailand, as far as China’s southernmost island of Hainan and te south Chinese province of Guangxi.
    It is notable that the dance is prevalent in tribal communities and hill people, a dance of the ordinary people rather than royalty, with the exception, perhaps, of Mindanao’s Singkil.
    Given that spread, it seems unlikely that Tinikling spread from the Philippines to this vast geographical swathe of cultures. So how did it get here?
    Remember that the islands that make up today’s Philippines were not isolated from the rest of South East Asia, they were historically part of the maritime trade routes of the region. Before direct trade between China and the archipelago were established in the 12th century, that trade went through the entrepot of Champa – Southern Vietnam and Cambodia..

    ..That suggestion would be stronger if there were other examples of Indochina-Philippine links in ancient times. And, indeed, there are.
    Wherever tinikling-style dances are performed, you will find the sarimanok or Garuda bird as a potent symbol.
    Consider the Tikbalang, the horse-headed spirit-demon of Philippine mythology. Horses are not native to the Philippines and did not appear until after the Spanish conquest. They were, however, known on the Asian mainland. And wherever you find Tinikling you will find the horse-headed deity depicted in museums across the world.
    Australian academic Geoff Wade has noted the extensive similarities between Philippine writing systems and those of Champa and Cambodia.
    Despite its ubiquity across the region, the dance seems to be absent from traditional art and sculpture, nor does it appear in travellers tales of the 18th and 19th Century. The first reference in the Philippines, for instance, is 1914..

    ..Yet, this dance may well pre-date the empires of Southeast Asia and its trade routes. It may have its roots in the great Austronesian expansion and colonisation that began around 3000 BCE that passed from Taiwan through the Philippines and onwards to the rest of Southeast Asia by 1000 BCE.
    So, Tinikling could be an ancient vestige of that expansion and somewhere along that line the bamboo dance was created.
    But if that was the case one would expect the dance to be represented among the archipelago’s indigenous non-hispanised communities, especially those of the interior and the highlands
    Another potential route for Tinikling is slave-raiding. This was common in the region and it may well be that slave-raiders from the archipelago what was to become the Philippines brought back with them slaves who introduced the bamboo dance. The same Visayan raiders who assaulted coastal Chinese ports, and the Tausugs who sought alaves in what is now Indonesia, could have carried knowledge of the bamboo dance among the human produce they returned home with.
    Or was it a dance at all? Could it have originated as an elimination game set to music, like today’s musical chairs – players being removed from the game as the clacking bamboo poles caught them until only one was left.
    History is more than paper and papyrus, clay and copperplate, it is also in the songs we sing, the dances we dance, the games we play. in a lost language we have yet to decypher.

    • sonny says:

      I’ve watched performances of TINIKLING and SINGKIL as performed, in cultural exchanges, by Filipino dancers in Mexico, Russia, Greece, USA, France. The “twin” nature is evident and exquisitely expressed by Filipino dancers: the dominant emphasis in melody & rhythm in TINIKLING, contrast the tonal bass beat of power in SINGKIL is unmistakeable. For my money, this contrast is best expressed by the Filipino artists. Hence the exhuberant applause wherever the venue. I’m unbiased, of course. 🙂

  14. Karl Garcia says:

    @LCX, some unresolved conversations that is related to the topic at hand.
    Your question of how the Austronesians island hopped the Indian ocean, well they did not just hopped for sure.


    5. The Austronesian migration is the widest dispersal of people by sea in human history, stretching from Madagascar in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa to Easter Island in the southern Pacific. What binds the people who populated all these far-flung islands is the Austronesian language. The Malayo-Polynesian languages, which include Tagalog, are derived from the Austronesian language. The word Austronesian comes from the Latin word “auster” which means south wind, and the Greek word “nesos” which means island. More than 400 million people speak Austronesian languages. The purest Austronesian languages are found in Taiwan where some one-half million Taiwanese Austronesians, the natives of Taiwan, still live today. The homeland of the Austronesian people is Taiwan.

    6. How did the Austronesians migrate over vast distances in the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and South China Sea? The answer is the outrigger sailboat — called balangay in the Philippines, vaka in Hawaii, vawaka in Polynesia, and vahoaka in Madagascar. Prof. Adrian Horridge, in his paper “The Austronesian Conquest of the Sea – Upwind (The Austronesians,” edited by Bellwood, Fox and Tryon, 2006), writes: “The built-up dug-out or planked canoe with an outrigger and sail has been the principal technology for survival and colonization for the sea-going peoples who spread over Island Southeast Asia and far over the Pacific for at least the past few thousand years. We deduce this from the present and presumed past distributions and structures of the canoes. With the ability to carry fire, family, dogs, chickens, tuberous roots, growing shoots and seeds by sea, the Austronesians eventually occupied the Pacific Islands, travelling into Melanesia about 3,500 years ago and onwards into Polynesia.”

    • sonny says:

      I had a chance to watch a video in Taipeh International Airport en route to Manila. The video was about the diverse minorities native to Taiwan. This was the most graphic coverage I had seen regarding the Out-Of-Taiwan theory, the southward trek of these peoples across the Strait into northern Luzon through to points to Bicol, the Visayas and Mindanao.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        I am curious about the cultural minorities’ in Taiwan current situation, glad you were able to share.

  15. Karl Garcia says:

    Another topic I opened up elsewhere in TSOH, the caravans of ancient Pangasinan.

    From maritime culture to commerce in land.

    Click to access 978-5-88431-174-9_20.pdf

    • sonny says:

      Another gem of Filipiniana, Karl. Thanks for re-sharing. I missed this one about the richest province of Region 1. Pangasinan is very important to the Ilocanos who found a haven for their industry and work during the great emigration of Ilocanos from the north (1830s) into San Fabian and other points south and east across the Bued River; access towns (Rosario to Baguio into the Cordilleras used to belong to Pangasinan. It was annexed as the southern tip of La Union. It was not only the cart caravans that weere a boon to other towns. No fiesta was complete in the Ilocos without the itinerant “Big Band” sound from Pangasinan. 🙂

  16. Details on Gomburza by Xiao. Didn’t know until now how high they were in the Church hierarchy and how learned they were. https://youtu.be/f_1pOhNbcSc

    • Karl Garcia says:

      thanks, i guess if they were nobodies they would just be made to disappear.

      • The aha effect for me is that the picture some of us had about Padre Damasos and Salvis being the only higher ups in the 19th century Church hierarchy on the islands is somewhat a false impression.

        The next question would be how many % of higher positions in the Church (and the Spanish colonial admin, for that matter) were held by non-peninsulares, how many were held by insulares and how many were with non-Kastila.

  17. Inday Espina Varona: “??? Who writes his speeches? The Spaniards were not the first foreigners visit the Philippines. In 1521, Muslim sultanates already established in Mindanao; religious teachers from around the Persian Gulf brought in Islam. The Chinese had also been trading for centuries.” as a Tweet in response to Dutz saying “Duterte: Until now, we are also celebrating because it was the first time we saw foreigners in our native land. That alone speaks a volume of stories.” https://twitter.com/indayevarona/status/1372475258238734338

    She follows with “Islam reached the Philippines in the 14th century via Muslim traders from the Persian Gulf, Southern India, and several sultanate governments in the Malay Archipelago… at least 200 years before Spanish explorers came.” https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2005/01/how-islam-got-to-the-philippines

    • Inday continues: “Dear speechwriter and Duterte, you didn’t check with NCCA and historical commission?! Heto Sulu was the first Muslim community in the south to establish a centralized govt, the Sultanate of Sulu in 1450.”


      “Even the PIA has written about ancient Chinese traders … China began trading in the Philippines as far back as 7th century AD w ancient coins and porcelain as trading goods through the Galleon trade. (Mas substantiated ang 11th century up, in next box)” https://pia.gov.ph/index.php/news/articles/1022429

      • “The Chinese exchanged silk, porcelain, colored glass, beads, iron ware for hemp cloth, tortoise shells, pearls and yellow wax of the Filipinos; became the dominant traders in the 12th and 13th centuries during the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 AD).”

        “Just to be clear, trading does not mean ownership of our waters or our territories. Hindi pagmamay-ari ng Tsina ang mga karagatan natin.”

        “It’s really shameful for Duterte to peddle such a careless, lazy lie. He’s from Mindanao. He just ignored the history of our Muslim Filipinos. Even the most conservative history books acknowledge Muslim resistance because they had long been established societies.”

        • sonny says:

          “… The poverty of their records as regards the Philippines seems to be due not so much to distance as to the relative insignificance of the local states when compared, to the richer and more powerful kingdoms of Indo-China, Sumatra and Java. …”

          The late Fr Horacio de la Costa SJ alluded to the fact that the Chinese Dynasties documented their affairs in a 900-volume History. It must also be kept in mind that rulers talked only to rulers. The power centers at the time of pre-Hispanic Philippines were the Malaccan kingdoms of the Straits, the Hindu Sri-Visayan and the Majapahit empires. So the rest of the Malay archipelago were impenetrable high-density forests and scattered coastal settlements – with petty rulers.

          • I am looking into the development of early states in an excellent book as research for the sequel of this article. Seems that the agricultural productivity in the archipelago of those days was not sufficient to sustain the large elite needed for a real state, nor was there any impetus to increase efficiency by large scale irrigation like in the desert environment around the Nile or the dry environment around the Rivers of Babylon, Tigris and Euphrates. Bicol River is documented to have had a large population upon Contact but with localized irrigation only, and inspite of legends of an ancient Ibalon kingdom with Handyong ruling near what is now Naga there are little archeological finds to support the existence of a capital. There is by contrast real archeological evidence in the emerging coastal proto-cities were trade was creating a surplus and already had lead to proto-states. More on this when I have dug deeper.

  18. madlanglupa says:

    Again, the understanding of the concepts of kinship politics, that is, “malakas at mahina”, is key to dealing with the perniciousness and inhumanity of how absolute power is practiced in the country by the political elite, especially at the local level, and to formulate solutions on how to get rid of “the tyranny of the princelings”.



    • Well, one possible reason why Humabon had Magellan’s men killed at a banquet was that he had seen Magellan as “mahina”.

      Books like Junker’s Raiding, Trading and Feasting also show how much precolonial Filipino chiefs were prototype Filipino politicians.

      Feasting was one of the ways a chief shared the wealth (and if there was loot from raids some of that too) and kept his followers satisfied.

      Raiding and trading was the chief’s source of income. Chiefs recognized by other chiefs called themselves rajas, but they were not really kings.

      Lapu-Lapu refused to recognize Humabon, for instance. Even Sulayman of Manila shifted allegiance to Legazpi, away from his Bruneian in-laws.

      Expediency, opportunism and fluidity have been the game there for very long.

  19. https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/03/19/opinion/columnists/port-cities/853076/ – Van Ybiernas:

    THE whole world was connected to each other through trade during the time of Humabon. In Asia — from India to East and Southeast Asia — it was primarily through a maritime-oriented trade network. In archipelagic Southeast Asia, maritime trade centered around a series of interconnected entrepots supplying the needs of global, regional and domestic trade.

    As historian Geoff Wade argues, certain policies implemented by the Song and Yuan dynasties in China several centuries before Humabon had tremendous repercussions that were seen — and mostly taken for granted — in the 16th century. For instance, the Chinese pushed Southeast Asia into a sophisticated system of commerce that utilized international metal-based currency and exchange (with fluctuating value) that mesmerized Pigafetta in Cebu..

    • https://jomodevplus.substack.com/p/magellan-inquisition-and-globalisation

      In 1494CE, Pope Alexander VI, now of Borgias TV series infamy, united the Iberian Catholic kings behind the Inquisition. His Tordesillas treaty, after Christopher Columbus’ 1492 ‘discovery’ of the New World under Spanish royal auspices, gave the Portuguese rights to Brazil and all lands east of it, with Spain getting the rest of the Americas.

      Vasco da Gama reached India in 1498 with the help of an Arab trader. In February 1502, he returned to demand that the ruler of Calicut (Kozhikode) expel all Muslims. When rejected, da Gama bombarded the port city and severely maimed those he captured.

      Under Portugal’s second Viceroy to the East, Afonso d’Albuquerque, Fernão de Magalhães distinguished himself in several Portuguese naval sieges, attacks and sackings of ports in southern India and beyond.

      Portugal had its eyes on Malacca well before arriving there. For the Portuguese chronicler Tome Pires, Malacca then was the greatest port in the world. Magalhães arrived with the first Portuguese expedition to Malacca in 1509, returning in 1511 with a thousand men under Albuquerque’s command to capture it.

      Magalhães was later injured in the 1513 Portuguese invasion of the Maghrib (Morocco). This aggression had begun almost a century earlier under the legendary Prince Henrique, Henry the Navigator. Later, after failing to get what he believed to be his due, Magalhães moved in 1517 to Sevilla, the base of the Spanish Inquisition and navy.

  20. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=4385544238140305&id=100000543177156 MLQ3 on 1sambayan and more:

    I thought I’d explain the context for groups like the one launched today, 1Sambayan, because as an attempt to unify opposition to an administration that’s intimidating, it is part of a history of similar efforts. S, to give context:

    From 1935 to before martial law, political parties selected candidates by means of party conventions. Candidates were expected to rise through the ranks.

    By the postwar years when by accident (the prewar monolithic NP was split over the Collaboration issue) rather than design, party conventions could at times be quite competitive.

    Candidates at the top could switch but there remained cadres of loyal party people up and down the line, and also, a geographic bailiwick to party organization (some provinces tended to vote LP, other NP, for example). Then Martial Law happened.

    Martial Law revived many schemes from the Japanese Occupation. One of them was replacing all political parties with a “national movement” called KALIBAPI. Marcos copied it by creating the KBL –a kilusan, not a lapian– to replace and displace parties and their networks.Why this was the scheme is best told by an admirer of Marcos who repeats a story widely-told at the time. It was former Speaker Laurel who’d been a political aide of his father during the Occupation, who put forward the Kalibapi model for the KBL (see excerpts linked as images).

    The point of this is to underscore how the premartial law parties were dismantled, their networks dissolved, their reason for being –moving up the ranks– eliminated. When opposition to Marcos broadened to include the middle class and moderates, it faced a fundamental problem. If Marcos was strong, if the country was a one-party state, how could anyone else claim to speak for “the people” and how could so many different groups, many of which were no fans of the old parties, get together to put forward candidates with credibility and national standing?

    The solution is something I recounted in my longform article on the period 1972-1986, when the dictatorship came to face the forces that eventually toppled it. The solution was something called The Convenors Group.

    Since political parties had become shadows of their former selves, credible people from different sectors came together to conduct consultations and arrive at a consensus –many of the functions old parties did for themselves but this time, on a wider scale.

    After Marcos fell and democracy was restored, the old parties were resurrected but shadows of their former selves; at the same time, civic groups found it difficult to reconcile the patronage and dealmaking parties do, with their conceptions of democracy.

    gain, when democracy-as-usual reached a crisis in the Estrada era, a return to the Snap Election era consensus-building was attempted; another kind of convenors’ group, which came to be known as Kompil 2.

    And so in the end that is the genesis of the group making its debut today. Political parties are well, too partisan, and dysfunctional, to come up with a system for candidates to rise up within their own ranks; so marrying groups with civil society is being tried again.

    People are weighing in on how applicable the model still is. Leland Cruz has some thought-provoking opinions. I myself reflected on this based on John Nery’s own opinions.

    Let’s how the public reacts —if it does.

    Three things we have to mull over. The first is, how best to reach the public –in an era when The Public of old is getting sliced and diced because of technology into many public(s); where even the political pros find it increasingly hard to compete because of expense; and where the conventional wisdom can increasingly no longer be challenged because feedback for finding out the public pulse –surveys– is increasingly questioned as potentially irrevocably flawed; but then who has the data that can matter to find out what public really cares about? And the collapse of the very foundational assumptions of political exercises like coalition-building with a goal to reform: it is based on a civic sense and consciousness that is increasingly rare, no longer widely shared if it even exists, and even if shared, rendered mute.

    I’ve written often enough how this is most revealed at the so-called grassroots where the electorate is so mercenary political clans have to bury the hatchet and divide offices among themselves as they can’t afford the expenses of competition considering even an unchallenged candidacy requires buying off the electorate. The erosion of media’s clout because mass media has shrunk to basically TV and even that is challenged by the internet –making even advertising a losing proposition on free TV– means both shaping and identifying public opinion is less a question of courting public opinion and instead, manufacturing a semblance of it to trigger pavlovian reflexes in the electorate –and even there, merely in order to achieve plurality necessary for victory.

    To me we first have to realize that *everyone* will market themselves as an oppositionist somehow because nothing is less enticing to our mindset than continuity, besides which groups need to reassemble a winning coalition. The second thing we have to bear in mind is that he rules of the game determine how it’s played. Some of my favorite examples: when we abolished bloc voting for the senate, it precisely created the conditions the creators of a nationally-elected senate feared, the undue advantage of fame and money. Removing bloc voting also meant that those with fame but no money had to do things like be “guest candidates” to survive, weakening parties. On parties, my other example is how we made barangays “non-political,” which meant we would never have grassroots parties again because the grassroots were divorced politically from other positions, so no incentive to stay in a group and climb up its ranks or stay in a group, period. The other rule we have is it’s winner-take-all but a multparty system: so, we forget elections are not won by convincing a majority of the people. They haven’t been conducted that way since 1986. Elections are about convincing the most number of the biggest minority and not the creation of an actual majority. So from the start it isn’t a matter of convincing the majority but cultivating a bigger minority than all the others.

    This means our intrinsic balimbing mentality is aided, not harmed, by the rules. Everyone just has to wait to see the winner and presto, everyone jumps on board –and everyone can somehow say it’s democratic. So these limitations actually undermine our basic assumptions about national elections and positions. We are continuing with pre-1986 assumptions of how they are made and on what they are built, refusing to see how this has not been the case since 1986 which is why its all become increasingly dysfunctional.

    Finally, coming full circle, there is a larger crisis: the Crisis of Modernity; more on that in the link, but also see the end part: social classes aren’t isolated; individuals across classes share things in common. That is the key to succesful adaptation.

    1. The convenors of 1Sambayan
    2.Nacionalista Convention, August, 1941.
    3,4. The logos of Kalibapi and KBL
    5. An account of how Pepito Laurel convinced Marcos to make the KBL a movement and not a party.
    6. An excerpt from my longform article –the section on how the Convenors Group came to be.
    7. Leland Cruz’s thoughts
    8. My column on oppositions

    (More links in the FB post)

    • https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=5539570686060541&id=100000229924529 – Ninotchka Rosca:

      I am offended by ill-mannered attempts to silence discourse on the 2022 elections.

      It’s like one fears that some view other than the imprimatur view would gain influence. Fear should not be felt if one is convinced by the rightness of one’s views.

      One does not spell out only what one is against but also what one is for.
      Discourse, public and loud, is the spark-firing of collective synapses.
      Toward a definition of what fundamentally underlies unity.

      The demand for a monotony of views/voices is just that — monotonous.
      That’s all. I’m on strike and will not say a word anymore.


  21. Karl Garcia says:

    Uncle Sonny I found this old comment of mine.
    Apparently from an excerpt of a paper of my dad.



    Maritime domain is “all areas and things of, on, under, relating to, adjacent to, or bordering on a sea, ocean, or other navigable waterway, including maritime related activities, infrastructure, people, cargo, and vessels and other conveyances”. (14)

    Maritime domain awareness is indispensable to maritime security and necessary to interagency cooperation. That domain is a unique archipelago, a classic archipelagic state, and a quintessential coastal nation.

    Historical and cultural dimensions

    The national anthem sang before 1946 in English has a line: “Never shall invaders trample thy sacred shores”. It was not sacred seas. There was no romance of a “Mare Nostrum” of a coastal people that sang in Latin, before Spanish and English.

    But there was a romance of Juan de Salcedo, the nephew of Legazpi with the niece of Lakandula, named Candarapa, according to Quijano de Manila. And the alias of the flagship captain of the San Juan de Letran, who named our islands after King Philip of Spain, was Calabasa. Our history seemed to be: “Calabasa na, Candarapa pa”. (15)

    Levity aside, it is said that colonialism robbed our people of the maritime spirit. Our ancestors were slaved to build ships that were “the best in the universe” and man them but not to command them. (16) Probably Magellan could have defeated Lapulapu earlier if he sought the advice of Rajah Humabon as to tides and currents, costing him the use of his naval gunfire. Martin de Goite defeated Rajah Lakandula and later Rajah Macabebe at the sea Battle of Tondo with the help of the Visayan Pintados. While the historian de los Reyes did not agree with Rizal’s annotation of Morga, I wanted to believe that we needed sea stories to love the sea a little more. Alas, the percentage of Filipinos that know how to swim is too unbelievably low. More Filipino go to the beaches to eat than to swim at the risk of their complexion damaged by sun and sea. But they would risk skin cancer to play golf.

    Our damaged maritime cultural unravel in the heroic struggle of a group to build a “balangay” boat of our ancestors and sail them, manned by PCG personnel that climb the Everest, nationwide and in the region. The boat yard is the Cultural Center of the Philippines near the Philippine Navy and Manila Yacht Club. The PN and PCG are the poorest in the region but the Manila Yacht Club has the poorest boats in quantity and quality, moored at a concessional lease for 50 years from the government of a people not too aware of its maritime domain.

    In a draft prologue of a paper on the national interest, I painted a surreal myth of how the defeat of the Spanish Armada could have been avenged. There was a Spanish princess (infanta), daughter of Philip II called Filipina because of a cute pug nose. I suggested that Legazpi and Goiti could have recruited Visayan Pintados and Moro Tausogs to man the Spanish Fleet. Filipinas I could have deposed Elizabeth I of England and Filipina would not be the word for domestic helpers and Filipino for cooks and stewards aboard foreign vessels. (17)…

    • sonny says:

      Karl, I’m glad we have the TSH on which to express our sometimes visionary leaps of imagination. There are only 4 or 5 years that separate me and your dad. But what a difference those years make. Your dad would have made the perfect History teacher for the PMA as he exemplifies the ideal soldier – erudite, patriotic, God-fearing. He would be teaching the perfect audience to inspire, future leaders of our country. I’d like to mull that blog installment a few more times to leverage the contents you shared from you and your dad, real gems! Maybe, just maybe, there will be young Filipinos who will come across those ideas and ideals and be like the young Columbus wondering what worlds are like beyond his beloved Genoa.

  22. https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/03/20/opinion/columnists/lapulapu-mariano-ponce-and-public-history/853476/ Xiao Chua:

    THE not-so-simplistic theme of the Quincentennial commemorations of the Philippines, “Victory and Humanity,” has confused some people, including intellectuals who are used to commemorations with simplistic themes such as “struggle for freedom against colonizers” or “looking back to the past as a way of looking forward.” As the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Magellan-Elcano expedition in the Philippines happened on March 16, a debate ensured on social media as to whether we are celebrating colonialism (not). The celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines made it even more complicated as it became a battle between freethinkers and believers, some toxic Protestants against Catholics and ultranationalists versus “cleric fascists.”

    Because I took it upon myself to help the National Quincentennial Committee explain to the public a sober perspective on the events of 1521, I became quite stressed with it all. A senior TV host personally attacked me for my views when all I wanted was to use this commemoration to be able to bring more interesting history to the public. But then I realized, sans the toxicity of both the young cancel culturists and the elderly boomers, this contention is what we would like, that the people talk about these events that still affect our lives. I was hoping of course for a more sensible discussion despite our propensity for name-calling.

    Zeus Salazar and fellow Manila Times columnist Van Ybiernas downplay the over-attention given to the events of 1521. Sure, they were important in world history but they were not watershed events in Philippine history. With Magellan’s arrival and death, nothing really changed in the lives of the Filipinos. Colonization would come only in 1565 with the arrival of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Although one may argue that it might not have happened if not for the earlier data provided by the Magellan-Elcano expedition and its chronicler Antonio Pigafetta.

    Hopefully, come April 27, the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan, people will realize that this is really about celebrating Lapulapu and our ancestors. Watershed or not, we cannot do anything but commemorate the events of 1521 because they are deep in our consciousness. People like José Rizal, Emilio Jacinto, even the Act proclaiming Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898, recalled the Victory of Lapulapu over Magellan to inspire Filipinos to create the nation. That is why to those who are questioning why Lapulapu is a national hero, my answer is because our national heroes thought he was one.

    Of course, for the public consciousness, we must blame Yoyoy Villame’s song that placed the events of 1521 in the popular psyche..

    • sonny says:

      Very perceptive theme and ingenious and formula coined by Prof. Chua.

      • sonny says:

        “Victory and Humanity,” has confused some people, including intellectuals who are used to commemorations with simplistic themes such as “struggle for freedom against colonizers” or “looking back to the past as a way of looking forward.”

        (for above)

  23. https://opinion.inquirer.net/138616/tracing-magellans-footsteps by Ambeth Ocampo:

    Despite the availability of GPS, motorized boats, and four-wheel drive vehicles, following the route of Magellan through the Philippines five centuries ago is not easy. Suluan and Homonhon, now part of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, are not easily accessible.

    The travel organized by the National Quincentennial Committee and Guiuan Mayor Annaliza Kwan included boat trips to these islands from Guiuan that took over two hours each way. But whatever discomfort I experienced I charged to experience; not many historians can claim to have set foot on Homonhon. Filipinos of my generation associate Homonhon with a brand of biscuits, when it is the site of the earliest documented contact between Europeans and Samareños.

    Standing on the prow of our boat, with the wind blowing in my face, I looked out at the exact same vista Magellan saw 500 years ago. When the sea changed color from emerald green to a deep blue, I knew it indicated great depth. When our ride turned bumpy as we crossed from Leyte Gulf to the open sea, I asked, isn’t the Pacific supposed to be calm? Someone answered that what I considered a rough ride was “pacific” to the experienced mariner.
    Suluan, our first stop, had a pristine white sand beachfront and clear waters ideal for diving. Islanders walked among the visitors from Manila without masks, reminding us to keep ours on to ensure that we kept Suluan COVID-19-free. A historical marker was installed in a basketball court, the heart of town, flanked by a chapel, a fire station, and a barangay hall.

    Contrary to popular belief, Magellan set foot on dry land in the Philippines on March 17, 1521, in Homonhon. Antonio Pigafetta, Italian chronicler of the expedition, narrated:

    “After eating, on Monday afternoon, 18 March, after we saw a boat coming toward us with nine men in it… [Magellan] ordered that no one should move or say a word without his permission. When those men reached the shore, their chief went immediately [to Magellan], giving signs of joy because of our arrival. Five of the most ornately adorned of them [tattooed] remained with us, while the rest went to get others who were fishing. [Magellan] seeing that they were reasonable men, ordered food to be set before them, and gave them red caps, mirrors, combs, bells, ivory, bocasine, and other things. When they saw the captain’s courtesy, they presented fish, a jar of palm wine [tuba] that they called uraca [arak or alak], figs (bananas) more than one span [dangkal] long and others that were smaller and more delicate, and two coconuts. They had nothing else then, but made us signs with their hands that they would bring umay or rice, and coconuts and many other articles of food within four days.”

    I leave out Pigafetta’s detailed description of the wonders of the coconut. Pigafetta’s text is worth rereading to get a sense of his curiosity at his first
    encounter with a coconut. It is also relevant to ask how Pigafetta got all this obscure information if, as he mentioned above, they communicated only with hand signals. Remember, too, that Italians are known for generous gesticulation. “They told us many things, their names and those of some of the islands that could be seen from that place [enabling Pigafetta to draw one of the earliest maps of the islands]. Their island was called Suluan and it is not very large [compared to Homonhon where we were]. We took great pleasure with them, for they were very pleasant and conversable.

    “In order to show them greater honor, [Magellan] took them to his ship [Trinidad] and showed them all his merchandise: cloves, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, mace, gold, and all the things in the ship… They made signs to us that the articles just mentioned grew in [Maluku, Moluccas or the Spice Islands] that place where we were going.”

    The Magellan expedition was sent to find a route to the Spice Islands that did not trespass into regions Pope Alexander VI had granted to Portugal when he divided the world in half like an orange in 1493, and gave the other half to the Spanish Catholic kings.

    Magellan’s mission was exploration, not colonization, which should rightfully be associated with Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565. Those who criticize the 2021 commemoration of the first circumnavigation as a celebration of colonialism and oppression need to brush up on their textbook history and the Armada de Molucca.

    • Micha says:

      “Magellan’s mission was exploration, not colonization…”

      Strongly disagree. The expedition was funded by Spain’s monarchy seeking to expand their empire and haul off treasures from unexplored world.

      Think of M as a scout for the army of colonization.

      Magellan is to the New World as the Perseverance Rover is to the Martian landscape.

      • The main mission was business with the Spice Islands. The other stuff was certainly a secondary goal.

        I was at the Sevilla exhibit on Magellan’s voyage, at the end there is the “CUENTA” of expedition costs vs profits from the spices Elcano brought back from Tidore. Two other expeditions, Loaisa and Saavedra, went there after it.

        They failed because the Portuguese who were dealing with the rival Sultanate of Ternate defended their turf pretty vigorously, capturing the Spaniards and sending the home but to prison in Lisbon first.

        The Philippines didn’t seem worth conquering, resource-wise. It was silver from the Andes and Chinese goods one could buy with it, plus the tornaviaje, that made the country a profitable venture as an outpost of the galleon trade.

        As for conquest, all sources corroborate that Magellan by firing cannons upon entering Cebu, demanding tribute from Humabon etc. not only acted recklessly but against explicit royal instructions not to commit aggression.

        Of course they weren’t like Star Trek. The strategic minds in Sevilla just knew that the ships didn’t have the resources to sustain a full military campaign. But Magellan like his friend Serrão was a loose gun. Legazpi on the other hand had enough soldiers with him. By the time Urdaneta found the way back or tornaviaje reinforcements could always come from Mexico.

        • Micha says:

          There are phases of colonization. Both Villalobos and Legazpi took off from Mexico which was the anchor of Spanish Empire in the Americas. You could say Magellan’s was the pre-phase of colonization – scouting, exploring potential outpost for the empire. Villalobos officially did the second phase 20 years later when he claimed Las Islas Filipinas for the King of Spain.

          • Even Saavedra took off from Mexico, but with Tidore as the goal. The Spanish had concluded the Southern route was way too dangerous for ships, and by then Mexico had already been fully conquered which wasn’t the case in 1521.

            Villalobos also failed to conquer because he didn’t find the way back to Mexico, the tornaviaje, which Urdaneta found after arriving with Legazpi.

            The major precondition for a lucrative business which was after all the main goal of colonizers was only found after 1521, when the mountain of silver was discovered in Potosi, Bolivia and eventually was used for the galleon trade.

            Of course every expedition meant that the maps improved as well as the knowledge of the maritime conditions to get there.

            An interesting footnote is that the Spanish tried to keep a presence in Tidore just across the Portuguese presence in Ternate, but withdrew all troops there to protect the Philippines against Koxinga. For the same reason, the Spanish withdrew most troops from Mindanao except Zamboanga, and never managed to significantly conquer much of it as a result.

            Villalobos never returned to Spain or Mexico, but died in Portuguese captivity. After all the Treaty of Zaragoza had signed off the Philippines to Portugal.

            European context of that was that Carlos Cinco was busy fighting the Protestants and probably did not need another front at that time. Took over twenty years until his son Felipe Dos sent Legazpi to finish what was started.

            If one looks even further Europeans were all over the place in the 16th century, Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch in Formosa (Taiwan) in different times until Koxinga took it for himself and China later officially annexed it. A Portuguese ship dropped by when Legazpi was in Cebu, to say hello but more of a warning one could guess, or to check what he was doing. Bruneians from Manila visited Legazpi in Cebu as well, also suspicious for sure. Manila it seems had a few Portuguese artillerymen, so it seems Serrão was not the only lost command the Portuguese had in Southeast Asia. A lot of chance played a role back then.

            • Some points on the timeline:

              1521: Magellan
              1521: Diet of Worms (Martin Luther)
              1526: Loaisa (with Urdaneta)
              1528: Saavedra (from Mexico)
              1529: Treaty of Zaragoza

              1544: Villalobos
              1545: Potosi silver mountain is discovered
              1555: Peace of Augsburg with the Protestants
              1555: Carlos Cinco passes throne to his son Felipe Dos

              1559: Felipe Dos gives the order to conquer the Philippines
              1564: Legazpi sets forth (Urdaneta objects due to Treaty but obeys)
              1565: Legazpi arrives, Urdaneta finds the way back, reinforcements come

            • Micha says:

              Which brings us back to Ambeth Ocampo’s false assertion that Magellan’s trip was merely for exploration, failing to see the bigger picture that exploration is a preparatory stage for colonization. That Magellan’s voyage was merely a thread in the bigger cloth of imperial expansion which we, in that part of the world, endured for 300 years – not to mention the residual effects years later in our collective psyche of having been dominated and made to acquire a system of thought based on feudal system sprinkled with defective and irrational religiosity.

              • The Mars rovers are both discovery and occupation, I suppose. If aliens showed up looking rather unclothed, I suppose earthlings would hold themselves superior.

              • Well, if you have read the article at all, look at these facts again:

                1) Panay and Cebu JOINED Legazpi in attacking Manila

                2) native soldiers to Spanish soldiers ratio in the archipelago was up to 5:1

                3) the principalia (ex-datus) mainly did not refuse King Felipe’s 1594 offer

                4) the principalia was exempted from forced labor and other burdens

                5) they often were inquilinos, leased land from friars + made kasamas work

                6) Aguinaldo was principalia and got money from Spain in 1897 (Biak-na-Bato)

                Yeah and now the Philippines has a President selling out to the new power.

                By contrast, the Dutch only fully controlled Indonesia by the early 20th century, because a lot of Sultans and other local rulers there resisted. Also a contrast, late 18th century around 50 Kastila only in Bicol with 100K+ people. The rule of Spain over the Philippines was with willing cooperation of native elites. Same with the USA with the already Westernized slice of by then Filipino elites.

                In a lot of villages the only Kastila was the Spanish friar. They learned and often documented native languages and even used the native alphabet for a while.

                Let us also remember that the three months trip from Mexico to Philippines never allowed for substantial transfer of people. So no massive influx of settlers like in Latin America, only three weeks away by sail. Most Mexicans are mestizo, a small portion still purely native, the upper class there white. The Philippines would I think have has a chance to throw out the Kastila if not for tribes that didn’t care about one another and elites that even then didn’t care too much for most of their own people. This is not to discount the many attempts at freedom, but how many were quelled by mainly native troops?

                Also, aside from the Philippines and Indonesia, most Asian kingdoms were simply too powerful for Europeans to conquer before the British entered the scene, and the industrial revolution had led to more advanced weaponry.

              • To summarize, 325 years of Spain led to this:

                1) an already hierarchic society became more solidified in its hierarchies
                2) native spirituality syncretized with Spanish Catholicism in a unique way
                3) gradual formalization of land rights benefitted the already entitled most
                4) warrior culture for the most part mutated into today’s culture of impunity
                5) differences in educational opportunities widened the most since 1800s

                BUT it would not have been possible without local entitled cooperating
                Filipinos were not purely victims but often participants in what developed

              • Micha says:


                Well, duh, co-opting and encouraging the loyalties of the native population is, of course, part of the arsenal of strategies of the invading power. Heck, even the short lived Japanese occupation used this strategy – with the Laurels of Batangas as the most notable collaborators.

                Heck, even Marcos used the divide and conquer strategy in trying to quell the Muslim rebellion in Mindanao in the ’70’s.

                But beyond this pedantry on the treachery of the native elite, I don’t see how this has anything to do with Ocampo’s erroneous exploration-not-colonization thesis.

                Methinks he’s romanticizing Magellan’s feat and becoming an obvious apologist for the Spaniard’s return of the comeback.

              • 1. Yes of course. Divide et impera, said the Romans. But Vercingetorix at least managed an alliance of Gallic tribes even if they were eventually defeated by Caesar. Arminius did manage to destroy 3 of Caesar’s best legions in a temporary alliance with other German tribes. His misfortune was that the other tribes feared his ambition to be King and drove him out after their victory. Lapu-Lapu just managed to lure the impoverished nobleman Magalhães, a cousin to Don Quixote in a way, into the trap of his own hubris, that’s it.

                1a. The native elite collaborating and disunited has often been a reason for the Philippines losing when it could have stayed free, like most of SEA until the 1800s.

                1b. It is far from pedantry, it is a counterpoint to the narrative that the archipelago had no agency at all in what happened. In fact it is key if one looks at kung paano gustong-gusto ni Dutz pumapel sa bagong mananakop NGAYON.

                2. As for Ocampo, I think in a sense it is right that Magellan did not causally lead to Legazpi. A lot of other factors including Potosí silver came later on.

                2a. Let us not make the Kastila smarter than they were. Well, the Spanish nostalgia is clear with their ship sailing in and all. They have not yet recovered until now from their loss of empire in 1898, nor have they learned much from mistakes.

                2b. But a real Spanish comeback extremely unlikely. Their time is truly over now. Certainly my perspective is different as I see where they are now within the EU.

                3. Ocampo got a Twitterstorm from other Filipino historians for his article as well.

                3a. Xiao Chua is also getting flak from fellow nationalist historians for being part of the commemoration. His take is that the Spanish at least did not erase native languages, which he says the USA nearly did with English-based education.

                3b. History is fun. The controversies on its interpretation are at times fun, at times ekek.

              • sonny says:

                “… endured for 300 years – not to mention the residual effects years later in our collective psyche of having been dominated and made to acquire a system of thought based on feudal system sprinkled with defective and irrational religiosity. …”

                We have 21st century eyes being confronted with facts from five centuries. For me this is now a matter of 1) the lens we choose to use to mirror or refract what we have collected, which dots to select and connect, what clusters we choose to interpolate, and/or extrapolate 2) which giant’s shoulders we choose to perch on; 3) what narrative we would like to weave for ourselves and others to examine.

                This is what the exercise of history is all about. We want to be motivated by the truth we distill, relationships we would like to nurture that will bear fruit for good and for ill.

                For me as a Filipino, I must come up with an accounting: time = 300 yrs under a Spanish sphere of influence, 50 years of American tutelage, 75 years of Malay hybridization. Just broad strokes for starters.

              • Which giant’s shoulders to stand on..

                Let me share the POV I got as a little boy on my father’s shoulders once..

                Click to access A-Legacy-of-the-Propaganda-The-Tripartite-View-of-Phil-History.pdf

                ..We had, at the arrival of the Spaniards an indigenous sense of history, but scarce regard for the past as history. Unlike the French
                histoire (which derives from the Greek word for “inquiry” whose Indo-European root, wid, had given Gothic witan (German wissen,
                English wit) or “knowledge” and Sanskrit Veda or “knowledge par excellence, mystical knowledge”); or unlike even the German
                Geschichte (from geschehen “to happen,” as in a story of history, which are the meanings of the substantive), our word for “history” in
                Tagalog does not refer to knowledge, to the search for information or to what happened in the past as such. Kasaysayan comes from
                saysay which means both “to relate in detail, to explain,” and “value, worth, significance.” In one sense, therefore, kasaysayan is “story”
                (like German Geschichte or another Tagalog term, salaysay, which is probably simply an extended form of saysay). But kasaysayan is
                also “explanation,” “significance,” or “relevance” (may saysay “significant, relevant;” walang saysay or walang kasaysayan, meaning
                “irrelevant; senseless”). What was then important to us was the story and its significance, in so far as this could be explained and made
                relevant to a particular group. Now, apart from the lack of reference to inquiry (the methodological aspect which, up to the end of the
                Spanish regime, was hardly heeded), that is exactly what history is all about, knowledge being actually meaning rendered
                understandable and relevant to a group of people. From their kasaysayan, however, our ancestors derived a different sense of history.
                For our ancestors had a sense of the eternal recurrence of natural and human phenomena: day and night, the seasons, seed and plant,
                the cycle of life and death, the passing and coming of generations, youth and age, planting and harvesting, war and peace with
                neighboring barangays. There would therefore be myths and legends about these recurrent “events,” for they had kasaysayan ––
                meaning and relevance –– to their lives, to be explained and recounted in detail to everyone. Our ethnic literatures and religions are
                replete with these explicative stories. Equally relevant to the community were the genealogies which made the elite families, descend
                from the gods, thus explaining their socio-political primacy. It was a practice common to the entire archipelago, closely connected with
                the religious ideology of the epics which, because they contained these “vain genealogies,” were sung precisely under the auspices of
                the datus and maharlikas just as later, in the lowlands, the pasyon would be chanted in the epic fashion under the periodic sponsorship
                of the principales, the converted datus and maharlikas. All this had kasaysayan, was meaningful and relevant; but the implicit historical
                sentiment behind every myth, legend, or ritual in the ancient worldview was “cyclical.”
                To break away from this cyclical view of time and events, the ancient community needed some sudden jolt from the unexpected. This
                the Spanish advent provided as it confronted the Filipinos with a sequential view of events, together with an external interpretation of
                their actions within a non-recurrent time frame. Of course, the Christian philosophy of the friars was also cyclical in the sense that
                mankind’s story started with Paradise where Adam and Eve had to fall from the Heavenly Father’s grace before the Son could become
                Man to save their descendants in this world who, with the second coming of the Lord, would recover, if they merited it, the paradisiac
                condition of their primeval parents. But, within that broad cosmic framework, the friars thought and reported on the Filipinos in linear
                terms. The chronicles recorded events in terms of change and movement, not of the timeless returning of form and ceremony. Even the
                recurrent feasts were considered unique occurrences because they differed from year to year, from celebration to celebration. In any
                case, the events were taking place no longer in relation to the cyclical preoccupations of the various ethnic communities; they now had
                kasaysayan –– meaning and relevance –– in relation to the entire archipelago as a field for Hispanic colonial endeavor — and, of
                course, to Spain as this “national” or Christian monarchic idea was understood by the religious and, occasionally, by more secular
                A new direction was thus being imposed upon the lives and acts of Filipinos and that direction was understood and explained in the
                categories of a foreign historical consciousness.
                This historical consciousness, for all its linearity, could have been acceptable to Filipinos, particularly when in the nineteenth century
                they had begun to understand and to feel the need for the Spanish archipelagic frame of reference. But the archipelago was even then
                considered simply as the stage for the action of Spain, so that the historical consciousness that viewed and integrated such action was,
                in the end, one which saw Philippine history as merely that of “Spain in the Philippines.” It was a consciousness that could not help but
                consider the Indio as the object of historical action by the Spaniard who, in his own self-conscious view of himself, was the conscient subject exercising his political will (through the colonial state) in pursuit of a religious and civilizing mission..

                ..All this deserves another study. For the moment, however, it would appear that the tripartite historical ideology has outlived its
                revolutionary purpose. For, by attaching the unfolding of our people’s history to the colonial phenomenon and other exogenous factors,
                our historians and Filipinos in general fail to see that we are responsible for our own history, that there is (or there must be) an internal
                mechanism for our becoming one people, a particular thrust to our national history. In any case, there is an urgent need for rethinking
                the periodization of Philippine history. Towards this end, one should perhaps first comprehend what the Propagandists really wanted to
                accomplish. Despite the different vantage points from which they viewed the challenge of the Spanish historical thesis, Rizal, Lopez
                Jaena, and del Pilar all desired to show that the Filipino was playing the active part in making his own history. Jaena believed in the
                Filipino’s “innate capacity for civilization,” although he seems to have identified “civilization” with its Western form and in the Western
                direction. Despite his acceptance of the Spanish thesis of the Filipino prehispanic “savagery,” del Pilar was nonetheless also convinced
                that his countrymen were made for “progress” and could respond creatively to the challenge of change. Finally, Rizal felt the inner
                strength of Filipino civilization which, vigorous at the arrival of the Spaniards, was really only suffering under Spain from some cultural
                contamination from which it was bound to recover and once again give free rein to its creatively..

      • LCPL_X says:


        I think you’re missing the point that all this exploration was all accidental, all for wanting a more direct route to the spice (ala Dune), because Europeans were sick and tired of dealing with the Middle East.

        They didn’t know that they were gonna be superior, hell they thought they’d pop out of China. But many times it didn’t go their way.

        And the Magellan and Lapu Lapu interaction is case in point, that the Spaniards and proto-Filipinos were well matched. Then came the horses, then fire arms, more military troops. But its wrong to factor into all these superiority during initial contact like Magellan’s.

        So give credit where credit is due, Magellan et al were explorers, other generations would be exploiters, but not them, not yet. Your viewing history backwards. Anachronistically.

        “The bolt and the spurs always hold firm.”

        Of all the stuff they saw upon landing in the Philippines, that was the thing that these Spaniards were most impressed by. No doubt, Filipino seamen today still do something akin to it— ie., anting anting in Visayans, inserting sacred rocks and amulets in important appendages.

        I in the 2000s was still impressed by this. This type of thing takes commitment, Micha.

        Look at what they were most impressed of, and you understand the whole point of colonialism, yes they discovered Chinese wares but that was written down simply as intel to mined further into the future. Not really impressed by the riches.

        These explorers were more interested in increasing their luck and survival. Again remember York, Clark’s slave in the Mandan village, that is the only interaction worth noting upon first contact, not all the anachronistic colonialism mumbo jumbo.

        Man has to impress his fellow man. And that s done only thru martial and matrimonial skillz, not wedding here but the exchange of bodily fluids. If you boil human interaction its just those two things, Micha.

        If you notice Pigafetta’s account of the spurs is somewhat perplexing, if you read thru the passage he’s admiring but at the same time admitting that his men his mates were winning over the women folk, like over compensating. Theres dissonance. Yet he as an explorer, I’m sure he saw himself as a type of warrior too, was in awe of the bolt and spurs.

        Understand the bolt and spurs and you understand Magellan’s defeat; fail to appreciate it appreciate the thing that makes your culture superior or with a leg up, you’ll be trapped in all the victimhood narrative, which is what youre espousing essentially.

        Lapu-Lapu and Humabon spanked Magellan et al hard because the Spaniards lacked virility. The same reason why when a silver back Gorilla gains its silver back hue other male gorilla s are suppressed of this color. For Orangutans its the big cheek flaps. Theres a suppressing aspect to all this, Micha. Thus a zero sum game.

        • Micha says:


          I think you’re missing the point that when Magellan embarked on his voyage, Spain was at a period where it’s empire was at its high point from about late 1400’s to mid 1700’s – it even claimed the moniker as the empire “on which the sun never sets”.

          Thus, Magellan’s not-so-innocent expedition and the ensuing occupation of the islands by a series of governor generals was a manifestation of imperial hubris and that the original voyage was not merely to look for a western passage towards the spice islands but to also look (scout) for imperial outpost and extension in the orient.

          • I think the argument is a waste of time because the truth rests in the mind of the beholder who is looking back over centuries and trying to determine if the Perseverance rover is exploration or imperial hubris pushing out to grab anything of value it can. These are constructs of the mind, like a debate topic given high school seniors, graded on how they cast their arguments, not whether they are right or wrong. But do carry on. There is no paper, the space is free, and I won’t be reading in much depth. haha Thank you both for remaining civil. Anger is also a waste of time, and energy. Actually, it’s destructive.

    • sonny says:

      “… Those who criticize the 2021 commemoration of the first circumnavigation as a celebration of colonialism and oppression …”

      Seems like the Cassandra complex is upon us: our stories/foresight are true but others choose to believe/act otherwise.

    • sonny says:

      “Standing on the prow of our boat, with the wind blowing in my face, I looked out at the exact same vista Magellan saw 500 years ago. When the sea changed color from emerald green to a deep blue, I knew it indicated great depth. …” — ambeth, 2021

      .” After exiting San Bernardino Strait just south of Sorsogon, the color of the ocean changes to dark blue, almost black! I didn’t realize at the time that we were sailing atop the second deepest part of the Pacific Ocean, the Philippine Deep (more than seven miles deep)!”
      — sonny, 1969

      “THE LONG CROSSING – Propelled by the wind and deflected by the earth’s rotation, currents swing round the Pacific Ocean in two enormous gyres, running clockwise above the equator, counter-clockwise, below. Aided by these currents, a single Manila galleon sailed eastward in April and returned west in October each year, a 9.000-mile crossing plagued by pirates and seasonal storms.” — Cartographic Division, National Geographic Mag, July 1986

      • LCPL_X says:

        Of note here, sonny, is also the artifact presented by Magellan to Humabon’s wife found again by Legaspi.

        The santa ninyo of Cebu is regaled with all sorts of magic.

        What’s of interest for me is how this sort of magic also is echoed at the barangay level, so much so that whatever saint the barangay is known for, every elected head of barangay gets to move their statue around. usually, with the deal is a small chapel.

        Let’s say sonny’s the barangay head, but Joe wins, so Joe gets to put the chapel next to his house; next cycle karl wins, Joe gets butt hurt and tells karl to get the chapel from his property and around and around it goes.

        That connection between artifact and power, reminds me of the Crown (Netflix).

        p.s. ___ I’m rereading Voltaire again, sonny, and he too was Jesuit trained but instead developed a special hatred of them. Buggery was his issue.

        “During his exile in England, the legend goes, the great Jesuit-trained French writer and philosopher Voltaire went to dinner at the home of the English writer Alexander Pope. Pope’s mother noticed Voltaire was squirming in his chair. She asked if there was something wrong.

        Voltaire answered, “ I was buggered so often in my youth by the Jesuits that I cannot sit still in comfort..”

        A hundred years before Voltaire’s exile, the Jesuits already had that reputation. The association of the Catholic Church with both homosexuality and paedophilia (generally considered the same thing by the authorities back then) was already quite old, and already shows up in stories like The Canterbury Tales in the late 1300s.”

        But IMHO, the Jesuits really didn’t get a hold of the Philippines until much later. I think by the time, they were popular they’ve already gain their much heralded reputation. There was a period where they were cancelled, which reflected in the missions over here in California.

        Filipinos should read Candide, and Micromegas (both Jonathan Swift like stories).

        L’Ingénu you can Google and theres pdf read for free. This one if relevant to the blog at hand. Or youtube for summary.

        • sonny says:

          “Of note here, sonny, is also the artifact presented by Magellan to Humabon’s wife found again by Legaspi.

          The santa ninyo of Cebu is regaled with all sorts of magic. ”

          LC, there is a very strong intersection here of anthropology, sociology, natural theology, and the missionary spirit. The image is the Santo Nino, the Holy Infant Jesus. For Christian eyes the resonance in this encounter is unmistakeable: mother-child, nurture, the Infant God-man, identified with the animist god-residents in the luxurious rain forests environment. Growing up in the tropics, one can feel surrounded with the abundance of life in the surrounding flora & fauna. Especially as nightfall comes one can feel life in the balmy evenings and listening to sounds of the night when electrification was still at a modicum. And yes this was a missionary moment we now call the moment of evangelization, the Christian call to inculturate the gospel and evangelize the culture.

  24. https://manilastandard.net/mobile/article/349897

    500 years of burdens and gifts

    Eagle Eyes – Tony La Viña
    Manila Standard, 20 March 2021

    In the mass celebrated in Rome by Pope Francis last Sunday, Cardinal Chito Tagle spoke eloquently about the coming of the Christian faith to our land as God’s gift. According to Tagle: “From 1521 to 2021, we see gift upon gift. We thank God for the bearers of the gift these 500 years: the pioneering missionaries, the religious congregations, the clergy, the grandmothers and grandfathers, the mothers and fathers, the teachers, the catechists, the parishes, the schools, the hospitals, the orphanages, the farmers, the laborers, the artists, and the poor whose wealth is Jesus.”

    But has it all been gifts?

    Last week, the University of the Philippines Department of Anthropology hosted a virtual forum, part of the National Historical Commission’s commemoration of the Philippine Quincentennial, entitled “Of Crosses and ‘Culture’: an Anthropological Look at 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines”. I was invited to speak in one of the panels – Cross and Gavel: The Crosses and Crossings of Christianity and the Law in the Philippines. And for that, I chose to deliver a short presentation entitled “From Pope Alexander VI’s Inter Caetera (1493) to Pope Francis Fratelli Tutti (2021): how the Catholic Church has influenced the rule of law and justice in the Philippines.”

    My talk was a work in progress, based on preliminary research for a law journal article I am writing and a course outline I am working on for a subject on history and philosophy I have been asked to teach in San Carlos Seminary next semester. The focus of my research is on our dual experience of Christianity – the burdens that colonialism, and that includes Christianity, imposed on our people and the gifts of faith that are also the fruits of the encounter in 1521.

    In reflecting on 500 years of the burdens and gifts of Christianity, I echo the reflections of my friend Brother Karl M. Gaspar, CSsR in his latest book Handumanan (Remembrance): Digging for the Indigenous Wellspring, published by Claretian Publications. As Professor Remmon Barbaza, my colleague in the Philosophy Department of Ateneo de Manila University, has pointed out that this book presents a gift – “in the form of a challenge—the challenge to remember.”

    Agnes Miclat-Cacayan praises Gaspar’s book for its honesty, observing that “the price of colonial Christianity has been and continues to be steep not only in terms of its complicity with exploitative economic policies that continues to persist hundreds of years later, but for its effects on our indigenous soul.” She frames the book as a “compassionate and passionate petition” for the institutional Catholic church to “ask for forgiveness for what it did to indigenous culture.

    It would be good actually to hear such an apology, at the very least an acknowledgement of the harm done.

    The other book I will rely on is Owen J. Lynch’s Colonial Legacies in a Fragile Republic: Philippine Land Law and State Formation, published by the University of the Philippines College of Law. Lynch, who was my mentor, writes about the origins of our unjust legal regime that governs land ownership and utilization of natural resources. The book documents how colonial law systematically disposed Filipinos of their land rights even as it points to natural law concepts, embedded as early in papal bulls like that issued of Pope Alexander VI that justified colonialism and in the US Bill of Rights, that is helping us overturn the unjust system to favor today’s indigenous peoples.

    In Pope Francis’ latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti, he observes how indigenous peoples are not opposed to progress, but they have a different notion of progress, one that is more humanistic than the modern culture of developed peoples. He adds: “Intolerance and lack of respect for indigenous popular cultures is a form of violence grounded in a cold and judgmental way of viewing them.”

    I would have been remiss if I did not highlight the positive contribution of the recently deceased Fr. Joaquin Bernas SJ to Philippine law and to the building of our nation.

    Last Sunday, Pope Francis thanked Filipinos: “You received the joy of the Gospel: the good news that God so loved us that he gave his Son for us. And this joy is evident in your people. We see it in your eyes, on your faces, in your songs and in your prayers. In the joy with which you bring your faith to other lands. I have often said that here in Rome Filipino women are “smugglers” of faith! Because wherever they go to work, they sow the faith. It is part of your genes, a blessed “infectiousness” that I urge you to preserve.”

    Pope Francis urges us to keep bringing the faith, the good news we received 500 years ago, to others. It is a faith, even with the burdens that came with colonialism, that the gospel on the Fourth Sunday of Lent correctly describes as one that has produced many seeds.

    The beauty of Brother Karl’s book is his insight about how we can move on from the burdens of history and to use the gift of the indigenous wellspring to renew a universal and truly Filipino faith. Thanks be to God for that!



      In the spirit of celebrating the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines, let me share an article I have written years ago. It might help put into frame what we celebrate today. Beyond the triumphalist readings, I will try to bring out the ambivalence of our celebrations. Beyond just being thankful for the grace of the Christian faith, the invitation is to look at the actual grounds we have trod and challenge ourselves to be more faithful to the man from Nazareth who started it all. This critical view is necessary to avoid romantizing Christianity’s presence and, move us to tackle new and more difficult challenges in our times. This historical re-reading will be delivered in four parts to avoid reading fatigue 🙂

      The Philippines is said to have lived “300 years in a Catholic convent and 50 years in Hollywood.” The description refers to the two longest colonial rules in the Islands – first under the Spaniards (1521-1898) and second under the Americans (1898-1946). “El servicio de ambas Majestades” (the service of both Majesties) – a phrase present in many official documents – explains the relationship between Church and politics during the Spanish colonial regime in the Philippines.

      The great Filipino Jesuit historian, Horacio de la Costa, writes:

      “This is what claimed the entire allegiance of Spanish subjects everywhere, from the highest to the lowest, from Manila to Madrid: in the temporal order, the majesty of the King, and in the spiritual order, the majesty of God. The Church was primarily concerned, of course, with the service of God, the State with the service of the King; but it would be a great mistake to imagine this meant a division of labor or of powers. In the constitution of Spain and the Spanish empire each served both Majesties, God and King, Church and State might be distinct, but they were not divided. They were integral parts of one massive structure, which might be viewed either as a civilizing Church or a missionary State.”

      The evangelization project made possible by the Patronato Real was both missionary and civilizing. The friar’s task was both evangelical and political. At once, he was the empire’s civil servant and God’s missionary. But even at the demise of this religio-political structure in the post-Hispanic era, the same discourse can be found when the American Protestants came.

      The American colonization program in the Philippines was both God’s business and good business. President William McKinley tried to impress on a group of American Methodist pastors how his decision to annex the Philippines was an inspiration of God’s spirit. This collusion of spiritual and imperial powers in these two colonial epochs in the Philippines has crucial consequences to the Church’s task of evangelization.

      President McKinley narrates: “And one night late it came to me this way – I don’t know how but it came: (1) that we could not give them back to Spain – that would be cowardly and dishonourable; (2) that we could not turn them over to France or Germany – our commercial rivals in the Orient – that would be bad business and discreditable; (3) that we could not leave them to themselves – they were unfit for self-government, and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was; and (4) there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could for them, as our fellowmen and for whom Christ also died.”

      I will only deal with the first – the missionary project under the Spanish regime. (I invite my Protestant and evangelical friends to also reflexively read their own histories.) I will attempt to examine and evaluate the methods of evangelization by the Spanish missionaries.

      First, I will contextualize the colonial evangelization efforts through a specific politico-ecclesiastical arrangement called the “Patronato Real”. Second, I will elaborate on some methods of spreading the Gospel employed by early Spanish missionaries. Finally, I will try to assess these methods based on their complicity with socio-political and economic powers of their times.

      Against some ecclesiastical historians who easily glorify the Spanish missionary efforts, on the one hand, and the “anti-friar” literature that demonizes them, on the other, this article argues that the Spanish evangelization process was at best ambivalent. It eschews neither an easy veneration nor a generalized condemnation of these missionary efforts. Each event or practice needs to be considered through a critical reading of existing historical sources vis-à-vis other socio-political factors.

      This essay realizes that understanding a historical event or assessing a historical project requires not only a comprehension of the conscious intentions of human agents vis-à-vis other social forces but also of its reception by others and its unintended consequences.

      The “Patronato Real” and the Spanish Missions

      The work of evangelization in the Philippines during the Spanish regime can be understood within the framework of Church-State relations called the Patronato Real de las Indias – “a series of agreements entered into by the Holy See and the Spanish monarchy… [later] developed by Spanish jurists and theologians into a body of law and of standard practices and procedures which remained in force until the dissolution of the Spanish empire in the late XVIII and XIX centuries.”

      In short, Spain shall promote, maintain and defend the Catholic religion in all its colonies (that is, to support the whole work of evangelization) in exchange for being recognized by the Holy See as the “patron” of the Church of the Indies (that is, to possess “just title to the colonies it had conquered”).

      This entitles the monarchy to certain rights in ecclesiastical administration. Some of these privileges are the following: (1) the right to assign religious congregation the territories for them to evangelize; (2) the privilege to approve missionaries to be sent or be retained in the colonies; (3) the right to nominate bishops with the understanding that these nominations were pro forma which the Holy See should automatically accept; (4) the right to approve the parish priests appointed to parishes by their local bishops; (5) the right to censor communication between the Holy See and the Church in the Indies; communications shall be coursed through the King’s Council to the Indies which has the power “to allow or not to allow such communications to be forwarded to those to whom they were addressed”; (6) the right to assign civil functions to parish priests, that is, compiling a tribute list, supervising elections or public works and others.

      This arrangement consequently generates tension between the bishops/priests and the agents of the king in the colony.

      One such area of tension is on ecclesiastical appointments made by bishops which governors-general would claim power to approve or revoke. For example, the governor Sebastián Hurtado de Corcuera (1634-1639) demanded that Fray Hernando Guerrero, the Archbishop of Manila, submit to this policy. When the latter refused, Corcuera ordered that Archbishop Guerrero be arrested. The soldiers came to implement the order but Guerrero prevented them to touch him by holding the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament in it as his shield. The soldiers had to wait for hours until he became tired and had to let go of the monstrance. The Archbishop was later exiled to the island of Corregidor. But before leaving, he placed the whole city under an “interdict”. This means that no Masses can be said, no other sacraments can be celebrated, no funerals can be done, until the interdict was lifted. The governor had to give in to the pressure from the people and released the Archbishop in less than a week’s time.

      The tension did not only happen between church and government but also between politics and economy. A dramatic event that occurred in October of 1719 proved to be a culmination of the long tension between Governor Fernando de Bustamante (1717-1719) and the Manila merchants whom the former accused of graft and corruption. When these business people ran to the churches for sanctuary, Bustamante had the churchmen arrested and, in the end, also the old Archbishop Cuesta himself. Upon hearing the news, all people rose up in arms. As they stormed the palace, the governor did not relent. Instead, he had his soldiers – and himself – fire their artillery at them. But the people charged and killed him and his son. “Then, all that multitude with one voice raise a cry that was heard throughout the city: ‘The tyrant is dead! Long live the faith!’.”


      In the midst of this tension-filled arrangement, the Church continued in its mission of preaching the Gospel. The difficulty of this task was eloquently expressed by De la Costa: “The soldiers and seamen who came to win the Philippines for Spain were accompanied by missionaries who came to win it for the Christian religion. It was easy enough, in theory, to reconcile these aims of colonial policy; in practice, conquest made conversion difficult. What natural attraction, in fact, could the religion of their conquerors have for the conquered? How is it possible to spread the Gospel of Christ with the sword? And yet, the fact remains that the Spaniards did convert the Filipinos to Christianity.”

      The intentions of Spanish missionaries were focused on the “spiritual conquest of the minds and hearts of the natives” which in their assessment is the only “ultimate justification for the military conquest.” How did they do this gigantic task? What ways and methods did they use? Some historians give us a hint at these evangelization motives and methods.

      Let me mention four areas: reconfiguration of space, education in the faith, sacraments and conversion, inculturation and integral evangelization.

      1. “Bajo de la Campana”: Reconfiguration of Space

      Located in scattered spaces within the more than 7000 islands, the native population has been described by the Spanish chroniclers as living “without polity” (sin policia). For the Spaniards, civilization is connected with the city – a concept that harks back to the existence of the Greek polis. To be without polity is to be a barbarian. Thus, to spread civilization and to facilitate the “spiritual conquest”, the dispersed population needs to be congregated, “reduced” into compact villages. People were enticed to live “bajo de la campana”, that is, within hearing of the church bell. Reducción was the term used to describe the same project in colonial Mexico and Peru. This administrative reconfiguration of space was also implemented in the Philippines from 1580s to 1590s.

      There were many factors that led to the reduction project being vehemently resisted by the Filipinos. First was economic. Since Filipinos were subsistence farmers, there was no reason for them to leave their small farms and transfer to compact villages. Secondly, new congregated villages became easy targets of Moro raids especially in the Visayas area. Though military coercion was sometimes employed to force people to relocate, the colorful ritual celebrations of the Church on Holy Week, Christmas, or patronal feasts were mainly used to attract them to come to the center (cabecera). With it developed the elaborately vibrant popular Catholicism and religiosity which are prevalent up to this day. But since these celebrations were only occasional, people still went back to their farms and come back for the next liturgical season – making the Philippine version of reducción project quite unique with the existence of cabecera-visita complex.

      The “cabecera” was the center (most often in the lowlands) where the parish priest resided; the “visitas” were small chapels at the outskirts which he would visit occasionally most often during the annual patronal feasts. This familiar parish structure is still recognizable in our times. How successful was this project? The historian John Leddy Phelan comments: “The results certainly were not as sweeping as the missionaries wanted, but pre-conquest decentralization was sufficiently reduced so that Filipinos were brought into some social contact with Hispanic culture” and the Christian faith.

      Another missionary space reconfiguration applied in the Philippines is the distribution of the dispersed islands and socio-linguistic groups to the care of different religious congregations. Earlier in the Spanish era, missions had to be abandoned due to obvious difficulties – dispersed population, shortage of church personnel and people’s diverse languages.

      For a more strategic evangelization process, each of the four original missionary groups divided the reachable space among themselves. The central Tagalog region was shared by all groups but the larger area went mainly to Augustinians and Franciscans who arrived in these places earlier. The Jesuits got a smaller part while the Dominicans took care of the Chinese in Parian. Outside of Manila, the Augustinians took Pampanga and Ilokos; the Franciscans went to Bikol; the Dominicans took care of Pangasinan and Cagayan Valley; the Jesuits and the Augustinians divided the Bisayan islands among themselves. The Jesuits also went to Mindanao and remained the only group who worked there until the coming of the Recollects. The Augustinian Recollects who only came in 1606 got some few parishes scattered all over the islands but took over the Jesuit areas during the Jesuit expulsion.

      This ethno-linguistic distribution of missionary groups was also practical as it facilitated their learning of distinct languages since the evangelization process was to be done in the native tongues. The friars learned local languages and were the first to write grammars and dictionaries, printed catechisms, sermons and confessionarios.

      2. “Doctrina Christiana”: Education in the Faith

      The catechetical material “Doctrina Christiana” (1593) written by Fray Juan de Plasencia was the first book printed in the Philippines in both Spanish and Tagalog languages. It is a catechetical pamphlet which contains the basic prayers (the Our Father, Hail Mary, Creed and Salve Regina); the articles of faith, seven sacraments, seven capital sins, Ten Commandments, five commandments of the Church, and the acts of general confession.

      Despite the long literary history in the Philippines (e.g., the baybayin script has been in use long before the coming of the Spaniards), the Doctrina was not meant for general distribution due to the high cost of printing materials. It mainly served as a catechetical guide for parish priests.

      Catechetical classes were mainly oral. Chronicles narrate how, after the Sunday masses, the children are made to recite the contents of the Doctrina in the church. Creative adaptations followed. The Jesuits, for instance, translated it into Bisayan verses adapted to the local traditional chants for planting and rowing. But since Filipinos learned the doctrines in recitative parrot-like manner, many missionaries also doubt the depth of the believers’ comprehension of the tenets of the faith.

      It is in this context that the schools became necessary. Another Jesuit church historian, John Schumacher, writes: “The missionaries realized the difficulties of securing great depth in understanding among the older people and often had to content themselves with merely a basic knowledge of Christian teachings and the memorization of fundamental prayers. But the younger generation could not only be thoroughly grounded in the faith from their childhood, but the work of the schools with them also served to attract and teach their elders. Though the schools seem to have been an ordinary adjunct of the parishes, in the large towns the so-called ‘seminario de Indios’, or boarding schools, were set up for the boys from neighboring districts, where they lived together and received a thorough foundation in Christian life and doctrine.”

      Like their European medieval counterparts, boarding schools in the Philippines not only taught the Catholic faith but also reading, writing, music and other arts. And like the medieval boarding schools, they were also connected to a “convento” – a word which originally meant a monastery since the first Spanish parish priests mostly belonged to monastic religious orders. Thus, “even if occupied by only one priest, and even if not belonging to a friar order”, all parish houses and rectories are also called conventos even to this day.


      Conversions and the Sacraments

      Conversion to the new faith was not a spontaneous response to the foreign missionaries’ incursion into the indigenous population. Distrust, violent resistance and indifference characterize these initial encounters. Missionaries often discover their huts burned, their belongings stolen or the source of their drinking water poisoned. Thus, they did not forcibly impose the faith upon the indigenous people. They resorted to more creative strategies other than coercion and violence in order to attract people to the faith.

      For instance, baptism was projected not only as purging the soul of its sin but also healing the body of its ailments. Chronicles in fact narrated of miraculous healings brought about by the baptismal waters. Since healing is always a fundamental need, people started to request for baptism. They also asked from parents and elders that their children be entrusted to their care. The school became a central tool for catechetical classes. Once the children were indoctrinated, the chieftains and elders also became curious and were persuaded. “With the conversion of the leaders of the community, the baptism of their followers came as a matter of course.”

      Though there were instances when baptism was hastily celebrated with little preparation, most missionaries were careful in administering the sacrament and, in some cases, even postponed them. One example is this standard policy for Jesuit missions: “Let there not be so much concern for the number of baptisms as for their being well-prepared, and for the newly baptized living like Christians. Even though they are few, they should be good examples in their villages.” This makes post-baptismal catechesis and ongoing education in the faith very important. The catechetical recitation of the Doctrina in the cabecera on Sundays helped; so with the boarding school training for the younger converts.

      There were many cultural obstacles to receive the sacraments – polygamy, divorce, usury, slavery, sexual practices, drunkenness, etc. – customs traditionally practiced by pre-conquest Filipinos. Missionaries were careful not to admit to baptism those who have not fully imbibed the tenets of Christian faith and morals.

      This policy was found among the Dominicans: “It would have been a bad idea to baptize any while they were still in this doubt and danger of leaving the newly baptized without a teacher in the midst of so many pagans. For it was morally certain that they would soon return to their diabolical [sic] rites if they left them alone, not only because of the pressure which the other pagans would put on them, but also because of the weakness of those recently born in the faith and their little spiritual and natural energy. For they were all corrupted by with their many evil customs with which they have been born and lived all their life.”

      If these obstacles were present for baptism, it was also true for the sacraments of marriage and penance. It was an uphill climb to convince the population to give in to the demands of the new Catholic morality, let alone live by them. In general, some parts of the population were converted; the majority remained in their traditional ways.

      John Leddy Phelan has this conclusion: “As the 17th century wore on, the inadequacies of the missionary effort became increasingly apparent. Three sacraments – confirmation, extreme unction and holy orders – were of slight importance in the spiritual life of the Filipinos. In the case of penance and the Eucharist only the minimum requirements established by the Church were met… Yet the Filipinos were Christianized in the face of severe handicaps of a shortage of priests and a dispersed population speaking a bewildering variety of languages.”

      Inculturation and Integral Evangelization

      Inculturation and integral evangelization are post-Vatican II words. Yet reading the accounts of Spanish chroniclers and missionaries, we can glean some heroic efforts along these contemporary evangelization ideals.

      First, there was the decision to use the native languages in order to spread the faith. The “Doctrina Christina” was trilingual – Spanish, Romanized Tagalog and Tagalog in baybayin scripts. Theological categories were also rendered in local languages except those which have no equivalents or those which caused confusion – Dios, Espiritu Santo, sacramento, etc. The missionaries became the first masters of local languages producing dictionaries, grammars and religious books.

      Second, substitution with and accommodation to the local culture proved effective for the understanding of the faith. Thus, people came to consider the holy water as substitute to the shamans’ materials for healing; the cross was sent to be touched to the patients’ body to be cured; some old practices as ritual dancing were retained but replaced with a new object of veneration like the Santo Niño (Christ child); some indigenous structures were also adapted in the parish level, e.g., the local chief was appointed to be the parish fiscal, and many others. In contemporary terms, inculturation was practiced not only in the level of thought and practices but also in the realm of structures.

      Third, the missionaries did not only preach by word but also by action. They engaged themselves in building roads and bridges, the improvement of agriculture, and hospital work. One lay Franciscan lay brother, constructed the roads in Laguna “with his own hands, diverting waters, filling swamps, and making roads, some a half league, others a league in strength, carrying on his own shoulders the rocks and other materials with the help of some Indios.” Another famous Franciscan friar, Fray Juan de Clemente, dedicated himself to healing peoples’ diseases through indigenous herbs and constructed a hospital despite meagre material resources.

      Fourth, the missionaries bravely fought against the conquistadores and defended the rights of the natives against slavery. In the forefront of this struggle was the Dominican Bishop Domingo de Salazar, the first bishop of Manila. The first Synod of Manila (1582-1586), which he himself presided upon his arrival, tackled the thorny issue of the rights of the Spanish Crown on a conquered people.

      Finally, the witness of the life of many missionaries themselves persuaded the Filipinos on the sincerity of their purpose. While younger missionaries who can learn the languages did the preaching, the older friars merely accompanied them to far flung areas to do the other tasks, to which the lifestyle of the present clergy pale in comparison. Here is one account:

      “At times they went from one village to another by sea in small boats, but frequently it was necessary to pass through swampy and muddy country, so that they considered it was better to go barefoot and bare-legged. On arriving the place they were going, soaking wet and covered with mud, immediately they began to hear confessions or baptize as the need might be. They asked for nothing more than rice boiled in water and occasionally some small fish, if perchance the Indios had such for their food. The floor of the house of the Indio was their bed, and their wet clothing their covering, without anything anymore. Thus they acted and continued to give the Indios to understand that all those trials they were undergoing had no other purpose than to gain their souls for God.”

      How effective were these methods to the program of Christianization of the Philippines? Phelan identifies three periods of the colonial evangelization project.

      The first phase is the exploratory phase (1565-1578) where church personnel were few and many were still learning the language. The second phase (1578-1609) consists of the “golden years” of the evangelization process. With more missionaries coming from Spain, the apostolic endeavours progressed in zeal and enthusiasm. The third phase was set around the 17th century onwards when “the zeal of the first generation missionaries gave way to the spirit of apathy, routine and discouragement.”

      It is difficult to generalize but the first missionary ideals of Domingo de Salazar to protect the natives from the exploitation by the encomenderos were sidelined; these abusive systems ironically became the prevalent practice of some individual friars and missionary communities that later led the Filipinos to rise against Spain.


      Daniel Franklin E. Pilario, CM


        From which standpoint can we read the individual missionary accounts and evangelical methods in colonial contexts? There are several dominant perspectives in the re-reading of colonial history in the Philippines.

        On the one hand, the Hispanophiles – mainly Catholic writers – argue that the Spanish missionaries and their evangelical methods brought “civilized ways, salvation, and unity to the island.” To use the words of Pablo Fernandez, a famous Dominican church historian: the missionaries “were able, at [the] cost of so much sacrifice, to keep them for Christ and for Spain.”

        On the other hand, the nationalists argue that Christianity in the hands of the Spanish friars was employed as an effective ideological weapon of domination. This view which started from the revolutionary era against Spain is not without basis. However, it also possesses the tendency to demonize the systems and actors – missionaries included – of the Spanish regime.

        Beyond these readings, I argue that all practices – colonial practice included – possess a “double-truth”. In the words of Pierre Bourdieu, practices are both “structured structures” and “structuring structures”. Just as these practices are products of their socio-political contexts, they can also be creative and innovative within the bounds of their own historical limits.

        Thus, to understand these historical events and missionary methods, there is a need to be open to their ambivalence – their dual truth – as these practices also contain unintended “surplus of meaning” beyond the conscious intentions of their historical agents. Let me elaborate this below.

        1. Church and State, Gospel and Politics

        By placing itself “at the service of both Majesties” – of God and of the king – the colonial Church already locates itself at the crossroads of potential tension between two contending powers.

        On the one hand, this dual loyalty gives the Church the possibility of defending the conquered peoples from the unconscionable subjugation by the conquistadores. Since it has access to institutions of power, it can shape the priorities of the system towards the defense of the natives.

        On the other hand, this location also automatically makes the Church complicit with imperial power. The rights granted to the monarchy over the church affairs by the Patronato Real not only announce future conflicts but also real collusion with colonial intentions. The last right, for instance, “the privilege of assigning civil functions to church personnel, especially parish priests, such as that of drawing the tribute lists, supervising municipal elections, and directing public works,” makes the priest a direct vassal of the Crown, thus, making his missionary work, no matter how well-intentioned, an ambivalent accessory to the colonial project. The friar might be the most holy, humble, conscientious of individuals but his location in the intersection of colonial power makes him complicit with the atrocities of the abusive regime.

        Many Spanish missionaries who worked in the Americas already denounced the cruelty and the tyranny of the colonizers. The Dominicans Antonio de Montesinos (c. 1475-1545) and Bartolome de las Casas (1484-1566) were in the forefront of defending the rights of the Indians in the New World.

        The school of Salamanca with its famous theologians, Francisco de Vitoria (1480-1546) and Francisco Suárez (1548-1617), fought for the natural rights of indigenous peoples anticipating the contemporary discussion on the international human rights of all peoples. This group of thinkers puts into question the right of monarchs to colonize peoples even for missionary purposes.

        Domingo de Salazar, the first bishop of Manila, belonged to this school and was a faithful student of Vitoria. Thus, from the years he first stepped on the islands to the time of his death, the bishop defended the rights of the Filipinos against Spanish sovereignty, particularly against slavery and extortion of tribute. After a long fight with colonial rulers in the Philippines, he went back to Spain in 1591 to put his lifetime advocacy in front of the King: “It is clear then that the dominion over those Islands could not have come to belong to the King our lord either by title of election or of just war.” Before the issue was resolved, he died; and the same cause was taken on by another Dominican, Miguel de Benavides, his successor, who was with him on the trip.

        But earlier than Salazar or Benavides, the first Augustinian friars who came with Legaspi in 1565 were already opposed to the conquest of the Philippines in the name of the Spanish monarchs. Foremost among them was Fray Andrés de Urdaneta who did not want Legaspi’s expedition to continue.

        When he and his companions arrived in the islands – they were only told of their final destination while sailing on the high seas – they were constantly updating the King on the abuses of the colonists. The envoy they sent to represent them to the King, Fray Martin de Rada, categorically stated: “I have taken all the opinions of all the Fathers who were to be found here. They unanimously affirm that none among all these islands have come into the power of the Spaniards with just title.”

        Despite this courageous and conscious defense of indigenous rights by church people, the Church’s location in the imperial structure establishes its complicity with colonial oppression. The exaction of tribute, forced labor, military service, and “bandala”(annual quotas to sell products to the government at lower prices) were direct instruments of exploitation and pacification.

        While it is true that the friars were not directly in charge of their implementation, they were closely connected with the system as they were increasingly entrusted with civil duties – inspector of schools and taxation, of health units and public works, certifier of cedulas, auditing and partitioning of lands, among others. Despite being monks who could not own properties, the Pope exempted them from this monastic vow so that they can administer the parishes in the absence of the secular clergy.

        “Canonical collation” – the act of bestowing ecclesiastical posts with a fixed amount of property or income – proved to be one source of corruption among the friars. This arrangement transformed the friar-missionaries into landowners gradually amassing large tracts themselves – some through confiscation of mortgaged lands, others through outright land-grabbing. These properties came to be called in Philippine history as “friar lands” which, together with other friar abuses, fueled the Filipino revolution against Spain.


        Translation, Conversion and Reducción

        Instead of teaching natives the Spanish language, the first missionaries who were few in number decided to use the native languages in order to preach the Christian faith. Translation was the first act. The Spanish-based “Doctrina Christiana” was translated into Tagalog in its Romanized and baybayin scripts. Local terms had to be found to express theological categories. Creative adaptations of the tenets of faith, for instance, through songs and chants, made the learning and appreciation of doctrines easier and more effective. Through these, we appreciate the zeal and creativity of the first missionaries who became the first authorities of diverse local languages with their dictionaries and grammar books. Long before the word cultural adaptation and inculturation found itself into our sociological and theological vocabularies, the friars were already effectively doing it in the field.

        But Vicente Rafael also alerts us to the semantic relationship between traducción (translation), conversión (conversion) and conquista (conquest). “To translate” is synonymous with “to convert”. Conquest means both an aggressive entry into another’s territory and winning over the other’s confidence and affection.

        “Conversion [also] literally means the act of changing a thing into something else; in its more common usage, it denotes the act of bringing someone over to a religion or practice. Conversion, like conquest, can thus be a process of crossing over into the domain – territorial, emotional, religious or cultural – of someone else and claiming it as one’s own.”

        Translation and conversion thus are ambivalent realities. On the one hand, they make the foreign Christian faith accessible to ordinary Filipinos and the local culture accessible to the foreign missionaries. It is through these acts that we receive the faith.

        On the other hand, as we were converted, we were also “conquered”, as it were. Spain has converted our identities to serve its colonial interests. “For a conqueror consolidates his position over the people he has conquered to the degree that he persuades them to defer to his interests – converts them to the view that they serve their own interests when they serve someone else’s.” I do not yet refer to later colonial moves of translating or changing our family names – from Duhaylungsod or Dimagiba to Reyes, Cruz or Santos – to make them readable and palatable to the Spanish tongue.

        What occurs in the semantic level becomes clearly visible in the socio-political sphere. Just as the Tagalog language needed to be translated and converted through the Castillan grammatical rules, the dispersed population and native bodies also needed to be “reduced” into the imperial grid so that it would be easier for the ruling body to subjugate.

        On the one hand, the time-tested missionary strategy of the reducción adopted from the experience of the New World proved helpful for easier transmission of the Christian message. The few available missionaries necessitated such pastoral strategy. Moreover, to live away from the town – recounted one Spanish friar – generates “much spiritual and temporal damage” because in those dispersed places natives often live with “too much liberty of conscience.”

        On the other hand, Rafael argues that this reconfiguration of space also made it easier for colonizers to convert them “into arbitrary elements that could be made to fit into divinely sanctioned order characterized by the hierarchization of all signs and things in the world”. The missionaries arrogated unto themselves the privilege and obligation to regulate “the placement, location, and movement of the converted populace with reference to the larger concerns of evangelization and colonial administration.”

        In other words, just as translation converts and adjusts the local language into a foreign configuration of grammar, tenses and declensions making it ready for colonial consumption, so does the reduction of the population into town centers (cabeceras) prepares them for easier management and supervision by the ambassadors of God and the King.

        Indoctrination and Resistance

        Post-baptismal catechesis, reception of other sacraments, and liturgical celebrations were intended to inculcate into the minds and bodies of the natives the demands of the newly received Christian faith. Beyond baptism, the reception of other sacraments also provided real occasions to strengthen the living out of Christian life.

        Since polygamy and divorce were rampant, matrimony would only be celebrated if the couples deny these practices and uphold the Christian ideal. Phelan thinks that the acceptance of matrimonial demands “represents one of the most enduring achievements of the Spanish religious.”

        With the work of the missionaries, “a new standard of premarital and marital morality was set up. Like all such norms this one was not always observed, but it was a standard destined to exercise continuing influence through the coming centuries.”

        Another occasion for the indoctrination process toward the new Christian morality was the sacrament of penance. Converts were enjoined to confess once a year. Confessionarios – detailed guides to the examination of conscience – were given to priests as he tried his best to elicit the ‘truth’ from the penitent through some sort of question-and-answer interrogation process. Once accustomed to the practice, Filipinos needed no prompting as they literally flocked to the confessionals with eagerness and enthusiasm sometimes to the point of begging the priest on their knees – as many missionaries attested.

        But there is more to this eagerness and enthusiasm than what appears on surface. While some missionaries were happy about this “rush to the confessional”, others were more skeptical.

        Murillo Velarde complained about the Filipino’s tendency toward “quibbling and contradictions [that] created labyrinths which confused even the most experienced confessors.” Instead of strictly following the confessionarios, the penitents turned this event into something else as they confessed not their own sins but the sins of their husbands or wives, their mothers-in-law or those whom they considered enemies. Does this mean that the natives did not have the capacity to understand the theological intentions of this sacrament? Or was it a different game altogether?

        Vicente Rafael’s reflection might give us some hint to what really is happening. The Tagalog word for asking for forgiveness in confession is “tawad” which also means “to bargain, to haggle, and to use evasions (in Castillian ‘regatear’)”. In other words, the practice of confession which was used by colonial authorities to control minds and bodies was also effectively employed by the natives to bargain with totalizing hegemonic power – the most accessible representative of whom is the parish priest.

        Against the colonial intention of reducing bodies into imperial designs through confession, the natives “responded by performing token payments designed to appease the figure of authority and deflect the force of hierarchy… What emerged was a confession without ‘sin’, conversion in a state of distraction.”

        In this reading, the truth of the practice contains a “surplus” that goes beyond the original intentions of its agents – both the confessor and the penitent, the colonizer and the colonized – and overflows toward its unintended social consequences within the highly hierarchical colonial contexts. In other words, the colonized maneuvers, negotiates, haggles (maybe unwittingly) with whatever power it can muster in front of a very powerful colonial master, thanks to the sacrament of “pagpapatawad”.

        As with confessions, so it was with other sacraments and religious devotions in times of colonial domination.

        Another example is the recitation of the Pasyon (from the Passion of Jesus Christ) – a Tagalog extended verse form of salvation history from Genesis to Revelation chanted by people in their homes during the Holy Week.

        On the one hand, this activity can be viewed as an attempt by the colonizers to form the colonized minds into submission in the emulation of Jesus’ resignation to suffering and death.

        On the other hand, Reynaldo Ileto – another Filipino historian – thinks that the peoples’ chanting of the Pasyon had provided a narrative which served as a rallying symbol for their hopes and aspirations of liberation. Beyond the intentions of the colonizers, the Pasyon contains a double-truth which, to their surprise, was ingeniously and dexterously utilized by popular leaders to foster solidarity among the oppressed.

        As these unlettered masses dutifully chanted the narrative of the suffering of Jesus during Holy Week to the pleasure of the missionaries, these popular revolutionaries were also given the language and vision to articulate their longings for an alternative world far from what the colonizers had ever imagined.


        As conclusion to his celebrated book, the Jesuit historian, Miguel Bernad, writes: “[T]he achievement of Spain and of the missionaries was a substantial one. First of all, they made of these islands one nation, fusing the various regions and the innumerable barangays into one people sharing a common national identity and a common faith. Secondly, despite all the obstacles, natural and man-made, they succeeded in creating a Christian nation that eventually overthrew Spanish rule without rejecting the Christian faith. In the theological view of history, that is an achievement that could not have been accomplished without the abundant help of divine grace.”

        However, another great Filipino historian, Renato Constantino argues differently. He writes: “the attitude of the natives to the Church in the course of its economic and political ascendancy changed from initial obedience due to awe and fear; to loyalty and subservience arising from acceptance of the Catholic religion and experience with the power of priests within the colonial hierarchy, but accompanied by personal resentments; to generalized and group hostility because of the common experience of economic exploitation by the friars; and finally, to the violently anti-friar sentiments of the masses during the Revolution… It is very clear that this transition in the realm of consciousness was a response to a material stimulus – that transformation of the Church from a colonial accessory to the principal apparatus of colonial appropriation and exploitation.”

        These two conclusions are not without basis. One can summon historical events to prove one’s point. But taken in isolation, each assertion sounds like a swift generalization that neglects other socio-historical details which do not fit one’s ideological straight-jacket, thus, also overlooking the double truth of practice.

        It might be more helpful to heed a warning from another great historian, Horacio de la Costa: “It serves no useful purpose to conceal the fact that the record of the Church in the Philippines is a spotted one. It accomplished great things; it was also subject from time to time to great abuses.”


        Daniel Franklin E. Pilario, CM
        St. Vincent School of Theology
        Adamson University

        For the full article, click this link: D. F. Pilario, “Revisiting Evangelization Work in Colonial Philippines: The Ambivalence of Missionary Methods,” 19-38.

        Click to access one-world-theology-009.pdf

        • sonny says:

          … Reading through this missionary methodology of the Spanish mind, I’m reminded of a statement of James Michener in his book IBERIA, paraphrasing: there is a discernible dichotomy of the Spanish mind, one religious the other secular (schizophrenic); I read also that the Visigothic (Iberian) is different from the Gothic because the Visigoth (the adds nobility of spirit in the mix) – a broad brush, for sure (my words).

          … Way back, 1998 – I came across some stats on the numbers of Catholic clergy per Filipino population: 1 cleric per 44,000 Filipinos. This proportion was also true during the Spanish era. As we all know, statistics don’t lie.

  25. https://philippinediaryproject.com/1521/03/22/22nd-of-march-1521/

    At noon on Friday, 22 March, those men came as they had promised us in two boats with coconuts, sweet oranges, a jar of palm wine, and a cock, in order to show us that there were fowls in that district. They exhibited great signs of pleasure at seeing us; we purchased all those articles from them. Their lord was an old man who was tattooed, and he wore two gold earrings in his ears, and the others many gold armlets on their arms and kerchiefs about their heads. We stayed there eight days, and during that time our captain went ashore daily to visit the sick, and every morning gave them coconut water from his own hand, which comforted them greatly. There are people living near that island who have holes in their ears so large that they can carry their arms in them. Those people are Kaffirs, that is to say, heathen; they go naked, with a cloth woven from the bark of a tree about their private parts, except some of the chiefs who wear cotton cloth embroidered with silk at the ends by means of a needle. They are olive skinned, fat, and tattooed, and they anoint themselves with coconut and with beneseed oil as a protection against sun and wind; they have very black hair that falls to the waist, and they use daggers, knives, and spears ornamented with gold, large shields, focine, javelins, and fishing nets that resemble rizali. Their boats are like ours.

    Pagsapit ng tanghali ng Biyernes, 22 Marso, bumalik ang mga laláki, tulad nang kaniláng naipangako, sa dalawang bangkang may mga lulang buko, matatamis na kahel, isang garapon ng alak ng niyog, at isang tandang, upang ipakita sa amin na may mga manok sa distritong iyon. Nagpamalas silá ng matinding sayá sa pagkakakita sa amin. Binili namin ang lahat ng mga bagay na ito. Pintado [de-tatô] ang kaniláng pinunò. Suot niya ang dalawang hikaw, at ang ibá ay may gintong pulseras sa braso at bandana sa ulo. Nanatili kami doon nang isang linggo, at sa panahong iyon, dumadaong ang aming kapitán bawat araw upang dalawin ang mga maysakit, at bawat umaga ay binibigyan niya silá mula sa sariling niyang kamay ng katas ng buko, na siyá namang nagdulot sa kanilá ng malaking ginhawa. May mga táong naninirahan malápit sa islang iyon na maysuot na mga hikaw na sa laki ay maaaring paglusutan ng kaniláng mga braso. Ang mga táong iyon ay caphri, ibig sabihin, pagano. Hubo’t hubad silá, at tinatakpan ang mga ari ng telang hinabi mula sa balát ng punò, maliban sa ilang pinunò na nagsusuot ng telang bulak na binurdahan ng seda sa mga dulo gámit ang isang karayom. Silá ay maitim, mataba, at pintado. Binabasbasan nilá ang mga sarili ng langis ng buko at beneseed, bílang pananggalang sa araw at hangin. Mayroon siláng napakaitim na buhok na hanggang baywang ang habà, at gumagamit ng mga punyal, kutsilyo, at sibat na dekorado ng ginto, malalakíng kalasag, fascine, habalina, at mga lambat-pangingisda na katulad ng rizali, at ang mga bangka nilá ay katulad nang sa atin.

  26. Sonny, Van Ybiernas explains why centralization did not happen before Spain:


    Hindi maaring uminog ang kasaysayan ng Pilipinas sa Mindanao at Sulu, at lalo na sa Islam dahil wala silang centralizing impetus.

    Nabanggit na namin sa Dulowtard History Live at inulit ko pa sa aking The Manila Times column na binubuo ang Pilipinas ng mga konektadong coastal entrepots, na konektado sa labas ng bansa, at ng mga konektado ring coastal at interior polities bago pa man dumating si Legazpi.

    Pero wala ngang centralizing impetus na siyang bubuo sa “Pilipinas”.

    Kaya nga malinaw din ang sinasabi ni Madia-as Ng Mga Pintados na hindi maaaring maging “taksil” ang mga mandirigma ng Panay nang kayawin nila ang Maynila kasama si Martin de Goiti para sa Espanyol sapagkat may sari-sariling kakanyahan ang mga polities sa ating kapuluan.

    Walang “pambansang” entity na nag-iisa sa Panay at Maynila na siyang magiging basehan ng akusasyon ng “pagtataksil”. Iba ang kakanyahan ng mga taga-Panay sa kakanyahan ng mga taga Maynila at iba pang parte ng bansa.

    Kaya nga nililinaw natin na napakalaking pagbabago ang mangyayari sa bansa simula kay Legaspi —hindi kay Magellan— dahil sa sentralisasyon na ito.

    Op kors, hindi agad tagumpay yung sentralisasyon. Mahirap ang proyektong iyon. Pero sinimulan nila Legaspi, ulit, hindi ni Magellan.

    Ang mga kapatid naman nating Muslim sa Mindanao at Sulu ay nais lang magpatuloy ang nakasanayan na: ang kalagayan kung saan magkakaugnay-ugnay ang mga entrepots sa pamamagitan ng kalakalan. At kung may hindi kanais-nais na transaksyon na mangyari, e di magkakaroon ng pangayaw o digmaan upang ituwid ang nangyari. Hindi naman matagalan ang digmaan na yan kasi kapag nakabawi na ang mga nalamangan ay ayos na ulit ang ugnayan nila.

    kaya nga nagsa-sandugo e para iwasan ang digmaan. Kasama sa ritwal na yan ang pangako na hindi nila lalamangan ang isa’t isa, lalo na sa kalakalan kasi ang ugnayang ito nga ang pinakamahalagang bahagi ng ugnayan ng mga polities sa kapuluan sa isa’t isa.

    Walang centralizing impetus mula sa loob ng kapuluan dahil malaking pwersang militar at economic resources ang kailangan ng p[royektong iyan, kahit ang mga sultanato sa katimugan ay walang ganyang lakas.

    Napakalinaw nyan

    • sonny says:

      Somewhat clearer ang centralization/unification/definition ng Pilipinas. The colonization of Luzon began in 1565. The complete result of that objective, Sorsogon to Aparri was accomplished and manfested by the establishment of the Camino Real as the land axis while the maritime rule was an on-going work-in-progress given the charts brought home by the Victoria and later expeditions. The ceding of the Philippines to the US was the imperative that brought Governor Leonard Wood to complete that work-in-progress that was relayed in 1898. Exeunt omnes (Spain), adeunt omnes (US, Carpenter vs Mindanao).

      • sonny says:

        Late news:200+ PRC military boats are at one of the reefs at West Philippine Sea. Perspectve: In Zheng He’s time (1405-1409) the Philippines (of course) was a non-entity inspite of the trade traffic going on in the Malay archipelago among rajahs and datus. Zheng He was Uyghur, by the way. I presume originating from the same peoples today’s China is “re-educatig.”

  27. https://youtu.be/MQHblaXjbOs Prof. Xiao Chua speaks about the meaning, among other things, of “Victory and Humanity” as the slogan of the official Quincentennial Commemorations, in general about the Filipino perspective – quite engagingly.

  28. https://philippines.licas.news/2021/03/21/not-a-land-of-savages-the-people-magellan-met-in-samar-and-cebu/ – by Joel Pablo Salud

    Two-hundred-seventy-strong Spanish crew onboard an armed fleet of five Spanish expeditionary ships. A Sumatran slave-interpreter. One Portuguese explorer with the rank of captain-general. One Italian chronicler of what was probably the bravest voyage ever to be launched in maritime history: the crossing of the Pacific leading to the first circumnavigation of the globe.

    Call it a multinational endeavor, touted as the single most spellbinding achievement in the annals of exploration, but with a bit of a twist: it was the Spanish king, the young Carlos I, who foot the bill.

    The launching of the expedition on August 10, 1519, proved monumental, but one fraught with troubles from the start. The flagship Trinidad, together with four other ships—the Victoria, San Antonio, Concepcion, and Santiago—left the port of Seville in Spain and hoisted their sails for an adventure that was to push them across stormy seas, dangerous straits, days of eating spoiled food, and strange and uncharted regions populated by cannibals, giants, robbers, painted heathens, exotic beasts, and cultures as odd as they were mesmerizing to the Europeans, an almost endless supply of gold, and a fate they never saw coming.

    Shortly after leaving the port, the ships faced 40 days of rains and weather so inclement, it forced the crew to drop anchor at Sanlúcar de Barrameda located at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River in Southern Spain, somewhere off the coast of the Gulf of Cádiz until the waves had calmed down. There they stayed for five weeks before setting out to Brazil.

    Thereafter they passed through what is now called Magellan Strait, a 350-mile channel fraught with dangers and extremely cold weather, after which the open grandeur of the Pacific Ocean.

    We all know the story. The crew, largely Spanish, had difficulty remaining loyal to Ferdinand Magellan who was Portuguese. Early in the voyage, the four ships and their crew staged a mutiny against Magellan which led to the death of one of the mutineers, and eventually the bolting of San Antonio from the fleet to head back to Spain.

    By the time the remaining ships reached the Pacific Ocean through the Magellan Strait, their supplies ran empty, leaving many of the crew members sick and well-nigh in the throes of death. Only after they reached Samar that Ferdinand Magellan had been able to care for the crew by feeding them coconut meat and juice brought to them by the local chieftain.

    After the first Mass, we all know their luck began to wane. Defying an order from the King of Spain to hold his course to the Spice Islands, Magellan chose to stand between two warring chieftains. Deciding he would side with the Christian chieftain and help him bring the defiant datu to his knees, Magellan faced Cilapulapu in battle on April 27, 1521.

    Sufficient for this piece are the words of De La Salle University historian Jose Victor Torres, whom I consulted on the matter: “I believed that Magellan’s death came about because he got himself involved in a fight between two datus.  If he didn’t, he would’ve probably still lived.” Magellan was struck by a poisoned arrow and later killed in battle. Whether that was by Cilapulapu’s hands or another remains untold.

    I had spent the weekend reading the account of Italian scholar Antonio Pigafetta of the voyage of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Thanks to public historian Michael Charleston “Xiao” B. Chua, I was able to get my hands on a digital copy of Magellan’s Voyage Around the World translated by James Alexander Robertson (1906). It is touted as the most reliable of all the firsthand accounts of the voyage.  

    Notwithstanding today’s debate, whether the Filipino nation should celebrate the arrival of Catholicism 500 years ago, as a Filipino journalist today, I am more curious as to who or what we were at the time of Magellan’s arrival.

    Were we the “savages” and “barbarians” many foreigners, even Filipinos, thought we were at the time, holed up in our own little tribal world sans any idea of places other than our own? Or were we a thriving, sophisticated society with our own laws, political structure, sense of the arts, spiritual beliefs, trading partners, wealth, and social and economic know-how?

    In my reading of Pigafetta, the Italian scholar seemed to have a pretty good idea who Magellan was dealing with during the expeditionary force’s landing in Samar on March 16, 1521.

    In Pigafetta’s account, he described the people as welcoming and hospitable, Magellan even “seeing that they were reasonable men.” These were very different from all the other natives they had encountered during the voyage. The indios knew how to dress up for the occasion, and were “ornately adorned” when meeting foreign guests. They, too, conversed in understandable hand signs and were generous with their food and liquor.
    “We took great pleasure with them, for they were very pleasant and conversable,” Pigafetta wrote about the people of Humunu (Homonhon) of Eastern Samar.

    “Their seignior was an old man who was painted [i.e. tattooed]. He wore two gold earrings [schione] in his ears, and the others many gold armlets on their arms and kerchiefs about their heads […] There are people living near that island who have holes in their ears so large that they can pass their arms through them. Those people are caphri, that is to say, heathen. They go naked, with a cloth woven from the bark of a tree about their privies, except some of the chiefs who wear cotton cloth embroidered with silk at the ends by means of a needle. They are dark, fat, and painted. They anoint themselves with coconut and with beneseed oil, as a protection against sun and wind. They have very black hair that falls to the waist, and use daggers, knives, and spears ornamented with gold, large shields, fascines, javelins, and fishing nets that resemble rizali; and their boats are like ours.”

    In one of Magellan’s encounters with a couple of chieftains in nearby islands, Pigafetta noticed that “in those districts, the kings know more languages than the other people.”

    Pigafetta was, in fact, thrilled at the prospect of seeing a “balanghai,” a large boat made of wooden planks and not a vessel carved out of  a trunk of a tree. During one of several fellowship dinners hosted by one of the chieftains, Pigafetta wrote: “The king had a plate of pork brought in and a large jar filled with wine.”

    The chieftains themselves stood no less as impressive and as grand as any European monarch of their day.

    “Pieces of gold, of the size of walnuts and eggs are found by sifting the earth in the island of that king who came to our ships. All the dishes of that king are of gold and also some portion of his house,” Pigafetta wrote, “as we were told by that king himself. According to their customs he was very grandly decked out [molto in ordine] and the finest looking man that we saw among those people. His hair was exceedingly black, and hung to his shoulders. He had a covering of silk on his head, and wore two large golden earrings fastened in his ears. He wore a cotton cloth all embroidered with silk, which covered him from the waist to the knees. At his side hung a dagger, the haft of which was somewhat long and all of gold, and its scabbard of carved wood. He had three spots of gold on every tooth, and his teeth appeared as if bound with gold. He was perfumed with storax and benzoin. He was tawny and painted [tattooed] all over. That island of his was called Butuan and Calagan. When those kings wished to see one another, they both went to hunt in that island where we were. The name of the first king is Raia Colambu, and the second Raia Siaui.”

    And what better proof of civilized living than natives knowing how to dine in style and being “heavy drinkers.”

    There was more. After Magellan reached Cebu and was welcomed by one of the chieftains in his palace, the foreigners saw little girls playing musical instruments made of brass, suggesting the natives’ knowledge of metallurgy. They also had gongs made of the same material, and “[t]hose people play a violin with copper strings.”

    By Pigafetta’s account, the indios he saw were more than mere “savages” living on trees or caves. Unlike those they had met earlier in the voyage, we had a culture and government entirely of our own, palaces decked with gold and jewels, chieftains familiar with different languages, and a level of sophistication which would’ve given European monarchs a run for theirs.

    Magellan may have thought it an easy thing to go to battle against the indios given the expeditionary force’s armor and superior firepower. Cilapulapu’s defiance, and the loyalty and resolve of 1,500 indios, proved Magellan wrong.

    • https://philippines.licas.news/2021/03/22/cilapulapu-and-the-triumph-of-defiance/ – Part 2:

      All these years I have always imagined the battle between Ferdinand Magellan and Cilapulapu on the shores of Mactan as a kind of class struggle. The poor and hapless indios versus the obscenely powerful and rich Spaniards.

      By all means it was a test of courage for both sides, the little David of a far-off region in the largely uncharted East pushing back against the superior firepower of the Goliath of the armada of Spain.

      Little did I know that the Italian scholar Antonio Pigafetta who witnessed the battle firsthand had quite a different story to tell.

      After the chieftain was reassured of the entourage’s intentions and said that they had come at a good time, he immediately laid out the custom of his own kingdom, mainly that all visitors—foreign or domestic—should pay the chieftain tribute.

      As proof of the chieftain’s power and influence, the chieftain cited the arrival of a ship from Siam which docked but a mere four days ago, bringing gifts of gold and slaves. In fact, the same merchant from Siam had remained in the village to trade the remaining gold and slaves which he had brought with him.

      Magellan’s interpreter responded with a threat, confident of the superior authority of Magellan as the representative of the Spanish king. “These men are the same who have conquered Calicut, Malaca, and all India Magiore [India Major]. 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 his master’s king was more powerful in men and ships than the king of Portogalo, that he was the king of Spagnia and emperor of all the Christians, and that if the king did not care to be his friend, he would next time send so many men that they would destroy him.”

      Regardless of the threat, the chieftain said he would deliberate with his men and would give the interpreter an answer the next day. As a sign of the chieftain’s hospitality, he invited them to a sumptuous meal of meat and wine served in porcelain platters.

      To reinforce Magellan’s offer of friendship, the friendly chieftain of Mazaua arrived in Cebu, a respected senior among the natives of several islands, and tried to persuade the chieftain of the courtesy being shown to him by Magellan.

      The chieftain succumbed to the offer of the captain-general. To seal the friendship, a blood compact was staged. The next day, the nephew of the chieftain, who was prince, together with the king of Mazaua and the interpreter, arrived at the Trinidad to make their peace.

      During the course of the meeting where Magellan presided, the prince reassured the captain-general that he and the king of Mazaua had authority to make peace. Pigafetta noted that as the prince spoke of peace, he prayed to God to confirm it in heaven.

      “The captain seeing that they listened and answered willingly, began to advance arguments to induce them to accept the faith,” Pigafetta wrote.

      Magellan proceeded to speak to them about “God who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything and that He had commanded us to honor our fathers and mothers, and that whoever did otherwise was condemned to eternal fire; that we are all descended from Adam and Eve, our first parents; that we have an immortal spirit.”

      Appealing now to their free agency in his sharing of the message of the gospels, Magellan invited the prince, the chieftain of Cebu and all the people to convert to Catholicism, appealing more to their free agency than their fears.

      “The captain-general told them that they should not become Christians for fear or to please us, but of their own free wills and that 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. All cried out with one voice that they were not becoming Christians through fear or to please us, but of their own free will.”

      The prince, however, entreated Magellan that he would have to first bring the message to the chieftain before the offer of baptism was to be done. After an exchange of gifts, the peace was sealed. Magellan’s entourage, together with the prince, proceeded thereafter to meet the chieftain in his palace where he, his family and people finally agreed to be baptized. In the middle of the city square, a cross was erected by Magellan’s men. The converts were also instructed to burn their idols.

      The next seven days proved challenging to Magellan. While much of the population agreed to be baptized, there were villages who refused to obey. According to Pigafetta, Magellan’s men burned down one hamlet because they refused to be converted.

      So much for an appeal to free agency.

      Anyway, days later, Zula, one of the chieftains of Mactan, sent two of his sons to pay tribute to the foreigners. The two reiterated their father’s desire to send the captain all that he had promised him. There was, however, one small problem: a defiant chieftain named Cilapulapu.

      While Pigafetta failed to elaborate as to why Magellan decided to engage Cilapulapu in battle, it may well be deduced that he probably wanted to prove his worth to the chieftains who chose to convert. That he was a man of his word, willing and able to summon the powers at his disposal to protect those now under the rule of the king of Spain.

      “When morning came forty-nine 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 […] When we reached land, those men had formed in three divisions to the number of more than one thousand five hundred persons. When they saw us, they charged down upon us with exceeding loud cries, two divisions on our flanks and the other on our front. When the captain saw that, he formed us into two divisions, and thus did we begin to fight.”

      Not only was Magellan outnumbered well-nigh thirty to one, Pigafetta said the natives refused to stand still. As such they were able to dodge bullets from muskets. Their armaments, including huge shields, protected them from all the weapons wielded by Magellan’s men, including crossbows.

      To terrify the native warriors, Magellan ordered their houses to be razed. It failed to have the desired effect because it enraged the natives more.

      “Two of our men were killed near the houses,” Pigafetta wrote, “while we burned twenty or thirty houses. So many of them charged down upon us that they shot the captain through the right leg with a poisoned arrow. On that account, he ordered us to retire slowly, but the men took to flight, except six or eight of us who remained with the captain. The natives shot only at our legs, for the latter were bare; and so many were the spears and stones that they hurled at us, that we could offer no resistance.”

      Those who were left to defend Magellan fought for an hour until a bamboo spear had lodged itself into the captain-general’s arm, and a scimitar, a thin curved sword, a cut on his left leg.

      “That caused the captain to fall face downward, when immediately they rushed upon him with iron and bamboo spears and with their cutlasses, until they killed our mirror, our light, our comfort, and our true guide. When they wounded him, he turned back many times to see whether we were all in the boats. Thereupon, beholding him dead, we, wounded, retreated, as best we could, to the boats, which were already pulling off.”

      According to Pigafetta, the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan fell on Saturday, twenty days after landing in Cebu. Eight of Magellan’s men were killed that day, including four Christian natives who fought alongside the captain-general. Only 15 of Cilapulapu’s men fell during the battle.

      If we were to base it on Pigafetta’s account, the battle wasn’t so much a paradigm of class struggle but a show of force between two established and wealthy dominions—Spain and Cebu. Dominions with their own culture, tradition, pride, power, and experiences in trade and battle. It seems Magellan had totally underestimated the muscle of majestic Mactan.

      While other chieftains welcomed Magellan and Catholicism with open arms, let’s not forget that the defiant chieftains were as formidable a force as those from imperial Spain.

      Spain’s return to the islands would soon usher in 300 years of colonial rule. The spirit of Cilapulapu, however, lived on.

      • https://philippines.licas.news/2021/03/23/colonialism-catholicism-and-the-nations-coming-of-age

        Dr. José Rizal was right in believing that our nation’s destiny hinges on our familiarity and understanding of history. Whether much of that history remains to be discovered, or penned by victors (or, in the case of Antonio Pigafetta’s account of the Ferdinand Magellan voyage, penned by the losers), makes little difference.

        Somehow, in time, history has a way of clearing up the fog in the narrative. But for history to be of any actual use, not a single dotted i or crossed t should be omitted or “cancelled.” It is only wise for us to stare into our past unless we leave something of significance behind.

        The tale of our growth and struggles in birthing a nation, however painful, has much to teach us about how the world works then and now, to say little of who we were, are, and eventually would become when viewed using history’s entirety and sans any polish.

        Thus, all our attempts to think, rethink, and rediscover truths in our narrative about the past should not be stifled. What we may discover, which could lead to ambivalence or even contradictions, should prove beneficial for us in the long haul.

        Because, however much it inspires us to remember only our resistance in the face of colonial aggression and exploitation, fueling patriotic sentiments, it behooves us to discover all aspects of what had transpired, not just the portions to which we’re largely agreeable.

        I have consulted three of the country’s esteemed historians on the matter of Catholicism’s arrival in the Philippines 500 years ago: Michael Charleston “Xiao” B. Chua, Jose Victor Torres and Ambeth Ocampo.

        For context: the writing of this piece is based largely on recent debates. Should we “celebrate” or simply “commemorate” the arrival of Catholicism? The question is apt. Colonialism and Catholicism have become so intertwined that Pope John Paul II saw it wise to apologize for the Church’s sins while it operated under the service of colonial aggression.

        With today’s “cancel culture,” our colonial past seems to attract more outrage than commemoration. And rightly so. While I do understand how much Filipinos had suffered, and some say continue to suffer, due to the upshots of colonial rule working side-by-side with Christian evangelization, I still feel not a single iota of our history should be brushed aside.

        Maybe “celebrate” is not the right word as perhaps “remembrance” because knowing what transpired proves vital in understanding who we are in the present scheme of things.

        For starters, Italian scholar Antonio Pigafetta’s account was clear: the kingdoms of the Cebu chieftains already functioned as sophisticated, regal societies. They were wealthy and knowledgeable in many of the things the Europeans hardly knew we already had.

        While the natives’ technology in weaponry may not have been as advanced as the Spanish expeditionary forces, our ancestors were hardly ignorant of the tactics of war. According to Torres, Catholicism only added another layer of spiritual sophistication on top of what was already a clear eye toward the divine.

        As for Catholicism and its acceptance by the natives, any supposition that this was forced down their throats would not only be too simplistic a conclusion, but a largely unfair one. Pigafetta’s account made a huge deal of the natives’ free agency in their choice to convert. Whether the people knew what they were getting into, however, was quite a different story.

        “I think it wasn’t a matter of simple acceptance,” Torres said. “You have to take into account that the ritual must’ve been something new to them. ‘Filipinos’ already had contact with the white men because of the trade that they had with the Portuguese. But I am sure it did not include religion. For me they probably did it out of politeness. After all, they are not familiar with the ceremony. But they kept their respect […] Refusing, of course, would be an insult. Did the Mass or any other ritual mean anything for the natives? Probably not.”

        Ocampo concurred, and took the explanation further:

        “The introduction of Christianity in 1521 by the Magellan expedition did not yield any results. The people who were baptized didn’t know what they were getting into and there was no follow up to water and deepen the faith just planted.”

        Ocampo also has reason to believe that there were differences in motivations between the two earlier voyages to the islands: the 1521 arrival of Ferdinand Magellan and the 1565 arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi. “We need to have a more nuanced view and understanding of the past to outgrow the simplistic black and white narrative we received in textbook history,” Ocampo said.

        Apparently, there are differences to be gleamed from both voyages. Some say Magellan could not have colonization in mind given the dearth in supplies to form settlements. Pigafetta wrote that they barely survived with whatever supplies were within reach in their attempt to cross the Pacific. Colonizing the islands would’ve been unwise given the small number of men at Magellan’s disposal.

        Besides, sea routes during Magellan’s day were barely mapped out. History tells us that explorers García Jofre de Loaísa (1525), Sebastian Cabot (1526), Álvaro de Saavedra Cerón (1527), and Ruy López de Villalobos (1542) were all dispatched after Magellan. But it seems it was only after De Legazpi arrived in 1565 (with more than enough food, arms and ammunition, and a crew of four Augustinian friars and close to 400 men) that the real work of occupation and evangelization began.

        As for the spread of Catholicism and its continuing influence over Filipinos in the last 500 years, Torres said that adopting the faith and shaping it to fit our own understanding of the spiritual played a huge part in its continuing sway among many Filipinos to this very day.

        “Looking at the past comes both ways,” said Torres. “You have to ask, when did the Spaniards become abusive? When did we start benefitting from them? Things like developments in architecture, literature, and language were also contributed by them. These were not forced down our throats. If they did, you have to understand that the Spaniards were just like one-third of the entire population. Why didn’t we just kill them? I have always said that we remained Catholic because we made Catholicism ours. We made rituals for it similar to the rituals we did for our anitos and diwatas. This is the reason why we can never call our religion ‘Roman Catholic’ but more of Folk Catholicism. In the course of time, we owned the religion.”

        This reshaping of the Roman Catholic faith to fit our sense of the divine, even as this religion served the flag of exploitation and violence, helped Filipinos push back against the abuses of the conquistadors themselves.

        According to Chua, “[T]he narrative of darkness-light-darkness, the narrative of tragedy and redemption, the narrative of the life of Jesus Christ, was the narrative the Fathers and Mothers of this nation used to imagine and create the nation. To hope for a better life for us, their future.”

        Chua continued, “It reflected the faith that most Filipinos already had before the Spanish contact in 1521. We saw anitos in the saints, we saw anting-antings (charms) in our rosaries and crosses, we saw our dead in the Santo Entierros and Nazarenos and wipe them with hankies to get their power to heal. We sing the Pasiong Mahal like we chant the old epics.

        “We also see connections of how religious fervor inspire people like Hermano Puli and the Catholics at the People Power Revolution to fight for their rights. In the Philippines, revolutions are beyond political. They are expressed in many ways. We can manifest our himagsikan through our faith. The past five hundred years not only saw Philippine Catholic Church history as the story of Padre Damasos and Padre Salvis, but of people like Bishop Domingo de Salazar, OP, who exposed the abuses committed by fellow Spaniards to the indios, of people like Fathers Pelaez, Gomez, Burgos and Zamora, who fought for the right of Filipinos to have a hand in directing our local church. We see Catholic priests like Gregorio Aglipay guiding Asia’s First Constitutional Democratic Republic. We see the participation of both the religious and lay Catholics in the making of history.”

        However much the debate on certain aspects of our history rages on, one thing is certain: Catholicism, however flawed and stained by exploitation and abuse, had taught the Filipino that redemption through struggle is possible, that the story of the Savior is as old as the story of our lives as a people.

        The same faith taught many of our revolutionaries to push back the jaws of colonial tyranny and later invasions, hoping against hope that our losses, triumphs and struggles, like the sufferings of Jesus Christ, will not be in vain.

        “Catholicism was both good and bad, and its effects, rightly or wrongly, shaped the nation as it is today. We can’t throw away that aspect. We have to admit that the nation was born from a colonial experience. Would we have turned out differently if Spain and Christianity did not come? Of course, but that is counterfactual. Historians deal with what actually happened. Christianity has molded the Philippines and the Filipinos, rightly or wrongly, into what they are today and will continue to do so,” Ocampo said.

        It wouldn’t be an exercise in exaggeration to say that the formation of our history is in itself a struggle. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

        • Thank you, Irineo. A highly enlightening read.

        • sonny says:

          Ang Ganda!

          • Thanks Joe. Gian found the related link with a downloadable PDF of the study:


            Key takeaways:

            1) Sonny’s hunch based on Cordilleran features is confirmed. Seems they came from Southern China 7K years ago, though they, the Fujianese (most Chinoys are of Fujianese origin) and the aboriginal Taiwanese seem to be more closely related to each other than to the Han Chinese who started moving southwards much later.

            2) Austronesians who comprise the strongest component of Filipino ancestry came 3K years ago from Taiwan.

            3) Negritos came first, then Sama or Badjao, then Manobos – all from Southeast Asia via Sundaland in different waves. NOT the old, discredited wave migration theory of Otley Beyer. Not land bridges, but narrower seas to cross during different Ice Age periods seem to have brought them to the archipelago.

            4) Almost all Filipinos have some admixture of Negrito genes. Cordillerans have none it seems, while my hunch that Bicolanos have a lot compared to other “Malay” Filipinos is confirmed by the study. After all there are Aeta all over Bicol, even if they tend to be shunned by the majority even now. My father’s home village of Tiwi, Albay has some barangays that are almost purely Aeta.

            5) The head of the study also says that the Austronesian migration 3K years ago not only brought agriculture but also linguistically superseded previous tongues, though Aeta have traces of words from their old languages, now totally lost.

            Millions of gene markers of around a thousand Filipinos were analyzed using computer programs ny Swedish, Filipino and other researchers. The technology that helps us find Covid variants today has already revealed loads of stuff on human migrations. The coming years will certainly unveil more.


            • Thanks for finding the full report.

            • sonny says:

              “1) Sonny’s hunch based on Cordilleran features is confirmed. Seems they came from Southern China 7K years ago, …”

              At the time, I was inclined to speculate our Cordilleran Filipinos came from Yunnan province in western China. (migration path: the Mekong River to crossing South China Sea to the Philippines). In that province is found the northernmost extent of rice terraces similar to our Ifugao & Banaue versions. This new Uppsala find seems to point to the Malayo-Polynesian provenance. Could be both, considering the diverse Cordilleran languages (upper Cordillera, Naguilian lowland tribes, the Kalinga-Apayao in Abra).

          • sonny says:

            Thanks for forwarding this, Joe. Great stuff!

  29. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10159096063861505&id=581601504 – Bob Couttie:

    While much is made of the Christianity aspect of the Magellan visit it is unlikely that Humabon, his wife, et al, suddenly saw the piercing light of the ‘one true faith’.

    Magellan did offer a full suit of armour to Humabon, but that is probably not the most important element, nor was faith.

    Local chiefs were quite accustomed to swearing loyalty to the emperor of China at the request of Choinese merchants, who were forbidden from trading with anywhere that was not China, so a legal fiction was created, the Chief swore loyalty, got o do their trade and the Chinese merchants went off with both parties happy and nobody really caring about loyalty to the emperor of All Under Heaven.

    Humabon, then, was a sort of ‘rice christian’, going through a ritual that would enable him to trade, and, of course, get the Spanish to protect him from his competitors.

    So, from his point of view, and that of Lapu-Lapu, the hole thing was the same sort of legal fiction as they indulged in with the Chinese traders. Lapu-Lapu was okay with it, he just wasn’t ok with Magellane demand that he swear ,loyal to Humabon, whom he considered his inferior.

    Each participant in the drama had very different conceptions of what it was all about.

  30. https://www.rappler.com/voices/thought-leaders/opinion-why-celebrate-magellan-when-there-was-sharif-muhammad-kabunguswan – a contrarian view of Magellan by Patricio Abinales (a Mindanao Visayan historian BTW). Placing a 1890s ethnographic map of the Philippines by Blumentritt for context, pink are Christian Filipinos, yellow are indigenous peoples and green are Muslims:

    This week, the Republic celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Portuguese Fernão de Magalhães’ scurvy-stricken ships landing in Cebu. After agreeing to the terms laid out by Humabon, the local Rajah, Magalhães thought he now had enough manpower to attack the nearby (Datu?) Lapu-Lapu. The latter, of course, easily cut him and his forces down, and Philippine history goes on to celebrates this as the first anti-colonial revolt, even when the idea of “Filipino” was not even in the minds of Spaniards.

    This is, of course, nothing but hogwash that reinforces a colonial scholarship (by colonial here, I mean not just the Kanos and the Kastilaloys, but also the one that comes out of Manileños’ minds). True, Magalhães and his comrades were trying to find a way to the fabled spice islands, but to portray this as something historic belies that Humabon and others did not give a hoot to these new arrivals. This bunch of ignoramuses had nothing to offer the Rajah, who had already been actively involved in an international trading network driven by the Chinese dynasties’ needs.  

    Much like the Portuguese, the Spaniards were nothing but minor players, nay interlopers, in this vibrant cosmopolitan network. Everyone in the area “knew” they were there. Still, everyone also “knew” that all they offered was barya-barya (which continued even well into the Galleon Trade era, where China benefitted more than Mexico).

    To ascribe Magalhães and his motley crew some political and cultural heft betrays an extreme ignorance of how local and global histories played out in the mid-1500s. “Cebuano history” was not local; it was an organic part of a larger Asia-Pacific story. Humabon’s and Lapu-Lapu’s domains were but two of many links that contributed. They benefitted from the China trade, yet also remained very much what the late historian of pre-colonial Southeast Asia O.W. Wolters called “centers in their own right.”

    And there is more. The sultans and datus of the central part of the archipelago were already aware and receptive of another earlier global flow – the Arab missionaries from what is now the Middle East. 

    Simultaneously, as Magalhães was limping his way into Sugbu, Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuwan arrived in Cotabato. He united the constantly warring Maguindanao and Buayan ruling families by converting them to Islam. Seventy-eight years later, the Spanish would feel the power of this unity when the areas they controlled felt the brunt of a Maguindanao force of 50 vessels and 3,000 fighters raiding central Philippines.

    Kabungsuwan was, of course, not the first outsider to come to the southern island. Seventy years or so later, Sayyid Abu Bakr established the Sulu sultanate. By the late 12th century, it was not unusual to see Arab missionaries proselytizing around the archipelago, alongside Chinese traders buying pearls and trepang while offering ceramics to their local partners.

    Many of our historians know these facts, but they could not – of course – get themselves to admit that when it comes to “discoveries,” the Arab Muslims were way ahead of the game. Writing a history of the Philippines beginning with Sayyid Abu Bakr and Sharif Kabungsuwan is to completely upend the narrative many of us have grown used to – that the country’s birth began in Cebu and was enriched by Manila-centrism. Marginal areas like Mindanao and communities like the Maguindanaos (and even Lapu-Lapu!) cannot but be bit players in the tale. 

    For if we are to “start” Philippine history with Abu Bakr, then it would make everything north of the archipelago the periphery. The Spanish would be nothing but another fiefdom, and Manila just one of those many “small towns” out in the boonies. This was indeed the case up to the mid-1800s, when Muslim sultanates kept the Spanish on the defensive, and the latter admitted the limits of their power. How else to explain the Spanish reference of what we now call “the Bohol Sea” as La Mer de Moro?

    To write Philippine history standing at the port of Jolo would also compel our historians to admit how equally powerful an ideology Islam was, and how, despite the subsequent marginalization of the Moros by the Americans, its influence had never waned. And horror of all horrors, the Moro is suddenly at par if not even culturally superior to the non-Moros!

    The reality is, this kind of history – the one that shows how much we were and are continually part of Asia, and how Mindanao was and is always central to the narrative – will never be written. To do this would not only be too tedious (What, the more important primary documents were those written in Putonghua and Arabic!!?? And we have to learn Maguindanao, Tausug, Maranao, and Visayan instead of “Filipino”???), it would also be extremely painful to the national psyche. 

    And so the best that our historians can do is to say, “Hey, we have a nationalist history, dammit!” and argue that its genesis began in Mactan when Lapu-Lapu (morphed into the first Filipino) butchered the mercenary Magalhães into pieces.

    And you still wonder why many Muslims still don’t think they’re welcome to the Filipino nation?

    • LCPL_X says:


      With that line of thought, Hindus would’ve predated the Muslims, and Taiwanese the Hindus, and Negritos the Taiwanese, who don’t even have maritime words. And down the historical rabbit hole.

      Other Filipinos who return to Islam, like your father’s Parfahn who was Tagalog, are called by Moros, as balik Muslim. Like born again, but the connotation here is that they’re suppose to be Muslims to begin with.

      I’m watch ing now the Qanon documentary that just came out on HBO, 2 episodes now out of 6. I was just thinking your IT knowledge, karl’s knowledge of the neighborhood featured in the documentary, maybe Wil knows of folks there too, would make a good future blog.

      • Yes, Abinales does go too far. Though it is surprising how little still is taught about Moro history in the Philippines. Or Moro-Christian interactions like:


        Your order books are full, you can sell everything you can make and the forward orders might just get you into Forbes. The 500, not the park.

        Problem: you need warm bodies on the production line. So you call in your Human Resources Manager and he… does what? This is after all the late 1700s in Jolo and you’re the Sultan of Sulu, a Taosug aristocrat, and rule from southern Mindanao to North Borneo and the Celebes. There won’t be a classified page until, at best, 1811. You could wait until 1860 and get a free six-line slave wanted ad for free by subscribing to the Diario De Manila, but a century is an awfully long time to wait for the hired help.

        You need people to produce deliverables. So, you indent for a kampilan from the company stores, get the transportation department to send 1,000 company bancas around to the front door, load up your lantakas with powder and shot and go off for some serious recruitment in Leyte, Samar, Luzon and wherever else doesn’t have kampilan, lantakas and customers screaming for product.

        It was in the 18th century that the slave-raiding business-model changed from one of securing a product, slaves, to sell around the region to one of of acquiring a labour force to produce product to sell to the British for their trade with China.

        Don’t think of it as slavery, think of it as hard core recruitment.

        In truth, the ‘Moros’ get a bad press when it comes to slavery… er… recruitment, everybody did it. Way back in the 12th century the Visayans were raiding for slaves as far away as Fukien province in China for much the same reason as today’s Singapore government asks big Singaporeans to make more little Singaporeans. Until the mid-19th century population growth rates in much of Southeast Asia ran at the 0.8-1 per cent mark. That’s fine in a stable, internally constructed economy but if the economy enters the global marketplace and runs with the bulls you need what used to be called ‘personnel’ (Before that they were called employees’ but that really dates me) and is today called ‘human resources’. Youneed what computer nerddom calls ‘wetware’ and the rest of us call ‘people’.

        Thanks to the British cuppa, the folks in Sulu needed lots of wetware. Hence the .human resource managers of the Sulu Archipelago went off with their ‘made in Sheffield, England’ swords and krisses, manufactured on the other side of the world, so the Brits could get their Orange Pekoe and Earl Grey for breakfast and the Datus of the south could chase dragons in their dreams.

        Yes, it was the Brits fault,

        In the 17 th century, tea became big in Britain. I mean, really, really big, even bigger than K-Pop and Netflix. Tea came from China, so the Brits had to trade with China big time. The problem was that the British really didn’t have much the Chinese wanted, except opium produced in their other colonies on the Indian continent. Smoking opium was called ‘chasing the dragon’. Generally, the Brits had to pay for their tea with silver, hard  (You know, of course, that ‘cash’ originally referred to a Chinese coin? And that compressed tea bricks were used as money?).

        The Chinese did, however, take to pleasantly smelly things like camphor and sandalwood, wanted to chew on sea-slug, drink bird’s nest soup, and look at pearls, none of which was produced in Britain but was produced in Sulu and elsewhere in what would one day become Philippine waters. Oh, there was also

        The Brits did have excellent steel, mass-produced in Sheffield in the Midlands. Sweatshop factories there began churning out a variety of Filipino-style swords, knives and other paraphernalia. It also had good gunpowder and cannon. It was better than the local product and cheaper, just what your fashionable Taosug aristocrat needed to keep his minor Datus in line.

        So, the Brits brought their stuff to Sulu, through a trading post in Balambagan, an island near Borneo leased to the East India Company thanks to a deal between Alexander Dalrymple and Sultan Bantilan of Sulu, aka, Muizz ud-Dinn. It was Sultan Bantilan’s son, Alimmudin II who granted Northern Borneo, Southern Palawan and the fiddly bits in between to the East India Company and laid the foundations for the Philippine claim to Sabah.

        Yup, it’s all the Brits fault, again.

        In Sulu, the Brits exchanged their goods for stuff they could trade with the Chinese for tea without tapping into their silver reserves and all were happy. The Chinese got what they wanted, the British got their cuppas and the Sulu Datus were on a roll.

        Exports of sea slug from Jolo went from around 61 tonnes in 1761 to more than 600 tonnes in 1835. Wax went from 18 tonnes to 61 tonnes in the same period. Mother of Pearl exports zoomed from 121 tonnes to nearly 730 tonnes and cinnamon from 12 tonnes to more than 600 tonnes, a lot of coffee rolls.

        Everybody got well. Except for the slaves. With business booming in Sulu, who going to dive for pearls, collect the sea-slugs and gather the beeswax and camphor that the new expanding market demanded? Sulu needed manpower and went out to get it.

        The Iranun became the employment specialists for the Taosug. They were originally known as I-Lanaw-en and probably originated around Lake Lanao then migrated to the southern coast of Mindanao.

        The term Iranun, or Illanun, was later misused promiscuously to describe all slave raiders.
        Also from the islands off the southern Mindanao coast came the Balangingi of the Samal island group. These and the Iranun traditionally raided for slaves to sell to the Taosug.
        This was an international recruitment campaign. Thousands of ocean-going 30 metre long prahus surged across the Philippines, hitting the Visayas, Luzon and as far north as the Batanes. They raided the west coast of Borneo, went through the South China Sea through the Straits of Malacca and the Bay of Bengal, the Straits of Makassar and hit New Guinea and Java.


        Spain had helpfully disarmed lowland and vulnerable communities throughout out the islands so few had the ability to defend themselves. As late as 1864 many communities had little more than sticks and rocks in their armouries.

        The only effective strategy against the slavers would have been for the Spanish to combine forces with the British and the Dutch, each of whom mutually hated the other as empires are wont to do. Think ABS-CBN and GMA or San Miguel and Asia Brewery. Or somebody big and somebody else equally big.

        The economic effect was devastating. Samar’s tiny population lost some 500 people a year. Nueva Caceres alone lost up to 1,500 people a year. Even Manila Bay came in for trouble. Regular destruction of the coastal communities made the growing of crops, especially cash-crops a futile gesture. But the Iranun and Balangigi did quite well out of it, capturing around 300,000 slaves during the great days of slave-raiding, a fair chunk of the tiny Filipino population of the time.

        Being an employer in those days in the Sulu Archipelago had a certain simplicity, or did it? After all, this was Filipino slavery. One wouldn’t expect Filipino slavery to be quite the same as anyone else’s and it wasn’t, as we’ll see..

        • LCPL_X says:

          The Moros today still brag of those raids, mostly in their women, especially the Tausugs who point out that their women are hot because they selected the hottest women all thru out the Philippines (by that I’m sure they mean just the Visayan region) way back when.

          The other aspect to consider is how the Visayan martial sword arts is heavily Spanish in taxonomy words used are in Spanish, whereas the Moros though still with swords for war seem to have relegate their knowledge of it just thru dances now. No Spanish words, w/ corresponding movements.

          With all the rape and pillage done by the Moros upon the Visayans, one could see how when Spaniards came, not only tech was progressed, but knowledge of sword combat too, no doubt from the conquistadores honing of it in the Americas.

          Dumaguete the town I was told was from the word daguete meaning to kidnap or take away specifically a man taking away a woman. Similarly there were lighthouses thru out the islands of Negros and Cebu not used as lighthouse but as watch towers for these raids.

          “However much the debate on certain aspects of our history rages on, one thing is certain: Catholicism, however flawed and stained by exploitation and abuse, had taught the Filipino that redemption through struggle is possible, that the story of the Savior is as old as the story of our lives as a people.”

          This is akin to the slaves celebrating Christianity here.

          If you follow the thread of “progress” then which is post 1560s, you’d have Donne, Spinoza then Locke, advocating for church state separation, well Donne was more just anti-Catholic (his last chapter of the Leviathan was titled, Part IV: Of the Kingdom of Darkness , his follow-up work Behemoth should be a must-read for Filipinos). And before those treatises, were of course Luther and Henry VIII.

          My point , if we give the Catholic Church that much deference then we should also give the same leeway to the Reformation happening concurrently at that time, though never reaching the Philippines. Of which the Manalos and Quiboloys represent. In a way, the story of Pacquiao.

          That would be a fairer depiction. Bring the reformation to the Philippines.

          Oh, and here’s the HBO doc film,


          “By the time the documentary wraps up, Hoback concludes that Ron Watkins is Q. The director signs off via a roughly minute-long forecast on how the QAnon movement might change in the future and a criticism of Ron’s actions; he’s a “cynic who treats the whole world like it’s a game.” That’s about as scathing as Hoback’s critique of QAnon and its promoters gets throughout “Q: Into the Storm.”

          Hoback’s reasoning for Ron being Q is… somewhat understandable, conspiratorial framing to his conclusion notwithstanding, but it’s hard to completely accept the documentary’s answer when so much of the investigation hinges on information obtained from, well, conspiracy theorists. The big reveal is probably besides the point. Despite Hoback’s suggestion that revealing Q to be the brainchild of an antisocial nihilist could disempower the movement, the last few years of American politics have long since proven that a significant fraction of the populace has no qualms about supporting such an individual as long as they find their message appealing.

          In the end, “Q: Into the Storm” could end up doing more harm than good. “

          • Karl Garcia says:

            re: Reformation


            The British stayed here for 20 months maybe they introduced protestantism to the natives, or maybe not.

            • Karl Garcia says:

              That guy from Pocahontas John Smith went here, maybe he bough Pocahontas with him.

              • LCPL_X says:

                I don’t think John Smith ever plied the Pacific , karl. I could be wrong but he was strictly an Atlantic and specifically North America explorer.

                By the time the British were in the Philippines, yes the Anglican Church was in place, but I doubt they had missionaries like Jesuits or Franciscans to help colonize and save souls.

                But I did read somewhere that ING was loosely connected to the Anglican/Episcopal union.


                I think you’re missing the point that when Magellan embarked on his voyage, Spain was at a period where it’s empire was at its high point from about late 1400’s to mid 1700’s – it even claimed the moniker as the empire “on which the sun never sets”.

                Thus, Magellan’s not-so-innocent expedition and the ensuing occupation of the islands by a series of governor generals was a manifestation of imperial hubris and that the original voyage was not merely to look for a western passage towards the spice islands but to also look (scout) for imperial outpost and extension in the orient.


                1492 is when Columbus stumbled on to the Americas; arbitrarily lets mark the rebuff of the Spanish during the signing of Wesphalia peace treaty 1648 as the ebb. Sure, the missions here in California would mark more expansion, but Westphalia signaled the ebb of said empire, Micha.

                So 1492 to 1521 , this was Spain still expanding; Portugal was already in the area. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potos%C3%AD was 1545, which led to the galleon trade.

                My point, the ROI of all that you’re talking about hadn’t happened yet.

                Like the Lewis & Clark expedition, sure they represented a rising state their mission was clearly to explore and survey, but also prepare the land for in-coming settlers.

                But that’s all abstract stuff, Micha, at the end of the day they had to impress the Indians. And all they had were trinkets to trade and arms to show off, this was 1805.

                No one’s saying Magellan’s mission was innocent, we all know it was recon, but you’re not giving him credit by painting him as some superior dude, who’ll dominate (right then and there) less superior dudes, and this was proven. He died. Thus not at all superior.

                Unlike Lewis & Clark, Magellan not only went there to recon and gain intel, but also to save souls. Never had this occurred in history until the Mormons realized how easy the civil service exams were over here, gov’t salary plus proselytizing. Jesus is happy.

                I agree with you that Magellan was doing more than just breaking the circumnavigation record, my point is that Magellan’s fate was not guaranteed. After the silver was traded to China then ROI came pouring in, then yeah Spaniards became like gods.

                Before all that though, it was just mano y mano, in this case mano y mano y mano , Humabon vs. Magellan vs. Lapu-Lapu, then Humabon vs. Magellan’s men. no horses, no muskets, just dudes swinging swords, and out-witting one another.

                Magellan probably saw the same bolt and spurs set-up on Lapu-Lapu and his men and this distracted them and or made them tremble in fear. One on one fight to the death, I would assume would be all psychological.

                And in that particular battle first contact with Europeans, the Cebuanos won. That’s the stuff that should be celebrated, not the Catholic christian stuff.

                I talked to some Vietnam vets awhile back who did those return to Vietnam tourism deals, and they were struck by how full of hubris those North Vietnamese were towards them, not necessarily a-holeness but they weren’t subservient, which most in the SE Asia area tend to be now.

                We both are talking hubris here, I’m merely suggesting as part of the Magellan celebration that Filipinos should enjoy some of it for themselves, and think about how they can be more like Vietnamese (North Vietnamese specifically), and spread said hubris nationally.

              • LCPL_X: Prof. Chua has mentioned how Rizal dug up Lapu-Lapu’s victory in his nationalism, Bonifacio mentioned him, and Aguinaldo included him in his 1898 Constitution, though it could have been Aguinaldo’s “consigliere” Mabini who was responsible for that IMO. OR how Joel Pablo Salud whose trilogy of articles I posted in full here wrote a) the spirit of Lapu-Lapu is still with us and b) Cebu and Spain were both sophisticated polities that fought back then.

                One small correction: see JPSs article which quotes Pigafetta. The Spaniards did have muskets back then. But Pigafetta wrote the huge native shields (possibly made of leather like the Bagobo shield in my article above) protected them. Remember that old guns did not have the thrust of present guns, even in the late 19th century a man could get hit several times and still stay alive, took several shots to kill Heneral Luna while today’s guns kill you with a few shots, though I am sure you as a Marine know a lot more on that. Plus muskets had to be turned around to reload and created a lot of smoke, which is why the Japanese samurai disliked them. Pigafetta also mentions that Lapu-Lapu’s troops threw bamboo spears at the unarmored legs of Spanish soldiers. In those days skilled arrow men still had an advantage over soldiers with muskets. One of the first rifles that could be reloaded from behind was the Kentucky rifle which came much later, this geek has read somewhere. You needed entire divisions of riflemen, alternately shooting and reloading, to be an effective force before that. Magellan just had around 30 men against 1500 natives, some throwing spears, others with swords.

                True, the Spanish had cannons but Pigafetta mentioned it was low tide – it always is in the morning – thus the ship cannons could not reach the shore. My theory that Lapu-Lapu and Humabon did a moro-moro or maybe a pintakasi is corroborated by that. Maybe Mactan was a ruse, maybe they knew the shore there was shallower. In a deeper port like Cebu Humabon had to be careful as his City was within range. Joe of course is the one who was an artilleryman so he can say if I am making sense here. It would have been simpler to come in the afternoon which is high tide and have cannons within range, so did Humabon choose early morning intentionally?

              • Plus the Cebuanos certainly knew about cannons as Muslim Malays including Manilans had their own version of them by then, the lantaka. Light artillery compared to what the Iberians had but still.

                LCPL_X what I read in Lieutenant Commander Pisano’s thesis – linked in my article, 422 pages – is that Legazpi had a bit of jitters as he had just 4 cannons (heavy ones) attacking Manila but Manila had 13 lantakas (my recall, as they say here in Germany “shoot me dead” if it isn’t exactly that) with local, Malay and mercenary Portuguese artillerymen. It just so happens that some of Legazpi’s men set fire to the the wooden fortress of Manila. Gotta re-read the details.

              • LCPL_X: third, logistics. Magellan’s expedition had supplies for two years and were practically out of most when they arrived. That will be the main reason why Sevilla ordered him to act like Star Trek. Elcano even raided a Malay ship on the way to Tidore to resupply, that is how short that bunch of desperados was.

                By contrast, Legazpi came from Mexico with hundreds of soldiers. Still took reinforcements coming after Urdaneta found the way back for Tupas to be fully “convinced” Legazpi would stay. Seems Goiti even came with 600 Nahuatl troops from Mexico when the attack on Manila happened but I can’t find that source as of now.

                As for Legazpi, I did mention based on Pisano that he left Cebu for Panay as the Portuguese came to say Boa Dia in Cebu. Though Legazpi the old man was less impetuous than Magellan, took his time from 1565-1571 to make sure he knew the terrain or seascape – his ships were the first Spanish ones to scout the entire archipelago – and the players so he won. He also understood the politics of Filipino chiefs better, and played it to his advantage.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Re J smith
                Since he died 1631, he could not have been in the British occupation of Manila which happened more than 130 years after his death.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                “I don’t think John Smith ever plied the Pacific , karl. I could be wrong but he was strictly an Atlantic and specifically North America explorer.”

              • Karl Garcia says:

                “By the time the British were in the Philippines, yes the Anglican Church was in place, but I doubt they had missionaries like Jesuits or Franciscans to help colonize and save souls.”

                Wiki is no longer discredited as it was ten years ago.

                “It is likely that there was some Protestant activity in the Philippines before 1898, such as during the British occupation of the Philippines, but there was no churches or missions established.”

            • LCPL_X says:

              “That guy from Pocahontas John Smith went here, maybe he bough Pocahontas with him.”

              karl, Did you read this somewhere or was this just a joke. I’d be interested to know if John Smith may or did end up on that side of the globe. I’m a big fan of Terrence Malick’s The New World, if history mentions John Smith there it would be interesting. The guy got around.

              OT: the director for Marvel’s ETERNALS Ms. Zhao is a big fan of Malick’s works too, and you can see it in her movies. Excited about it.

              As for ING and Anglican/Episcopal unity it wasn’t ING but the Aglipayan church. Episcopalians (basically American Anglican w/out the English sovereign , their saying is “Protestant but Catholic” ).

              Ireneo ,

              Thanks for the corrections. And I don’t doubt all those weapons existed already. And you’re correct cannons were just for loud noise, even as late as the Civil War here those things were hardly accurate, but scaled up to many it was effective.

              Its one thing to have said weapons concurrent and even brought with them at the time, but quite another to have actually used them. And you can tell in Magellan’s calculation he would’ve thought,

              I need all men on deck, and not fidgeting with unreliable cumbersome arms. Spaniards differentiate between armas de fuego and armas de blanco , or armas de mano this latter phrase should be popular in the Philippines.

              by 1530, the Spaniards laid waste to the Incas, b4 that it was Aztecs.

              The Spaniards knew how to fight indigenous forces. Opted for blanco arms or blades. Now martial history of the 1500s I am no PhD, Ireneo, but I do know about being provided this and that new stuff, and ending up using 70s gear, or much simpler stuff, that works.

              My point still stands that at the end it was mano y mano.

              As for Rizal , Bonifacio and Aguinaldo channeling Lapu-Lapu I can totally see this. All 3 men, maybe Aguinaldo was the least , were avid practitioners of the blade thus had a more direct appreciation of said contest.

              But between then and now, what you have is a dwindling of this appreciation, I remember reading books by Zaide (I was given it to read, and it was crap mostly Catholic propaganda). So I’m thinking what those three above Filipino icons attempted to impart, never really got translated into culture

              because of folks like Zaide and a bunch of other Catholic apologists.

              So as it stands Catholic dogma and propaganda is taught in public schools there. Lapu-Lapu reverts to another heathen figure needing baptizing.

              You study the Filipino or proto-Filipino interactions with the Spanish, especially the combat, and in the Philippines armas de mano is still in existence over there, dead now in Japan, relegated to tea ceremony movements, the Arabs don’t even remember how to forge swords now, Spain gone, they have fencing now;

              But in the Philippines more than any other places i’ve gone to, this is still very much alive the metal work, the practitioners, etc. And those guys still possess Lapu-Lapu and Humabon’s spirit, what the North Vietnamese have translated to national culture presently.

              Irony is that those Filipinos carrying on said spirit and practice are in slums.

              In conclusion, everything has to be translated on the ground. I’m saying its still there, but most Filipinos are separate from it.

              Here’s an idea, since the 90s a bunch of Filipino teachers were given contracts to work here in the US, most ended up in inner cities (like Michelle Pfeiffer’s Dangerous Minds movies, and countless others, I’m sure iterations of the original To Sir, With Love w/ Sidney Poitier ), lately they’ve ended up in middle of nowhere America.

              If you guys could return those teachers there , have them as consultants or be superintends, have them teach Lapu-Lapu centric history instead of the Zaide stuff, you’d have rekindled what Rizal and Bonifacio started. Like a new Thomasite movement of sorts, Ireneo.

              • Maybe teaching arnis in school could revive some of the warrior spirit, instead of reviving ROTC which at least in my time only taught bullying, in the Philippines I think a result of centuries of Filipinos oppressing fellow Filipinos for colonial and later local barons. The true warrior spirit is indeed there among the poor but even a few steps above the poor it is the bully spirit PNP often manifests, or the kind of violent hazings older fratmen inflict on new fratmen. Even PMA was no longer immune from that in the 1970s, I have heard of PMAers from close sources I won’t name whose feet where hit with rifle butts and worse hazing, and after the brutalization of being hazed were sent to Mindanao in Marcos times to raze villages.

                Fighting mano a mano or man to man is different as both sides can get hurt, like hazing by fencing in old German fraternities, some of which Rizal knew. It breeds courage I think, at least the little martial arts / dojo exposure I had during my youth makes me think that, because the one facing you is also fighting, he may be better but he isn’t just a coward punishing you because he has more power, a thing bred in the Philippine culture of impunity and common there. BTW there is a very active arnis school in Germany, think of those techniques with swords and that is how Lapu-Lapu once fought.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                There must be a gazillion John Smiths in today’s phone books.
                Back then there were a few thousand I guess. I got confused by what I read in wiki.

                “On 2 November 1762, Dawsonne Drake, an official of the East India Company, assumed office as the Governor of Manila. He was assisted by a council of four, consisting of John L. Smith, Claud Russel, Henry Brooke and Samuel Johnson. When after several attempts, Drake realised that he was not obtaining as many financialassets as he expected, he formed a war council which he termed the “Chottry Court”. Drake imprisoned several Manilans on charges known “only known to himself”, according Captain Thomas Backhouse, who denounced Drake’s court as a sham.[13] The British expedition was further rewarded after the capture of the Spanish treasure ship Filipina, carrying American silver from Acapulco, and in a battle off Cavite the Santísima Trinidad which carried a cargo of Chinese porcelain. The cargo of the Trinidad alone was valued at $1.5 million and the ship at $3 million.[3]:75–76″

  31. Karl Garcia says:



    While Filipinos received the faith from “flawed” individuals and “mercenaries” such as Magellan and his crew, Valles said it is still a gift worthy of gratitude, and that should be shared to others as well.

    “But the fact that we continued to embrace the Christian faith even after we rejected colonial rule must mean that our ancestors did not equate Christianity with the treacherous economic and political agenda of the colonists. At some point, the faith that we had embraced was no longer alien to us. It had succeeded in taking root on the fertile ground of our innate spirituality as a people, with our own unique gifts and charisms from the one Spirit that we received at baptism,” the archbishop wrote.

    “We therefore look back and say to ourselves, despite all the pain that we have had to go through, we will forever be grateful for this cross. After all, we received the Christian faith as a gift, not from Spain, but from God – albeit through these flawed but well-meaning Christians from Spain and Portugal,” he said.

    In an opinion piece for Rappler, social science teacher Michael Anjielo Tabuyan echoed similar thoughts, saying Christianity is a “nuanced gift” to the Philippines.

    Tabuyan argued that, based on history, “the same religion that was accused of being an enabler of colonization was also claimed by Filipinos themselves as one of their tools towards the attainment of freed

    “The same Christian faith that produced the archetypes of Damaso and Salvi also produced Domingo de Salazar (the first Bishop of Manila who reported to the King of Spain the incidents of abuses against the indios), Pedro Pelaez, the Gomburza, and Gregorio Aglipay, who even had an active role in the formation of Asia’s first democracy, the First Philippine Republic, in 1898,” Tabuyan wrote.

    “The Church that was tagged by some intellectuals as a reactionary institution also nurtured radicals such as Conrado Balweg, Carlos Tayag, Ed Dela Torre, and Luis Jalandoni. The same institution accused by some as complicit to abuses also produced human rights advocates, i.e. Sr. Christine Tan, Antonio Fortich, Julio Labayen, Federico Escaler, Felix Perez, Francisco Claver, and Joaquin Bernas,” he added.

    • sonny says:

      “… Carlos Tayag …” I strongly suspect this was our classmate who disappeared (went underground) and suspected liquidated during the Marcos years. RIP Carlos!

    • LCPL_X says:

      “While Filipinos received the faith from “flawed” individuals and “mercenaries” such as Magellan and his crew, Valles said it is still a gift worthy of gratitude, and that should be shared to others as well.”


      What I’m saying here is the faith itself is flawed.

      Thus should not be in public sphere, like public schools, etc. If you transplant Spinoza and Voltaire into the curriculum there, it might do the job. Over here we are dealing with Evangelicals, attempting to insert religion again into the schools, when there clearly is a separation.

      Voltaire was more anti-faith, Spinoza was more like hey if it makes you a better person , that’s fine.

      But just as anti-LGBTQ sentiments rose in Africa where there historical was no anti-LGBTQ stuff. This shows how foreign influence, this case the Evangelical American movement, more a money religion televangelism actually.

      Now I’m no champion of the LGBTQ movement, Hollywood ‘s current trend will surely elicit a counter movement. I’m just showing how power and religion, as illustrated awhile back, can taint.

      Vonnegut once wrote in Slaughterhouse Five that the Christian story is flawed mainly because all the readers know Jesus was already well connected, so when God punished the lot of them, hey that was the son of God dummies, shoulda known better.

      The Catholic church, I’m sure any institution can succumb, is flawed because of simply bad story telling, Vonnegut suggested maybe Jesus was just some no connection dude, but upon his death became the son of God.

      This would force people to assume God in all.

      Vonnegut tells it better here:


      • Karl Garcia says:

        I am not qualified to argue about faith, and I do not want to.
        Btw when you say ING, do you mean INC or Iglesia ni Cristo( or is that INK?)

        • LCPL_X says:

          Sorry, yup INC.

          So if you track the Protestant movement you never really get a push for proselytizing. Luther begot the Lutherans; then Calvin mainly in France; then Henry VIII stood up the Anglican church.

          You get splinter groups like the Puritans, etc. who’d end up in the U.S.

          But proselytizing the likes of the Catholic church, you’re not gonna see until the Mormons, then the American evangelical movement, then L Ron Hubbard’s Scientology.

          So the same fears I’m expressing now, is totally tied into the current reality of American evangelization. Of which, the Philippines is right smack in the middle, Catholic church and Protestant born agains.

          Both loath each other, but also both see each other as allies, as evidenced by the number of Catholic justices in our SCOTUS, 2 are Jews the rest Catholics.

          I wish I had read Voltaire and Spinoza in high school. Their push back against the Church, any church really is now needed more than ever. Its ironic really how the above Catholic apologists for Magellan’s bringing of the gospel is pushed so hard upon Filipinos,

          when in fact , it s the Filipino who professes no faith who is the one most ridiculed there. Especially in the providence. The Church needs no defence, its the Filipino that speaks against superstition that’s in peril.

          Too much effort is being made to explain the side of the church, where we still don’t know anything about the bolt and spurs, Pigafeta described.

          Having never read anything by Mr. Michael Tabuyan, karl, I could already tell you that the San bushmen in southern Africa are probably the most moral culture on the planet, with them comes closest the Aborigenes of Australia, between them are the Aetas/negritos, whom all share the most direct blood line.

          We all know why Ati-Atihan festival Filipinos paint their faces black, a practice I’m sure that would offend many Afro-Americans here in the US. As they should be because they are paying tribute to an event in history, so that blackface spans Africa, Philippines and Australia.

          Micha ‘s complaining about Spanish hegemony, Asians did the same to blacks in the Philippines. See Ireneo/sonny’s posts above re Asian migrations.

          Everything in Ethics returns us back to southern Africa. Thus it’s not about Magellan >>>>>> onward ;

          but, <<<<<<<<<< Magellan backward, rewind further back before Asians, when the Philippines was populated by blacks. Whose cultures and beliefs are still very much with us, same same in Africa and in Australia.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Re: Tabuyan
            I could not find him in academia, researchgate or google scholar.
            I only found the article mentioned above.


            he reacted to this.


          • Karl Garcia says:

            Re: It is not about Magellan.
            Are you complaining about the title of this blog article?

            if you tell me that Magellan was a non factor in history, then have it your way.
            It does not matter if he was a conquistador, an explorer, hero or heel, his story has to be told and retold.
            Again, I would not want to argue about faith and secularism, you made your point.

            • LCPL_X says:


              I’m saying Magellan is a big factor, only in that he died in the Philippines at the hands of Filipinos or proto-Filipinos with bolt and spurs.

              Again, see Magellan as Magellan before the onslaught of everything Micha has posted on.

              But opposite Micha , I am saying that less Filipinos today know about the bolt and spurs, or other stuff that happened pre-Magellan.

              Those articles of Michael Tabuyan and Nicholas Faller jr. , I’m all for Faller’s point that is the point that needs to be pushed more if only to decrease the Catholics from 90% in the Philippines to a healthier maybe 60%. Or even lesser (I’m rounding here).

              But what those two fail to account are the Aetas/negritos. And connecting them to the San bushmen and Aborigenes. Aborigines/Sans are still around, Negritos as Ireneo stated above language and culture ‘s dying but remember that their skills

              were the basis of the American military’s knowledge of survival.

              <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Magellan, I am saying here go past just Magellan/Lapu-Lapu, search the bolt and spurs that Pigafetta was so enthralled by. That right there is the basis of understand Ethics in the Philippines.

              Where Spinoza only wrote about God as nature this human line lived it, this direct line from southern Africa to Australia, with all the DNA deposits in between like India and the Philippines, PNG, Melanesia.

              I'm saying there's something superior to what the Catholics have given you, why defend it?And its in the lived lives of this line of DNA which luckily is found in the Philippines, now defend that, that's more worthy of defence than the Catholic church or colonialism or Micha's victimhood narrative.

              How much do you know of Aeta/negrito culture, or Badjao/samals, karl??? All Filipinos should know, not just lightly about them but of them more closely. And that all starts with solving the mystery of the bolt/spurs.

              Take this 500 year celebration and reach farther back, karl !!!

  32. Re Presbyterians in the Philippines:


    BTW a lot of Cordillerans are Anglican as their main exposure was to US missionaries.

  33. Karl Garcia says:

    For a guy who dislikes proselitizing, you sure proselytize much except it is not about religion it is about Spinoza.

  34. Karl Garcia says:

    If there is solid evidence that Thomas the apostle went as far as China, it is very possible that Christianity reached South EastvAsia way before Magellan.


    If not Thomas, there are the Nestorians who came to China and India in the 7th Century.


    The Indians and the Chinese reached our shores way before Magellan.

    • LCPL_X says:


      This is from the Acts of Thomas:

      The First Act: When he went into India with Abbanes the merchant.

      At that season all we the apostles were at Jerusalem, Simon which is called Peter and Andrew his brother, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the publican, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Canaanite, and Judas the brother of James: and we divided the regions of the world, that every one of us should go unto the region that fell to him and unto the nation whereunto the Lord sent him.

      According to the lot, therefore, India fell unto Judas Thomas, which is also the twin: but he would not go, saying that by reason of the weakness of the flesh he could not travel, and ‘I am an Hebrew man; how can I go amongst the Indians and preach the truth?’ And as he thus reasoned and spake, the Saviour appeared unto him by night and saith to him: Fear not, Thomas, go thou unto India and preach the word there, for my grace is with thee. But he would not obey, saying: Whither thou wouldest send me, send me, but elsewhere, for unto the Indians I will not go.

      2 And while he thus spake and thought, it chanced that there was there a certain merchant come from India whose name was Abbanes, sent from the King Gundaphorus [Gundaphorus is a historical personage who reigned over a part of India in the first century after Christ. His coins bear his name in Greek, as Hyndopheres], and having commandment from him to buy a carpenter and bring him unto him.

      Now the Lord seeing him walking in the market-place at noon said unto him: Wouldest thou buy a carpenter? And he said to him: Yea. And the Lord said to him: I have a slave that is a carpenter and I desire to sell him. And so saying he showed him Thomas afar off, and agreed with him for three litrae of silver unstamped, and wrote a deed of sale, saying: I, Jesus, the son of Joseph the carpenter, acknowledge that I have sold my slave, Judas by name, unto thee Abbanes, a merchant of Gundaphorus, king of the Indians. And when the deed was finished, the Saviour took Judas Thomas and led him away to Abbanes the merchant, and when Abbanes saw him he said unto him: Is this thy master? And the apostle said: Yea, he is my Lord. And he said: I have bought thee of him. And thy apostle held his peace.

      3 And on the day following the apostle arose early, and having prayed and besought the Lord he said: I will go whither thou wilt, Lord Jesus: thy will be done. And he departed unto Abbanes the merchant, taking with him nothing at all save only his price. For the Lord had given it unto him, saying: Let thy price also be with thee, together with my grace, wheresoever thou goest.

      And the apostle found Abbanes carrying his baggage on board the ship; so he also began to carry it aboard with him. And when they were embarked in the ship and were set down Abbanes questioned the apostle, saying: What craftsmanship knowest thou? And he said: In wood I can make ploughs and yokes and augers (ox-goads, Syr.), and boats and oars for boats and masts and pulleys; and in stone, pillars and temples and court-houses for kings. And Abbanes the merchant said to him: Yea, it is of such a workman that we have need. They began then to sail homeward; and they had a favourable wind, and sailed prosperously till they reached Andrapolis, a royal city.



      What’s funny here is that Jesus apparently sells Thomas to get him to go to India. Vienta = to sell. I believe this is a concept too popular in the Philippines, poverty stricken moms with their daughters.

      “Who says we are not reaching farther back.
      But a milestone is a milestone because you can’t put a stone in every inch in between or we have inchstones.”

      karl, there’s the Ati-Atihan festival, but think of any other milestones that celebrate pre-Magellan cultures/customs there, especially Aeta/negritos or even Badjaos/samas. Remember Ati-Atihan , more than anything, celebrates the driving out of Aeta/negritos, so not really celebration.

      What are these milestones in Philippine history pre-Magellan that’s celebrated or well studied today? None. correct? So none really, karl.

      “For a guy who dislikes proselitizing, you sure proselytize much except it is not about religion it is about Spinoza.”

      The word proselytize is more a religious term precisely because it connotes heaven and hell, essentially convincing someone out of fear and repercussion ; Spinoza didn’t really espouse any of that, as a matter of fact he said religion was fine so long as it inspire, not oppress. And

      Left it to individuals to find their purpose.

      In many ways , what he espoused is the antidote to what the church espouses.

      AND THIS ALL CONNECTS TO the Aetas/negritos because again not much of their stories is known, karl. Filipinos themselves know next to nothing about them. That’s why asked what you knew about Aetas/negritos because no ones defending them; yet everyone seems to be falling on top of each other defending the Catholic church there.

      Here’s a good start , karl. About the San bushmen cosmology,

      from the youtube video description: In this talk, Camilla Power examines the role of the main supernatural entity of Khoisan Bushman peoples, the ‘Trickster’. Denizen of First Creation, Trickster shows repeated characteristics of counter- and reverse dominance. He or she switches between an awesome or cosmic aspect – guarding game animals or bleeding initiates – and a weird, comical figure who is mean, cheating, greedy and lecherous, chopping off bits of the body which then behave extremely badly. Can the diverse versions of Trickster be reconciled and is there any underlying logic to them?

      So, karl…

      If you read what Jesus did in the Acts of Thomas how he sent Thomas to India that’s a bit of a trickster god move, but to connect it to the Aetas/negritos I gotta feeling they’ll have similar beliefs, same same in Melanesia and Australia. You don’t know, I don’t know, because not much is known of pre-Magellan times. hence why I said go farther back.

      Will see what I can find , but again I’m saying dig farther back, karl. Milestone, inchstones whatever, just something that celebrates pre-Magellan Philippines. That’s my point here.

      • Well, there is Sonny’s comment on what HE sees as the three major periods of Philippine history – Spanish 325 years, American 50 years and own path 75 years. Then there is my rejoinder mentioning my father’s classic “Tripartite View” paper which says Rizal and Del Pilar saw prehispanic, Spanish and the bright own future of the Philippines as the three periods, though Rizal said stuff was better before Spain and Del Pilar said no it was worse. My father concludes by writing that a new view of historical periods is needed. I Googled and found his classic based on Sonny’s comment plus memories of him telling students “periodization is important” and that paper. It is indeed about the milestones.

        What makes it hard is that old Filipino historical sense was cyclic, see also the start of “Tripartite View”, based on recurring feasts, though one could see Ati-Atihan as an early celebration of the milestone around 3K years ago, agriculturists driving foragers upwards.

        7K years ago Cordillerans come but no evidence that they already had rice terraces. The old boundary between history and prehistory was writing, the newer one is between foragers and farmers, probably a more major shift than our present digitalization.

        The Laguna Copperplate around 900 AD is an indication of a culture that already wrote and used the Hindu calendar for official dates. Weird tho that it is the only of its kind.

        The period from 1000-1500 roughly has trade increasing, there is a more widespread forging of metal that indicates war especially over important trading posts. But alas there are no written annals as one can see how “unofficially” even Humabon and Soliman did things. There is archeological evidence of major centers which one tries to match with Chinese mentions of places or later Malay and Arab i.e. Islamic records. The assiduous chronicles of Europeans, especially Venetians like Marco Polo or Pigafetta, were in a class of their own.

        • sonny says:


          I’m trying to map our basic markings of the passage of time: ngayon, kahapon, & bukas, into the tripartite scheme of your father. Is doing this (mapping), meaningful? Are we going to understand how & what our ancestors understood time in relating events as naturally attached to the march of time? Maybe this is related: When, what, why did our 16th century countrymen measure time. I only heard of solstices and equinoxes when I was learning Latin in the Gallic Wars of Caesar. I heard of daylight saving time in my elementary years and didn’t know we used it then in Manila. (Later on after my immigration, I calculated only a difference of 20 mins between normal time & the solstices, i.e. Manila might as well be in perpetual equinox.

          • Xiao Chua told me that Mary Rodriguez-Tatel, author of the yet unpublished Dalumat ng Bayan and one of the top talents of my father’s school of thought, has noted that a lot of Filipinos of “simpler” background nowadays remember not years but major storms as markers in their lives. In Europe for farmers the seasons play a major role, not only the contrast of length of days which is quite obvious starting North of the Alps and extreme from Stockholm onwards where they have Midsummer where it never truly gets dark. And the winter where one has to take a long lunch break for Vitamin D. All Nordic countries have a high sin tax on alcohol for good reason, and Finns can outdo Russians in vodka.

            Things hardly changed in the old Philippines, though some common terms used for the past may indicate the trace in people’s consciousness. Panahon ni Mahoma (Mohammed’s time) as very long ago, for Tagalogs a faint memory of Muslim presence, panahon ni kopong-kopong (0-0s or 1900-something) as long ago, “before the prewar” as a bit of a joke but something grandparents may still remember. As the datus and rajas were not real kings there was no urge to memorialize their reigns like Egyptian pharaohs did, and babylans but no official church meant no need for a calendar, so Laguna Copperplate uses the Hindu one. But of course consciousness of time changes: there are studies of how industrialization and trains changed the sense of time in German villages affected by it, from time determined by the Church tower to time synchronized for train schedules. Millennial urban Filipinos use “Now na” probably as they realize ngayon is a too fluid measure of time for their World which after all may, more often than not, mean living by the tact of call center shifts, just as German villages adjusted to common time and the term “the train has left” became a stock phrase for things unrecoverable in both Russian and German..

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Whoa! Thomas went to India, China and even Indonesia!


        Maybe we were part of Indonesia in +- AD 50, I dunno.

        • LCPL_X says:

          “My father concludes by writing that a new view of historical periods is needed.”

          Ireneo, I tend to agree with your Dad.

          I wonder what he’d have thought now with all the DNA evidence connecting Aetas/negritos to southern Africa.

          But then again maybe it really has nothing to do with DNA but hunting gathering as the source of culture. Because similar morality is practiced by native Americans, same with natives of eastern Russia (did you know they build teepees there too?).

          By hunter gatherer morality, I mean one where man is animal and part of nature, not there to dominate, just survive. Hence why trickster gods, like Maui, tend to be the norm because good/evil are same same.

          Balance is reached precisely because the point is not to dominate.

          Did you r father ever take interest in the Aetas and negritos, Ireneo?

          Here’s the closest I got to some kind of southern Africa- Australia connection, by the same woman above:

          In this talk, Camilla Power examines myths of the origin of fire from African and Australian hunter-gatherers (including Mbuti, Hadza and Yolngu). These share a logic of women’s periodic withdrawal of sex and cooking fire. With control of fire goes control over meat/flesh, but this was ultimately stolen from women by men. Can interpretation of these hunter-gatherer materials help us to decode the Greek story of origins of fire (and death) stolen by Prometheus? In this mythic series, we find the same themes of control over fire, meat and access to sex. Prometheus appears in the guise of a hunter-gatherer trickster. But why does he end up chained to a rock with his liver being eaten and regenerating every day? And why does his encounter with Io, transformed into a heifer and ceaselessly pursued by a gadfly, form the main scene of ‘Prometheus Bound’?

          I’m not finding any worthwhile ethnographic studies on Aetas/negritos, though looking at some dances on youtube theres similarities. Nothing significance though.

          The connection cannot be thru folklore and dances, but actual skillz in tracking and hunting, and knowledge of plants and seasons need to be documented.

          I’ll do your Dad one better, Ireneo. Not a new view of historical periods, but realization that progress is non-progress, and non-progress is progress. But then again that’s not academic anymore, but spiritual.

          Why Filipinos need to return revisit and understand Aetas/negritos. Salvation begins here.

      • LCPL_X says:


        The most important portion of that wiki article on Thomas the Apostle is this,

        Christian philosopher Origen taught with great acclaim in Alexandria and then in Caesarea. He is the first known writer to record the casting of lots by the Apostles. Origen’s original work has been lost, but his statement about Parthia falling to Thomas has been preserved by Eusebius. “Origen, in the third chapter of his Commentary on Genesis, says that, according to tradition, Thomas’s allotted field of labour was Parthia“.

        Now I’m a big fan of Origen, but this above quote represent something tangible as far as where Thomas went, or was sent to.

        As for going to China and Indonesia, there’s really no proof. But the Church of the East got there pre-Islamic times, and when they got to India, there was already a Christian proto-Catholic community. That it was the same community Thomas established makes sense.

        Now right after Jesus the whole Christian christology was not yet established, for example Origen himself believed that hell was just a waystation that it was temporary then everyone goes to heaven; Spartacus the slave in Rome represented a christology that saw Jesus as man;

        It would be interesting to discover what Thomas taught, but I think said community in India was then subsumed into the Church of the East, who I think were more adoptionists, basically Jesus was adopted when John the Baptist baptized him, i dunno, but my point

        there were many different perspectives of christianity that early on. Then consolidation.

        As to Hindu, Indonesia connection with the Philippines, this is well documented in the language, Diwa and Asuwa being common in both Tagalog and Visayan as good spirit and bad demon. Saksi is sanskrit as well, etc. etc. And as Ireneo already pointed out baybayin is Sanskrit based.

        I believe there’s festivals and customs in Cebu still that they can trace to fertility rituals of Hindus.

        But no evidence of Thomas’ community transferred farther than India.

        Though that same trade route that me and chempo discussed when we were talking about Mecca would still be the same, karl. Also remember that Buddhism was spread to Ancient Greece like 200 years before Jesus was even born, karl.


        So maybe yeah Thomas’ christianity did get to the shores of the Philippines, but there’s just no evidence to work with. For sure, India.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          Like Irineo told me: not impossible but highly improbable.

          • Or as William of Baskerville, the Franciscan friar and scholar in Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose often said, apply Occam’s Razor.

            We have to have open minds yet avoid the kind of speculation a la Dan Brown or Erich von Däniken which would make us like Flat Earthers or other crazies.

        • See above in my article where I mention the Indian Ocean trade route as the oldest global route. And that new evidence show it is possible that Austronesians plied it first. Didn’t include studies I found showing traces of Austronesian gene markers all the way to the Persian Gulf, or words in Tamil that could have come from Austronesian languages.

          That it went the other way around later and as a result a lot of Mainland SEA is Buddhist and has Indian style temples is clear, it went all the way to Bali which is Hindu till today including castes, except that these are more fluid there, typically Malay thing.

          Philippine words of Indian origin:
          Guro – teacher
          Dalubhasa – intellectual
          Budhi – conscience
          Dalita – suffering or oppression
          Raja – supreme Datu (like Humabon or Sulayman)

          Our Lady of Penafrancia in Naga could come from an older cult of a female goddess. In Hindu regions they often had snakes or Naga associated with them. Babaylan in Bikol were also called Naguini. There is the legend of Oryol, the snake woman, from old Bikol. All speculative but rather likely.

          Finally there is the 900 AD Laguna copperplate which is in old Tagalog, old Javanese and Sanskrit. That there is no other find like it might be because Filipinos are not too aware of such stuff. The Dutch researcher Anton Postma bought it from a junk or second hand shop. Tho more finds like it would corroborate its really being from the Philippines and not just brought in by traders.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          But this one written by a Catholic missionary found traces of 12th century catholism in Indonesia.

          Click to access download-fullpapers-ijss%202009%2002%2001_glinka_When_does_Christianity_come_to_Indo%E2%80%A6.pdf

          • Others would have to double check his sources like the Arab manuscript he mentioned. If history is like an investigation this would be what is called a self-serving affidavit as it is from a priest. Doesn’t have to be false but needs more backup to be believable.

            Or in journalism one can only report something as true if it comes from at least two independent sources. Otherwise it is only alleged to be that way.

            • Looking for Prester John, the legendary Christian missionary to the East, was also an old European obsession. Of course based on stories of Nestorians and St. Thomas.

            • Karl Garcia says:

              The source in wiki that says about the same stuff came from a different author.


              • Still why is the mainstream not picking this up? Who are the original sources of those authors?

                For instance I dug all the way down to Tome Pires as the one original witness account of Luzonians in Malacca. Now if the original Arab source the priest quotes is someone credible I might consider it likely he’s rignt. After all the city mentioned is a major port so there could have been churches and temples of many groups there.

              • Thanks Karl. Her history of Christianity in Asia makes sense, and is highly comprehensive.

                She even mentions the (Lutheran) Rhenish Missionary Society which began working among the Toba Batak of Sumatra in 1863 – my German great-grandfather was one of them.

              • Karl Garcia says:


              • She has two independent sources for Thomasian Christian – basically the Armenian trader Abu Salih and the Portuguese, though it isn’t clear if the Thomasians were still in Barus when the Portuguese arrived, possibly Islamic influence had pushed them out. It is like the Nestorians were in China during the Sung dynasty, that is clear, but never gained much of a foothold and disappeared after a while. So Christianity may have come near the Philippines in the past but not close enough.

                5. B. T. A. Evetts, ed. and trans. The Churches and Monasteries of Egypt and Some Neighbouring Countries Attributed to Abu Salih, the Armenian (Oxford: Clarendon Press), 300.

                6. Pius Malekandathil, “The Portuguese and the St. Thomas Christians,” in The Portuguese and the Socio-Cultural Changes in India, 1500–1800, ed. K. S. Matthew, Teotonio R. de Souza, and Pius Malekandathil (Kerala: Meshar, 2001), 122–130.

              • Karl Garcia says:


    • Karl Garcia says:

      Ok to avoid wild speculations.

      I take back the Indians reaching our shores before Magellan.

      But this is not speculation
      Portuguese have spread Catholicism in Asia before Spaniards could. They were in Malacca ten years before Magellan reached our shores.

      Back to the Indians.
      After British occupation of the Philippines.
      Sepoys refused to leave.
      Speaking of the British, they may have lost America a few years later but they earned bragging rights of beating the Spanish Armada and looting the galleons of Silver and China.(porcelaine)
      We may consider the Seven Years War as the first World War.

      • Portuguese: yes, that is why East Timor is the second majority Catholic country in Asia.

        Indians: probably none yet before Spain, just influences via Java, but yes the Sepoys notably stayed in places like Tanay, Rizal and mixed with the local population.

        The “Bumbai” of later on were Punjabi Sikhs, possibly the British trading houses of the 19th century brought them over. In Malaysia and Singapore the Indian minority groups are Tamils brought over by British colonization who have their own typically Southern Indian traditions.

      • LCPL_X says:


        Remember Portugal and Spain divvied up the world. So yeah, Enrique was procured under Portuguese auspices, when Magellan was flying Portugal’s flag; then he flew the Spanish flag to go the opposite way, bringing Enrique along.

        That the Portuguese got to Asia first is the result of the divvying up. But since the world is a sphere, their domains would eventually meet. From Philippines, Magellan’s men tucked tail and went strait down south to Portuguese territory.

        But remember Magellan was Portuguese. So technically a Portuguese first held the mass in the Philippines, or presided over it.

        20 years or so after Magellan died, the Portuguese would get into Japan, they screwed things up so bad that Japan actually closed shop for like 3 centuries (the Edo period, also Togukawa). When in doubt, always blame the Portuguese.

        But I’m excited about the Yasuke Netflix series, sadden also that Black Panther died b4 being able to play Yasuke.

        • The Treaty of Zaragoza setting the demarcation line on the other side of the world was only agreed upon in 1527 after Elcano, Loaisa and Saavedra had intruded into the Portuguese area. Though what Charles signed Felipe was to break, as technically the Spanish had Guam within their zone but not the Philippines. One reason I guess why a Portuguese ship said Hi to Legazpi after he arrived in Cebu, it was about turf.

          Tokugawa happened a bit later, late enough to make the first Filipino saint, Lorenzo Ruiz, as Christians were persecuted and massacred, and to create a community of exiled Christian samurai in already Spanish Manila.


          • LCPL_X says:

            I’m convinced more than ever that this canonization/beatification process is all politics, Ireneo.


            His canonization was supported by a miracle in October 1983, when Cecilia Algeria Policarpio of Calinog, Iloilo, was cured of brain atrophy (hydrocephalus) at the age of two, after her family and supporters prayed to Lorenzo for his intercession. She was diagnosed with the condition shortly after birth and was treated at University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center.

            But this is the first i’ve heard about this St. Lorenzo 1st Filipino saint (are there more now?). What exactly is the threshold for becoming saint.

            I assume if the Catholic church intends to establish itself in Antartica it would retroactively find penguins who were godly, then attribute miracles to it. Voila, local saints!

            • sonny says:


              I’m trying to map our basic markings of the passage of time: ngayon, kahapon, & bukas, into the tripartite scheme of your father. Is doing this (mapping), meaningful? Are we going to understand how & what our ancestors understood time in relating events as naturally attached to the march of time? Maybe this is related: When, what, why did our 16th century countrymen measure time. I only heard of solstices and equinoxes when I was learning Latin in the Gallic Wars of Caesar. I heard of daylight saving time in my elementary years and didn’t know we used it then in Manila. (Later on after my immigration, I calculated only a difference of 20 mins between normal time & the solstices, i.e. Manila might as well be in perpetual equinox.

            • sonny says:

              “… I assume if the Catholic church intends to establish itself in Antartica it would retroactively find penguins who were godly, then attribute miracles to it. Voila, local saints!”

              LC, boy, you are mean!!

  35. https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/03/27/opinion/columnists/all-about-enrique-who-was-not-a-filipino/855936/

    ..when some Filipinos read the Philippine part of the Pigafetta account, that it was Enrique who was able to understand the natives of these islands, they assumed that he might have originated from here. The hypothesis was made stronger by his actions after Magellan’s death and he is made out to be some sort of balikbayan figure, as we have become a diasporic nation: If he was indeed from these islands, and was able to return to Cebu in 1521, then Enrique, the Filipino, was the first to circumnavigate the world, not Elcano. Pinoy pride!..

    ..Two years ago, when I read Pigafetta carefully, I realized that Enrique did not understand Waray in their first contact and could only communicate to some of the chieftains, thus he may have used his native Malay language because that was the lingua franca of trade in the region at that time. He did not know Cebuano and therefore, was not a Cebuano..

    • sonny says:

      “… then Enrique, the Filipino, was the first to circumnavigate the world, not Elcano. Pinoy pride!…”

      My first encounter with Enrique was in an old issue of ARCHIPELAGO mag back in 1998. I gathered Magellan took him as a young ward during his first trip to the Moluccas and took him back to Portugal. It was obvious then that he was the first circumnavigator of the world, in the absence of Magellan. I am not clear about his provenance (where in Malay archipelago did he come from and where he went after separating from the Spanish return to Iberia.

      • Sonny, I think Xiao Chua’s analysis is right, being able to speak to chiefs but not to commoners meant he was Malay but not of the archipelago. Of course he may yet have found his way back to wherever he originally was from but we will never know. I do like the present wave of critical thinking among Filipino scholars embodied by the likes of Xiao, as we in general love to flee into wishful thinking and movie-like worlds of our own making, which is what makes us susceptible for fake news and like Bob Couttie recently wrote, “Fools Gold”, a history of historical hoaxes in the Philippines, some of which were accepted truth in schools, and yes Bob will be coming out with a Part II.


  36. https://nqc.gov.ph/en/resources/ending-the-limasawa-controversy/

    ..Upholding the centuries-old Butuan tradition, most of the anti-Limasawa proponents argue that the Mazaua mentioned by Pigafetta as the site of the 1521 Easter Sunday Mass was actually Masao, Butuan City. They also argued that compare to Limasawa, Masao is closer in spelling to what ‘primary sources’ mention (i.e., Mazaua). In toponomy (interdisciplinary study of the origin of place names using linguistics, history, archaeology, anthropology, geology, and geography, among others), archival spellings are not taken at face value. It is toponymically erroneous to claim that Zzamal, Humunu, and Zzubu were the ‘original’ names of Samar, Homonhon, and Cebu only because it was how Pigafetta spelled them. One can collect as many spelling variations of Mazaua from 16th-century primary and secondary sources (including maps), but these must undergo the scrutiny of toponymical methodology. It is still the descriptions of the island of Mazaua that matter.

    The Mojares Panel scrutinized the coordinates of Mazaua given by the eyewitnesses and compared them with contemporary measurements. Pigafetta recorded it at 9 2/3 or 9º40’N latitude, Francisco Albo, another eye witness, placed it at 9 1/3 or 9º20’N latitude, and the Genoese Pilot, also a primary source, wrote 9 or 9º00’N latitude. The panel cited a study presented in the 16th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Geoconference (Bulgaria, 2016) by a group of experts who compared the coordinates given by Pigafetta with the present coordinates using a computer-based system and the result was 9⁰56’ N latitude or only a 0⁰16’ difference against Pigafetta’s. Even a layman can confirm the coordinates of Limasawa by simply Googling it and the result will be a 9°54’ N latitude. Taking all these pieces of evidence into account, the panel noted that, although the navigational coordinates during this period were just estimates, Pigafetta’s 9º40’N latitude was still closer to Limasawa than to Butuan which, using the modern coordinates, was located at 8°56’ N latitude..

  37. LCPL_X, you have mentioned the hunter-gatherer societies vs. farming people etc.

    This video by Deutsche Welle is about this white vs white, Sami IPs vs Swedes:

    The stuff about Aeta in my father’s village I mentioned in towards Filipino modernity.


    ..The forest areas of what is now the Binisitahan of San Bernardo and the mountains of Barangay Mayong were earlier inhabited by roaming Agta (Aeta). These people were nomadic and warlike in nature and were constantly molesting the Christian natives. Higino decided to pacify these Aetas. He befriended their chiefs and summoned them to gather in San Bernardo and the lowlands of Mayong. When Higino arrived at the gathering of the Aetas in San Bernardo, he noted an unfriendly atmosphere among the Aetas. Their Chief, seated on a bench like a king, did not rise nor demonstrate any act of welcoming the gobernadorcillo.

    As Higino stood unwelcome and embarrassed, the Chief Aeta, brandishing a bolo signaled to one of his men to throw a coconut to him, which he struck in two. Higino, however, was not impressed by the show. He surprised everybody by disarming him with his bolo. Everybody was tense! The slightest signal from their Chief would throw them into action. Tension, however was eased when the Aeta Chief, in an act of surrender smiled apologetically and explained that what he did was nothing but a mere gesture of welcome. He warned them not to molest the Christian natives and advised them to live peacefully. Later, he arranged for a lay mission, which he accompanied for the conversion of the Aetas to Christianity. For a while they settled peacefully but some of them wandered into the forests..

    What you said about common lowland Christian attitudes (those under the bells) towards non-Christians (those in the boondocks) like remontados or IPs is shown by the Bikol term for those outside “civilization”: Gentil, meaning “Gentiles”. Also mentioned in that article.

    The way Lumads so often are treated by Philippine state forces nowadays is another indication. The Philippines still has a lot of internal contradictions to resolve nowadays.

    • LCPL_X says:

      “In the early 1950s, the government of Canada adopted programs to assimilate the nomadic Inuit into southern Canadian culture. Although most of the Inuit were living self−sufficiently off the land, whalers and fur traders had affected Inuit survival and economic practices since the late 19th century, shifting the focus from subsistence hunting to commercial trapping.

      The stated goal of the forced resettlement was to provide employment alternatives to the fur trade, which had largely collapsed, and ensure that the Inuit had a reliable food supply and access to education and health care. The Canadian government also wanted to establish its sovereignty in the arctic during the Cold War, as well as expand programs for exploiting the mineral resources of the north, which required educated employees with sedentary housing.

      Noted anthropologist Wade Davis recounts the story of one Inuit elder who refused to go to the settlements. Fearing for his life, his friends and family took away all his tools and weapons but he managed to escape into the wilderness using nothing but a knife fashioned from his own excrement.”


      I’m sure I’ve shared the shit knife story here, about an old Eskimo they tried to Christianize and civilize. Like your Aeta story of returning to the forest, the Eskimo escaped and returned to the wild.

      Many stories about African gov’t attempting to civilize and Christianize, and agriculturize San bushmen too. Only for them to shed their civilize garbs to return to the wild. Happened here too. And in Australia.

      Micha’s complaints that the Spaniards swooped down to colonize the natives, well there’s the flipside to that as well as you’ve described Ireneo, that those natives that Spain colonized, did the same exact thing to the more original inhabitants of the islands.

      The diff is that the Spaniards and Americans are gone, but Filipinos, those civilized, Christianized, agriculturized, are still doing the same thing to Aetas/negritos today.

      the irony here is that hunter/gatherers do represent the answer to climate change and environment destruction. It would be awesome if UP students today especially ones studying anthropology history, environmental sciences, would connect like a global study all these related hunter/gatherers from the Bushmen to Aborigenes, and identify common traits, and common virtues. To add or replace current social virtues and norms, like trash everywhere.

      Like i’ve said Christians can learn so much of morals from hunter/gatherers. Really applied virtue, not some heaven inspired, i’ll be good so i can go to heaven crap.

      Ireneo, Samis were also sent to Alaska in attempt to develop reindeer husbandry, that’s why you get Eskimos with Scandanavian last names. Pretty common. But Samis I always associated with pastoralist and not really hunter-gatherers.

      RE: Enrique, I would assume that a person who knows Malay, Bahasa, maybe Tagalog/Bisaya, 2 or 3 malay languages, would be able to communicate across SE Asia. So makes sense Waray may be too far to the east of Malay languages, but once he got to Cebu, Bisaya being closely related to Tausug, would have more cognate words.

  38. Micha says:


    Colonialism is, fundamentally, a zero sum event that has no moral justification in our modern concept of organizing societies, correct?

  39. To bring in the present Half A Millennium After Magellan: what would Humabon, Lapu-Lapu, Kolambu and other rajas say about the present situation along Julian Felipe Reef?

    Not my island, don’t care, or our islands are facing a danger creeping in?


    Another picture to show how time has passed since then: the Spanish training ship Elcano dwarfed by the under construction Cebu-Cordova Bridge that will go all the way to Mactan.


  40. Karl Garcia says:

    I wonder where your point explaining will lead if I ask you what’s the point in all of this forget organized religion and go back to the ways of hunters and gatherers and see their ethics and morality?

    As far as the struggles here, the struggles of the indigenous people’s will always be overshadowed by the armed struggles, then it is also not helping that the state security establishments want to change what we call them and forget about lumads. WTF for?

    • LCPL_X says:


      Your question connects with Micha’s colonialism as zero sum, which I agree.

      And you are correct, the squeaky wheel will get the grease , thus lumad or hunter-gatherer issues take a back seat, or a non-starter at worst.

      My point is that the colonizers (as per Micha) have seen the light, Canadians are bowing to first nations virtues now, like forestry is not about logging anymore but actual stewardship of the forest; over here at least we’ve stopped churches from re-educating indians, but still long ways to go, but the casinos are being used to revisit indian virtues vis a vis the environment; Australia too I think, but Australians are a bit more racist still remember Bill Oz’s 95% white.

      Watch Ireneo’s Sami vs. scandanavians video, Europeans are also now into relegitimizing hunter/gatherer virtues. I wonder where the Russians are on this.

      So us as colonizers (not me personally but the West in general) have now looked into the virtues of hunter/gatherers, Sir. Attenborough’s video above of the persistence hunt is now how most here see hunter/gatherers. With respect, a lot too has to do with Bear Grylls normalizing survival programs.

      But over there, or in the 3rd world in general, you guys are still hung up on these foreign ideas concepts of civilized, Christianized, agriculturized that as you’ve pointed out the hunter/gatherers just don’t add value for you (not you personally, but the Philippines).

      Our malls are fast getting emptied, while yours is just starting to fill, with more malls to come, you are where we were 20/30 years ago, karl.

      It all connects to philosophy, mainly Ethics and Aesthetics.

      What’s good and bad?

      What’s beautiful and ugly?

      Most Filipinos see city, or malls, or mining pit, and they think oh that’s good and beautiful , its progress; we here now are adjusting our lenses, long ways to go for sure, but where before we thought the same, now especially in the northwest pacific cascades mtn. ranges looking into first nations for examples on how to better live with nature.

      For sure, I don’t think we in the west are even close to adopting hunter/gatherer virtues,essentially mainly boils down to don’t dominate nature, live with it. But compared to a century ago, industrialization era, we’ve become more open to their way of thinking viewing the environment,

      and now have adjusted our sense of good/bad, beautiful/ugly atleast as it relates to the environment, karl. The American military owes a big debt to the survival skills of the Aetas. but we could’ve learnt most of that from our own native peoples, but we’ve decimated them over here.

      My point, you guys still have your hunter/gatherers so learn as much, preserve as much of their virtues, folklore , skillz and world views. Why did they return to the forest, in Ireneo’s article above, becuz the wild provides.

      Remember that the Bible teaches that Man is to dominate other animals. That’s Micha’s zero sum, hunter/gatherers isn’t about domination. Again watch the last part of that persistence hunting video. And compare that to how you eat your lechon or adobo, how the pig is butchered, is there solemnity?

    • LCPL_X says:

      thanks, karl.

      I do know of Igorots, I’m familiar with their tattoo work and of course the rice terraces, though relevant to the discussion I am not familiar at all with their hunting/gatherer prowess and the culture associated with said skillz. I assume being rice farmers, they’d be a hybrid typa culture.

      Kinda like where the Aetas are now.

      This is a paper I found online pdf, there’s books and papers on Aetas but I’m only limited to what I can Google. https://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/UF/E0/02/24/67/00001/austria_j.pdf

      The whole paper was really good, skimmed thru it, but I would’ve wanted to know more about this distributed political equality because much of the work done of Bushmen is of this egalitarian nature of their society, based on hunting (and gathering) skillz.

      She’s eluded to at least elementary experience as now favored , but what sort of experience and expertise was favored before, and how did all that interface with how their culture persisted? This paper is more a call for advocacy in anthropology, i know, but that’s the type of stuff that should be looked into, the actual hunting/gathering or hunter/gatherers.

      p.s. — I’ll refrain from any more anti-Catholic rhetoric since Passover has now begun, maybe after Easter (if relevant then).

      p.p.s. — here’s the paper’s author’s bio (I hope she’s back in the Philippines to do this work):

      Jane Dela Cruz Austria is a native of Malabon City, Philippines. She graduated from Philippine Normal University in 1994 with an AB psychology degree. During college, Jane was involved in various student organizations, which exposed her to social issues and development work. After completing her degree, she worked as a community organizer in rural upland communities.

      In the late 1990s, Jane was chosen by the United Nations Development Program to
      facilitate the in-country consultations with other community organizers from Cambodia and
      Thailand for the Young Professionals Fellowships in the Asia Pacific symposium. Apart from
      this, she also facilitated group discussions with NGOs in Jakarta, Bandung and Jogjakarta,
      Indonesia as part of the community organizing effort in Asia.

      After being in the field for twelve years, she decided to pursue academic work in order to
      deepen her understanding of how societies function by combining an anthropological foundation and on-the-ground community organizing experience. A Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program scholarship provided her the chance to pursue graduate studies in cultural

      anthropology, starting her MA work at the Department of Anthropology at University of Florida
      in 2006. She wishes to return to the Philippines with her husband, Bruce, to continue their work with indigenous peoples by combining anthropological insights with community organizing.

  41. The book MLQ3 got from a Spaniard must be interesting: “More Hispanic than we admit”


  42. Karl Garcia says:

    We may become Mars colonists in half a century.
    City inside a cliff anyone?

    • We’ll live in caves, I think. Mining colonists in the main. Farms down there along with oxygen refineries.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        We will be cavemen.

        • Filipinos will be OSWs, meaning Outer Space Workers.

          • LCPL_X says:

            I’d love to see this concept applied here. Battery tech will eventually make solar/wind, etc. power viable.

            But for the life of me, I have no idea why such plans never mention Mars’ gravity.

            You get issues with bone density, muscle mass, organ failure, such as eyes, etc. So realistically, short stays for mining or vacation (staycation) but to actually live out your life on Mars is to shorten it… becuz even if we’ve solved everything thru tech, gravity will be an issue.

            Gravity can be replicated in space, just spin something around. But I can’t see it on Mars.

            Thus, we’ll have to look for viable planets based on gravity equal to Earth. that’s the sweet spot. But then again there’s CRISPR and maybe we can choose genes that make bones/muscle denser, eye filled more with water or Super Glue, i dunno.

            But physiology first then architecture.

  43. OT: VP Leni’s regular Sunday morning program:

    • LCPL_X says:


      I can’t help but think based on accent and look, that this woman blocking Sen. Cruz’ video is Filipina– she’s asking the senator not to take videos pleading dignity and respect.

      I’m sure she’s not familiar that US senators are kinda on par with her higher ups (I think she works for DHS or ICE, dunno really, or maybe just an NGO).

      But she’s playing to his agenda unwittingly, that Biden wants to hide all this, which is true, but realistically ever since W. Bush (mostly because of 9/11) this mass detention set-up has been around.

      She shoulda just kept saying , Sir , you’re breaking the rule No Videos here, you’re breaking the rule. Instead of pleading dignity and respect. it plays out as hypocrisy perfectly.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Next time you will be complaining about people saying for Pete’s sake or for heaven’s sake.

        • LCPL_X says:

          Remember, karl, I’ve been complaining about dignity and respect for everyone as American policy, since Hillary caused 3 ME countries to fall due to her siding with dignity and respect.

          The lady (who I ‘m sure is Filipina, that’s not a Mexican or central American , even Brazilian/south American accent sounds), is echoing the same sentiments, not really understanding how imposing this as policy is a paradox, ex. Hillary et al.

          These folks were better off stopped at Mexico’s southern border, but with change of administration comes change in policy, perfectly illustrated in said video above. The paradox is clear.

          I just thought it was ironic that a Filipina-American visualized it perfectly.

          p.s. — RE Mars gravity research understandable folks have to be on Mars to do research. Or maybe the Moon first. But for sure lost of eye sight has been documented. Weakened immune system too.

      • Micha says:


        You and I know that Ted Cancun Cruz doesn’t care a wee bit about those immigrants. He’s sticking his ass on this issue because on matters of substantive policy, Lying Ted and the whole Trumpified GOP is way behind the curb whereas Uncle Joe is, so far, surprisingly doing better than expected.

        • LCPL_X says:

          I agree with you on Lyin’ Ted, Micha. Notice the beard to make him look like some gun nut, instead of some debate team champ. Panderin’ Ted.

          But I disagree that Sleepy Joe is handling the border. His infrastructure stuff I’m excited about. but infrastructure we’ve heard since Obama years. I’m surprised Kamala Harris hasn’t done a big border photo op yet.

          My point , though was the optics of ‘dignity and respect’ when it comes to immigration reform falls flat. And again the relevance is I think the staffer is a Filipina.

          • The border situation was created in part by Trump’s loss and the flood of immigrants hoping Biden would open the gates. But he hasn’t because he follows the law. It will take time for him to solve the problem, but he’s working on it. I share Micha’s view that Biden is refreshingly pro-active. Your snide commentary about Harris reminds me of all the shit Meghan Markel had to put up with from tabloids.

          • Micha says:


            1. Let’s give Kamala some time to fix the issue and then we can go back and talk about it.

            2. On broader note, this immigration problem ties in with how the Spaniards are lousy administrators of their colonized lands. Like the Philippines, most (or all) Latin American countries have unstable dysfunctional governments largely due to the feudal economic and political culture brought in by the conquistadores. That dysfunction is aggravated by how the US imposed neoliberal policies on such countries as Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and others in recent times.

            3. Uncle Joe is doing better in adopting the MMT schema on infrastructure and mitigating the effects of climate change.

            4. The staffer could very well be a Filipina but again, why is Lying Ted doing the stunt?

            • LCPL_X says:

              Joe, Micha…

              1. It’s not rocket science to have anticipated said flood. Trump kept them at bay in Mexico’s southern border; Biden won now they are at our border. Mexico obviously let them in. They had a deal with Trump to keep them shut out; now there’s no deal.

              So i don’t buy the let’s buy her some time argument, they knew this was gonna happen. As for Meghan Markle how is that even relevant, Kamala Harris made this her point during the campaign , she was strong on immigration, yet now as we speak no peep from her. Why?

              2. No, you ‘re going too far with Spaniards again, Micha. I’ll be the first to say that the US, ie. banana wars, screwed it up for them. Thus , I’m totally for aid going to the Central Americas. But to folks not politicians. We owe them that, but not this open border crap. US should take complete responsibility. Same with Syria, that place was stable we destabilized it.

              3. I agree with MMT and Biden, hurry up already. Make a deal with AOC and Bernie get that green deal going already.

              4. I agree with you, it’s a whistle to the GOP, but he’ll always be lyin’ Ted.

              • Every comment carries with it a meaning, both on the line and outside of it. Yours was snarky, and she is black. That’s the parallel to the tabloids. What does the comment do? Is it fair to the VP? Is it factual? I’m very aware of the destructiveness of today’s social media commentary. It’s real. It is not good. The VP has not had a photo op. Why comment about it, as if she did or will or is somehow interested in the optics instead of the goal of good work?

              • LCPL_X says:


                It was basically just one dude that screwed up Central America. to connect to the current discussion wider about Magellan and mile markers, I guess we can also add human markers, where one person makes a big difference in policy, for good or bad. I’m still curious why this guy isn’t locked up.


                Duane R. “Dewey” Clarridge was a career CIA officer whose major posts included chief of the Latin American Division, chief of the European Division, and chief of the Counterterrorism Center. He retired from the CIA in 1987 after being formally reprimanded for his role in the Iran/contra affair.

                As chief of the Latin American Division from 1981 to 1984, Clarridge directed CIA efforts to support the Nicaraguan contras. One of the people helping Clarridge during this period was Lt. Col. Oliver L. North of the National Security Council staff. When Congress passed the Boland Amendment and cut off all aid to the contras in October 1984, Clarridge allegedly passed off responsibility for supporting the contras to North.

                The investigation of Clarridge focused on his knowledge of and role in both parts of the Iran/contra affair — the arms-for-hostages trades with Iran and the effort to secure covert foreign funding for the contras after Congress cut off U.S. aid. In November 1985, when North became involved in an Israeli effort to ship U.S.-made HAWK missiles to Iran to secure the release of U.S. hostages being held in Lebanon, he turned to Clarridge, then chief of the CIA’s European Division, for assistance.

                Clarridge testified extensively about his role in the operation, but steadfastly denied contemporaneous knowledge that the shipment contained weapons. Clarridge also testified at length about his efforts to support the contras, but denied soliciting support from third countries or even knowing about discussions of such efforts. In both instances, there was strong evidence that Clarridge’s testimony was false.

                On November 26, 1991, a federal Grand Jury indicted Clarridge on seven counts of perjury and false statements to congressional investigators and to the President’s Special Review Board (the Tower Commission) stemming from his testimony about his role in the November 1985 arms shipment to Iran.1 The OIC decided not to seek an indictment against Clarridge for false testimony about CIA efforts to solicit third-country funding for the contras, primarily because the solicitation effort in which Clarridge was involved was called off at the last minute by his superiors.

              • LCPL_X says:

                “Why comment about it, as if she did or will or is somehow interested in the optics instead of the goal of good work?”

                Joe, my bad maybe you’re not hip to the news state side that Biden and VP are now pushing each other as to who’s gonna take ownership of the border mess. VP doesn’t want (though she’s campaigned on it); Biden too wants to stay away (maybe wants another term).

                Everyone is assuming cracks, but they’ll solve it by simply either one of them or both, showing up at the border to address all this. A simple, “Our bad, folks, we didn’t mean we’re opening up the borders, psych!”.

                So news here is that they are both throwing this issue about like HOT POTATO. Some one’s gotta own it.

              • My blog is about the Philippines.

              • LCPL_X says:


                Usually, FWIW, when a President assigns his VP as task, there’s a press conference at said problem.

                So over here, having gotten use to said practice, we’re wondering where’s the photo op at the border? Where’s the official , Okay boss I’ve got the ball, now I’m running with it?

                Thus Americans are reading between the lines of said delay. That’s the context here, Joe. This official taking of the mantle was suppose atleast traditionally with these things suppose to happen the same week the task is assigned.

                So far its crickets, this Sunday should’ve been all about the border in the Sunday talks, because Biden assigned VP said task. And nothing. How then should the lines be read in between?

              • Why not just adjust your expectations rather than trouble us with your chatter?

  44. Karl Garcia says:


    By Carmen Guerrero Nakpil.
    If Magellan did mot come, would we be like Thailand, who was never conquered, or like Korea who was conquered by Japan or like Indonesia who was conquered by the Dutch?

  45. LCPL_X says:

    I’m also fighting on behalf of the whole notion that A causes B, the assumption being temporal, w/ out A , B cannot occur. But recent studies showing the nature of time makes said causes now suspect, karl. And this connects with sonny’s and Ireneo’s marking of time comments above.

    Quantum physics has explained that there is no such thing as past/present/future. All possibilities are infinite, thus B causes A is as valid. The paschal full moon causes easter, because w/out the first the second cannot occur.

    And since this too connects with gravity, space-time being one. One has to also factor in time on Mars, less gravity equals faster time. Does that then follow muscle and bone regeneration. i dunno.

    The link you’ve shared below by Mr. Nakpil is a great example of this multiverse of madness, karl. What If… is also the next series coming out after Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki.

    Winter Soldier comes from Thomas Payne’s Summer Soldier, one whose less committed to the cause. Thus a winter soldier is one very committed rebel, causes infinite as you’ve indicated.

    To connect this back to Magellan missing the Philippines, he’d probably end up in Japan. Though i’m not sure where trade winds lead around spring time, so let’s assume a squall. Portugal in Japan , since we’ve already seen Japanese-Brazilian models, would’ve made for very attractive geishas . Google also Brazilian jiujitsu , karl.

    And hafu in Japanese.

    With infinite causes, the best philosopher then is Liebniz who was satired as Dr. Pangloss by Voltaire poking fun of his best worlds outcome. My point, question cause and effect. Can causes really be infinite?

  46. LCPL_X says:


    This may be off-topic, but since Magellan’s 500th celebration is about circumnavigation, news about COVID19 4th wave may just be on-topic.

    1 month ago CDC director Walensky stated that teachers needn’t get the vaccines that schools should re-open, even last week we saw the 6 feet rule lowered to 3 feet for children in school. She said studies showed kids don’t get infected. Okay, they can still be carriers no?

    Which really doesn’t make sense. Then today Walensky’s saying theres impending doom. Impending doom?

    Now granted the rise in-coming may be from all other openings like Disneyland or restaurants, etc. not necessarily schools. But a month ago she was really pushing for school reopening, to the point where LA county was out voted by the local govts and school districts within its jurisdiction because they opted for the laxity of rules issued by the CDC.

    I never understood why the priority for schools. Most kids have adjusted for online learning, only 3 more months and its summer vacation, why not just finish the rest of the school year online.

    So the 4th wave is now evident in EU, and I believe Asia as well. Here I’m just confused why the dissonance. CDC should be the most conservative cost/analysis establish parameters, then states and counties, local gov’ts can adjust accordingly.

    Essentially CDC opened up schools, now there’s impending doom. Does not compute.

    • LCPL_X says:

      * cost/benefit analysis

    • The subject of schools re-opening and the criteria for re-opening is relevant to the Philippines. The CDC as the driver of health conditions in the US, and as a parallel body to DOH in the Philippines, is also relevant. Criticism of the CDC as a stand-alone topic, or leading to debate about US politics, would not be relevant.

      • LCPL_X says:

        Joe, I think the main difference over here compared to there is the availability of internet. Most here are connected. Their main problem for L.A. schools for example is that kids are hacking their tablets or laptops and using them for non-school activities, mostly gaming but also other stuff. Which to me is evidence of learning, ingenuity.

        Over there though, its the inequity of internet access.

        Which makes one wonder is internet really necessary for education? I gotta feeling w/out internet, you could still get kids learning. What we don’t have is community, for example like barangay level stuff. So, for kids with no internet just get the barangay level folks to impart learning.

        This notion that learning or education can only happen in schools, is I think the issue. Over here IMHO its the parents who want their kids out of the house so they can be free of their kids. Not really education the priority but baby sitting, especially the special kids, ADD to autistics. I want my free time, American value.

        But over there if schools are closed, theres the community gov’t that can organize. For example, a shoe repair guy that lives in the neighborhood can teach skills; or reading/math by residents. Alot more means options over there due to proximity and affinity of neighborhoods.

        • Schools form the backbone of a network of certification for jobs so it is hard to break that model. Indeed, the tendency of kids on distance learning to be untrustworthy illustrates the problem. Left to their own, they learn how to game the system, or be unethical. JoeJr’s school struggles with overcoming that. Family dynamics infringe upon education with poor families coming up short both on gear and home learning environment. The privileged, such as my son, will have a leg up on job certification. The social goal, and the whole purpose of a structured school system, is to give everyone a shot at privilege. Yes, people can learn outside of school, and bless Bill Gates for doing so. But that ought not be the model.

          • LCPL_X says:

            You’re right , Joe. That certification monopoly is what’s keeping schools relevant. Cuz without it any learning really is attainable elsewhere.

            Over here, since the lock-down there’s been a scramble by entrepreneurs many teachers or former teachers who are seeing the writing on the wall, sell pre-packaged science, math, social studies, etc. curriculum.

            Basically, all theyre doing is compiling videos and reading materials to be more online friendly and having kids just type or stylus answers on their website (some offer analog work books).

            Essentially if you have a teacher using all these websites, ex. Generation Genius, or Twig Science, they aren’t really doing anything except doing the grades.

            Which begs the question if that’s only what theyre doing, can’t that also be out sourced, like maybe to Palantir?

            And I agree with you Joe that the underlying purpose should be elevate everyone to a level playing field, but ask yourself now as we speak, or pre-COVID19 , was that accurate- then , now , or in the future? No, public school kids tend to falter, sure you have scholars of the nation deals, but the most successful

            cases are kids being educated by missionaries non-traditionally because they have means to send folks abroad.

            So access to foreigners and access to going abroad seem to be the best leveling factor that is your goal. Not really schools.

            Then why not re-imagine this certification process, make it less a monopoly so not only teachers are giving grades, but other entities, even barangay gov’t, can give certification.

            Over here SAT and ACT, AP tests are now done away with. Tests like these also had a monopoly on where one can go to school.

            But the underlying assumption should be that we aren’t going back to normal anytime soon. Just off the top of my head as possible ideas, why not have portfolios instead of certificates, much like how fine art and performing art students apply for school. Have auditions for talent and skills. Post blogs and videos of written materials or skills, like this blog, which then become one’s resume (CV).

            If I was Biden, i’d certainly make Micha the MMT czar just based on postings here. See how that becomes portfolio? I’m sure there’s plenty more ways, if we just assume that normal ain’t returning anytime soon, Joe.

            My point, there should be other options as to who certifies and what certification process entails. Plenty of other entities can say yup I can vouch for this kid to know all that stuff, the internet can do this, off line options would be portfolios helped curate by mentors there.

            • Yes, I think education has changed forever and the idea of portfolios as certification may come to be standard. JoeJr’s school has a heavy project requirement, in addition to exams, as the basis for his grade. The projects typically are presented in pictorial or video form. This is all in the direction you suggest as kids move from paper to electronics.

  47. Micha says:

    OT but relevant:

    • Karl Garcia says:

      Take care Micha.
      That goes the same for our Fil-Am friends here in TSOH. Sonny, Caliphman, etc.

      • LCPL_X says:


        A couple of weeks ago you asked about Asian hate crimes. I forget now which thread that was. But what’s weird here is the news mentions the victims are Asian, but always fails to mention the suspects’ race/description– except for when the suspect is White.

        Like in the spa shootings 2 weeks ago.

        The medias playing a dangerous game here, because the viewers are seeing the videos and usually the suspects are blacks and Hispanics or both, black-Hispanics. Again most of these Asian hate crimes being pushed by national media are in SF or NYC, the ones with videos.

        Statistically, whether hate crime or not, crimes are perpetrated by blacks and Hispanics in big cities here. Here’s a good article below, but about the spa shootings to balance out what the media is portraying as some sort of Asian hate spree over here, karl.


        The best data I’ve found for 2020, the salient period for this discussion, are provisional data on complaints and arrests for hate crimes against Asians in New York City, one of two cities which seem to have been most affected. They record 20 such arrests in 2020. Of those 20 offenders, 11 were African-American, two Black-Hispanic, two white, and five white Hispanics. Of the black offenders, a majority were women. The bulk happened last March, and they petered out soon after. If you drill down on some recent incidents in the news in California, and get past the media gloss to the actual mugshots, you also find as many black as white offenders.

        This doesn’t prove much either, of course. Anti-Asian bias, like all biases, can infect anyone of any race, and the sample size is small and in one place. But it sure complicates the “white supremacy” case that the mainstream media simply assert as fact.

        And, given the headlines, the other thing missing is a little perspective. Here’s a word cloud of the victims of hate crimes in NYC in 2020. You can see that anti-Asian hate crimes are dwarfed by those against Jews, and many other minorities. And when you hear about a 150 percent rise in one year, it’s worth noting that this means a total of 122 such incidents in a country of 330 million, of which 19 million are Asian. Even if we bring this number up to more than 3,000 incidents from unreported and far less grave cases, including “shunning”, it’s small in an aggregate sense. A 50 percent increase in San Francisco from 2019 – 2020, for example, means the number of actual crimes went from 6 to 9.



        But realistically, look first into mental illness, then actual crimes like mugging, assaults, etc.

        Though I can appreciate it being up for sure, just like post-9/11 it was the Arabs and Indians (from India) who got the brunt of the hate. But keep in mind as far as statistics go, and there’s a link to FBI stats in that link above, it’s Jews that consistently get it, consistent like there’s no ebbs and flows, just steady hate no matter the political clime.

        • Thanks for the statistics. I’ve been perplexed about it because it’s played up big in the tabloidian-inclined press over here, yet one cannot say ‘statistically it’s no big deal’ because it is a big deal when there’s video showing some punk kicking an old Asian man in a chair to the ground. How can other Asians not be offended? The solution has to be on both sides of the divide. People seeing one-off incidents as not being a trend, and America tempering her angers in every sector, political first.

          • This article gives background on the difficulty of getting good data, and likely under-counting of incidents. Not all are violent. The cases in LA and NY increased from almost nil to mid-20’s. A disturbing trend. Not a lot of cases. There are about 1.5 million Asians living in Los Angeles County.


            • LCPL_X says:

              You gotta understand also, that police have to arrest for a crime first, whether rape, robbery, assault, gravity, etc. etc.

              Then once they deem it hate, they tack on hate; you can’t arrest for some notion of hate alone, Joe.

              To deem it hate, there’s the specific utterance, or if you belong to a group espousing hate, or if you have tattoo of swastikas etc (but not tattoos by themselves), and background of hate crimes, etc.

              What the law sees as hate crime is not the same as what the public thinks is hate, Joe.

              So I doubt some non-Asia yelling fuck you so and so, to an Asian, gets recorded as crime. Because police depts are now responding to #StopAsianHate and their solution is to up more hate crime, this is a bureaucratic solution to make everyone happy;

              but the danger is that you’ll now muddle the actual stats, because you’re including mentally ill or just regular crime general asshollery as hate crimes— the purpose of hate crime statutes is to gauge actual hate crimes, also to up one’s punishment for it.

          • This is the tweet I did on the topic:

            “New York City reported 28 hate crimes against Asians in 2020, up from 3 in 2019 and 2 in 2018. There are 1,202,000 Asians living in NYC. Every incident is disgusting. The trend is disturbing. But Americans are not on the rampage against Asians. Americans are Asians.”

        • Facebook post by journalist Inday Espina-Varona:

          “This could be an unpopular opinion.

          I hate that Asian-Americans are under attack. Hate it when any ethnic, religious, racial, gender group comes under attack.

          Am also bothered to hear Asian-Americans, including journalists in major networks, bewail the attacks as they point out how hard they have tried all their lives to blend in, keep their heads down, tamp down assertion of rights in favor of working the system and striving for achievement.

          I only stayed a year in the US, but did notice that these traits have a dark underbelly, too.
          Striving for achievement is great. But fear of rocking the boat also breeds conservatism and, as I’ve seen there — and here — also spawns anger and contempt towards others who fight for rights.

          I have too often heard (and seen on social media) comments in the line of, if you’re poor, you must be lazy; that welfare rights and benefits, and recognition of equal status under the law, would penalise those who work hard to advance in life (or protect families, or any similar line). And woven in these arguments is an undercurrent of bigotry, whether based on class, race, sexual identity, etc.

          This is not an attempt to blame the victim. There is no excuse, absolutely none, for attacking people on the basis of race (or any other otherness you want to name).
          Asian-Americans must campaign to push recognition of hate crimes against their sector.

          They should also acknowledge that American authorities’ efforts to cast doubt that hatred lies behind attacks on Asian-Americans also reflect on past and current attempts to downplay assaults on African-Americans and other Americans of color, attacks on women, on the LGBTQI community.

          Biden has said it will take a lot to heal wounds.
          Some of these wounds have festered for decades; no, centuries — today pus oozes out from the many poisoned pokes Trump and his ilk have given the body politic.

          The fighters for rights and equity in the US — Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, anyone who’s ever felt the sting of otherness, should not allow the present attacks to push wedges into still fragile unities.

          Instead, they should put all their brilliance, brawn and hearts to stand together, to show their followers that those who seek to fan divisiveness in the end will only focus on self-interests, leaving the deluded in the dust.

          When we demand respect for the rights of Asian-Americans, we must similarly demand respect for the rights of all.”


          Interesting comment by Nuelle Duterte:

          “I agree. Having lived in New York, you’re always treading between trying to get all minorities on the same page rather than attack/belittle/oppress one another. The saddest part was seeing ethnicities slug it out while not recognizing the bigger picture of how racism and discrimination came about in the first place, and that this was the common enemy, not each other.

          It’ll still be a struggle moving forward because I already see on Twitter the blame game among different minorities. Mahaba at matagal pa ang laban. “

          • LCPL_X says:

            I was trying to find graphs on race and crime in the US, but thought the above captured the stats perfectly.

            This is a UK graph, but I thought it was interesting how London kinda reflects our national stats over here; that next graph which is UK-wide shows how white majority UK is, i didn’t know this. Blacks make 3%, while here Blacks make up 13% of the population.

            So London’s 13% mirrors US population. But how it mirrors our race/crime stats as well is really interesting.

            If you Wiki , race and crime in the US and scroll down to Crime statistics you’ll see the similaritie s of the London graph to US stats.

            Of course, i’m just focusing on murder here, but one can adjust for other crimes intuitively from said stats.

          • kasambahay says:

            next time po, poor old fil-am lola will carry a loaded gun in her cute little handbag. for protection vs horizontal violence gone physical and when words fail. nothing like a warm gun, heard that from icon charleston heston yata.

            annie, get your gun!

        • LCPL_X says:

          Joe, Ireneo, et al.

          My personal opinion (feel of all this) is that yes, rude remarks and slurs are definitely up. But for me my feel all this is nothing specific just general like I’ve been cooped up in the house, that kinda stuff. With that said , the rise especially on social media could definitely be up. Stuff from slur to go back where you came from comments.

          But that’s a long ways from actually laying hands on another person. From free speech to crime.

          So the fact that most of these actual physical attacks are in the cities, and by blacks/Hispanics, and more to do with homelessness and/or prisons being emptied due to current COVID19 or like here in CA policies letting out violent offenders, its more a crime/punishment issue than racism really.

          To actually test if Asian hate crimes is up in America, one only need to see if its rising in the Mid-West and the South, where whites make up the majority. And it simply isn’t. That’s why the media was really happy with the Spa shootings, but that turned out to be more a religious issue/sex stuff.

          Joe, i dunno if you remember that incident in downtown LA Little Tokyo where a black homeless woman pushed an elderly Asian (japanese) woman who was with her sister waiting for the Metro, they were gonna go out for the day, and a homeless black woman was behind them, just went nuts and pushed one of them while the train approached.

          Homeless woman was deemed crazy: https://www.scpr.org/news/2013/06/20/37833/homeless-woman-found-insane-in-la-pushing-death/

          I’m sure since then she’d be let out of prison and currently among the homeless population here or somewhere again.

          I’ve been watching the George Floyd/Chauvin trial 3rd day now, and although I fault the 4 officers for Floyd’s death,

          I just don’t think Chauvin’s knee was what killed Floyd, really difficult to get both carotid arteries with the pavement and one’s knee. If you caught their prosecution’s star witness Donald Williams pro MMA fighter, he was talking about choke holds and the concept of a shimmy wherein one has to adjust one’s forearm and bicep to get that 2 carotid to close.

          Difficult to do.

          I think Floyd died because he was prone, on drugs, and there were 3 men on top of him. Probably the officer on his torso area really killed him, not the officer on his leg area, and not Chauvin. But the video is now clear that Floyd fought his out of the squad car, thus he was combative– this video was not available until the trial.

          I’m relaying that above on Floyd because, all this BLM and Stop Asian Hate stuff is similar, folks thinking that things are spiking up all because more people are seeing videos online, then conflating incidents by themselves without really examining it as separate specific incidents,

          My point here is people are reacting to “statistics” made up in their minds and by others, with no real numbers. Thus you get these online social movements. In that same FBI stats linked, you essentially have blacks making up 13% of the American population, but making up 50%+ of the crimes here. Now that connects to BLM, Joe.

          So for me all these hastags connect.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          With your track record on comments about EJK, rooting for COVID, I had a feeling that you would downplay the reports on Asian American violence. You can not blame me for being afraid for Fil-Ams because I have lots of relatives and friends living in America.

          • LCPL_X says:

            Then a good experiment would be to get in touch with said relatives (and/or friends) and ask if said suspects of these recent “hate” crimes are black/Hispanics or whites, and also location. Most incidents reported are in SF and NYC, I have not yet heard of the South and MidWest incidents, karl (except for spa shootings, and that’s mostly due to sex/religion, his rehab center was https://hopequestgroup.org/about-us/what-we-treat/sex-addiction/ a ministry/rehab program ).

            karl, you don’t have to take my word for it, I’m simply sharing stats. Of course you can verify the above. I’m in LA area, and nothing really significant has happened here. Though homelessness/mental illness and prisoners getting let out of prisons, is leading to a spike in crimes. of the top of my head, one attack hate crime in Korea town here and suspect was Hispanic.

            p.s.– Re the news that Micha shared above, the suspect has been captured and he’s a parolee living in some half way house near the location of assault, and get this at 19 yrs old he stabbed his own mom– now, why in the hell would someone who killed his mother be let out of prison? for good behaviour?

            • Karl Garcia says:

              Thanks for the stats and I am not of the intent of attacking white people by being concerned.
              I do not even understand wy the BLM is chastising people saying that all lives matter as being clueless, out of touch and not getting the point.

          • It’s peculiar. As a white American I feel under attack by Asians who are so angry about the attacks on Asians in the US, which indeed are despicable, that they make it an attack on the whole of us, as Americans. Secretary Locsin has done that as Philippine foreign policy. I’m dismayed. I looked up the fallacy of the exception which is what is going on in this situation. When general conclusions are reached (Americans hate Asians) on the basis of an incident (Filipino woman beaten), then it’s the same logic a racist white uses to be angry at minorities. Hate crime is a problem, yes. But it’s important to keep it in perspective as the acts of emotionally disturbed or ignorant INDIVIDUALS, some of whom have been fired up by racist Donald Trump. Americans are working on the problem. They fired Trump. They’ve arrested the individual who beat the lady. They are working public messaging to teach the ignorant and disturbed. Put anger away. Reach out in trust. Work on the problem. That’s the best way forward I think.

            • Karl Garcia says:

              I do not intend to jump into conclusions, if I did allow me to jump out of it.

              • Haha. You are out. I’m jumping out now, too.

              • LCPL_X says:

                It makes sense that Sec. Locsin would jump into this with a anti-American bent (and yes, there is a history of anti-Asian here, Joe). But this latest #StopAsianHate stuff given what we know of say Russian misinformation, makes sense that its being spun to say SEE EVERYONE the US is a failed state, same with BLM. Thus, Americans are racists.

                This is kinda long, but as far as story telling goes, this is the stuff that’s antidote to all the above, karl. Watch it.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                I am familiar with the character. Thanks..

  48. Karl Garcia says:

    Irineo, can you ask your historian circle of friends about the first mass that supposedly happened in Pangasinan circa 1300s.(Also the first Christmas tree)


    • Well, Ambeth Ocampo clearly labels it a legend in the article. Hoaxhunter Bob Couttie made a shout out / crowdsource on FB asking if anyone has any evidence of it actually happening. Well, he is working on Fools Gold 2.

      Jim Richardson who is the Katipunan expert answered no evidence at all. Check out the discussion on the following link. I think most don’t really seriously consider it.


      • LCPL_X says:

        So probably Franciscans started said rumor to lay claim on Pangasinan or Philippines in general , ie. we were here first! LOL! I’m wondering how long this rumor is? Are there Franciscan churches, monasteries in the area?

        But this Odoric is really interesting, i’ve not heard of this dude like ever. Is he popular in the Philippines?

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Many thanks.

  49. The archipelago –islands without gold—began and never ceased to be a missionary field that the Castilian Crown didn’t want to know anything about. Then, from the middle of the 18th century up to the overthrow of Isabella II, Spain forced itself to make the Philippines a colony like the Dutch Indies. It was a failure. Spain lacked commercial power to enrich itself with the trading of the country’s natural resources and the forced labor of the natives, as the Dutch did. It also lacked the industry to supply the colony with competitively priced export goods, as did England. Moreover, peninsular Spanish migration was very insignificant. A colonization is one continuous armed robbery, but when it’s perpetrated by a country with an excess of vitality, plundering is consolidated, and the robber enriches himself. Spain was a sick country, deeply rooted in itself, and was a tyrannical master and an exploiter as cruel and incompetent that it singlehandedly earned the loss of its colonies. When the conflict among the Spanish friars and native priests heated up to the inconceivable extreme because of the execution by garrote of the priests Burgos, Gomez and Zamora, the eight Tagalog provinces readied itself to revolt, and the assimilation of the Philippines following the colonial models of the era became impossible. The small number of soldiers, government personnel, and Spanish merchants, with the Governor-General and the president of the Audiencia at the helm, had to rely again and again on the religious orders. The latter had always been the lone effective transmission line connecting, in the words of the political reformists, official Spain and the real Philippines. Without friars like the Recollects of San Millán de la Cogolla –there were quite a number of better ones in the beginning—and without Cantonese merchants—who ensured the existence of minimal commercial activity—Spain would not have lasted three hundred long years in the Philippines. For Tabacalera, created in 1881, it was too little too late, despite its initial dynamism and ambitions. Its phenomenal expansion during the first 30 years of this century is due to the United States.

    Jaime Gil de Biedma, diary entry, 1956

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  1. […] a major influx of settlers and soldiers, being just three weeks away. So as I already outlined in Half a Millenium After Magellan, colonization happened with the participation of local chiefs and warriors. I have read that in […]

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