Maharlikanism Maharlikanism
Part 1

Magellan in Samar and Butuan

July 10, 2020 16 minutes  • 3400 words
Table of contents

This simplifies Pigafetta’s account of 1521 by subsituting pronouns with actual names to prevent confusion

We left Spain on Monday morning 1519 with 237 men.

Samar (under Sulu?)

At dawn on Saturday, March 16 1521, we came upon Samar island 300 leagues from Ladroni [The Marianas].

  • The next day, Magellan had two tents set up on the shore for the sick, and had a sow killed for them.
  • On Monday afternoon, March 18, we saw a boat coming toward us with 9 men. Their chief went immediately to the Magellan, giving signs of joy because of our arrival.
  • Five of the most ornately adorned of them remained with us, while the rest went to get some others who were fishing, and so they all came.
  • Magellan saw that they were reasonable men, so he ordered food to be set before them. He gave them red caps, mirrors, combs, bells, ivory, bocasine, etc.
  • When they saw Magellan’s, they presented fish, a jar of palm wine, which they call uraca [i.e., arrack], figs more than one palmo long [bananas], and others which were smaller and more delicate, and two coconuts.
  • They had nothing else then, but made us signs with their hands that they would bring rice, coconuts, and other food within 4 days.


Coconuts are the fruit of the palm tree.

  • Just as we have bread, wine, oil, and milk, so those people get everything from that tree.
  • They get wine by boring a hole into the heart of the top called palmito [i.e., stalk], from which distills a liquor which resembles white must.
    • That liquor is sweet but somewhat tart, and is gathered in canes [of bamboo] as thick as the leg and thicker.
  • That palm bears a coconut fruit which is as large as the head.
    • Its outside husk is green and thicker than two fingers.
    • That husk has filaments which is made into a cord for binding together their boats.
    • Under that husk is a hard shell, thicker than a walnut shell
      • They burn it into a useful powder.
    • Under that shell there is a white marrowy substance one finger in thickness, which they eat fresh with meat and fish as we do bread.
      • It has a taste resembling the almond.
      • It could be dried and made into bread.
    • There is a clear, sweet water in the middle of that marrowy substance which is very refreshing.
      • When that water stands for a while after having been collected, it congeals and becomes like an apple.
      • To make oil, they take that coconut and allow the marrowy substance and water to putrefy.
      • Then they boil it and it becomes oil like butter.
      • When they wish to make vinegar, they allow only the water to putrefy, and then place it in the sun, and a vinegar results like that made from white wine.
    • Milk can also be made from it for we made some.
      • We scraped that marrowy substance and then mixed the scrapings with its own water which we strained through a cloth, and so obtained milk like goat’s milk.

Those palms resemble date-palms, but not smooth and are less knotty. A family of x persons can be supported on two trees, by utilizing them for wine. If they did not, then the trees would dry up. They last a century.

Those people became very familiar with us. They told us many things, their names and those of some of the islands that could be seen from that place.

Their own island was Sulu, not very large. They were very pleasant and conversable. In order to show them greater honor, Magellan took them to his ship and showed them all his merchandise—cloves, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, mace, gold, and all the things in the ship.

  • He had some mortars fired for them, whereat they showed great fear and tried to jump out of the ship.
  • They made signs to us that those spices grew where we were going.
  • When they were about to retire, they took their leave very gracefully and neatly, saying that they would return according to their promise.


The island where we were is called Homonhon

  • We found there two springs of the clearest water.
  • We called it Acquada da li buoni Segnialli [“the Watering-place of good Signs”], for there were the first signs of gold in those districts.
  • We found a lot of white coral there, and large trees with fruit a little smaller than the almond, resembling pine seeds.

There are also many palms and many islands. We called them the archipelago of San Lazaro, as they were discovered on the Sabbath of St. Lazurus.

  • They lie in x degrees of latitude toward the Arctic Pole, and in a longitude of 161 degrees.

At noon on Friday, March 22, those men came as they had promised us in 2 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.

  • We purchased all those articles from them.
  • Their seignior was an old tattoed man.
    • He wore two gold earrings [schione] in his ears.
  • The others were wearing many gold armlets and kerchiefs about their heads.
  • We stayed there one week
    • During that time, Magellan 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 pass their arms through them.

  • Those people are 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.
  • They use daggers, knives, and spears ornamented with gold, large shields, fascines,216 javelins, and fishing nets that resemble rizali and their boats are like ours.

On the afternoon of holy Monday, March 25 we went west southwest between four small islands:

  • Cenalo
  • Hiunanghan
  • Ibusson
  • Abarien

Butuan (Masawa)

On Thursday morning, March 28 we saw a fire on an island the night before, so we anchored near it.

  • We saw a small boat which the natives call boloto with 8 men in it, approaching the flagship.
  • Magellan’s slave was a native of Sumatra, which was formerly called Traprobana, spoke to them.
  • They immediately understood him*, came alongside the ship, unwilling to enter but taking a position at some little distance.

Maharlika note: This proves that Butuan was more civilized than Homonhon (i.e. Butuan is urban, while Homonhon is rural)

Magellan saw that they would not trust us, threw them out a red cap and other things tied to a bit of wood.

  • They received them very gladly, and went away quickly to advise their king.

Two hours later, we saw two balanghai [large boats] coming.

  • They were full of men.

Their king, Raha Colambu, was also the king of Butuan and Calagan

  • He understood Magellan’s slave, since the kings there know more languages than the other people.
  • He gave Magellan a large bar of gold and a basketful of ginger.
  • Magellan would not accept it but thanked the king heartily

Next day, holy Friday, Magellan sent his slave ashore in a small boat to ask the king if he had any food to have it carried to the ships.

  • The king came with 8 men in the same boat and entered the ship.
  • He embraced Magellan to whom he gave three porcelain jars covered with leaves and full of raw rice, two very large orade, and other things.
  • Magellan gave Raha Colambu:
    • a garment of red and yellow cloth made in the Turkish fashion
    • a fine red cap
    • some knives and mirrors to Colambu’s men

Then Magellan:

  • had a collation spread for them, and told Raha Colambu through the slave that he wanted to be their brother.
    • He agreed.
  • showed him
    • cloth of various colors, linen, coral [ornaments], and many other merchandise
    • all the artillery, some of which he fired for him, which greatly frightened the natives.
  • had a man armed as a soldier, and placed him in the midst of three men armed with swords and daggers, who struck him on all parts of the body.
    • Raha Colambu was rendered almost speechless.

Magellan said that one of those armed men was worth 100 of the Raha Colambu’s men and that he had 200 men in each ship armed that way.

He showed the king cuirasses, swords, and bucklers, and had a review made for him. Then he led Raha Colambu to the deck of the ship at the stern and had his sea-chart and compass brought. He told the king through the interpreter:

  • how he had found the strait [of Magellan] in order to get there
  • how many moons he had been without seeing land, whereat the king was astonished.
  • that he would like to send two of his men to show them some of his things.

The king agreed. I went in with the other men.

When I reached shore, the king raised his hands toward the sky and then turned toward us two.

  • The balanghai was as long as 80 of my palm lengths, and resembling a fusta.
  • We sat down upon the stern of that balanghai, constantly conversing with signs.

Raha Colambu’s men stood about us in a circle with swords, daggers, spears, and bucklers.

  • He had a plate of pork brought in and a large jar filled with wine. At every mouthful, we drank a cup of wine.
    • The wine that was left [in the cup] at any time, although that happened but rarely, was put into a jar by itself.
    • The king’s cup was always kept covered and no one else drank from it but he and I.

Before Raha Colambu took the cup to drink, he raised his clasped hands toward the sky, and then toward me.

  • When he was about to drink, he extended the fist of his left hand toward me (at first I thought that he was about to strike me) and then drank.
  • I did the same toward the king. They all make those signs one toward another when they drink.

Before the supper hour, I gave Raha Colambu many things.

  • I wrote down the names of many things in their language.
  • When Raha Colambu and the others saw me writing, and when I told them their words, they were all astonished.

Supper was announced and two large porcelain dishes were brought in, one full of rice and the other of pork with its gravy.

  • We ate with the same signs and ceremonies, after which we went to Raha Colambu’s palace which was built like a hayloft and was thatched with palm leaves.
  • It was built up high from the ground on huge posts of wood that it was only accessible by ladders.
  • The king made us sit down there on a bamboo mat with our feet drawn up like tailors.
  • After a half-hour a platter of roast fish cut in pieces was brought in, and ginger freshly gathered, and wine.
  • The king’s eldest son was the prince.
    • He came over and the king told him to sit down near us.

Then two platters were brought in, one with fish and its sauce, and the other with rice.

  • My companion became intoxicated as a consequence of so much drinking and eating.
  • They used the gum of a tree called anime wrapped in banana leaves for lights.

Raha Colambu made us a sign that he was going to go to sleep.

  • He left the prince with us, and we slept with the latter on a bamboo mat with pillows made of leaves.

When day dawned, Raha Colambu came and took me by the hand to where we had had supper in order to have refreshments. But the boat came to get us. Before we left, the king kissed our hands with great joy, and we his.

Raha Siaui, a brother of Raha Colambu and king of another island, and three men came with us. Magellan kept him to dine with us, and gave him many things.

Pieces of gold, of the size of walnuts and eggs are found by sifting the earth in Raha Siaui’s island. Raha Siaui told us that all his dishes are of gold and also some portion of his house.

  • According to their customs he was very grandly decked out
  • He was 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 oh his head, and wore two large golden earrings.
  • 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 tattooed all over.

When those kings wished to see one another, they both went to hunt in that island where we were.

Early on Easter Sunday morning, March 31, Magellan sent the priest with some men to prepare mass together with the interpreter to tell the king that we were not going to land in order to dine with him, but to say mass.

  • The king sent us two swine that he had killed.
  • When the hour for mass arrived, we landed with 50 armed men without armor but dressed in our best clothes.
  • Before we reached the shore with our boats, six pieces were discharged as a sign of peace.

The two kings embraced Magellan.

  • During the mass, the kings went forward to kiss the cross as we did, but they did not offer the sacrifice.
  • When the body of our Lord was elevated, they remained on their knees and worshiped Him with clasped hands.
  • The ships fired all their artillery at once when the body of Christ was elevated, the signal having been given from the shore with muskets.
  • After the conclusion of mass, some of our men took communion.

Magellan arranged a fencing tournament, at which the kings were greatly pleased.

  • Then he had a cross carried in, as well as the nails and a crown, to which immediate reverence was made.

He told the kings through the interpreter that:

  • they were the standards given to him by the Spanish emperor so that wherever he might go he might set up those his tokens
  • he wished to set it up there for their benefit so that whenever any of our ships came, they would know that we had been there by that cross and would not harm them or their property
  • if any of their men were captured, they would be set free immediately on that sign being shown
  • it was necessary to set that cross on the summit of the highest mountain, so that they could adore it every morning so that neither thunder, lightning, nor storms would harm them

They thanked him heartily and said that they would do everything willingly.

Magellan asked their religion.

  • They replied that they worshiped Abba by raising their clasped hands and their face to the sky
  • Raha Colambu raised his hands to the sky, and said that he wished that it were possible for him to make Magellan see his love for him.
  • This made Magellan was very glad

The interpreter asked Raha Colambu why there was so little to eat there. Raha Colambu replied that he did not live in Masawa except when he went hunting and to see Raha Siaui.

Magellan asked whether he had any enemies so that he could go with his ships to destroy them to make them obedient.

  • Raha Colambu thanked him and said that two islands were hostile to him.
  • But it was not then the season to go there.

Magellan told him that if God allowed him to return to those districts, he would bring so many men that he would make Humabon’s enemies subject to him by force.

Raha Colambu said that he was about to go to dinner, and that he would return afterward to have the cross set up on the summit of the mountain.

  • Magellan embraced the two kings and let his men form in battalion and fire the muskets

After dinner, we all returned, clad in our doublets. That afternoon, we went together with Raha Colambu and Raha Siaui to the summit of the highest mountain there. When we reached the summit, Magellan:

  • told them that he esteemed highly having sweated for them because the cross would be very useful to the people.
  • asked where to get food
    • They replied:
      • Ceylon [Leyte]
      • Cebu was the largest and the one with most trade
      • Calaghan [Caraga ]
    • They offered heir pilots to show us the way

Magellan asked the kings for the pilots because he intended to depart the following morning.

  • He said that he would treat the pilots as if they were the kings themselves, and would leave one of us as hostage.

Raha Colambu replied he wanted the pilots to be under Magellan’s command.

But that night, Raha Colambu changed his mind and in the morning, when we were about to depart asked Magellan:

  • to wait two days until he should have his rice harvested, and other trifles attended to
  • to send him some men to help him, so that it might be done faster
  • in return, he would act as our pilot himself.

Magellan sent him some men, but the kings ate and drank so much that they slept all day.

  • Some said to excuse them that they were slightly sick.
  • Our men did nothing on that day, but they worked the next two days.

One of the natives brought us about a porringer full of rice and also 10 bananas fastened together to barter them for a knife which at the most was worth 3 catrini.

  • Magellan saw that that native cared only for knives, called him to look at other things.
  • He put his hand in his purse and wished to give him one real for those things, but the native refused it.
  • Magellan showed him a ducado but he would not accept that either.
  • Finally, Magellan tried to give him a doppione worth two ducados, but he would take only a knife, so Magellan gave him one.

When one of our men went ashore for water, one of those people wanted to give him a pointed crown of massy gold, of the size of a colona for six strings of glass beads, but Magellan refused to let him barter, so that the natives should learn at the very beginning that we prized our merchandise more than their gold.

Those people are heathens and go naked and painted.

  • They wear a piece of cloth woven from a tree about their privies.
  • They are very heavy drinkers.
  • Their women are clad in tree cloth from their waist down, and their hair is black and reaches to the ground.
    • They have holes pierced in their ears which are filled with gold.
  • Those people are constantly chewing a fruit which they call areca, and which resembles a pear.
    • They cut that fruit into four parts, and then wrap it in the leaves of their tree which they call betre [betel].
      • Those leaves resemble the leaves of the mulberry.
    • They mix it with a little lime, and when they have chewed it thoroughly, they spit it out.
    • It makes the mouth exceedingly red.
    • All the people in those parts of the world use it, for it is very cooling to the heart, and if they ceased to use it they would die.
    • There are dogs, cats, swine, fowls, goats, rice, ginger, cocoanuts, figs [i.e., bananas], oranges, lemons, millet, panicum, sorgo, wax, and a quantity of gold in that island.
  • It lies in a latitude of nine and two-thirds degrees toward the Arctic Pole, and in a longitude of 162 degrees.
  • It is 25 leagues from the Acquada, and is called Mazawa.
  • We remained there 7 days