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Opinion

The Spaniards and Portuguese in Cebu - Part 3

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal - The Freeman

‘Glimpses in History of Early Cebu’ written by Professor Lina Quimat, published in 1980, gives a narrative of the dynamics of the Spaniards and Portuguese in their interaction with the Cebuanos:

“As the two nations were at peace, the Portuguese commander and Legazpi did not at once engage in war, but carried on protracted negotiations… Legazpi claims that he has come to make new discoveries for his king, to propagate the Christian religion and to ransom Christian held captive by the heathen in these regions; and that he regarded the Philippines as being within the jurisdiction of Spain. If he has been mistaken, he will depart from the islands, promising to transport them to India, and offering them all aid and kindness, if they will accede to this demand, but Legazpi declines these proposals, and adroitly favors with the Portuguese commander.

“And the controversy between Gonzalo Pereira, captain general of the Portuguese Army, and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi continued. In the report of Legazpi to the king of Spain, he said: “He has blockaded us upon all sides; and, what is most intolerable of all, the galleys and pinnaces aforesaid have sacked, fired, and burned all the neighboring villages, and killed the natives and inhabitants, without exempting even women and children, in the towns of Gavi, Cotcot, Diluan, Denao and Mandani- for the sole reason, and no other, as I understand, that they had been at peace with us, and had supplied and sold us provision for our money…”

“Legazpi claimed himself to be the governor of Cebu which title was confirmed on August 14, 1569, by a Spanish Royal decree a according to Legazpi himself. But his confirmation as governor by his country angered more the natives of Sugbu who were already decided to drive all the Spaniards out of the Bisayan Islands. The natives did not recognize him as a respectable official but a kind of an intruder whose conduct was no better than a bandit. This was the kind of colonization the Spaniards did: Self-proclaimed, very informal and bandit-like: it was plain squatting ion the lands of the natives. The Bisayans never recognized the self-imposed title of Legazpi. The Spaniards had no slaves in Cebu and the Bisayans led by Tupas drove them away from the Bisayan Islands.

“Besides the irritating self-imposed title of Legazpi, King Tupas was very much depressed because of the hanging of his sister, Birorang Batungay. He recalled all his chiefs who were sent to the other islands and when they were assembled, they sent all the women-folk with children and the aged into the deep jungles up in the mountains for safety.” (End of series)

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