Simplified Pigafetta 1519-1521 Icon

July 10, 2020

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 seven days


We then went northwest, passing among five islands:

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

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

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

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

  • All the artillery was fired, an action which caused great fear to those people.
  • Magellan sent a foster-son of his as ambassador to the king of Cebu with the interpreter.
  • They found a vast crowd of people with the king, all of whom had been frightened by the mortars.
  • The interpreter told them that that was our custom when entering into such places, as a sign of peace and friendship, and that we had discharged all our mortars to honor the king of the village.
  • The king and all of his men were reassured, and the king had us asked by his governor what we wanted.
  • The interpreter replied that his master, Magellan, was a captain of the greatest king and that he was going to discover Moluccas.
  • But that he visited the Raja Humabon because of the good report from Raja Colambu and to buy food with his merchandise.
  • The king told him that he had come at a good time but that it was their custom for all ships that entered their ports to pay tribute, and that it was but four days since a junk from Thailand laden with gold and slaves had paid him tribute.
  • The king pointed to a Moro merchant from Thailand who had remained to trade the gold and slaves.
  • Magellan’s son refused and threatened war.
  • Then the Moro merchant said to the king “Cata raia chita” that is to say, “Look well, sire.” “These men are the same who have conquered Calicut, Malaca, and all India. If they are treated well, they will give good treatment, but if they are treated evil, evil and worse treatment, as they have done to Calicut and Malaca.”
  • The interpreter understood it all and told the king that the Spanish king was more powerful than the king of Portugal, that he was the king of Spain 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.
  • The Moro related everything to Humabon who said he would deliberate with his men and answer tomorrow.
  • Then he had refreshments of many dishes, all made from meat and contained in porcelain platters, besides many jars of wine brought in.
  • Raja Colambu was the most influential after Rajah Humabon and ruled many islands.
    • He went ashore to speak to Humabon

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

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

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

  • He saluted Magellan in behalf of Humabon.
  • He said that Humabon was collecting as much food as possible to give to him, and that after dinner he would send one of his nephews and two others of his chief men to make peace.
  • Magellan had one of Colambu’s men armed with European arms, and had the Moro told that we all fought in that manner.
  • The Moro was greatly frightened, but Magellan told him not to be frightened for our arms were soft toward our friends and harsh toward our enemies
  • and as handkerchiefs wipe off the sweat so did our arms overthrow and destroy all our adversaries, and those who hate our faith.
  • Magellan told it to the Moro as he seemed more intelligent than the others, and might tell it to Humabon.

After dinner, the king’s nephew, who was the prince, came to the ships with Raha Colambu, the Moro, the governor, the chief constable, and eight chiefs, to make peace with us.

  • Magellan was seated in a red velvet chair, the principal men on leather chairs, and the others on mats on the floor.
  • Magellan asked them through the interpreter whether it were their custom to speak in secret or in public, and whether that prince and Raha Colambu had authority to make peace.
  • They answered that they spoke in public, and that they were empowered to make peace.
  • Magellan said many things concerning peace, and that he prayed God to confirm it in heaven.
  • They said that they had never heard any one speak such words, but that they took great pleasure in hearing them.
  • Magellan saw that they listened and answered willingly, so he began to advance arguments to induce them to accept the faith.
  • Asking them who would succeed to the seigniory after the death of the king, he was answered that the king had no sons but only daughters, the eldest of whom was the wife of that nephew of his, who therefore was the prince.
  • [They said that] when the fathers and mothers grew old, they received no further honor, but their children commanded them.

Magellan told them that:

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

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

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

They answered that they would first speak to their king, and that then they would become Christians. And so we all wept with great joy. Magellan told them that they should not become Christians for fear or to please us, but of their own free wills 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. We all cried out with one voice that they were becoming Christians out of their own free will.

If they became Christians:

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

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

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

They answered that they promised the same. Then the prince and Raha Colambu presented some baskets of rice, swine, goats, and fowls to Magellan on behalf of Raha Humabon, and asked him to pardon them, for such things were but little [to give] to one such as he.

Magellan gave the prince a white cloth of the finest linen, a red cap, some strings of glass beads, and a gilded glass drinking cup.

  • Those glasses are greatly appreciated in those districts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of our men died on Tuesday night.

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

  • He replied, “If I and my vassals all belong to your sovereign, how much more ought the land.”
  • I told the king that we would like to consecrate the place, and to set up a cross there.
  • He replied that he was quite satisfied, and that he wished to adore the cross as did we.
  • The deceased was buried in the square with as much pomp as possible, in order to furnish a good example.
  • Then we consecrated the place, and in the evening buried another man.
  • We carried a quantity of merchandise ashore which we stored in a house.
  • The king took it under his care as well as four men who were left to trade the goods by wholesale.
  • Those people live in accordance with justice, and have weights and measures.
  • They love peace, ease, and quiet.
  • They have wooden balances, the bar of which has a cord in the middle by which it is held. At one end is a bit of lead, and at the other marks like quarter-libras, third-libras, and libras. When they wish to weigh they take the scales which has three wires like ours, and place it above the marks, and so weigh accurately.
  • They have very large measures without any bottom.
  • The youth play on pipes made like ours which they call subin.
  • Their houses are constructed of wood, and are built of planks and bamboo, raised high from the ground on large logs, and one must enter them by means of ladders.
  • They have rooms like ours; and under the house they keep their swine, goats, and fowls.

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

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

Zula was a chief of Mactan island.

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

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

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

They said that to induce us to search for them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zamboanga del Norte

Then we came to a large island [Mindanao], at a port called Chipit and met its king Raja Calanao.

  • He drew blood from his left hand marking his body, face, and the tip of his tongue with it as a token of the closest friendship, and we did the same.
  • When we entered a river, many fishermen offered fish to the king.
  • Then the king removed the cloths which covered his privies, as did some of his chiefs.
  • He began to row while singing past many dwellings which were upon the river.
  • It was 2 leagues from the mouth of the river where our ships were to the king’s house.

His house had many torches of cane and palm leaves which were of the anime.

  • Until the supper was brought in, Raja Calanao with two of his chiefs and two of his beautiful women drank a large jar of palm wine without eating anything.
  • In drinking they observed all the same ceremonies that Raha Colambu did.
  • Supper was of rice and very salty fish in porcelain dishes.
  • They ate their rice as if it were bread.
    • Rice is cooked by first put in an earthen jar a large leaf which lines all of the jar.
    • Then they add the water and the rice.
    • They cover it and let it boil until the rice hardens as bread and is taken out in pieces.

When we had eaten, the king had a reed mat and another of palm leaves, and a leaf pillow brought in for me to sleep on.

  • The king and his two women went to sleep in a separate place, while I slept with one of his chiefs.
  • I saw many articles of gold in the houses in that island, but little food.
  • After dinner on rice and fish, I asked Raja Calanao by signs whether I could see the queen.
  • So we went to the summit of a lofty hill, where the queen’s house was located.
  • I bowed to the queen, and sat down beside her.
  • She was making a sleeping mat of palm leaves.

In her house, there was hanging a number of porcelain jars and four metal gongs—one of which was larger than the second, while the other two were still smaller—for playing upon.

  • There were many male and female slaves who served her.
  • The most abundant product of that island is gold.

They showed me certain large valleys, making me a sign that the gold there was as abundant as the hairs of their heads, but they have no iron with which to dig it, and they do not dare to go to the trouble [to get it].

  • That part of the island belongs to the same land as Butuan and Calaghan, and lies toward Bohol, and is bounded by Masawa.

The king and the other chief men wished to accompany me, and therefore we went in the same balanghai.

  • As we were returning along the river, I saw, on the summit of a hill at the right, three men suspended from one tree, the branches of which had been cut away.
  • Raja Calanao said that they were malefactors and robbers.

Those people go naked.

  • Chipit is an excellent harbor and is 50 leguas from Cebu.
  • Rice, ginger, swine, goats, fowls, and other things are to be found there.
  • It lies 8 degrees latitude toward the Arctic Pole, and 167 longitude of degrees.
  • Two days’ journey thence to the northwest is a large island called Luzon, where six or eight Chinese junks go yearly.

Tawi-tawi (Mapun?)

We sailed west southwest to an island called Cagayan which is not very large and almost uninhabited.

  • The people of that island are Moros and were banished from Borneo.
  • They go naked as do the others.
  • They have blowpipes and small quivers at their side, full of arrows and a poisonous herb.
  • They have daggers whose hafts are adorned with gold and precious gems, spears, bucklers, and small cuirasses of buffalo horn.
  • They called us holy beings.
  • Little food was to be found in that island, but [there were] immense trees.
  • It lies in a latitude of 7.5 degrees toward the Arctic Pole, and 43 leguas from Chippit.


About 25 leguas west northwest from Cagayan is the large island of Palawan which has rice, ginger, swine, goats, fowls, bananas one-half braza long and as thick as the arm (they are excellent, the others are one palmo and less in length, and are much better than all the others), cocoanuts, camotes [batate], sugarcane, and roots resembling turnips in taste.

Rice is cooked there under the fire in bamboos or in wood and it lasts better than that cooked in earthen pots.

  • We called that land the land of promise, because we suffered great hunger before we found it.
  • We were often on the point of abandoning the ships and going ashore in order that we might not die of hunger.
  • The king made peace with us by gashing himself slightly in the breast with one of our knives, and upon bleeding, touching the tip of his tongue and his forehead in token of the truest peace, and we did the same.
  • It lies in a latitude of 9.3 degrees, and a longitude of 171.3 degrees.

Those people of Palawan also go naked.

  • Almost all of them cultivate their fields.
  • They have blowpipes with thick wooden arrows more than one palmo long, with harpoon points, and others tipped with fishbones, and poisoned with an herb; while others are tipped with points of bamboo like harpoons and are poisoned.
  • At the end of the arrow they attach a little piece of soft wood, instead of feathers.
  • At the end of their blowpipes they fasten a bit of iron like a spear head and when they have shot all their arrows they fight with that.
  • They place a value on brass rings and chains, bells, knives, and still more on copper wire for binding their fishhooks.
  • They have large and very tame cocks, which they do not eat because of a certain veneration that they have for them. Sometimes they make them fight with one another, and each one puts up a certain amount on his cock, and the prize goes to him whose cock is the victor.
  • They have distilled rice wine which is stronger and better than that made from the palm.


10 leguas southwest of Palawan, we came to Borneo.

  • 50 leguas from the tip is the port of Brunei.
  • After entering Brunei, the holy body [i.e., St. Elmo’s fire] appeared to us through the pitchy darkness.
  • The next day, July 9, its Moro king Raja Siripada sent a very beautiful prau to us
    • Its bow and stern were worked in gold.
    • At the bow flew a white and blue banner surmounted with peacock feathers.
    • Some men were playing on musical instruments [cinphonie] and drums.
    • Two almadies came with that prau.
    • Praus resemble fustas, while the almadies are their small fishing boats.
    • Their chiefs were eight old men. They entered our ships and presented us with a painted wooden jar full of betel and areca (the fruit which they chew continually), and jessamine and orange blossoms, a covering of yellow silk cloth, two cages full of fowls, a couple of goats, three jarsful of distilled rice wine, and some bundles of sugarcane.
    • They did the same to the other ship, and embracing us took their leave.
    • The rice wine is as clear as water, but so strong that it intoxicated many of our men. It is called arach [i.e., arrack].

Six days later, Raja Siripada again sent three praus with great pomp, which encircled the ships with musical instruments [cinphonie] playing and drums and brass gongs beating.

  • They saluted us with their peculiar cloth caps which cover only the top of their heads.
  • We saluted them by firing our mortars without [loading with] stones.
  • Then they gave us a present of various kinds of food, made only of rice.
  • Some were wrapped in leaves and were made in somewhat longish pieces, some resembled sugar-loaves, while others were made in the manner of tarts with eggs and honey.
  • They told us that their king was willing to let us get water and wood, and to trade.
  • Seven of us entered their prau bearing a present to their king, which consisted of a green velvet robe made in the Turkish manner, a violet velvet chair, five brazas of red cloth, a cap, a gilded drinking glass, a covered glass vase, three writing-books of paper, and a gilded writing-case.
  • To the queen [we took] three brazas of [red: crossed out in original MS.] yellow cloth, a pair of silvered shoes, and a silvered needle-case full of needles.
  • [We took] three brazas of red cloth, a cap, and a gilded drinking-glass to the governor.
  • To the herald who came in the prau we gave a robe of red and green cloth, made in the Turkish fashion, a cap, and a writing book of paper; and to the other seven chief men, to one a bit of cloth, and to another a cap, and to all of them a writing book of paper. Then we immediately departed [for the land].

When we reached the city, we remained about two hours in the prau, until the arrival of two elephants with silk trappings, and twelve men each of whom carried a porcelain jar covered with silk in which to carry our presents.

  • We then mounted the elephants to the governor’s house while those 12 men preceded us afoot with the jars.
  • We had supper there and slept on cotton mattresses, whose lining was of taffeta, and the sheets of Cambaia.

Next day, we went to the king’s palace on elephants, with our presents in front as on the preceding day.

  • All the streets from the governor’s to the king’s house were full of men with swords, spears, and shields, for such were the king’s orders.
  • We entered the courtyard of the palace mounted on the elephants.
  • We went up a ladder accompanied by the governor and other chiefs, and entered a large hall full of many nobles, where we sat down upon a carpet with the presents in the jars near us.
  • At the end of that hall there is another hall higher but somewhat smaller.
  • It was all adorned with silk hangings, and two windows, through which light entered the hall and hung with two brocade curtains, opened from it.
  • There were 300 footsoldiers with naked rapiers at their thighs in that hall to guard the king.
  • At the end of the small hall was a large window from which a brocade curtain was drawn aside so that we could see within it the king seated at a table with one of his young sons chewing betel.
  • No one but women were behind him.

Then a chief told us that we could not speak to the king but that he would communicate it to a higher ranked person who would communicate it to a brother of the governor who was stationed in the smaller hall, who would then communicate it through a speaking-tube through a hole in the wall to one who was inside with the king.

  • The chief taught us how to make three obeisances to Raja Siripada with our hands clasped above the head, raising first one foot and then the other and then kissing the hands toward him, and we did so, that being the method of the royal obeisance.
  • We told Raja Siripada that we came from the king of Spagnia, and that our king wanted to peace and permission to trade.
  • Raja Siripada agreed and said that we could take water and wood, and trade at our pleasure.
  • Then we gave him the presents, on receiving each of which he nodded slightly.
  • To each one of us was given some brocaded and gold cloth and silk, which were placed upon our left shoulders, where they were left but a moment.
  • They presented us with refreshments of cloves and cinnamon, after which the curtains were drawn to and the windows closed.
  • The men in the palace were all attired in cloth of gold and silk which covered their privies, and carried daggers with gold hafts adorned with pearls and precious gems, and they had many rings on their hands.
  • We returned upon the elephants to the governor’s house, seven men carrying the king’s presents to us and always preceding us.
  • When we reached the house, they gave each one of us his present, placing them upon our left shoulders.
  • We gave each of those men a couple of knives for his trouble.
  • Nine men came to the governor’s house with a like number of large wooden trays from the king.
  • Each tray contained 12 porcelain dishes full of veal, capons, chickens, peacocks, and other animals, and fish.
  • We supped on the ground upon a palm mat from 32 different kinds of meat besides the fish and other things.
  • At each mouthful of food we drank a small cupful of their distilled wine from a porcelain cup the size of an egg.

We ate rice and other sweet food with gold spoons like ours.

In our sleeping quarters there during those two nights, two torches of white wax were kept constantly alight in two rather tall silver candlesticks, and two large lamps full of oil with four wicks apiece and two men to snuff them continually.

We went elephant-back to the seashore, where we found two praus which took us back to the ships.

That city has 25,000 families and is entirely built in salt water, except the houses of the king and certain chiefs.

  • The houses are all made of wood and built up from the ground on tall pillars.
  • When the tide is high, the women go in boats through the settlement [tera] selling the articles necessary to maintain life.
  • There is a large brick wall in front of the king’s house with towers like a fort, in which were mounted 56 bronze [metalo] pieces, and six of iron.

During our two days of stay, many cannons were fired. The Moro king’s name is Raja Siripada.

  • He was 40 years old and corpulent.
  • No one serves him except women who are the daughters of chiefs.
  • He never goes outside of his palace, unless when he goes hunting, and no one is allowed to talk with him except through the speaking tube.
  • He has scribes, called Xiritoles, who write down his deeds on very thin tree bark.

On Monday morning, July 29, we saw more than 100 praus divided into three squadrons and a like number of tunguli (which are their small boats) coming toward us.

  • We imagined that there was some trickery afoot, so we hoisted our sails as quickly as possible.
  • We expected to be captured in between the junks anchored behind us on the preceding day.
  • We immediately turned on the junks, capturing four of them and killing many persons.
  • Four of the junks fled by beaching.
  • In one of the junks we captured was the son of the king of Luzon.
  • He was the captain-general of the king of Borneo, and came with those junks from a large city named Laoe, located at the end of Borneo toward Java Major.
  • He had destroyed and sacked that city because it refused to obey the king or Borneo, but the king of Java Major instead.
  • Giovan Carvaio, our pilot, allowed him to and the junks to leave for a certain sum of gold.
  • Had Carvaio not given up that captain to Raja Siripada, Raja Siripada would have given us whatever we had asked, for that captain was exceedingly feared throughout those regions especially by the heathens, as the latter are very hostile to Raja Siripada.


In that same port of Laoe, there is another city inhabited by heathens, which is larger than that of the Moros, and also built in salt water.

  • The two peoples have daily combats in that same harbor.
  • The heathen king is as powerful as Raja Siripada, but is not so haughty, and could be converted easily to the Christian faith.
  • When Raja Siripada heard how we had treated the junks, he sent us a message by one of our men who was ashore that the praus did not mean to harm us, but that they were going to attack the heathens.
  • As proof, the Moros showed him some heads of heathens who had been killed.
  • We asked Raja Siripada to allow:
    • two of our men who were in Brunei to trade, and
    • the son of Johan Carvaio, who had been born in the country of Verzin, to come to us
  • But Raja Siripada refused because Johan Carvaio let let the captain go.
  • We kept 16 of the chiefest men of the captured junks to take them to Spagnia, and three women in the queen’s name, but Johan Carvaio usurped the latter for himself.

Junks are made with the bottom part being built about two palmos above the water and is of planks fastened with wooden pegs, which are very well made. above that they are entirely made of very large bamboos.

  • They have a bamboo as a counterweight.
  • One of those junks carries as much cargo as a ship.
  • Their masts are of bamboo, and the sails of the bark of trees.
  • Their porcelain is a sort of exceedingly white earth which is left for 50 years under the earth before it is worked, for otherwise it would not be fine. The father buries it for the son. If [poison] is placed in a dish made of fine porcelain, the dish immediately breaks.
  • The money made by the Moros in those regions is of bronze [metalo] pierced in the middle in order that it may be strung.
  • On only one side of it are four characters, which are letters of the great king of China.
    • We call that money picis.

They gave us:

  • six porcelain dishes for one cathil (which is equivalent to two of our libras) of quicksilver
  • 100 picis for one book of writing paper;
  • 1 small porcelain vase for 160 cathils of bronze [metalo]
  • 1 porcelain vase for 3 knives;
  • 1 bahar (which is equivalent to 203 cathils), of wax for 160 cathils of bronze [metalo]
  • 1 bahar of salt for 80 cathils of bronze [metalo]
  • 1 bahar of anime to calk the ships (for no pitch is found in those regions) for 40 cathils of bronze [metalo].

20 tahils make one cathil.

At that place the people highly esteem bronze [metalo], quicksilver, glass, cinnabar, wool cloth, linens, and all our other merchandise, although iron and spectacles more than all the rest.

Those Moros also go naked. They drink quicksilver—the sick man drinks it to cleanse himself, and the well man to preserve his health.


We sailed northeast to a large city called Maguindanao in the island of Butuan and Calaghan to gather information on Moluccas.

  • We captured by force a bigniday, a vessel resembling a prau, and killed 7 men.
  • It contained only 18 men.
  • They were as well built as any whom we had seen in those regions.
  • All were chiefs of Maguindanao.
  • One of then told us that he was a brother of the king of Maguindanao, and that he knew the location of Moluccas.
  • Through his directions we went southeast.

At a cape of [Mindanao] and near a river, are found shaggy men who are exceedingly great fighters and archers.

  • They use swords one palmo in length, and eat only raw human hearts with the juice of oranges or lemons.
  • Those shaggy people are called Benaian.
  • When we took our course toward the southeast, we lay in a latitude of six degrees and seven minutes toward the Arctic Pole, and 30 leguas from Cavit.