Juan de Salcédo Icon

January 2, 2022

Juan de Salcédo was the most illustrious of all the conquerors.

Supported by his grandfather, Legaspi, with 45 Spanish soldiers, he fitted out an expedition at his own expense, embarked at Manila in May 1572, examined all parts of the west coast of the island, landed in all the bays which were accessible to his light-draught ships, and was well received by the natives at most of the places.

He generally found great opposition in penetrating into the interior. Yet he succeeded in subduing many of the inland tribes. When he reached Cape Bogeadór, the north-west point of Luzon, the extensive territory which at present forms the provinces of Zambáles, Pangasinan, and North and South Ilócos, acknowledged the Spanish rule.

The exhaustion of his soldiers obliged Salcédo to return.

In Vígan, the present capital of South Ylócos, he constructed a fort and left therein for its protection his lieutenant and 25 men, while he himself returned, accompanied only by 17 soldiers, in 3 small vessels.

In this way, he reached the Cagayán River and proceeded up it until forced by a horde of hostile natives to retreat to the sea.

Pursuing the voyage to the east coast, he came down in course of time to Paracáli; where he embarked in a boat for Manila, was capsized, and rescued from drowning by some passing natives.

In the meantime Legaspi had died. Labezares was provisionally carrying on the government.

Salcédo heard of this with vexation at being passed over. But, when he recovered from his jealousy, he was entrusted with the subjugation of Camarines, which he accomplished in a short time.

In 1574, he returned to Ilócos to:

  • distribute annuities among his soldiers
  • receive his own share.

While still employed on the building of Vígan, he discovered the fleet of the notorious Chinese pirate, Limahón who was bent on taking the Philippines with 62 ships and many soldiers.

He hastened to Manila, where he was nominated to the command of the troops, in the place of the already deposed master of the forces.

He drove the Chinese from the town, which they had destroyed.

They then withdrew to Pangasinan and Salcédo burnt their fleet, an exploit he achieved with very great difficulty. In 1576, this Cortes of the Philippines died.