Friday, September 25, 2015


C. The arrival of Christianity imposed by the Spaniards

       On September 20, 1519 Ferdinand Magellan commissioned by King Charles I of Spain leading an expedition of 250 men in five ships looking for the “Spice Island”. On March 31, 1521, they disembarked at the islet of Limasawa south of leyte, and there Magellan celebrated the first Catholic mass in the Philippines. From here the conquest or conversion of Christianity of the various island was effected, except the Mactan islan under Rajah Lapulapu who chose fire and blood to abject submission. In the famous Battle of Mactan on April 21, 1521 the Spaniards, despite superiority of their weapon were utterly routed. With his own hand, Raja Lapulapu slew Magellan. After the debacle of Mactan, Charles I sent three more expeditions in 1525, 1526, and 1527 but all ended in dismal failure. In 1542, Charles I fitted an expedition under the command of Ruy de Villaobos with the specific order to establish permanent settlement in the Philippines. Villalobos in the company of four Augustinian priests disembarked on Sarangani south of Mindanao. Because of the stiff hostility of the Moros the Spaniards hurriedly left. On their way home, Bernardo de laTorre, one of the crew, while passing by the islands of Samar-Leyte, gave to these islands the name Filipinas in honour of Philip, the then Spanish crown prince. The name was later applied to the entire archipelago and was Anglisized by the Americans to its present from Philippines. In 1556 Philip II ascended the throne and made it an official policy to colonize the Philippines. On April 27, 1565 the Spaniards under the command of Miguel Lopezde L to colonize the Philippines. On April 27, 1565 the Spaniards under the command of Miguel Lopezde Ligazpi landed in Panay and from there wrested the Visayan island, one after the other. After securing these areas, Ligazpi sent Captain Martin de Goiti to Lozun.

       Commanding the Spanish troops was Captain Martin de Goiti, while Rajah Sulaiman was leading the native defenders. True to his words, reminiscent of the Islamic slogan “Victory or Martyrdom” Rajah Sulaiman prepared martyrdom than to submit to the Spaniards. At the Battle of Tondo shore, on June 3, 1571 Rajah Sulaiman perished. After the fall of Manila the Spaniards then became the new master over Luzon and Visayas.

       In the year 1578 the Spaniards focused their eyes to Mindanao and Sulu. General Francisco de Sande instructed Captain Rodrigues de Figueroa the siege of Sulu in June 1578 and Mindanao in April 1596. This marked the virtual declaration of war by Spain against the Moro of Mindanao and Sulu which was to drag on and remain undecided for more than three hundred years. Series of bloody encounters took place in this period. The Christianized natives of Luzon and Visayas were used by the Spaniards to fight against the Moros. The created a deep feeling of animostyfeeling of animosity between the Endioity between the Endios now the Filipimnow the Filipino people in one hand, and the Bangsamoro people in the other hand. Sultan Buddiman Pangiran of Sulu and the reigning Sultans after him and Sultan Dipatuan Muhammad Qudrat of Mindanao and his successors after him were the heroes of such Jihad in keeping the World of Allah Supreme, until the Spaniards were ejected from the Philippines by the Americans in 1898.

       Despite the more than three hundred years of Spanish invasion of the Philippines, the Moros of Mindanao and Sulu remained intact in defending their faith and never subdued to the enemy. This is substantiated by the fact of their survival as Muslims (the Bangsamoro) distinct from the Christianized Filipinos of Luzon and Visayas.

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