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August 2, 1577, the First Franciscan Mission Arrived in Manila

The Philippine Islands, Vol. XXXV, records the arrival of the first religious of the order of Saint Francis led by Fray Pedro de Alfaro.

His sacred Majesty our king and sovereign Philip Second was pleased, through his most Christian and Catholic zeal, to establish this kingdom of Philipinas and plant herein the evangelical doctrine by means of the religious of our seraphic father St. Francis. For this purpose his Majesty sent father Fray Pedro de Alfaro with seventeen religious, sons of the province of San Joseph, of the discalced religious. Thirteen of them were priests, two were choristers and two lay-brothers. Six religious died on the voyage, but they were joined by six more in México, and they entered Manila August 2, 1577. They were lodged in a bamboo house, where the marshal Gabriel de Ribera built a church of planks. Father Fray Pedro de Alfaro began his ministry immediately by assigning his associates to all the provinces of this kingdom; and they, inducing the Indians to come from the rugged mountains and reducing them to settlements, baptized them and instructed them in the mysteries of our holy faith, and erected churches and laid out villages.

The Philippine Islands, 1493–1898. Volume XXXV, 1640–1649
Edited and annotated by Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson with historical introduction and additional notes by Edward Gaylord Bourne.
Image courtesy of http://www.kahimyang.com

The Franciscans were lodged in a bamboo house, where the marshal Gabriel de Ribera built a church of planks. Father Pedro de Alfaro began his ministry immediately assigning his associates to the provinces, inducing the natives and reducing them to settlements, baptized them and instructed them in the mysteries of our holy faith, and erected churches and laid out villages. 

Some of the early convents built in Manila by the Franciscans were: the convent of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria of Dilao, a church and stone house, founded by Don Francisco de Arellano at his own cost, located outside the walls of the city of Manila; the convent of Nuestra Señora de Loreto of San Paloc (Sampaloc), with a stone church and house, founded at his own cost by Master-of-camp Pedro de Gomez.

Sources:

http://www.gutenberg.org

http://www.kahimyang.com

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