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April 9, 1521, Rajah Humabon’s Emisaries were Convinced to become “Christians.”

In a meeting to make peace, Humabon’s nephew, who was the prince, the king of Mazaua, together with his Moro companion, the governor, the chief constable, and eight chiefs, came to Magellan’s ship to make peace with them. After saying many things, Magellan successfully convinced them to accept his faith. They begged Magellan to give them people who would instruct them in faith.

Rajah Humabon’s Monument in Cebu

We need to take note that they were not forced to accept Magellan’s religion, “The captain-general told them that they should not become Christians for fear or to please us, but of their own free wills… All cried out with one voice that they were not becoming Christians through fear or to please us, but of their own free will.” (Pigaffeta)

After Magellan’s exhortation they exchanged tokens or gifts as a sign of peace. After which Magellan bragged about their ships and weapons. Then Pigaffeta and some companions were sent by Magellan to the palace of Humabon to give reverence and personally present Magellan’s gifts to him.

Antonio Pigafetta’s Monument in Cebu

Below is an excerpt from Pigafetta’s Journal of the First Circumnavigation of the World. It provides the details of the conversion of Humabon’s emisaries.

After dinner the king’s nephew, who was the prince, came to the ships with the king of Mazaua, the Moro, the governor, the chief constable, and eight chiefs, to make peace with us. The captain-general was seated in a red velvet chair, the principal men on leather chairs, and the others on mats upon the floor. The captain-general asked them through the interpreter whether it were their custom to speak in secret or in public, and whether that prince and the king of Mazaua had authority to make peace. They answered that they spoke in public, and that they were empowered to make peace. The captain-general 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. The captain seeing that they listened and answered willingly, 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. The captain told them that God made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything else, and that He had commanded us to honor our fathers and mothers, and that whoever did otherwise was condemned to eternal fire; that we are all descended from Adam and Eva, our first parents; that we have an immortal spirit; and many other things pertaining to the faith. All joyfully entreated the captain to leave them two men, or at least one, to instruct them in the faith, and [said] that they would show them great honor. The captain replied to them that he could not leave them any men then, but that if they wished to become Christians, our priest would baptize them, and that he would next time bring priests and friars who would instruct them in our faith. They answered that they would first speak to their king, and that then they would become Christians, [whereat] we all wept with great joy. The captain-general 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. All cried out with one voice that they were not becoming Christians through fear or to please us, but of their own free will. Then the captain told them that if they became Christians, he would leave a suit of armor, for so had his king commanded him; that we could not have intercourse with their women without committing a very great, sin, since they were pagans; and that he assured them that if they became Christians, 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 the captain, but that they placed themselves in his hands, and that he should treat them as his most faithful servants. The captain 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. After the conclusion of the peace, the captain had refreshments served to them. Then the prince and the king [of Mazaua] presented some baskets of rice, swine, goats, and fowls to the captain-general on behalf of their king, and asked him to pardon them, for such things were but little [to give] to one such as he. The captain 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 the king of Mazaua, for he had already given him a robe of Cambaya, besides other articles.To the others he gave now one thing and now another. Then he sent to the king of Zubu through me and one other 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 the king 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 not in return for his present but for the intrinsic love which he bore him. We dressed him in the robe, placed the cap on his head, and gave him the other things; then kissing the beads and putting them upon 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 the captain concerning peace and his exhortation to them to become Christians. The king wished to have us stay to supper with him, but we told him that we could not stay then. Having taken our leave of him, the prince took us with him to his house, where four young girls were playing [instruments]—one, on a drum like ours, but resting on the ground; the second was striking two suspended gongs alternately with a stick wrapped somewhat thickly at the end with palm cloth; the third, one large gong in the same manner; and 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. The Philippine Islands, Vol. XXXIII

Source: The Philippine Islands, Volume XXXIII

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