A historical essay written in honor of Justice Renato C. Dacudao,
an intellectual pillar of the court, who retires on June 19, 2007.
by: J. Mario L. Guariņa III
The Spanish colonization of the Philippines began in earnest with the
arrival on the shores of Cebu in April 1565 of an expeditionary force
led by a minor Spanish colonial official from Mexico named Miguel
Lopez de Legaspi. The new Spanish king Felipe II who had ascended
the throne in 1556 gave a fresh impetus to the colonial ambitions of
his father Carlos V by ordering the Viceroy of Mexico to make
preparations for a new expedition. By 1564, the Royal Audiencia of
Mexico gave the instructions that were to guide Legaspi’s
mission to the Philippines.
He was ordered to undertake the voyage for the discovery and possession
of the so-called Islas del Poniente or Western Islands, which
included the islands discovered by Magellan and named subsequently by
Villalobos as Felipinas, in honor of the Spanish King. Among
his objectives in these lands were to search for spices, spread the
Catholic faith and establish settlements where it might be fitting or
advantageous to the crown and the propagation of the faith. He was
provided with ships, supplies, weapons and men who were paid at the
port where they were to depart.
A foothold in Cebu:
With an initial fleet of four vessels and force of 200 soldiers, 150
sailors and five religious, Legaspi established an outpost in Cebu.
During the next four years, his contact with the peninsula was
maintained through the voyages of his ships which carried spices and
dispatches to Mexico and Spain and returned with reinforcements and
The fledgling colony survived on tribute collected from the native
villages in Cebu and nearby islands, overcoming resistance with help
from friendlier natives. However, there was a development that
nearly spelled the doom of the colony – the Spaniards were
being starved in Cebu. Rather than cooperate with them, the natives
fled to the mountains, while those who remained simply refused to
plant crops or trade with them. It came to a point when Legaspi’s
men were reduced to eating rats and cats.
In 1568, a Portuguese fleet dropped anchor in Cebu and laid siege on the
settlement. The Portuguese were claiming that the islands lay within
the demarcation line intended for Portugal by the Treaty of Zaragosa
in 1529. But they were not able to break Spanish resolve to stay.
They lifted the siege months later in January 1569 when they
themselves ran out of provisions.
Feeling vulnerable to the Portuguese in their present site, Legaspi decided
to transfer the colony to Panay which abounded in food.
The expedition moves to
Panay – 1569.
In 1569, the Spaniards crossed the sea to the island of Panay. There,
they continued to levy tribute, their companies spread thinly in
Panay and neighboring islands for the purpose. Among the
conquistadors with Legaspi, the most celebrated were the
maistre de campo Martin de Goiti and the young, dashing Juan
Salcedo, brother of Felipe de Salcedo and grandson of Legaspi, who
explored most of Luzon and whose love affair with Lakan Dula’s
niece, Princess Candarapa, became the stuff of which legends were
Salcedo left their base camp in Panay in late 1569 with a company of 40
soldiers. He reached Mindoro and its nearby islets, subduing the
natives and plundering the rich village of Mamburao with the
cutting-edge weapon of their day, the arquebus, and their usual
auxiliaries of Pintados, the Visayan natives allied with the
Salcedo returned to Panay in May 1570, there to meet with Legaspi and the
maistre de campo Goiti who had also arrived from another
expedition to discuss the final leg of their odyssey in the islands –
the conquest of Luzon and the thriving community of Manila which,
with its 4,000 inhabitants, was under the rule of a Muslim noble
named Rajah Soliman. On May 3, Goiti and Salcedo sailed out of Panay
in two small ships with a hundred soldiers and accompanied by a fleet
of 14 or 15 vessels of the Pintados. They again passed through
Mindoro which remained hostile and attacked its principal village
whose inhabitants took a refuge behind walls mounted with some
columns. But that was all their firepower. The natives were armed
with badly tempered lances which could not penetrate a good coat of
mail and daggers and arrows which the Spaniards dismissed as weapons
of little value. Defeated, they became willing vassals of the
Spaniards and paid tribute to them.
The transfer to Manila:
Standing guard at the mouth of a great river that wound its way across the
delta to the bay was a fortress of logs with narrow mud walls mounted
with artillery. Around it was a mélange of nipa huts. This
was Rajah Soliman’s Manila. Twice in as many years it would be
burned down in the face of the Spanish onslaught.
Goiti entered Manila Bay in June 1570. He soon met with Soliman and had a
blood compact with him. But their friendship was short-lived. Wary
of the Spaniards’ intentions, Soliman mistook sounds of gunfire
as the start of hostilities and attacked the Spaniards. His city was
overran instead and razed to the ground.
Goiti’s presence was meant only to be a reconnaissance. He quickly set sail
for Panay after the incident, passing by Mindoro where he learned of
the arrival of three new ships from Mexico. Among the 200-odd
members of the expedition were, for the first time, mujeres y
hombres casados – the true settlers. There were also new
instructions from the king for the islands to be settled and divided
among those who conquered or subdued them.
The institution of the encomienda or repartimiento, the heart of
the Spanish system of colonization, was in place.
Legaspi went back to Cebu to establish a Spanish settlement patterned after
villages in Spain. He named it El Santisimo Nombre de Jesus
which became the nucleus of the modern City of Cebu. He left 50 men
and a friar in Cebu under the treasurer of the exchequer Guido de
Lavezares and six soldiers and a friar in neighboring Masbate. He
then returned to Panay to make preparations for the transfer of the
rest of the colony to Manila. He left another six soldiers and a
friar in Panay.
In April 1571, Legaspi sailed to Manila with a fleet of 4 ships
accompanied by 23 outriggers of the Pintados. As the
Spaniards entered the bay for a second time, the natives themselves
set fire to their homes before fleeing to Tondo where Lakan Dula was
It was a bloodless day on May 19, the feast day of Santa Potenciana,
when Legaspi landed to take control of Manila in the name of the
Spanish king. Within the week, Legaspi announced that, in
accordance with the command of the king, he would give home lots and
repartimientos to all those who would settle in the place,
prompting virtually the whole force who came with him –
captains, soldiers and gentlemen – to stay and be its first
residents. All in all, they numbered some 250 men – the
On the ashes of a large native village, he proclaimed, on June 3, 1571,
the new Spanish City of Manila, making it the capital of the colony
that he had called Nuevo Reyno de Castilla. On June 24, the
feast day of St. John the Baptist, two alcaldes ordinarios,
one alguacil mayor, 12 regidores and one escribano
were appointed to constitute the municipal government of Manila.
Three years later, on June 21, 1574, the king would issue a royal
decree confirming the titles given by Legaspi of Insigne e Siempre
Leal Ciudad to Manila and Nueva Reyno de Castilla to the
island of Luzon.
The conquest of Luzon
Now ensconced in Manila from where he directed operations for the further
conquest of the islands, Legaspi began to assign repartimientos
to his soldiers. The first reported beneficiary of his largesse was
Goiti who was an able military commander. Legaspi had issued a call
to all other villages to make peace with him but was met with
defiance by a nearby village of Butas in alliance with Macabebe
On June 3, 1571, the day Manila was founded, the Spaniards’s first
major pitched battle with the natives, at Bangkusay off the coast of
Tondo, took place. With a force of only 70 soldiers and their native
auxiliaries, Goiti routed the much larger force of two thousand
natives who were scattered by the musket fire of the Spaniards and
the deadly assault of the Pintados. The battle extended to
the shore resulting in the capture of the native fort and a large
booty of gold and prisoners which Goiti divided among his soldiers,
reserving the king’s usual share in the gold called the fifth.
Pampanga, fated to be the principle source of grain for the
colony, was also shelter to many of those who opposed the Spaniards.
After the victory at Bangkusay forced the villages around Manila into
submission. Goiti sailed up the densely populated rivers of
Pampanga with 100 soldiers and a number of auxiliaries subduing the
natives who hid futilely behind their wooden forts. As he was going
from village to village in Pampanga, news reached him of the arrival
at Panay of two ships with a reinforcement of 100 soldiers. Legaspi
dispatched him to bring these ships to Manila which he did, passing
by Cebu to fetch his own wife who must have arrived with the 1570
expedition. When he returned, Legaspi awarded him with a
repartimiento of natives along a river called Bonbon.
On the day of Goiti’s arrival in Manila, August 15, Salcedo
started his own epic trek across Luzon to the Bicol region with 100
soldiers. He first went to subdue the hostile natives in Cainta near
Laguna de Bay and skirted the bay where some 24 to 26,000 natives
lived in scattered villages. Then he crossed over to the opposite
coast with sixty men and, amid rumors of gold, reached Paracale at
Camarines. His expedition suffered much in the long march to the
eastern coast of Luzon, and after ascertaining the existence of gold
mines there, went back to Manila.
While Salcedo was away, Goiti launched military campaign in Pampanga. The
natives at Betis were reported to be very powerful and refused to
submit to the Spaniards. But a native chief who was hostile to them
guided the Spaniards into the gates of the fort, surprising its
defenders and forcing them to surrender without a fight. With the
fall of Betis, all the other villages of any importance in Pampanga
came to offer their friendship.
Thus ended, according to the relacion of April 15, 1572, the last
of the great wars which were waged in Mindoro and Luzon. But it was
just the start of Salcedo’s push to the unexplored regions of
Luzon. Shortly after his return to Manila in May, another ship
arrived with more men and provisions. With fresh troops, he
continued to battle his way across Zambales and Pangasinan, reaching
as far north as Laoag. In the ancient settlement of Vigan, he
founded the third Spanish city, Villa Fernandina. He then sailed
down Cagayan River and crossed the Caraballo Mountains to the west.
By the time he arrived in Manila, in late 1572, Legaspi lay buried in
the original bamboo and nipa church of the Augustinians. The hoary
conquistador died on August 20, 1572.
The islands are divided into
Guido de Lavezares succeeded Legaspi as governor-general by virtue of an
appointment from the Royal Audiencia of Mexico. In an early report
to the king, in June 1573, he affirmed that the practice of assigning
repartimientos began by Legaspi was being continued by him.
Legaspi would, in particular, assign two or three thousand natives as
an encomienda to four or eight men. It was agreed early on
that 8,000 tributarios should be given as an encomienda
to the maistre de campo, 4,000 to the captains, 3,000 to men
of rank and so on according to position.
The problem was that there were many more colonizers in need of an
encomienda than there were natives to be allotted. A year
after Manila was founded, a general feeling of dissatisfaction
prevailed over the meager distribution of repartimientos. The
fact was that towards the end of Legaspi’s administration,
large parts of the country were still to be subdued. The two richest
encomiendas were Betis and Lubao where 3,000 tribute-paying
natives lived. Legaspi did not allot these natives to any
encomiendero in the hope of requesting them from the king.
After his death, Lanzares appropriated the natives for himself, but
the next governor Francisco de Sande revoked his act and transferred
the natives to the royal crown. Aside from the royal encomiendas,
the king also had a share in the tribute from the private encomienda
leaving a usually tidy sum for the encomendero to live the
life of a hidalgo or gentleman in the islands.
In effect, the Spaniards were economically divided into those with
encomiendas and those with none. To the latter category
belonged most of the common soldiers. And they were a sorry lot.
The only provisions they were entitled to get from joining an
expedition were received at the port of embarkation. Upon arrival at
the islands, the soldiers did not receive any more stipend from the
crown. They were so poor that they had to ask for food at the
houses of friends and beg for medicines when they got sick. One of
the measures taken by the colony as the use of the fing’s fifth
of all the gold discovered in the islands. For a considerable
period, the fifth was reduced to a tenth. The difference was given
to the support of the soldiers.
The demographic profile
of the colony
In the first eight years of the colonization, the total influx of
Spaniards was estimated to be 700 soldiers. But the rate of
attrition kept the actual population figure lower at every point of
time during the formative period. The viceroy of Mexico notified the
king in 1573 that he had been annually sending men and ships to the
islands – but sea and land and climate have their effects
and the people are actually but little increased in numbers.
Verily, the first Spanish colonists in the islands were all male. The
instructions to Legaspi specifically prohibited him from bringing
women in the expedition. It was on the ships in 1570 that women
must have started to arrive in numbers. Those send in 1575 and 1580
were married couples who were supposed to devote themselves to the
sowing and raising of crops and keep the population of Filipinas,
as the colony was already called, viable.
In the first generation after Legaspi, however, the land grants
remained largely idle and uncultivated. The Spaniards coming to the
islands were hidalgos and not tillers of the soil. Despite
repeated calls by the colony for farmers and settlers, they did not
come in appreciable numbers. By 1588, only a few large farms were
being worked. There was no planting of European crops and raising
There was no reason for the colonists to work with their lands when manual
labor was supplied by the natives. The encomiendas were of
tribute and services. Under the system, the natives rendered
compulsory labor ranging from cutting wood in the forest, manning the
oars of ships and galleys and doing menial work in the parishes and
houses of the encomienderos. There were also paid local hands
who kept the quitodian aspects of colonial living possible –
carpenters, metal workers, weavers, artisans. Among themselves, the
Spaniards shared the highest occupations of soldiery, governance and
The objective and methods of
The principal source of wealth of the Spaniards in the colony was,
without comparison, the tribute collected from the encomiendas.
It was the motive power that drove Spanish colonization across three
continents and ultimately spelled its moral downfall. The encomienda
was nothing more than a device to exact produce and labor services
from the natives. But to acquire and enjoy the privilege, the
conquistadors were ready to sail halfway around the world, spending
their own fortunes and undergoing unimaginable hardships and trials.
The encomienda system was a unique feature of Spanish
colonization. We do not see it copied by any other colonial power.
We shall see why.
In order to underwrite the colonial enterprise, the Spanish crown starting
with the reyes catolicos Isabel and Fernando would approve a
series of agreements with explorers, adventures and soldiers, mostly
Spaniards, whose military tradition as a result of the reconquista
was the best in Europe at the time and who saw in the new world
further opportunities to power and personal aggrandizement. In these
contracts called the capitulaciones, the Spanish rulers
promised to these adventurers political and economic concessions and
privileges in the new lands in exchange for their services and often
their expenses in these ventures.
The first of the capitulaciones was entered into with the
discoverer Cristobal Colon in 1492. Desirous of exacting tribute
from the natives for himself, Colon introduced the encomienda
in the Antilles. He allotted the natives among the colonists who
then exacted personal services from them. Isabel was displeased by
this move and instructed her new governor Ovando in 1502 to suppress
the practice and direct the natives to pay tribute directly to the
crown. The attempt failed to overcome the resistance of the
colonists who needed the labor of the natives to exploit the precious
metals and other resources of the islands. The decade after the
introduction of the encomienda witnessed the wholesale
exploitation of the natives and the first series of revolts against
On the fourth Sunday of Advent, 1511, from his pulpit in Santo Domingo,
the Dominican priest Antonio de Montesinos started his diatribe. As
he echoed John The Baptist’s lamentation yo soy la voz que
clama en el desierto, the colonists were provoked into thinking
if the natives were men with souls on whom war should not be made nor
injustices committed. The conflicting points of view were brought to
the attention of Fernando who convened a council of theologians and
jurists to consider whether the repartimiento was in
conformity with divine and human law. The conference resulted in the
promulgation of the Leyes de Burgos in 1512 considered the
first significant body of colonial legislation designed for the
protection of the indigenous people.
The Leyes de Burgos did not abolish the encomienda, but
introduced regulations that sought to humanize the institution.
Implicit in its passage was the recognition of the thesis that the
Spanish crown had the right to conquer and hold its overseas
possessions. The just title that Spain had over its colonies was
deduced from the Alexandrine bulls Inter Caetera bestowing on
the reyes catolicos and their successors a delimited expanse
of the New World and charging them with the duty to evangelize it.
In order to spread the Catholic faith, the Spanish crown would have
to colonize and possess the new lands.
And with what consequences. The century-and-a-half-long process of
bringing the Americas under Spanish control visited the native
populations with one of the worst demographic crashes in human
history, a phenomenon that was replicated in the Philippines during
the same period. The repression and ill-treatment of the natives
persisted through the fall of the Incas in Peru and other native
societies in Central America and the Antilles.
The judgment of a growing number of theologians and jurists was
unforgiving. Among them were the Dominican priest Bartolome de Las
Casas and the theologian Francisco de Vitoria whose teachings formed
the basis of modern international law. Shocked by what they saw and
heard, they were already calling into question the very right of
Spain to be in the Americas. In this debate, the Spanish crown
continued to assert its title to the New World on the basis of the
papal donation, while slowly instituting measures to soften the harsh
impact of the colonization and give a religious face to the conquest.
It was in this climate of changing theological and political
perspectives that Felipe II, at mid-century, came to the throne.
Under Felipe II, the colonization entered a new phase. It was no longer a
conquista, but a pacificacion, an enterprise in which
the vanguards were no longer men of the sword, but of the cloth. The
peaceful incursion of the missionaries into the still unexplored
regions of the New World became the dominant theme of Felipe’s
historic Ordenanzas Para Nuevos Descubrimientos, Conquistas y
Pacificaciones promulgated in 1573.
In a nutshell, the Ordenanzas envisioned the influx of the
colonizers through the unoccupied fringes of a region or territory.
From there, they would seek contact with the natives by way of
commerce and trade. They would be led in their efforts to establish
amicable relations with the natives by the priests and men other than
soldiers who would make it known that they had come, not to engage
in war but bring the Christian faith to them. The overall objective
was still the same, to draw to the fold of the Church and to
obedience to the crown all the natives of the territory, but the
method was evangelical. The colonizers would respect the free will
of the natives and use only force as a matter of self-defense.
In this sense, the Ordenanzas were a critical leap forward in
the ideology of the colonization hewing more closely to Las Casas
than Vitoria. To Vitoria, the natural right of the Spaniards to
travel to other lands and preach the faith is founded on the social
instincts common to all men to communicate with one another. If the
natives would impede them in the exercise of the right, ignoring
reason and persuasion, the Spaniards would be justified in engaging
in war. The thinking is reflected in the 1556 Instructions of the
king to Andres de Mendoza, viceroy of Peru. In this document, the
charge given to the colonists to interact with the natives in peace
was underpinned by an implicit right to enter their lands by force if
the missionaries were prevented from preaching the faith. But, as
Las Casas reasoned, if the Spaniards were to penetrate the heathen
lands, they should only employ essentially persuasive means to turn
the indigenous people to the faith. In the Ordenanzas,
inspired by the philosophy of Las Casas, not even the refusal of
the natives to accept the faith would be a ground for a just war,
where they did not otherwise cause harm to the Spaniards. The
Spanish colonial enterprise had completely become a mission of
peace. Within the framework of the Ordenanzas, war as an
instrument of colonization was decreed only in exceptional cases. In
Filipinas, the governor-generals were periodically authorized to
engage in a campaign of force against such groups as the Moros and
Igorots. By and large, the further spread of Spanish power in the
New World was to be in the shadow of the cross.
Abuses in the encomiendas
Since the crown was depending on the initiative and expenses of its
explorers, the encomienda served as the means by which they
were ultimately recompensed. The encomenderos were supposed to
provide order and religious instruction to the natives - justicia
y instruccion - and only after meeting these needs were they
allowed to collect the tribute as grants to them for their trouble
and expense in executing these tasks.
Unfortunately, the encomenderos did not bother about the procedural niceties.
Early on, the missionaries bore witness to the extortions that the
soldiers were committing on the natives. The most graphic accounts
of the early abuses of the Spaniards in the islands were written by
Bishop Domingo de Salazar, a suffagan of the Archbishop of Mexico who
arrived in the islands in 1581 to assume his post as first bishop of
Filipinas. The native chiefs of the villages of Tondo and
Capaymasilo and many more from as far as Mauban, finding that they
had an ally in Salazar, came to him with their grievances. Moved by
their remonstrance, he sent his first lengthy memorial to the king in
1582, in which he narrated the distressing events that were happening in
In the wake of severe protests from the ecclesiastics, the king had to
remind the encomenderos that it was not right for them to
compel the natives to pay tribute if they had not provided them with
spiritual and temporal benefits. By 1590, Salazar was still lamenting the gross perversions of the
pacification campaign: In the places where the name of God has
never entered nor that of your majesty – in other words,
where there was neither justicia nor instruccion -
the natives must feel resentful that each year a dozen soldiers
with arquebuses come to their houses to take their property…These
soldiers afflict, maltreat and torment them, and to leave them, until
they return another year to do the same. What else can these natives
think of us but that we are tyrants and that we come only to make our
gain out of their property and persons?
The Audiencia de Manila :
1583 and 1595
Bishop Salazar earned his niche in the history of the colony not only for
his denunciation of the encomienda abuses. He was also
instrumental in bringing about the establishment of a royal audiencia
in Manila that substituted the collegial rule of the oidores
for the absolute rule of the governor-general. His call for the
audiencia was the outgrowth of his disenchantment with administration
of the encomiendas which came to a head under Governor
The Audiencia de Manila was created by royal edict issued in May
1583. It was the tenth established in the colonies. Headed by a
president who was the governor-general and three oidores, the
audiencia existed primarily as a judicial tribunal. But the oidores
were also empowered to act with the governor in the issuance of
legislative ordinances pending confirmation by the king, and in
numerous administrative matters where they often served as a
counterpoise to the governor.
The audiencia had the authority to keep the ecclesiastics in
check. It also exercised oversight powers to secure the better
treatment of the natives and their instruction in the Catholic
faith. This was, in fact, ordained to be its chief mission in the
fulfillment of which it was directly accountable to the king. The
president and oidores were directed to exert great efforts
to be informed of the crimes and abuses against the natives and
punish the guilty with vigor.
The oidores were men of the law, the letrados, magistrates
whose judicial functions were well-defined and understood. The
source of the emerging difficulties would be in the vagueness and
ambiguity with which their relationship with the governor in
non-judicial matters was fixed. The charter creating the audiencia
did not carve out with sufficient precision the respective spheres
of competence of the governor and the oidores, with the result
that the oidores engaged the governor in frequent, if not
bitter disputes over the civil administration of the colony. The
fate of the tribunal was sealed when the oidores antagonized
Salazar as well.
One of the principal objections to the audiencia was a practical one. In
letters to the king written in 1586, it was contended that the audiencia did not befit a
colony that was small and meager in income. The capital town,
Manila, had scarcely 70 adult citizens, and in other settlements
together, not as many more. On the other hand, the cities and towns
of Spain with a larger population and more litigation were
successfully governed by only an alcalde mayor or corregidor.
The king abolished the audiencia in August 1589. A new governor Gomez
Perez Dasmariñas arrived to take sole control of the colony,
reasserting the role of chief judge, but with a legal adviser called
an asesor to prepare his decisions and orders. Filipinas was
once more reduced to a province under the jurisdiction of the
Audencia of Mexico. But the evils of absolutism returned. It was a
case of déjà vu. In the very first year of
office of the new governor, the need for an audienca as a remedy
against one-man rule was again felt.
In 1595, the Audiencia was re-established to function for the next 300
Based on Salazar’s report in 1588, the number of tribute-paying
Filipinos and their families stood at 673,600. The amount of the
tribute originally fixed at eight reales was increased in 1586 to ten
reales in order to allow for the situado, a portion of which
was earmarked for the salaries of the soldiers. The military were now
entitled to regular pay. The tributary population comprised those
effectively brought under Spanish control. Yet it was conceded that
there were still large parts of Luzon and Visayas to be pacified.
Salazar calculated that with more missionaries, an additional 200,000
people could be reached. In hindsight, the encomienda
system had reached its peak – only some 20
years after it was instituted. The available statistics would show
that the tribute-paying population of the private encomiendas
was on a downward spiral until the last of these grants was
terminated near the end of the 18th century.
In 1591, at the height of the system, there were 236 private and 31
royal encomiendas under the tutelage of 140 religious and administratively divided into
provinces governed by a dozen alcaldes. Spanish
law had forbidden the Spaniards from residing outside the Spanish towns or cities which in Filipinas
already numbered six. The only Spaniards allowed to live among the natives were the priests
administering their parishes and the alcaldes who were usually found in the cabeceras
of the provinces. A sweeping reorganization of the barangays had
begun. The natives were being integrated into new and larger
pueblos, a process that was to last until the next century and had for its objective the
bringing of the natives closer to the parish priest – debajo de las campanas
Glimpses of the Spanish presence in the islands after three decades are
afforded by accounts written in 1588 and 1591. Manila, its capital
city, was populated by about 300 male adults if we are to include the
200 or more soldiers quartered among the civilians and natives. To
this figure should be added the members of the religious community
who numbered about 50. The 80-odd civilians were all connected with
the colonial government. 50 were married to Spanish women and a few
others to natives. There were 15 widows, 8 or 10 girls of
marriageable age and some children.
The Spaniards were still spread thinly across the islands. Among the
rest of the settlements, Villa Fernandina or Vigan was the smallest
with only 5 or 6 adult residents. Dozens more resided in Nueva
Segovia in Cagayan, Nueva Caceres in Camarines, Cebu and Arevalo in
Panay – mostly encomenderos married to Spanish or native
women and with whom an equal number of soldiers were quartered.
Once a settlement of bamboo and nipa, Manila was now rebuilt in stone and
brick. The city’s main fort eventually known as Fort Santiago
rose from the limestone blocks obtained from the quarries in Pasig.
Along the perimeter of what is presently Intramuros, the stone walls
were being constructed at a rapid pace. Within, the architectural
style of the city was set by stone houses and tiled roofs that won
the admiration of all who came. Manila became a city of genteel
ambiance and color, the best in Asia at the time.