Legaspi’s Cebu settlement had three important problems. First, there was a shortage of food and what the natives were used to eat was different from Spanish food. Second, misfortune struck the settlement. On November 1, 1565, a fire of unknown origin broke out in the settlement. Some twenty Spanish houses and the hut where masses were celebrated were burned. Third, the Spaniards were displeased with Legaspi’s order that no Spaniard should take anything from the Filipinos without paying for it. This, together with the shortage of food, led to a conspiracy on November 27 under the leadership of Pablo Hernandez. The captain of the San Pablo revealed the plot to the master-of-camp, Mateo de Saez. The latter immediately warned Legaspi, who lost no time in arresting the conspirators. Hernandez was beheaded–those were times of harsh justice–but the rest of the conspirators were pardoned.
And fourth, Legaspi was also faced with the hostility of the Portuguese who did not enjoy Legaspi’s settling in Cebu. They sent ships to Cebu to spy on Legaspi’s activities. In 1568, and again the following year, a Portuguese captain, Gonzalo de Pereira, blockaded Cebu in order to starve the Spaniards. With the aid of the Cebuanos, however, Legaspi withstood the blockade and succeeded in forcing Pereira to lift the blockade and leave the Philippines.
In the midst of all these problems, the first reinforcements from Mexico arrived in Cebu on board the galleon San Geronimo on October 15, 1566. This made Legaspi happy, for it brought not only the news that Urdaneta had safely arrived in Mexico but much-needed soldiers from Mexico as well.
Later two more galleons from Mexico arrived in Cebu on August 20, 1567, bringing additional reinforcements and supplies. They were commanded by two young grandsons of Legaspi’s–Felipe de Salcedo, 20 years old, and Juan de Salcedo, 18.
With these reinforcements, Legaspi sent out various explorations to the neighboring islands for the purpose of...
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