16th March 1521

Magellan discovered the Philippines

Magellan discovered the Philippines

History books say that Magellan discovered the Philippines on this day in 1521, however this was really just Spain’s claim to the Philippines as it was discover far earlier than that.

Magellan’s travel was long and arduous, and only two ships survived it. He discovered the Strait of Magellan at the southern tip of South America and became the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean. His remaining ships arrived at Homonhon island in Samar on March 16, 1521, named it Isla San Lazaro, erected a cross, and claimed it for Spain. The islands were later named Filipinas (Philippines) in honor of King Philip of Spain. The first Catholic mass was celebrated on Limasawa island in Leyte on March 31, 1521, by Spanish friar Fr. Pedro Valderama. Among those present were Rajah Siagu and Rajah Kolambu who forged a blood compact with Magellan. Fr. Valderama baptized the two rajahs and 400 natives on April 14, 1521, in Cebu where Magellan erected a huge cross – the famous “Magellan’s Cross” – and gifted the converts with the Sto. Niño images as peace symbol.

Magellan was killed by poisoned arrows on April 27, 1521, during the Battle of Mactan by natives of the island led by local chieftain Lapu-Lapu, who refused to recognize Spanish authority. The battle was considered the first Filipino resistance against foreign invaders, and Lapu-Lapu was hailed a hero.

Find out who really discovered the Philippines