Today in Philippine history, September 16, 1635, Father Pedro Chirino died in Manila

On September 16, 1635, Father Pedro Chirino, author of one of the first history books of the Philippines, died in Manila. Chirino a Jesuit missionary, wrote the Relacion de las Islas Filipinas in 1603. Having passed the censorship of vice-provincial Luis de la Puente in Villadolid, it was published in Rome in 1604.

The Relacion de las Islas Filipinas was mainly intended as a history of the missions in the islands conducted by the Jesuits, which begun in 1581. Chirino gave a full and detailed account of the missions from that time until his departure in 1602. He narrates many things of interest and importance regarding the people, their customs and character, their language and state of civilization, their religious beliefs and worship, and the results of missionary labors and influence upon them.

Much of this information is of special value as one of the earliest records regarding the Filipino peoples in their primitive condition, before they had had much contact with the white men; for the Jesuits went even beyond the outposts of Spanish civilization, among tribes who sometimes had never seen white men before.

Chirino also recorded the transition of Filipino writing from the Baybayin script to the Latin alphabet.

Chirino was born in 1557 in Osuna of Andalucia. He graduated in both civil and canon law at Sevilla, and entered the Society of Jesus at the age of 23. Having been appointed to the mission in the Filipinas in place of Father Alonso Sanchez, he arrived in Manila in 1590 together with the new governor, Gomez Perez Dasmariñas.

He acted as missionary to the Tagalogs and the Pintados, and was superior of the Jesuit colleges at Manila and Cebu. He cultivated the friendship of Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa, whom he advised to found the college of San Ignacio and the seminary of San Jose in Manila.

On July 7, 1602, he left Cavite for Acapulco by the vessel "San Antonio" in order to take immediate action in the affairs of the mission in the Filipinas at both the royal and pontifical courts. He obtained a decree from Father General Claudius Aquaviva, by which the mission in the Filipinas was elevated to a vice-province, independent of the province of Mexico.

On July 17, 1606, he returned to Manila.

The village of Taitai (Taytay) was moved to its present site by him.

References

  1. Philippine News Agency archives
  2. The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803, volume 1, number 12, Emma Helen Blair , James Alexander Robertson, Edward Gaylord Bourne, Cleveland, Ohio: The A. H. Clark company.

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