René B. Javellana, S.J.
Last modified: December 2016
For a number of decades now, Jesuit studies have passed from being dominated by Jesuit scholars and writers to non-Jesuit specialists in history, anthropology, the arts, religion, and other fields. There is a noticeable shift from writing addressed primarily ad intra, i.e. to Jesuits, especially those in formation, and students in Jesuit schools, to being addressed ad extra to a wider audience of academics and the general public. Writing has thus shifted from what might be described as hagiographical and in the manner of ecclesiastical history toward an exploration of the Jesuits’ role and contribution in the early modern era and beyond.
Such a shift was barely visible in post-World War II writing about the Jesuits in the Philippines. Even though the Jesuits had arrived in the Philippines in 1581, a year after the death of the superior general who had approved the mission, Everard Mercurian (1514–80, in office 1573–80), becoming a province under Claudio Acquaviva (1543–1615, in office 1581–1615), and despite the fact that in the late sixteenth century the Philippines were a staging point for the evangelization of China, and Manila an entrepôt for Asia, Mexico, and Europe, little had been written specifically about Jesuit involvement in the development of the Philippines as a Spanish colony and lynchpin in the transpacific trade.
Post-World War II Writing about Jesuits
There were a number of reasons for the lack of coverage. First, few Philippine scholars and writers focused on the Society of Jesus. A premier Jesuit historian Horacio V. de la Costa (1916–77) published Jesuits in the Philippines, 1581–1768 in 1961.1 This covered the pre-suppression era or the "Old" Society.
His work on a volume about the restoration period, which began in the Philippines in 1859, was interrupted by his appointment as provincial in 1964 and then as an assistant to Superior General Pedro Arrupe (1907–91, in office 1965–83) in 1971. He did, however, write Light Cavalry, a romantic and novelistic history of the Jesuits from 1859 to the 1930s, but the book was not circulated because World War II intervened. Few copies of the book survived.2 De la Costa was apparently not too keen to have the book reprinted, probably because he deemed it a sophomoric work written by an enthusiastic scholastic, twenty-four years of age.
Other Jesuit writers Miguel A. Bernad (1917–2009) and John N. Schumacher (1927–2014) did not specifically focus on the Jesuits. Bernad, trained as a Shakespeare scholar, was assigned to the English Department of the Ateneo de Manila University [hereafter ADMU]. His interest in history developed during his time there when he was assigned as the editor-in-chief of the university’s journal, Philippine Studies. But his interest was broader than the Society of Jesus, as his work, The Christianization of the Philippines (1972), shows.3 Schumacher specialized in church history and taught at the San Jose Seminary and later at the Loyola School of Theology. His interest was also in the general history of the Catholic Church, particularly the nineteenth century. His works in this area centered on the activity of the clergy and the rising nationalist movement that erupted in the Philippine revolution of independence from Spain in 1896. Nicholas P. Cushner (1932–2013), who retired as a professor in upstate New York, wrote about the friar estates in the Philippines, among them the Jesuit haciendas of Luzon. He became known as an expert in Latin America writing about, among other things, the development of agrarian capitalism in Quito, Ecuador, from 1600 to 1767, and the Jesuits and the evangelization of the native Americans in Why Have You Come Here?4
To the paucity of writers that focused on the Society of Jesus there must be added a second reason: the state of historiography in the Philippines during the post-war era. Although a world war intervened, the role and place of the Catholic Church in the independent Philippines was still hotly debated. The debate began with revolution of independence from Spain in 1896, which fed to a great extent on a nationalist discourse that denigrated the church and painted it as a corrupt institution responsible for the oppression of the Filipino people. The close collaboration of church and state, which had characterized the Spanish colonial era, ended in the twentieth century when the Philippines became an American colony.
Under the Americans, a public school system was organized. Following the principle of the separation of church and state, a secular system of education allowed academics at the tertiary level, in particular in the University of the Philippines, to foster anti-clerical and anti-church positions. Historical writing about the church in the Philippines fell within a framework of the opposition between defensive church promoters and an influential group of scholars pushing a secular interpretation of Philippine history. The church was secularized and interpreted as a social and cultural institution, powerful and wealthy no doubt, but lacking any divine mandate. Typical of the defensive writing of church history is Pablo Fernandez’s History of the Church in the Philippines.5 Chapters 34 to 37, on the Philippine Revolution, its causes and the role of the church, did not analyze the church’s role in civil society but, following a trope of church apologists, laid the church’s shortcoming on individuals. It was the bad ecclesiastical authority-figures, not the church as an institution, that gave the church a bad name.
As a secular and nationalist interpretations of Philippine history gained popularity, University of the Philippines’ [hereafter UP] historian Teodoro Agoncillo (1912–85) adopted a Marxist perspective. Agoncillo’s Revolt of the Masses: The Story of Bonifacio and the Katipunan had already employed a Marxist optic: Andres Bonifacio, founder of the revolutionary Katipunan, which led the first armed attack against Spain in August 1896, was interpreted by Agoncillo as an organic leader sprung from the masses—even though Bonifacio was middle class, educated by the Dominicans, and employed in a position of trust by a British company in Manila.6 But it was Agoncillo’s History of the Filipino People, first published in 1960 and published in eight editions (the latest in 1990), that was most influential.7 It was a widely used textbook at the tertiary level in public schools. Among Catholic circles, however, it was criticized. The preferred historian for Catholic schools was Gregorio Zaide (1907–88), who had studied at the Dominican University of Santo Tomas [hereafter UST] where he obtained his doctorate in 1934. Unlike Agoncillo, Zaide painted the Catholic Church in a favorable light. In 1949, Zaide published The Philippines since Pre-Spanish Times, which became the core for a series of textbooks he wrote. His textbooks for the secondary level gave a bare-bones picture of the Spanish era, assuming a veneer of neutrality while not emphasizing the shortcomings of the church as Agoncillo did.8
In the 1970s, the student movement, much influenced by Marxist ideas, made any writing about the Catholic Church a taboo topic or at least a provocative one. The church was characterized as a “clerico-fascist” organization with ties to “bourgeois capitalists.” Unless they were church people or members of a religious order or congregation, historians tended to shy away from topics relating to church that would confront the caricature of the oppressive church that was being projected in the politics of the street, where the students’ battle cry included “Down with clerico-fascism!” Such slogans were shouted side by side with a denunciation of President Ferdinand E. Marcos (1917–89) as a tyrant under the protection of American imperialists.
Jesuits, who did work in the area of church history and church matters, kept a delicate balance. Working with archival documents, they painted a church that was human and flawed yet had contributed to the growth of the Philippines. While it was a more nuanced and sober picture, and while the scholarship was recognized among academics, it did little to change the mood of the 1970s student movement, which fed more directly on propaganda and slogans. Schumacher’s study of Jose Burgos and the nationalist movement and his more extensive work Revolutionary Clergy showed that nationalism and church-membership were not mutually exclusive.9
Writing about Jesuit history in the Philippines faced the challenge of access to documentary sources. This was the third reason for the lack of vibrant Jesuit historical studies. The documentary holdings of the Archives of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus [hereafter APP-SJ] consisted mostly of nineteenth- and twentieth-century documents, representing the period of the restoration of the Society. Documents from the previous centuries were few.
Like other archives in the Philippines, many of the historical documents were lost or damaged because of war and natural causes. The Spanish-era records of the National Archives of the Philippines, damaged and disarranged during World War II, were virtually inaccessible until the 1970s when effort was made to organize and systematize the archives. The National Archives were part of the Record Management and Archival Office of the Philippine government, which spent much of its resources assisting those who needed birth certificates and other documents.
To make Jesuit documents more accessible and to fill the gaps in the holdings of the Jesuit archives in the Philippines, de la Costa, while working on Jesuits in the Philippines, had the holdings of the Philippine section of Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu [hereafter ARSI Philipp] microfilmed. He also copied documents from the Spanish Jesuit archives then in Sant Cugat, documents microfilmed by St. Louis University, which included documents from the Vatican, and he had them deposited in the microfilm section of ADMU’s Rizal Library.
From October 15, 1961 to March 31, 1962, de la Costa went on a research tour to Taipei, Hong Kong, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Lisbon, London, and Cambridge (Massachusetts) to survey the archives and repositories “in which [there could be found] the most significant concentrations of historical and social science materials pertaining to the Philippines, for the purpose of determining the nature of the collection and the conditions of research at these repositories.” He visited these places also to establish contacts for future researchers and to secure microfilm copies of a sampling of such documents. The microfilmed material were also deposited in the ADMU.10 While de la Costa had done much to make archival material from outside the Philippines accessible, very few have in fact taken advantage of the trove of documents that he had brought back.
The inaccessibility of documents was recognized earlier in the century by Alexander Robertson (1873–1939), director of the National Library in Manila, and his collaborator and translator Emma Helen Blair (1851–1911). Together they put together a compendium of documents, fifty-five volumes in all, the last two being an analytical index. Blair and Robertson [hereafter BR] compiled, selected, translated, and abridged documents from Europe, especially from the Spanish archives. Each volume began with an overview of the documents and each document or cluster of related documents was introduced and its context described. Entitled The Philippine Islands, the series was published over a decade, 1903–13. Despite its shortcomings, like faulty translation and unclear editorial policy to explain the choice of documents and decisions on which documents to abridge, BR (as the series is commonly cited) had served to bring primary documents to scholars who would otherwise not have access to them.
Likewise, to remedy lack of access, the Filipiniana Book Guild [hereafter FBG] was established in the 1960s. It continued to publish into the 1970s transcriptions and English translations of Spanish works, among them Pedro Chirino’s Relación de las Islas Filipinas, which first appeared in Rome in 1604. Unlike BR, FBG published entire works issuing them as independent volumes with the transcription of the originals and the translations bound together.11 Jesuits were members of FBG.
To familiarize college students with documentary sources, de la Costa put together a single-volume compilation and translation, Readings in Philippine History, as a textbook. In it, he wove a history of the Philippines told through a selection of translated primary manuscript texts and published materials, linked by a narrative. Schumacher did something similar, producing Readings in Philippine Church History as a textbook for his classes in church history.12
The last extant work written at the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Philippines in 1768 in the manner of a relación was the journal of Francisco Puig (1720–98) on the expulsion. It remained unpublished until it was transcribed and translated by Nicholas P. Cushner and published in 1964 as Philippine Jesuits in Exile: The Journals of Francisco Puig, S.J., 1768–1770.13
Access to sources has greatly improved with European and American repositories making their holding accessible online, but Philippine institutions have still to begin assiduously digitizing to make their holdings available.
A fourth reason. After the Second Vatican Council, there emerged among church circles a very strong interest in socio-political involvement. Inspired by the council’s document Church in the Modern World and the Bishops’ Synod of 1971’s Justice in the World, which stated that “action on behalf of justice is a constitutive dimension of preaching the Gospel,” priests, seminarians, and women and men religious were drawn to confront socio-political problems by orienting their apostolates toward the urban poor, farmers, and laborers. Many participated in rallies organized by students and civil and advocacy groups. In the 1970s, many church people preferred to be making rather than writing history, all the more so when President Marcos declared martial law (September 11, 1972) and the church took the cautious position of “critical collaboration,” as articulated by Archbishop Cardinal of Manila, Jaime Sin (1928–2005).
Among the Jesuits, the impetus to address socio-political-economic issues was further strengthened when General Congregation 32 issued Decree 4: Our Mission Today. Paragraph 28 stated that “the promotion of justice is indispensable to [evangelization].” Many younger Jesuits, priests and scholastics, were attracted toward what had been popularly called “FnJ” (faith and justice) rather than toward academic research. There was a discernible anti-intellectual strain running through the scholasticate. The pioneering work of de la Costa was not aggressively and actively taken up by a younger generation of Jesuits. Ironically, de la Costa’s masterful work, which showed a firm command of the breadth and depth of archival sources in the Philippines and abroad, with its limpid prose that made reading his work a pleasant or even entertaining activity, served to dampen interest in following in his footsteps. The sentiment that de la Costa had already said everything so elegantly so that there was nothing to add, discouraged any serious research into Jesuit history. But the academic world was not asleep as we shall see later.
A Legacy of Documenting and Writing
Writing by Jesuits and about Jesuits in the Philippines has a long history bringing us back to the beginning of the Jesuit missions in the Philippines. In September 1581, Jesuits arrived there in response to a plea addressed to the Spanish crown by Guido Lavezaris (in office 1572–75), the successor of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (c.1510–72), the first governor general of the Philippines (in office 1565–72).14 The advance party of four Jesuits, Antonio Sedeño (1535–95), mission superior and Alonso Sanchez (1565–93) both priests; coadjutor brother Nicolás Gallardo (d.1614) and scholastic Gaspar Suárez de Toledo (1554–81), who died on board, were already in Mexico in 1579. They were recruited to sail to Manila, leaving Acapulco on March 29, 1581 on board the San Martín. They entered Manila on September 17 in the company of Bishop Domingo de Salazar, O.P. (1512–1594; in office 1579–94), appointed bishop of Manila.
Almost as soon as the Jesuits arrived in Manila, Sedeño wrote to Rome. The earliest extant letter of Sedeño in ARSI is dated June 12, 1582, addressed to Acquaviva, on the religious situation in Manila and the Jesuits.15 This impetus for documenting, recording, and writing was partially due to the Jesuits’ modo de proceder (manner of proceeding). Following the example of Ignatius Loyola (c.1491–1556) and the common practice in the Society, Jesuits built channels of communication between superiors and subjects, among Jesuits, ecclesiastical and civil authorities, families and friends and others so that there existed a vibrant communicational network.
More formal reports, the litterae annuae (annual letters), were sent by the provincial superior to the central house in Rome. In turn, the annual letters were based on compiled reports that came from the houses, colleges, missions, and other places. Usually, the rector of house or the superior of an area was responsible for sending information to the provincial. Although called annual letters, by the second half of the seventeenth century, the reports from the Philippines were sent triennially, even every six years, because of the length and difficulty to travel from Manila to Rome.16
But the impetus to write and communicate was further bolstered by instructions from the Spanish monarchs seeking information about the Indies. Philip II (1527–98, r.1556–98) had asked Spanish officials, civil and ecclesiastical, to send detailed reports of the lands they had passed through or colonized. These were to be addressed to the Consejo de las Indias, the bureaucratic arm in charge of all the Spanish colonies in the Indies. Included in the information gathered for the king were the topography and geology of the land, the waters and seas and sea routes, the mineral deposits, flora and fauna, the seasons and weather, and the indigenous inhabitants, their culture and organization, whether they had kings, writing systems, methods of warfare, and so forth. Philip’s list was a virtual checklist for a natural history. The more formal reports, which included maps were known as relaciones geográficas.17
Examples of early reports sent to the monarch, not strictly relaciones geográficas were Alonso Sánchez’s 1586 report presented to the Spanish court and cited in Pedro Chirino’s unpublished history18 and Bishop Salazar’s 1595 letter to the king describing living conditions in Manila, especially the Chinese enclave, called Parian, where all sorts of goods and foodstuffs could be procured.19
Relación y historia
Longer reports were known as relación y historia (narrative and history). A relación was a more informal report, sometimes written in the first person. De la Costa describes the relaciones as “newsletters written by the Philippine Jesuits to their brethren in Spain, in which they reported not only of domestic but of general interest.”20 The historia was a longer descriptive and narrative work covering a period of time. It was more formal, generally written in the third person.21
Authors and Their Works
Three Jesuits stand out as the authors of the official histories of the Philippine Jesuits; they are Pedro Chirino (1558–1635) who arrived in the Philippines in 1590; Francisco Colin (1592–1660) who was provincial (in office 1639–44); and Pedro Murillo Velarde (1696–1753), canonist, historian and cartographer, best known for his map of the Philippines.22 They wrote what Eduardo Descalzo Yuste calls “official” histories initiated by, sanctioned or even commanded under obedience by superiors, in contrast to unofficial histories like Francisco Combes’s (1620–65) Historia de Mindanao, Jolo y sus adyacentes (1667) and Ignacio Alzina’s (1610–74) “Historia de las islas e indios de Visayas,” written at the individual’s initiative.23 To these may be added: Successos felices, que por mar, y tierra ha dado N.S. en las Islas Filipinas contra el Mindanao (1637), which is cited by Murillo. Successos, an account of Governor General Sebastian Hurtado Corcuera’s Maguindanao campaign, may have been written by the Jesuit Juan López (1584–1659).24
Simply because they were not official, one could not say that Combes’s, Alzina’s, and Lopez’s works were not valuable. On the contrary, all three were valuable because Combes and Alzina worked in the areas that they wrote about and were for the most part reporting firsthand knowledge. Combes’s work was printed and published but Alzina’s remained in manuscript until the late twentieth century. Another unpublished historia is by Diego de Oña (1655–1721). Juan José Delgado (1697–1755) wrote a more general history of the Philippines, Historia general, written in the eighteenth century but that was not published until 1892. The reason why Alzina and Oña remained unpublished is uncertain.
The first published account, Chirino’s Relación de las Islas Filipinas (Rome, 1604) was probably written or completed by the author when he was sent there as procurator for the Philippine vice-province. Relación has eighty-two short chapters and an introduction. Encouraged by a letter from Acquaviva, December 12, 1605, Chirino went on to write a more formal history, Primera parte de la historia de la provincia de Philipinas de la Compañía de Jesús (First part of the history of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus). “Historia” had four books divided into chapters. Chirino completed the manuscript in 1610 but it was not published in his lifetime or even long after.25
Published posthumously in Madrid in 1663, Colin’s Labor evangélica, ministerios apostólicos de los obreros de la Compañia de Jesus was an official history in which Colin expanded Chirino’s unpublished history and brought the narrative to 1616. Called “parte primera,” Colin’s history would have to wait another century before its continuation would be written. In his preface, Colin outlined the plan for Labor evangélica, which followed the stages or eras that the Society has spent in the Philippine Islands. The work is divided into four books, the first covers the era of the mission, 1581–95; the second the vice-province, 1595–1605; the third and fourth the Province, 1605 to the second decade of the 1600.
In the eighteenth century appeared Pedro Murillo Velarde’s Historia de la provincia de Philipinas de la Compañía de Jesús, segunda parte. Printed by the Jesuit press La Compañía, in Manila in 1749, it brought the history to the year 1716. It was called “segunda parte [second part]” because it was planned as a continuation of Colin. Murillo’s historia has four books divided into chapters.
Chirino’s Relación was a seminal work that set a pattern of writing which remained when historical writing turned more formal and took the form of the historia in Francisco Colin and Pedro Murillo-Velarde.26
There are four shared characteristics of Jesuit historical writing of this era. First is the intended audience. The edification of these particular individuals (through hagiography and the representation of the miraculous) is what constitutes the fourth shared characteristic. The second shared feature lies in the content, namely the information on the location, geography, geology, and ethnography of the Philippines. This appeals to the intended audience’s taste for the exotic; it is influenced by the relación geográfica. The third is a common narrative thread, strengthened by the literary dependence of the histories, which all share a presupposition about how to write about the frontier missions and its histories.27
These characteristics are by no means peculiar to the Philippine writing; in fact, they fall into a genre of Jesuit writing about peoples and places encountered in the missions. Alexandre Coello and Teodoro Hampe have analyzed the writings about New Spain (Mexico) and Brazil composed as the Society built its corporate identity in the face of a new geographical, political, and cultural situation. They studied how this identity was fashioned by relating it to hagiographical, educative, eschatological, and political works.28
An introduction, addressed to Acquaviva, states Chirino’s objective in writing. After accomplishing his work as procurator to Rome, Chirino complemented his official deposition with a freely composed narrative account of Society’s work in the Philippines “in the propagation of our holy faith,” recounting “the progress it has achieved in fruition of its efforts on behalf of the Holy Church.”29
Chirino reveals the first shared characteristics of writing: intended audience. Since all works were written in Spanish, they were not addressed to the indigenous peoples being converted by the Jesuits but to the Spanish-speaking population of the Philippines, Mexico and Spain, where the printed works were disseminated or the manuscripts sent. Specifically, they were addressed to Jesuits, in particular superiors. Because they might also be read by non-Jesuits like civil and ecclesiastical authorities, and friends and benefactors of the Society, the objective of gaining support for the mission in the Philippines, including material support, is likely present.
Colin and Murillo-Velarde were to follow. Colin’s preface to Labor, “Al Lector [To the reader],” indicates the direction of his historical writing. Colin aimed not for a comprehensive history, but for the inspiration of the reader, who need not look for other books to learn about the Jesuit mission and ministry. His style was simple, without affectation. Like ecclesiastical and religious histories, he wrote not to satisfy curiosity but to teach spiritually, to console, and edify the readers—particularly the religious ones. He painted with great enthusiasm the abundance of the harvest in contrast with small number of the laborers in the Indies.30 Murillo Velarde hinted at the reader he had in mind when he declared his intention in writing a historia:
The reader will see the marvelous deeds done by [the Society’s] ministers, admire their heroic virtues, which they showed in the difficult enterprises which they pursued; the arduous challenges that surrounded them and the outstanding men who cultivated the distant vineyard, following St. Francis Xavier, the pioneer of this province [translation mine].31
The remark suggests Jesuits and benefactors as the intended audience. The Jesuits would be inspired to follow St. Francis and benefactors seeing “marvelous deeds” would continue to support the work of the Jesuits.
Federico Palomo wrote that in Spain and Portugal among the Jesuits it was customary to read letters from the mission long before they were put to print. The letters served to inform and inspire the Jesuits. The letters were the basis for treatises on the ideal missionary, like Martín de la Naja’s El misionero perfecto, published in 1678 and dedicated to his confrère, Jerónimo López (1589–1658). Letters were subsequently compiled, selected, anthologized, and disseminated through print for the edification of Jesuit friends and benefactors.32 From the letters, it was a small step to the relación and historia, which would have read during the quiet moments in the daily schedule of a Jesuit community.33
Pedro de León (1545–1632), a Jesuit, wrote a compendium of his experiences as a missionary over three decades among prostitutes, shipyard personnel, and prisoners; plus his forays to the inland villages. In the prologue and dedication, he states that the work was intended for Jesuits (hence, it was not published but remained as a three-volume MS of which two copies exist). He also states that his narrative hopes to be a “mirror” where others might see the many tasks undertaken, that have value only because of the grace of vocation.34
These manuscripts were instruments of communication and memory. “In this sense, it appears clearly that texts like the compendium of Pedro de León, as well as the letters from the mission were primarily motivated by the desire for edification but secondarily by an interest in propaganda regarding letters from Asia or America.”35
Edification as an important objective of the historical writing explains the emphasis placed on the miraculous and hagiographical.
Chirino’s narrative recalls the style of the Acts of the Apostles, where the divine is accessible and where direct intervention by God in daily affairs is patent. In the second chapter “Of the Discovery of a Child Jesus That Gave Its Name to the City of Sebú, and of the Patron Saints of Sebú and Manila” is narrated the attack on Cebu by Legazpi’s soldiers and the discovery of the image of the Child Jesus or Santo Niño, which Chirino reads as a sign of divine guidance—“buen pronóstico” (good omen).36
This was not the only time Chirino looked for divine signs. This good omen was fulfilled in the rapid conversion of the villages within the encomienda of Taytay, as reported in 1597 by Francisco Almerique (1557–1601), who baptized one thousand and then five hundred more, between 1594 and 1595. The inhabitants in the surrounding areas came of their own volition.37 This success at conversion, rapid, peaceful, and easy, is nothing short of miraculous.
Descalzo notes that in Murillo-Velarde’s historia there are 230 hagiographic eulogies of Jesuits and others; some just a few lines in length, others much more extended. Repeated themes of the eulogies are the exemplar virtues of the Jesuits: humility, obedience, outstanding apostolic fervor, penitence, devotion, zeal for souls, internal and external mortification, continuous prayer, etc. All told, a hagiographic thread links the narrative and expressed collective history of the order.38
In the geographic, geological, and biological sections of Chirino’s writings, Descalzo demonstrates that when organizing observed data Chirino was influenced by José de Acosta (1540–1600), who documented the natural history of the Americas. Acosta and Jesuits who followed after him were shaped by “Jesuit humanism,” an eclectic mix of Renaissance humanism, Scholasticism, and Ignatian spirituality. Following an Aristotelian emphasis on empirical knowledge, the Jesuit relaciones made frequent use of the first person: “I did this,” “I saw this,” and so forth. Such experiential accounts were placed squarely against scripture and tradition, and where these were insufficient, Aristotle and other classical writers like Pliny the Elder filled the gaps.39 This empiricism is evident in a seemingly trivial experience in Chirino’s Relación, where he described how the Chinese reduce the ficus tree in size by planting them in rocks. It was a description of a bonsai (Chapter Ten).
In Labor evangélica’s preface, Colin described the geography of the Philippines and its history as the background and theater of Jesuit evangelical labor. Likewise, in conformity to the royal decree, he provided information about the crops and harvests of the land, and about the size, number, and quality of the lands and the farms. Although such information had already been written and Colin was presenting information culled from other relaciones and official data recorded by the alcaldes mayores or governors of the provinces in compliance with government orders, his account was much more orderly and clearer than Chirino’s. Colin clearly acknowledged indebtedness to older sources.
Murillo did not say much of the natural history of the Philippines, presuming that this had been adequately treated by earlier authors; but in Book 4, Chapter 2, he described the Ladrones and Palao islands because the Jesuits had just established an outpost through the work of Diego Luis de Sanvitores (1627–72), who had died a martyr in the islands in 1672. Rather than make observations on natural history, Murillo dealt with the political history that gave context and framed the eulogies.40
Assignment to the Indies was perceived in Europe as a hardship post at the western boundary of the empire. Colin located the Philippines “extra Gangem,” beyond the Ganges, hence on the extreme frontier.41 Interest in the exotic and bizarre filled the histories, but it was accompanied by a prevailing critique of the cultures and peoples of the Indies as primitive, barbarous, pagan, and idolatrous. Eurocentrism colored the reading of other cultures and strengthened the impetus for missionary work to save the Indios from their uncivilized ignorance. European culture, Christianity’s sponsor, was the measure against which other cultures were evaluated. Philippine tribal culture fell miserably short.
Common Narrative and Literary Dependence
Chirino established a narrative line in the Relación, which subsequent writers would adapt. After surveying the Philippines and locating its position on the world map, Chirino narrated Magellan’s arrival in 1521, next the settlement by Legazpi in 1565, and then the arrival of the first Jesuits in 1581. From that point he followed the expansion of the mission territory under the Jesuits, following roughly a chronological order. The account ended in 1601 with the visitation of Diego García (1552–1604). Chirino’s unpublished Historia ended in 1606, the year after the Philippines was raised to a province. Colin’s subsequent history, Labor evangélica, would draw heavily from Chirino’s unpublished history as indicated in the title page, “sacada de los manuscritos del Padre Pedro Chirino [taken from the manuscripts of Fr. Pedro Chirino],” not just by following the form and narrative flow created by Chirino but by paraphrasing or quoting generously from the unpublished history.42 Colin brought the narrative to 1616 and Murillo from 1616 to 1716.
The formal and literary continuity of the histories can be explained by the strong dependence on previous works. Murillo openly admits his own dependency by citing his sources, referring to Chirino, Colin, Combés, Ignacio Alzina on the Visayas, Francisco García on the Marianas, Diego de Oña, and works published in Europe by Juan Eusebio Nieremberg (1595–1658), Alonso de Andrade (1590–1672), Johannes Nadasi (1614–79), Matthias Tanner (1630–92), Charles le Gobien (1653–1708) and José Casani or Cassani (1673–1750) who wrote biographies of outstanding men of the Philippine province. Furthermore, he consulted various documents, in particular “cartas de edificación [edifying letters]” in the archives.
Thus Jesuit relations and histories of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, though they do contain straight narrative along with ethnological and anthropological observations of the peoples the Jesuits encountered, are characterized by a hagiographic slant, whereby Jesuit virtues are celebrated and the providential hand of God is seen in historic events. Writing history came to an abrupt end in May 1768, when the Jesuits were expelled from the Philippines. After Murillo, no history of the Jesuits in the Philippines was written for more than five decades.
Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Jesuit Historiography
The Spanish Jesuits returned to the Philippines in 1859 after they had been restored by Pius VII (r.1800–23) in 1814. It took four decades and a half for the Jesuits to sail to Manila because the Society was suppressed in Spain in 1820 and again in 1834. While the returning Jesuits were destined for assignment to Mindanao, at the request of the city council of Manila and upon representation with authorities in Spain, the Jesuits were given charge of a primary school, Escuela Municipal de Manila, in September 1859. Six years later a secondary school was added and the school renamed Ateneo Municipal. The school would unexpectedly become the lynchpin of the Jesuit educational apostolate in the Philippines. But that was in the future.
The missions in Mindanao began with a tour made by José Fernández Cuevas (1816–64), the mission superior in 1860. The following year, missions began in Mindanao, with the first post in Cotabato. By the century’s end, Jesuit mission territory would encompass almost the whole island and the adjacent islands of Basilan and Sulu archipelago, southwest of Zamboanga. Except for Cagayan de Oro, which the Recollects held until the twentieth century, all other parishes and missions of Mindanao were turned over to the Jesuits as stipulated in the royal instructions.
A veteran of the Mindanao missions, Pablo Pastells (1846–1932) contributed to the accounts about Jesuit history. Initially assigned to the Ateneo Municipal in 1868, he was posted to the Surigao and Davao missions of Mindanao from 1876 to 1887. There, he founded the towns of Baganga and Cateel. He was recalled to Manila to be mission superior in 1887, then made acting superior of the Escuela Normal de San Francisco Xavier in 1893; but on October 5 of that year he had to return to Spain because of failing health.
Pastells was an intellectual known for his lively debate with the Philippine national hero José Rizal (1861–96) about religion. In Spain, Pastells spent his retirement by working on the history of the Jesuits in the Philippines. Cooperating with bibliographer and librarian of the Tabacalera corporation, Wenceslao E. Retana (1862–1924), Pastells annotated Colin’s Labor evangélica with references to archival documents. With Retana, he also annotated Combes’s Historia de Mindanao.43 Retana is best known for Aparato bibliográfico de la historia general de Filipinas, a comprehensive and annotated bibliography of Philippine imprints, the bulk of which belonged to the Tabacalera library and Archivo del bibliófilo filipino.44
Pastells was strongly influenced by critical history, which stressed the importance of supporting documentation in service of von Ranke’s ideal, telling “how it actually happened.” With the two-volume work, published in 1900 for the first and in 1902 for the second, Pastells brought modern methods of historical research to bear on an older text by reading critically and downplaying Colin’s hagiographic and edifying slant. Pastells also wrote Misión de la Compañía de Jesús de Filipinas en el siglo XIX, bringing Jesuit history up to the end of the Spanish era. Here Pastells shows his adherence to documentary evidence and by and large avoids hagiography, although there are still traces of Jesuit self-congratulation in his work.45
Because the Jesuits’ apostolic work in the Ateneo was the education of youth, research and writing was not the primary focus of school work; these fell to another institution, the Manila Observatory, established by mathematician Francisco Colina (1837–93) and two Jesuit scholastics Jaime Nonell (1844–1922) and Juan Ricart (1838–1915) in 1865. It specialized in meteorology. Upon acquiring a Secchi universal meteorograph in 1869, it began issuing regular weather reports that benefited shipping and business in Manila. It opened a seismology section in 1887 and an astronomy section in 1899.
With the United States’ assumption of rule over the Philippines as a newly acquired Pacific colony, American bureaucrats recognized the importance of the Jesuit scholars in Manila for a better understanding of the Philippines. The Jesuits were commissioned by the colonial government to gather a fact-book about the Philippines. Published in 1900 at the US government press in Washington DC as two volumes, El Archipielago Filipino, provided the Americans a one-stop reference for knowing about the geography, natural history, social, political, and religious institutions of the Philippines, history, and other topics. Also published was Atlas de Filipinas by José Algue. The authorship of both were attributed to the Jesuits of the Manila Observatory.46
Because of its strong research slant, interest in historical research came not surprisingly from the observatory’s scientists, notably Miguel Saderra Maso (1865–1939) and William Charles Repetti (1884–1966). Their foray into history was a serious hobby, almost a second career. Saderra Maso, a seismologist of the Manila Observatory, known for his documentation of earthquakes in the Philippines, wrote an outline history of the Philippine Province from 1581 to the end of the nineteenth century.47 His was a bare-bones narrative, with hardly any trace of the hagiographical and the homilizing tendency of older histories. Published in 1914 by the University of Santo Tomas Press, it was translated into English by Leo Cullum (1902–88), who brought the narrative up to the year 1946. Cullum’s work had a limited circulation.48
By 1927, the Philippines had passed from the Spanish Jesuits to the Americans of the New York–Maryland province. In 1928, Repetti, who had been the director of the seismological station of Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, in 1910 and of the seismological observatory of Fordham University from 1914 to 1926, arrived in the Philippines to head the seismological section of the Manila Observatory. He developed an interest in the history of the Jesuits in the Philippines, publishing articles on the College of Manila, on the first Jesuit residence in the Philippines, on the University of San Ignacio, and on the oldest Jesuit book in the Philippines, a manuscript of Angel Armano (1572–1612) on the lives of saints whose relics had been entrusted to the Society in Manila in 1597. A number of articles published in 1940 appeared in Cultura social, a Jesuit magazine, or in publications sponsored by the Manila Observatory. In 1938, he published Pictorial Records and Traces of the Society of Jesus in the Philippine Islands and Guam prior to 1768.49 Thus, when the Jesuits, in preparation for the 1940 quadricentennial celebration of the order’s founding, were looking for someone who could write a history in English of the Society in the Philippines the task fell on Repetti as the most obvious if not the only choice. But as Repetti narrates in the preface to volume 6 of his manuscript, “The Society of Jesus in the Philippine Islands: The Philippine Mission, 1859–1938”:
The work was undertaken by Father Repetti, by order of Father Superior, for the 400th anniversary of the Society, a few sections being contributed by other fathers. Owing to lack of time it was put together too hurriedly to give attention to style. It was remoulded by another father of the Philippine mission in the form, for most part, as presented here, but this was not sufficiently suited to the occasion, and hence not published. Father de la Costa then wrote a more popular work, but it was not completed in time for the anniversary year, and the recent war prevented its publication.50
Except for volume 6, which is written out as a narrative, the rest of the eight volumes of Repetti is not properly speaking a narrative but a compilation of documents transcribed from European archives, notably ARSI, that could serve as source material for a history. That same preface mentions Horacio de la Costa who at that time was a scholastic.
As mentioned above, de la Costa wrote a popular history of Society, Light Cavalry, covering the same years as Repetti, intended for a young audience of senior high school students, who would be the best recruits for the Society.51 The book would be printed in 1941 but before it could be released, World War II started in the Pacific, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and of military installations near Manila on December 8. Light Cavalry survived as a few rare copies, hardly read except by Jesuit scholastics.
Repetti and de la Costa’s association preceded the writing of histories. In 1937, while still studying, de la Costa secured the permission of the prefect of studies to ask Repetti’s guidance regarding what books to read because he was interested in Philippine history. De la Costa would keep this interest until his more mature years, when from 1948 to 1951, he was enrolled in a doctoral program at Harvard. Then in 1951 and 1952, 1955 and 1956, he was doing research in European archives for a history of the Jesuits in the Philippines. Projected as a two-volume work, the first volume, covering the years 1581–1768, was printed by Harvard Press in 1961. The second volume, announced as forthcoming in the preface to the 1961 book, was never completed. It remains a set of well-organized notes.
De la Costa’s Jesuits in the Philippines, 1581–1768, acknowledged its indebtedness to Repetti’s compilation of documents but augmented that material with published sources and archival documents. De la Costa appended a bibliographic essay, “Sources and References,” in which he described the archives he had consulted and the relevant material on the Philippines. This is followed by a standard bibliography that he entitled “References.”52
Like the histories of Chirino, Colin, and Murillo, de la Costa’s work is divided into three books: Book One, Foundations: The Mission and Vice-Province, 1581–1605; Book Two, Growth under Stress: The Province, 1605–1655; and Book Three, The Livery of Christ: The Province, 1655–1768. Each book is divided into chapters: nine for Book One, eight for Book Two, and seven for Book Three. De la Costa follows the narrative flow of the early histories, and fills the gap in information and narrative from 1727 to the expulsion in 1768 by using archival material.
But the similarity between de la Costa’s history and older ones ends there, for de la Costa brings the critical eye of the modern historian. He underplays the miraculous and if he mentions it, it is reported casually in paraphrase of what older authors had said. By downplaying the miraculous and the intervention of the divine, de la Costa writes a more down-to-earth account situating Jesuit history in the context of Philippine histories and realities. Thus, he writes about the participation of the Jesuits in the Synod of Manila in 1582 and thereafter, where the rights of the native people were discussed under the leadership of the Manila archbishop Domingo de Salazar, a disciple of Bartolomé de las Casas (1484–1566). The on and off jurisdictional conflicts between the state and the church and between the bishops and the religious orders, who claimed exemption from episcopal visitations because they answer directly to the pope; the engagement in trade and commerce through the galleon; the conflict between the Muslim sultanates and the Spanish civil authorities; the war for domination in Asia between the Spanish and other Europeans, notably the Dutch and the British; the engagement of Jesuits in the study of local language and culture, in natural history and in their introduction of crops from the Americas and Europe and European methods of agriculture—all these build a context that enriches the history of Jesuit involvement in Asia. After de la Costa, no major history has been written, even by Jesuits. The restoration era history of the Jesuits was never written because de la Costa died prematurely in 1977.
Admittedly, there are many gaps and silences in de la Costa’s work. He had not been able to handle adequately the issue of colonization and its effects on indigenous culture. His discussion of natural history and science was cursory despite the availability of material, such as Alzina’s Historia and the scientific correspondence between Jesuit Moravian lay brother Georg Kamel (1661–1706) and the naturalists of Europe. He did not say enough about economic history and the Jesuits involvement in it, although he treated in passing the Jesuits’ export of beeswax from the Philippines and their involvement in the galleon trade. He has not said enough too about the Jesuits’ involvement in the political affairs of the Philippine colony.
Descalzo’s comment on de la Costa cited below and Edgar Wickberg’s review of Jesuits in the Philippines are appropriate. Wickberg, author of The Chinese in Philippine Life 1850–1898, wrote in a review of de la Costa, “Where are the Filipinos? One catches glimpses of them in policy discussions, in accounts of individual conversations, and in occasional descriptions […] of their ways of life. But there is no comprehensive evaluation of the ways in which those modes of life were modified by Jesuit labors. I do not suggest ethnohistory. The Jesuits are the main theme. […] How were Filipino society and culture changed in the areas where Jesuits worked? The conquest by cross and sword is surely important. But the fruits of that conquest were Catholicized, Hispanized Filipinos. The Jesuit effort cannot be assessed without a consideration of its fruits.”53
It is fair to say that de la Costa opened the path leading to more detailed and thorough Jesuit studies in the Philippines but few have decided to follow. Some exceptions are noteworthy though, as we shall see in the next section.
Philippine Studies from the 1970s onwards
In the late 1970s, a reassessment of the colonial past began. Earlier Reynaldo Ileto published Pasyon and Revolution (1979), which demonstrated the religious dimension of the Philippine Revolution.54 The popular pasyon gave the masses a vision of the revolution as a battle between the oppressed good people and the tyrannical evil leaders. It was less fed by the cry of “equality, fraternity, and liberty” reminiscent of the French Revolution, which the ilustrados, the educated upper class were mouthing. Vicente Rafael’s Contracting Colonialism, by analyzing literature published and propagated during the Spanish colonial era, showed that the texts were not passively absorbed by the colonized but modified in terms of the colonized.55 His title played with the contrasting meanings of “contracting” in the sense of making a contract or being infected, and “contracting” in the sense of making smaller, constraining.
These publications showed that the Spanish era, maligned in the heat of the student movement and demonstrations, was calling for a second look because the history of the Philippines was far more complex than the black and white picture of heroes of nationalism versus the villains of neocolonialism, represented by the church and the economic, social, and political oligarchs.
It is in this context of a re-examination of the colonial past that Doreen G. Fernandez’s study on Philippine theater, Palabas, uncovered the role of the Jesuits in fostering theatrical productions.56 The earliest documented example of the Philippine komedya or moro-moro, which derived from the Spanish plays on the battle between Christians and Moors, was performed by students from the Jesuit college of San Ildefonso in the port town of Cavite. In 1986, Bienvenido Lumbera published Tagalog Poetry, 1570–1898.57 In that book, he brought to light an eighteenth-century work published by the Jesuit press La Compañía. This was the Mahal na Passion ni Jesu Christong Panginoon by Gaspar Aquino de Belén, the master printer of the Jesuit press from 1703 to 1716. His analysis of this text of Jesuit provenance led to its further study and analysis by the Jesuits Jose Mario Francisco and René Javellana. Javellana published a transcription with annotations of the 1760 edition of the eighteenth-century Mahal na Passion (1990).58 The passion or pasyon was a verse narrative of the life of Jesus, that was widely read and chanted during Lent, especially Holy Week.
Interest in the colonial past focused less on the narrative of events but on the cultural legacy of the Spanish era and touched topics like Nicanor Tiongson’s Sinakulo (1975), a study of the folk passion plays.59 Twenty books or so on Spanish colonial art and architecture were published, beginning with written by Alicia Coseteng’s 1972 book on colonial churches.60
A new direction in historical writing has emerged, less concerned with major events and the acts of important, even heroic, people; the turn was to quotidian things that have persisted and that built an entire landscape of social, cultural, and artistic heritage. This writing emerged in a postcolonial context, which produced strong criticism of the colonial past, especially its abuses, and in particular institutionalized ones. The writing was attempting to free itself from Eurocentrism, and to take full account of the perspectives and realities of the colonized. This history from below is the present context of Jesuit studies.
Recent Jesuit Studies
Based on published histories, archival material and field work, Javellana’s Wood and Stone for God’s Greater Glory: Jesuit Art and Architecture in the Philippines (1991) documented Jesuit churches that had been built during the pre-suppression and restoration eras.61 The book’s catalogue raisonné lists where Jesuits had built a church and whether such structures are still standing. Javellana’s interest has been in cultural history of the Society. In “Global Exchange: Glimpses of an 18th-century Colonial Kitchen,” he reconstructed the cuisine and dining practices of Colegio de San José, using as a guide the inventory of Jesuit property made in 1768.62
An important manuscript that remained unpublished until the twentieth century was Ignacio Alzina’s (1610–74) Historia de las islas e indios de Visayas written in 1668. Alzina’s was a two-part history: Part I, “Historia natural” and Part II “Historia sobrenatural” or ecclesiastical. While unpublished, its content was not entirely unknown because the information on natural history in Juan José Delgado’s (1697–1755) Historia general sacro-profana was so dependent on Alzina that Delgado borrowed texts from Alzina with hardly any editorial change.63
Alzina gained attention of post-World War II historians who found the text a trove of information on pre-colonial Philippines. There were several redactions of Alzina, believed to be copies of a lost autograph. In 1994, Spanish scholars Maria Luisa Martin-Meras and Maria Dolores Higueras published a facsimile copy of the Museo Naval text and did a textual analysis that established the genealogy of the four known recensions of Part I (Lenox MS, New York Public Library; San Cugat MS, Barcelona; Museo Naval MS, Madrid; and Biblioteca Real MS, Madrid) are all copies of a lost original and Part II, which is also a copy, exists in only one mutilated version held in the Biblioteca Real.
Part I, according to editors Martin-Meras and Higueras, was influenced by José Acosta’s 1590 Historia natural y moral de las Indias, which provided Alzina with an analytical framework and system of classification of natural phenomena.64 An initial effort to get the work transcribed and translated was begun by the University of Chicago’s Philippine Studies Program in the late 1950s. This unit worked on the Lenox recension. But still Alzina remained unpublished in its entirety for even though the University of Chicago completed the transcription of Part I and a draft translation, the work was never brought to print.
In 1996, a transcription of Part I based on the Biblioteca Real MS was published as two volumes, edited by Victoria Yepes. Books I and II were published as Historia natural de islas de bisayas del Padre Alzina and Books III and IV as Una etnografía de los indios de bisayas del siglo XVII del Padre Alzina. In 1998, Part II was published as Historia sobrenatural de las islas bisayas: Segunda parte de la historia de las islas e indios de bisayas, del Padre Alzina.65
Cantius Koback, a Franciscan who worked in Samar, formerly a pre-suppression Jesuit territory, and Pablo Fernández, a Dominican, translated the text into English and was serialized in Philippiniana sacra, a journal produced at the UST, until the articles were compiled as books and published in 2002 by UST.66
Jose S. Arcilla, former archivist of the Philippine province published a six-volume translation of nineteenth-century Jesuit letters, entitled Letters from Mindanao from 2000 to 2008.67
On the occasion of the tricentennial of his death in 2006, interest in the botanical and pharmaceutical work of Brother Kamel has emerged. A native of Brno, Moravia, Kamel arrived in the Philippines in 1687, where he began collecting and documenting botanical and zoological specimens as pharmacist of the Colegio de San Ignacio in Manila. These he brought to the attention of European scholars such as John Ray (1627–1705) and James Petiver (c.1665–1718) of the Royal Society of England; Dr. Samuel Browne (d.1698), physician of British East India Company stationed at Fort George near Madras; and Willem ten Rhyne of Batavia, who requested Kamel for information about Philippine plants. Building upon the earlier works of Josef and Renée Gicklhorn and Leo Cullum, Sebastian Kroupa has written on the correspondence network of Kamel. Raquel Reyes wrote about the botanical and zoological work of Kamel.68
Pavel Zavadil has collated the correspondence of Bohemian Jesuits assigned to America, the Philippines, and the Marianas.69 Among the Bohemian Jesuits are Kamel and Paul Klein (1652–1717). Remembered as the spiritual director of Mother Ignacia del Espíritu Santo (1663–1748), foundress of the Beaterio de la Compañía (now known as the Religious of the Virgin Mary [RVM]), the first women’s congregation founded by a Filipina, Klein was provincial in the years 1708–10. He wrote a book on medical remedies, Remedios fáciles para diferentes enfermedades.70
A most recent work on the Jesuits is the doctoral dissertation La Compañía de Jesús en Filipinas (1581–1768): Realidad y representación by Eduardo Descalzo Yuste, written at the University of Barcelona in 2015. While it covers the same ground as de la Costa’s 1961 book, it adds to the discourse by relating the Jesuit enterprise in the Philippines to the context of colonization and empire-building. It expands on the narrative of the mission to the Marianas and the enterprise of Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores and the Chamorro wars. But most importantly it speaks about the representation and historiographic assumptions of Jesuit writing in the Philippines as it relates to how the Society projected itself, and how the image of the Indio and the Orient is represented. The work relates the image to Spanish assumptions about paganism and idolatry and medieval Spain’s image of the Orient, especially China. It takes a critical position about de la Costa’s work. While acknowledging it as the only monograph (“la una monografía”) on Jesuit history from 1581 to 1768, and admitting its strength because of its deep documentary base in the archival materials in Rome and Spain, nonetheless Descalzo states:
The text suffers from the same shortcomings as its predecessors. Although the author was a professional historian and used a great quantity of primary sources, the use was limited by hewing closely to the letter of the sources without engaging in a profound critique. On the other hand, regarding the situation of the Jesuits, his perspective was very partial with a text favorable toward the Ignatian institute. It consistently praised missionary work and absolved the Jesuits of the responsibility for clashes with other orders or political and ecclesiastical authorities [translation mine].71
Descalzo has also written on the histories of Chirino, Colin, and Murillo cited earlier, and he has contributed an essay on Antonio Sedeño as well.72
A focused study on the Jesuit Blessed Diego Luis de Sanvitores (1627–72), Vicente M. Diaz’s Repositioning the Missionary is a critical evaluation of the narrative of Sanvitores’s martyrdom as consolidated in the Roman Catholic Church both in the historic documents of the seventeenth century and in the twentieth-century initiative to move for his canonization, despite his being controversial “from below,” i.e., from the perspective of the native Chamorro, painted as villain in the historical narratives.73
María Marta Manchado wrote on the consequences of the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Philippines, using sources other than Jesuit archives. Manchado has written a number of studies of the aftermath of the expulsion of Jesuits from other places, and short articles on various personages in the Philippines like Madre Paula de la Santisima Trinidad (1713–82) who founded a beaterio-colegio in Manila and on Governor General Simón de Anda (1709–76; in office 1770–76.)74
Santiago Lorenzo García wrote “La expulsión de los jesuitas de Filipinas,” which studied the actuations of Simón de Anda against José Raón (in office 1765–70) and his associates who took charge of the expulsion of the Jesuits and the inventory of their properties. The trial, incarceration, and ultimate exoneration of Raón demonstrated the power struggle characteristic of colonial rule.75
Antonio de Castro’s 2000 dissertation "Jesuits in the Philippines: From the Revolution to the Transition from the Spanish Jesuits to the American Jesuits, 1898–1927," is about the transition of the Philippines from the Spanish Jesuits to the Americans of New York and Maryland.76
Amado Tumbali’s 2016 master’s thesis “History of the Catholic Church in Mindanao: Dividing the Diocese of Zamboanga in 1933” is on the division of the diocese of Zamboanga in two: south Zamboanga, north Cagayan de Oro. The Jesuits, especially Joaquin Villalonga and José Clos, first bishop of Zamboanga, had an active hand in this matter. John T. McGreevey’s 2016 American Jesuits and the World devotes chapter 6, the final one, to the Jesuit enterprise in the Philippines, entitled “Manila, Philippines: Empire.”77
While the general narrative of the Jesuits in Philippines has been exposed in the works of de la Costa, Repetti, de Castro, Tumbali, and McGreevey, the story ends on the eve of World War II. The war years, the reconstruction after the war in the 1950s, and the 1960s to the present were all eras when Jesuits were actively involved not just in attending to spiritual matters but also directly in the history of the Philippines.
More has to be done in the area of Jesuit studies. Going back to the pre-suppression period, the work that the Jesuits did as grammarians and lexicographers, preserving the native vernaculars and opening them to the assimilation of Christian and European concepts, has hardly been studied, notwithstanding the Jesuit vocabularios (lexicons) and artes (grammars) of the Tagalog and Visayan languages. Associated with such labors is the intellectual life of the Jesuit colleges, which, to judge by the inventories of the institutions’ libraries, was rich and represented well the current state of knowledge in the eighteenth century. This area has not yet been sufficiently documented and analyzed. The Jesuits role in the Asiatic and the galleon trade is still to be studied. “Jesuit ware” or porcelain with distinct Jesuit marks is found in Macao, Mexico, and elsewhere. How did these blue and white wares travel globally? What was the network? Were Jesuits actively involved? The reason for the Jesuit expulsion from the Philippines needs to be specified. Was the expulsion collateral damage from the more general expulsion from the Spanish realm? Were there accusations specific to the Philippines? How then to explain the alleged kind treatment of the Jesuits by Governor General José Raón and the willingness of the people of Samar to prevent the expulsion of the Jesuits at the risk of violence.
The Restoration era offers many more areas that need further study, such as the relationship of the Jesuits with schismatic groups like the Aglipayans. The Jesuits encountered them while they were in charge of northern Mindanao and the Protestant public school teachers and the government public educational system that the Jesuits judged to be ungodly. What is the source of the Jesuits’ continuing influence in the political and social life of the Philippines? Their massive investment in personnel and material resources in education needs to be scrutinized. Have the Jesuits had a positive influence in the Philippines and in the Asia-Pacific region, the new frontier that has opened to the Philippine Jesuits since Vatican II? The list of possible area or topics needing exploration and writing can be multiplied. Much more can be done in the area of Jesuit studies in the Philippines, a broad field calling to be explored.
Table: Comparison of Contents of the Histories of the Jesuits in the Philippines
Background: geographic description, geology and general history
Notes on natural history and ethnography
Narrative of Jesuits in the Philippines; general history of the Philippines
Hagiographical biographies and edifying accounts
Pedro Chirino, Relaciónde las islas Filipinas, (Rome: 1604)
Chapters 1–3, 6–7
Ch 10, 15–18, 21, 22, 30, 33, 34, 36 (earlier section), 46, 80
Ch 4–5, 8, 9, 11-12, 14, 19, 20, 23–29, 31, 32, 35, 36 (later section), 37–45, 47–79, 81–82
Pedro Chirino, Historia de la Compañía de Jesús (1606, published 1994)
Book II: Ch 2, 11 Book III: Ch 3 Book IV: Ch 35
Book II: Ch 3, 4, 11 Book III: Ch 3, 4, 6, 8–10, 15, 16, 17 (beginning) 18, 20–21, 25–28, Book V: Ch 6, 14, 16, 39, 40, 47
Book I: Ch 1, 2, 5–29 Book II: Ch 1, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12–16, 20–25, 27 Book III: Ch 1, 2, 5, 11–14, 19, 22–24, 29–33. Book IV: Ch 1–3, 5, 7-13, 15-17, 19–25, 29–32, 34, 36 Book V: Ch 1-5, 7–9, 11–13, 15, 17, 19–22, 24, 27–38, 41–43, 45, 46, 50–52, 54
Book I: Ch 3, 4, 30–31 Book II: Ch 6, 8, 17–19, 26 Book III: Ch 17 (later part) Book IV: Ch 4, 6, 18, 26–28, 33 Book V: Ch 10, 18, 23, 25, 44, 48, 49, 53, 55, 56
Francisco Colin, Labor Evangélica (1663)
Book I: Ch 1–12, 17 Book II: Ch 1, 2, 8
Book I: Ch 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
Book I: Ch 19, 20, 22–24 Book II: Ch 1–12, 14–25, 27–29 Book III: Ch 1, 3, 5–28, 35, 36 Book IV: Ch 1–3, 4, 7–9, 11–13, 16, 17, 21, 24, 25, 33
Book I: Ch 21 Book II: Ch 26 Book III: Ch 2, 4, 34, 37 Book IV: Ch 5–7, 10, 14–16 18- 20, 22, 23, 26-32,
Francisco Combés, Mindanao y Jolo (1667)
Book I: Ch 1, 2, 4, 6- 8, (description and geology of Mindanao). Book III, Ch. 1
Book I: Ch 3, 5, 9, 10, 11, 13-, 18
Book II: Ch 1-11. Book III; Ch 2, 3–12 Book IV; Ch 1-11 Book V: Ch 1, 2–12, 14–18 Book VI: Ch 1–13 Book VII: Ch 1–5, 7–12, 14 Book VIII, Ch 1–3, 5–9, 12–16 Addendum. Copy of a letter by Fr. Provincial Rafael de Bonafe
Book II: Ch 7, 8, 12 Book IV: Ch 13 Book VI: Ch 14 Book VII: Ch 13, 15, 16 Book VIII: Ch 4, 10, 11
Ignacio Alzina, Historia de las islas e indios de Visayas (1668)
Part I: Historia natural, Book I: Ch 1, 5. Book II: Ch 29-30.
Part I: Historia natural, Book I: Ch 2–4, 6-29. Book: II, Ch 1-27 Books III and IV.
Part I, Book IV. Addendum: Soledad de Alcino to Rafael de Bonafe, his friend and companion in Manila (Bonfrido, su amigo y compañero en Manila). A narrative verse on the life and work of Alzina. Part II: Historia sobrenatural Book I: Ch. 17–24; Book: II, Ch. 1–25; Book: III, 3–26 interweaves historical narratives with edifying stories.
Pedro Murillo Velarde, Historia de la Provincia (1749)*
Book I: Ch. 1–2, 8–9, 10–14, 18 Book II: Ch 1, 2, 8, 13–14, 17–18, 20 Book III: Ch 1, 4, 6, 9, 13–14 Book IV: Ch 1, 2, 4–5.
Book IV: Ch 2
Book I: Ch. 3–9, 11, 12-13, 18 Book II: Ch 1–5, 9–10, 12, 15–16, 20, 23–24, 29 Book III: Ch 12, 15 Book IV: Ch 1, 3, 10, 13, 14, 16–18, 20, 22–23, 30
Book I: Ch. 3– 6, 8–18 Book II: Ch 1, 6, 7, 11–12, 19, 21–22, 25–30 Book III: Ch 2, 3, 5, 7–8, Book IV: Ch 6–9, 11–15, 19, 21, 24–29, 31
*Some chapters in Murillo Velarde are purely hagiographic, like Book: II, Ch 22 on the life of Servant of God, Juan de Ballesteros. Some begin with a historical narrative, whether a general history or Jesuit history, and end with hagiography. For chapters which have both historical narrative and hagiography the reference to the chapter is repeated.
For more bibliographical information, consult Boston College Jesuit Bibliography: The New Sommervogel Online (NSO).
^ Back to text3. Miguel A. Bernad, The Christianization of the Philippines: Problems and Perspectives (Manila: The Filipiniana Book Guild, 1972), especially chapter 19, “Secular priests and Jesuits,” 241–54.
^ Back to text4. Nicholas Cushner, Farm and Factory: The Jesuits and the Development of Agrarian Capitalism in Colonial Quito (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1982); Nicholas Cushner, Why Have You Come Here? The Jesuits and the First Evangelization of Native America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).
^ Back to text9. John N. Schumacher, Father Jose Burgos: A Documentary History (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1999; Schumacher, Jose Burgos: Priest and Nationalist (Manila: La Solidaridad, 1972); Schumacher, Revolutionary Clergy: The Filipino and the Nationalist Movement, 1850-1903 (Quezon City: ADMU Press, 1981).
^ Back to text10. Horacio de la Costa, “Philippine Historical and Social Science Sources Materials in Repositories Abroad,” Selected Studies in Philippine Colonial History. Compiled and edited by Roberto M. Paterno (Quezon City: 2B3C Foundation, 2002), 378–93.
^ Back to text12. Horacio de la Costa, Readings in Philippine History: Selected Historical Texts Presented with a Commentary (Manila: Bookmark, Inc., 1965); John N. Schumacher, Readings in Philippine Church History (Quezon City: Loyola School of Theology, 1979); Virginia Benitez Licuanan and Jose Llavador Mira, The Philippines under Spain: A Compilation and Translation of Original Documents, 6 vols. (Manila: National Trust for Historical and Cultural Preservation of the Philippines, 1990–96) is another example of making archival documents available to Philippine readers.
^ Back to text13. Nicholas P. Cushner, Philippine Jesuits in Exile: The Journals of Francisco Puig, S.J., 1768–1770 (Rome: Institutum Historicum, 1964). Francisco Puig or Puche was assigned to the Colegio de Manila in 1768. He was appointed superior of the Jesuits, because the provincial, Juan Prieto, died unexpectedly, when the Jesuits were sent into exile in Europe.
^ Back to text17. See The Boxer Codex: Transcription and Translation of an Illustrated Late Sixteenth-Century Spanish Manuscript Concerning the Geography: History and Ethnography of the Pacific, South-East and East Asia, ed. George Bryan Souza and Jeffrey S. Turley (Leiden: Brill, 2016).
^ Back to text18. Pedro Chirino, History of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus. Volume 1, trans. Jose S. Arcilla (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press,  2009); Chirino, Volume 2, trans. Jose S. Arcilla (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press,  2010).
^ Back to text19. Domingo de Salazar, “Letter of Bishop Domingo de Salazar to Philip II, 1595,” in Emma Blair and Alexander Robinson, trans. and eds., The Philippine Islands, vol. 8 (Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark, 1906–13), 28–29.
^ Back to text21. Surely, Jesuits were not alone in writing the relación or historia, others were engaged in it as well. Although it does not bear the the title “relación,” an early example, attributed to Juan de Plasencia, a Franciscan pioneer who evangelized the region south of Manila. Laguna, “Costumbres de los Tagalos (1589),” is a source of ethnographic data on the Tagalog people. Antonio de Morga’s Succesos de las Islas Filipinas (1609). See Antonio de Morga, Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas [History of the Philippine Islands], trans. Emma H. Blair and James Alexander Robertson, 2 vols. (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1907) is an example of a historia written by a civil official.
^ Back to text22. Pedro Chirino, Relación de las Islas Filipinas y de lo que en ellas trabajado los padres de la Compañía de Jesús (Rome: Esteban Paulino, 1604); The Philippines in 1600, trans. Ramón Ecchevaria (Manila: Historical Conservation Society, 1964). In this essay, English translations are from the work of Ecchevaria.
^ Back to text23. Eduardo Descalzo Yuste, “La crónicas jesuíticas de Filipinas en el siglo XVIII: Pedro Murillo Velarde,” in De la tierra al cielo líneas recientes de la investigación en historia moderna [Communicaciones]: I encuentro de jóvenes investigadores en historia moderna, ed. Eliseo Serrano (Zaragoza: Institución “Fernando el Católico,” 2013), 238.
^ Back to text24. Successos felices, que por mar, y tierra ha dado N.S. en las islas Filipinas contra el Mindanao; y en las de Terrenate contra los Holandeses, por fin del año de 1636, y principio del de 1637 (Manila: Tomás Pinpin, 1637); Francisco Combés, Historia de Mindanao, Jolo y sus adyacentes (Madrid: Herederos de Pablo del Val, 1667).
^ Back to text25. The manuscript was formerly in the archives of Tarragona province until the archival materials were moved to Barcelona. A critical edition of it was made by Jaume Gorriz i Abella in 1994, and an English translation by Jose S. Arcilla, S.J. 2010–13.
^ Back to text26. Francisco Colin, Labor evangélica, ministerios apostolicos de los obreros de la Compañía de Iesús: Fundación, y progresos de su provincia en las Islas Filipinas; Parte primera (Madrid: Joseph Fernández de Buendía, 1663); Pedro Murillo Velarde, Historia de la provincia de la provincia de Philipinas de la Compañía de Jesús: Segunda parte (Manila: Imprenta de la Compañía de Jesús, 1749).
^ Back to text31. “Verá el Lector las maravillosas hazañas, que han hecho sus Misioneros, admirarà las heroycas virtudes, que han exercitado, las Empresas difíciles, que han conseguido, las dificultades arduas, que han llamado, y los Varones insignes, que han cultivado esta distante viña, siguiendo a San Francisco Xavier, à quien venera Antesignano esta Provincia.” Murillo, “Prólogo y razón de esta obra,” in Murillo, Historia, n.p.
^ Back to text33. Francisco Palomo, “De algunos cosas que sucedieron estando en misión: Espiritualidad jesuita y escritura misionera el la península Ibéria (siglos xvi–xvii),” www.ucam.es/data/media/www/pag-41669/dealgunascosasquesucedieron.pdf (accessed September 15, 2016).
^ Back to text35. “En este sentido, parece claro que textos como el Compendio de Pedro de León, así como las cartas de misión, obedecían fundamentalmente a una motivación edificadora, y teniendo un interés propagandístico menor frente a las cartas proveniente de Asia o América,” 126.
^ Back to text36. The origin of the image is uncertain but most chroniclers claim that it was the same statue Magellan had given to the wife of Rajah Humabon at her baptism in 1521. Chirino presents another opinion: “presumably” it was “one of the spoils left behind by a pious soldier of Magellan’s first expedition.” Chirino, Relación, ( 1903), 235.
^ Back to text39. Enrique Descalzo Yuste, "La historia natural y moral de Filipinas en el obra de Pedro Chirino, S.I., 1557–1635" (Barcelona: Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, 2010). Also see Marcus Hellyer, Catholic Physics: Jesuit Natural Philosophy in Early Modern Germany (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, 2005).
^ Back to text42. Chirino used other writings, which he occasionally quoted verbatim, as he does when writing on the mission of Alang-alang, Leyte. Here he quotes at length the account of Tomás de Montoya (1568–1627). Likewise, he quotes Gabriel Sánchez (1570–1617), pioneer missionary in Bohol, who wrote about the marvelous deliverance of the peoples of Baclayon and Loboc in Bohol from slave raiders who have “inflicted lamentable harm in other places.” Chirino, Relación, 435–37.
^ Back to text44. W. E. Retana, Aparato bibliográfico de la historia general de Filipinas deducido de la colección que posee en Barcelona de la Compañía General de Tabacos de dichas islas (Madrid: Imprenta de la sucesora de M. Minuesa de los Ríos, 1906); Archivo del bibliófilo filipino: Recopilación de documentos históricos, científicos, literarios y político, y estudios bibliográficos, 5 vols. (Madrid: Imprenta de viuda de de M. Minuesa de los Ríos, 1895–1905).
^ Back to text45. Pablo Pastells, Misión de la Compañía de Jesús de Filipinas en el siglo XIX, 2 vols. (Barcelona, 1916–17). English translation: Mission to Mindanao, 1859–1900. Volume 1. Ed. and trans. Peter Schreurs (Cebu City: San Carlos Publications, c.1994); volume 2 and 3 (Quezon City: Claretian Press, 1998).
^ Back to text47. In 1915, on the occasion of its golden jubilee, Saderra published El observatorio de Manila, 1865–1915. It has sixteen chapters, beginning with the pioneering work of its first director, Federico Faura, and ending with the Manila Observatory during the American era. See also the essay by Agustín Udías on Jesuit science in this collection.
^ Back to text48. Miguel Saderra Masó, Misiones jesuíticas de Filipinas, 1581–1768, 1859–1924 (Manila: Universidad de Santo Tomas, 1914). Translated by Leo Cullum as Philippine Jesuits, 1581–1768 and 1859–1934. Typescript in the Archives of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus.
^ Back to text53. Edgar Wickberg, “The Chinese in Philippine Life 1850–1898,” Journal of Asian Studies 21, no. 1, 94, cited in Coeli Barry, “More Honored than Read: HDLC and the Vagaries of Intellectual Life in Southeast Asia,” Unpublished MS. Paper read at the De la Costa Centenary Lecture Series, Ateneo de Manila University, April 4, 2016.
^ Back to text60. Alicia M.L. Coseteng, Spanish Churches in the Philippines (Manila: Mercury Press, 1972). María Lourdes Díaz-Trechuelo Spínola, Arquitectura española en Filipinas 1565–1800 (Seville: Escuela de estudios hispano-americanos de Sevilla, 1959) preceded Coseteng by two decades but her work in Spanish was known to a small circle of Philippine scholars conversant in Spanish. In this work, she discussed the construction of the fortification, Nuestra Señora de Guia, the work of Antonio Sedeño, the first Jesuit mission superior who arrived in the Philippines in 1581. Constructed in about 1583, the remains of the fort were excavated in 1983, buried inside the southwestern bastion of the walled city of Manila, San Diego (Díaz-Trechuelo, Arquitectura, 39–44). Following Trechuelo, Pedro Luengo Gutiérrez, “Arquitectura Conventual en Manila, 1571–1645, unpublished MS, n.d.; chapter 4 is about the convent and institutions of Jesuits, 139–73.
^ Back to text64. Francisco Ignacio Alzina, Historia natural del sitio, fertilidad, y calidad de las islas e indios de Visayas, compuesto por Padre Francisco Ignacio Alzina, published as La historia de las islas e indios de Visayas por Padre Alcina, ed. Maria Luisa Martín-Merás and María Dolores Higueras (Madrid: Instituto Histórico de Marina,  1994). See José de Acosta, Historia natural y moral de las Indias. English translation: Natural and Moral History of the Indies: Chronicles of the New World Encounter, ed. Jane E. Mangan, trans. Frances López-Morillas, with an introduction and commentary by Walter Mignolo (Durham, NC: Duke University Press,  2002).
^ Back to text65. Ignacio Francisco Alcina, Historia de las islas e indios de Visayas: Primera parte; Historia natural, Books 1 and 2, published as Historia natural de las islas bisayas del Padre Alzina, ed. Victoria Yepes, Colección Biblioteca de Historia de América 14 (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas,  1996); Alcina, Historia de las islas e indios de Visayas, Books 3 and 4, published as Una etnografía de los indios bisayas del siglo XVII del Padre Alzina, ed. Victoria Yepes, Colección Biblioteca de Historia de América 15 (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas,  1996); Alcina, Historia de las islas e indios de Visayas, Parte II: Historia sobrenatural, published as Historia sobrenatural de las islas bisayas: segunda parte de la historia de las islas e indios de bisayas, del Padre Alzina, Manila: 1668–1670, ed. Victoria Yepes, Colección Biblioteca de Historia de América 18 (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas,  1998).
^ Back to text66. Ignacio Francisco Alcina, History of the Bisayan People in the Philippine Islands, trans., ed., and annotated by Cantius J. Kobak, O.F.M., and Lucio Gutierrez, O.P., 3 vols. (Manila: UST Publishing House,  2002–5).
^ Back to text68. Josef and Renée Gicklhorn, Georg Joseph Kamel (1661–1706): Apotheker, Botaniker, Arzt und Naturforscher der Philippinen Inseln Pharmacist (Eutin: Internationale Gesellschaft der Pharmazie, 1954); Leo A. Cullum “Georg Joseph Kamel: Philippine Botanist, Physician Pharmacist,” Philippine Studies 4, no. 20 (1956): 319–39; Sebastian Kroupa, “Ex epistulis Philippinensibus: Georg Josef Kamel SJ (1661–1706) and His Correspondence Network,” Centaurus 57 (2015), 229–59, (doi: 10.1111/1600-0498.12099); Raquel A.G. Reyes “Botany and Zoology in the Late Seventeenth-Century Philippines: The Work of Georg Josef Kamel SJ (1661–1706),” Archives of Natural History 36, no. 2 (2009): 262–76.
^ Back to text69. Pavel Zavadil, “Bohemian Jesuitica in Indiis Occidentalibus: Latin Correspondence of Bohemian Jesuits from America, Philippines and the Marianas Islands in Bohemian and Moravian Archives; Critical Edition” (PhD diss., Charles University, 2011).
^ Back to text71. “El texto peca de los mismos defectos de sus predecesoras. Pese a que su autor era historiador profesional y utilizó una ingente cantidad de fuentes primarias, el uso de las mismas fue un poco limitado, al tomarlas siempre al pie de la letra sin hacer una crítica profunda. Por otro lado, la condición de jesuita hacía que su visión fuera muy parcial, con un texto muy favorable al Instituto ignaciano, alabando constantemente de su labor misional y descargándole de responsabilidad en los enfrentamientos con otras órdenes o con autoridades políticas y eclesiásticas (Enrique Yuste, “La Compañía de Jesús en Filipinas (1581–1768); realidad y representación” [PhD diss., University of Barcelona, 2015]).
^ Back to text72. Enrique Descalzo Yuste, “Antonio Sedeño, SI: Pionero de las misiones jesuíticas de Ultramar,” comunicación presentada para publicación a posteriori en el Congreso Internacional, ‘Los jesuitas. religión, política y educación (siglos XVI–XVIII)’” (Madrid: Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, 2011); Descalzo Yuste, “La historia natural y moral de Filipinas”; Descalzo Yuste, “La implantación de la Compañía de Jesús en Filipinas a través de la obra del P. Pedro Chirino, S.I.,” Actos de la XI reunión científica de la Fundación Española de Historia Moderna: Comunicaciones, vol. 1, ed. Antonio Jiménez and Julián J. Lozano Navarro (Granada, 2012); Descalzo Yuste “Las crónicas oficiales de la Compañía de Jesús en el siglo XVII: Pedro Chirino y Francisco Colín,” in Iglesia memorable, crónicas, historias escritos: Siglos XVI–XVIII (Madrid: Sílex, 2012).
^ Back to text73. Vicente M. Diaz, Repositioning the Missionary: Rewriting the Histories of Colonialism, Native Catholicism, and Indigeneity in Guam (Hawaii: University of Hawaii, Center for Pacific Islands Studies, 2010).
^ Back to text76. Antonio de Castro, “Jesuits in the Philippines: From the Revolution to the Transition from the Spanish Jesuits to the American Jesuits, 1898–1927” (PhD diss., Gregorian University, 2000).
^ Back to text77. Amado Tumbali, “History of the Catholic Church in Mindanao: Dividing the Diocese of Zamboanga in 1933,” (MA thesis, Ateneo de Manila University, 2016); John T. McGreevy, American Jesuits and the World: How an Embattled Religious Order Made Modern Catholicism Global (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016), 179–209.