Published: August 7, 2010
Sailing northward along the South America continent with his three remaining ships, Magellan began the voyage across the vast Pacific. This long crossing lasted three months and twenty days, during which death, sickness and hunger wrought destruction on the fleet. Provisions ran low and the sailors were forced to eat worms, rats, sawdust and water-soaked leather. In spite of these hardships, however, Magellan continued his voyage to the Spice Islands.
On March 7, 1521, Magellan reached the Ladrones Islands now known as the Marianas Islands. He rested his men on one of the islands and obtained fresh provisions. The islands had so many sailboats that Magellan called them Islas de Velas (Isles of Sails). But later some of the natives robbed one of his boats, thus he changed that name to Islas de Ladrones (Isles of Thieves), a name which struck for a long time.
After resting his men and picking up some provisions, Magellan ordered them to go on sailing westward.
At dawn on Saturday, March 17, 1521, the man saw the mountains of what is now Samar. This event marked the coming of the first Europeans to this country. Next day Magellan landed on the uninhabited islet of Homonhon, at the mouth of Leyte Gulf. On March 19, some natives from the neighbouring island of Suluan arrived at Homonhon. Seeing that the white sailors were friendly and hungry, they gave them bananas, fish, coconuts, and tuba (palm wine). They were the first Spaniards seen in the Philippines.