Published: October 8, 2010
For thirteen years the Treaty of Zaragoza was signed, Spain respected the provision of this treaty and set no expedition to Asia. But from 1538 to 1541, King Charles I Of Spain entered into an agreement with Pedro de Alvarado, his viceroy in Mexico, regarding the fitting out of colonial expeditions to the Far East. An expedition was fitted out in Mexico upon orders of the king. It consisted of six ships and 200 men. Appointed its commander was Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, brother-in-law of the Mexican viceroy.
Sailing from the port of Natividad, Mexico, on November 1, 1542, Villalobos had a pleasant voyage across the Pacific and reached Mindanao without incident on February 2, 1543. The Spaniards, however, found the natives of the locality hostile, refusing to barter with them. Faced with starvation, Villalobos ordered his men to plant corn. But their crop failed and Villalobos was forced to send one of this captains, Fernando de la Torre who reached Tandaya (now called Samar) and met the chieftain there, Makandala, who was kind enough to give him provisions. In his happiness, Villalobos named both Samar and Leyte Felipinas, in honor of Prince Felipe II of Asturias, the son of King Charles I who was later to become King Philip II of Spain.
Failing to colonize the islands, Villalobos ordered his men to sail on the Moluccas. When they reached Gilolo Island, they were captured by the Portuguese. Set free, Villalobos then tried to return to Mexico, but a heavy storm drove his fleet to Amboina where, tired, sick, and hungry, he died on Good Friday, April 4, 1546. Except for giving the name Felipinas to the Philippines, the Villalobos expedition was a failure.