in the Filippines

A brief history of the arrival.

"In 1565, when Miguel López de Legazpi landed in the Philippines, thus commencing the colonization and Christianization of the archipelago, five Augustinians were with him as the pioneer missionaries in the Philippines. They brought with them a letter from Diego de Fertavilla, provincial of Mexico, and Pedro Herrera, vicar general of the Indies, authorizing them to preach the gospel, administer the sacraments, establish convents and houses of the Order and admit novices.

The Franciscans arrived in Manila in 1578 and were first housed at the Augustinian priory. After consultation with the Augustinians, the governor of the Philippines, Francisco de Sande, assigned the Franciscans to the Tagalog and Bicol districts.

Two Dominicans arrived in Manila in 1581, together with three Jesuits, six Franciscans and eighteen Augustinians. The Dominicans were Domingo de Salazar, appointed first bishop of Manila in 1579, and Cristóbal de Salvatierra. But the first regular Dominican mission, consisting of fifteen members, arrived in Manila on July 25, 1587: the lay brothers Domingo de Nieva and Pedro Rodríguez Bueno and the priests: Juan de Castro (vicar-general), Alonso de Jiménez, Miguel of Benavides, Pedro Bolaños, Bernardo Navarro de Sta. Catalina, Diego de Soria, Juan de Castro (namesake and nephew of the vicar-general), Marcos Soria de San Antonio, Juan de la Cruz and Gregorio Ochoa de San Vicente.

The first Dominican missions were those in the provinces of Bataan and Pangasinan, among others in Mangaldan. In Manila the Dominicans built their main priory Sto. Domingo. They also built a hospital for the Chinese and took care of the pastoral needs. In the field of education the Dominicans made in Manila a lasting contribution with the University of Sto. Tomas, founded in 1611  and the Colegio de San Juan de Letrán, founded in 1620." Source: Rolando V. de La Rosa, O.P.: Beginnings of the Filipino Dominicans. UST Publishing House, Manila, 1990, p. 58-66.

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