Encomienda and Early Missions


encomienda.thumbThis is a document written by Geronimo de Alcaras, a secretary and notary public of the Church of Manila whose responsibility is to record books and documents under the possession of the church in 1599. Much of the details focus on the turn of the 17th century ecclesiastical history and here, it was mentioned that on February 3, 1595, Fray Christoval de Salvatierra, Director of the Archdiocese of Manila gave permission to the Order of St. Francis to establish a mission in the encomienda of Diego Jorge (de Villalobos) in Cavite and it was then transferred to the Society of Jesus on May 8, 1599. This town in particular is Silan (Silang).

The following texts are excerpts from the Volume X, page 204 of The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, translated, edited and annotated by EH Blair and JA Robertson from the original documents.

(Excerpt) I, Geronimo de Alcaras, secretary of the chapter of this holy metropolitan church of Manila, and notary-public of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, give witness and true testimony that, by the books wherein are recorded the decrees and other matters having to do with the government thereof, which are issued in this archbishopric, and which books are in my possession, it appears that on the twenty-first of August of the past year one thousand five hundred and eighty-seven, Don Fray Domingo de Salasar, who was the first bishop of these islands, gave permission and license to the religious of the Order of St. Dominic to found a church and convent in this said city of Manila. Likewise on the twenty-ninth of August of the year one thousand five hundred and ninety, the said bishop gave the said permission to the religious of the Order of St. Augustine to establish missions in the tingues of Pas, the encomienda of Tome de la Ysla. [24] On the same day he also gave permission for the villages of Araya and Pinpin, of the jurisdiction of Candava.

Likewise on the third day of the month of February of the year one thousand five hundred and ninety-five, Fray Christoval de Salvatierra, then director of this archbishopric, gave the said permission to the religious of the Order of St. Francis to establish a mission in the tingues of Cavite, on the encomienda of Diego Jorge.

On the twenty-fifth of September of the year one thousand five hundred and ninety-six the dean and chapter of this said holy church, _sede vacante_, gave the said permission to the religious of the Society of Jesus, for the whole of the island of Mindanao. On the twelfth of February of the year one thousand five hundred and ninety-eight, the said dean and chapter gave the said permission to the said religious of the Society of Jesus for the mission village [_doctrina_] of Taytay.

On the eighth of May of this present year of ninety-nine, the said dean and chapter gave the said permission to the said religious of the Society of Jesus for the village of Silan in the tingues of Cavite, because the religious of St. Francis had resigned that mission. Although I have examined with particular care the said books, I find in none of them that there has been given thus far permission for more houses than those above mentioned, all of which appears and is evident by the said books to which I refer. That this may be evident, at the command of the said dean and chapter I give this present, dated at Manila, on the twenty-eighth day of the month of June of the year one thousand five hundred and ninety-nine.

_Geronimo de Alcaraz_

The notaries who have below signed their names certify and bear witness, to whomsoever may see the present paper, that Jeronimo de Alcaras, by whom this report is signed in this other part, is secretary of the chapter, acting as vicar-general, and is master of school and licentiate, and as such entire faith and credit, in and out of court, is given to the reports and other papers which have passed and shall pass before him. That this may be apparent, we have given this present in Manila, on the twenty-eighth of June of the year ninety-nine.

_Francisco de Olavide_, notary to his Majesty.

_Francisco de Valencia_, notary public.

_Joan Paz Dessotomayor_, notary royal.

[_Endorsed_: “Testimony regarding the occasions upon which the ordinary of the Filipinas Islands has given his permission to the mendicant religious to found churches and instruct the natives of those islands.”]