Ferdinand Magellan becomes first European to reach Philippines

On 16 March Magellan reached the island of Homonhon in the Philippines, with 150 crew left.

Members of his expedition became the first Spaniards to reach the Philippine archipelago, but they were not the first Europeans.

Magellan was able to communicate with the native tribes because his Malay interpreter, Enrique, could understand their languages. Enrique was indentured by Magellan in 1511 right after the colonization of Malacca and was at his side during the battles in Africa, during Magellan's disgrace at the King's court in Portugal and during Magellan's successful raising of a fleet. They traded gifts with Rajah Siaiu of Mazaua who guided them to Cebu on April 7.

At last, on the 6th of March 1521, the Ladrones (so named by Magellan from the thievish habits of the natives) came in sight, Guam being probably the first port of call. Here the fleet rested, watered, revictualled and refitted; on the 9th of March they started again westward; and on the 16th of March sighted the southern point of Samar Island in the archipelago, since 1542 called the Philippines, but named by Magellan, its first discoverer, after St. Lazarus. On the 7th of April the squadron arrived at Cebu, southwest of Samar, in the heart of the Philippines; here Magellan contracted a close friendship and alliance with the treacherous native sovereign, who professed Christianity the better to please and utilize his Catholic friends.

Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese in the service of the Spanish crown, was looking for a westward route to the to the Spice Islands of Indonesia. On March 16, 1521, Magellan's expedition landed on Homonhon island in the Philippines. He was the first European to reach the islands. Rajah Humabon of Cebu was friendly with Magellan and embraced Christianity, but their enemy, Lapu-Lapu was not.