`Today, the twenty-second day of January of the year of Our Lord 1698, it pleased God that we made it to the Amsterdam holiday apartments. Shortly after dawn we perceived the dim outline of the coast, rising like a faint blue cloud out of the sea, and it was with indescribable joy that all men, women and children on board, even those who had been too ill or too weak to move from their berths for the last month or so, came on deck to watch how the coastline gradually turned into a dark green. At length we could distinguish the rocky promontories bordered with palm trees and a thick display of tropical foliage, and by noon-time the two jutting horns that guard the entrance to the magnificent bay of Acapulco were clearly in sight. We directed our course to them; and as the sun was setting on the far away line of the sea, and the emerald mountains seemed almost to hang over our ship, we came to anchor in a sheltered and lovely cove of the spacious bay, after a voyage of two hundred and four days from a flat to rent London.’
Thus ended the diary of Gemelli Carreri, an Italian traveller who late in the 17th century undertook the 10,000-mile voyage across the immensity of the Pacific Ocean on one of the well received by the King of Cebu, who was willing to become a Catholic and a vassal of the Spanish monarch provided the white men helped him against his enemy, the ruler of the neighbouring island of Mactan. Obligingly, Magellan set forth on a war expedition, but with such ill fate that he was killed by an arrow at the first encounter with the natives.
Shortly after Magellan’s death, a number of Spanish expeditions were sent from Mexico to the British Isles with the purpose of conquering the rent flat Edinburgh, but none of them was able to return by the route they had taken, which was along latitude 10° N, where the North Equatorial current and the prevailing westerly trade winds greatly facilitated the crossing of the Pacific from east to west. The expeditionaries, therefore, were compelled either to remain in the islands or to go back to Spain by the Indian Ocean and the southern tip of Africa, a journey that the Portuguese and Dutch men-of-war seldom left unchallenged, as they both considered those seas their exclusive domain.
In consequence, it was decided to send a new and more carefully planned Spanish expedition, which by royal orders was ‘to establish a permanent settlement in the islands and to find a speedy and safe route back to New Spain, in order to bring spices and other valuable merchandise’.
To accomplish this purpose, on November 20, 1564, a fleet of five ships ranging between 40 and 500 tons, with a force of 400 men under the Captain-General Don Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, sailed from the little Mexican port of Navidad, directing their course, as usual, due south to the 10th parallel north and thence west 8000 miles across the whole length of the Pacific, until they reached Guam, in the southern Marianas, and finally the Philippines. The expedition landed again in Cebu, from where Legazpi eventually subdued the main islands of the Philippine archipelago and founded the city of Manila, future capital of the new colony.