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First Mass in the Philippines

Evidences that proves that the first mass happened in Masao

1. In all primary sources including the diary of Antonio Pigafetta, the chronicler of
Magellan's voyage, the name of the place was Mazaua. Limasawa has four syllables
and begins with another letter.
2. According to primary records, the expedition traveled 20 to 25 leagues from
Homonhon, the first landing point. If they had been to Limasawa Island, the distance
is only 14.6 leagues or one-half of that length.
3. The distance to Cebu from Mazaua according to Pigafetta was 35 leagues [140 miles].
The distance from Limasawa to Cebu is only 80 miles.
4. It was mentioned that the king came to their ship in a Balanghai. Butuan is now the
site of at least nine excavated Balanghai relics; by contrast, Limasawa has no
significant archeological relics or Balanghai tradition.
5. The Western explorers got excited at the abundance of gold in Mazaua, for that was
the main currency at that time. Both archeological relics and the gold mines today
attested to the abundance of gold in the Agusan Valley.
6. Zaide identified Masao in Butuan as the location of the first mass. The basis of Zaide’s
claim is the diary of Antonio Pigafetta, chronicle of Magellan’s Voyage.
7. Gold and Gold Mines  Pigafetta mentioned about the abundance of gold and gold
mines in Mazzaua.
8. Balanghai Relics  Pigafetta mentioned plenty of balanghai used by the people as
mode of transportation
9. Stilt Houses  Pigafetta mentioned about houses built high above the ground.
10. Shape  Pigafetta described it as circular like ray, Limasawa Island’s shape is
elongated like a cut worm
11. Distance  Humunu-Mazzaua (20-25 leagues), Homonhon-Limasawa (14.6
leagues), Homonhon-Masao, Butuan (24.54 leagues), Mazzaua-Zubu (35 leagues-
140 mil.), Limasawa-Cebu (80 miles), & Masao, Butuan-Cebu (150 miles).
12. Farmlands  Pigafetta mentioned notable farmlands, livestock and even harvest.
Limasawa’s soil is too sandy for rice planting.
13. Presence of Timbre  “It was built on great timbers high above the ground.” Butuan
is now called the Timber City of the South
14. Livestocks and fruits  Pigafetta mentioned abundant sources of livestock, and fruits
which are all present in Masao, Butuan.

Evidences that proves that the first mass happened in Limasawa

1. The most complete and reliable account of the Magellan expedition into Philippine
shores in 1521 is that of Antonio Pigafetta which is deemed as the only credible
primary source of reports on the celebration of the first Christian Mass on Philippine
2. James Robertson's English translation of the original Italian manuscript of Pigaffeta's
account is most reliable for being ''faithful'' to the original text as duly certified by the
University of the Philippines' Department of European Language.
3. Pigafetta's Mazaua, the site of the first Christian Mass held on Philippine soil, is an
island lying off the southwestern tip of Leyte while Masao in Butuan is not an island
but a barangay of Butuan City located in a delta of the Agusan River along the coast
of Northern Mindanao. The position of Mazaua, as plotted by Pigafetta, matched that
of Limasawa.
4. The measurement of distances between Homonhon and Limasawa between
Limasawa and Cebu, as computed by the pro-Limasawa group, matches or
approximates the delineations made by Pigafetta of the distances between Homonhon
and Mazaua and between Mazaua and Cebu.
5. Magellan's fleet took a route from Homonhon to Mazaua and from Mazaua to Cebu
that did not at any time touch Butuan or any other part of Mindanao. The docking
facilities at Limasawa did not pose any problem for Magellan's fleet which anchored
near or at some safe distance from the island of the eastern shore
6. Magellan and his sailors saw a fire on an island while sailing on southwestern tip of
Panaon and headed towards it.
7. The presence of two native kings in Mazaua. The King of Butuan is a visitor in the
island of Mazaua.
8. The evidence of Pigafetta’s map. The fleet sails West Southwest from the tip of
Panaon Island.
9. Pigafetta’s day-to-day account of their stay in Mazaua Island that lasted for seven
10. Limasawa Island has a strategic location for planting of the cross.
11. Ruy Lopez de Villalobos and Legazpi’s expedition landed on the same island of
Mazaua which is now Limasawa, an island near Leyte and Panao. Gines de Mafra
met the chieftain of the island for the second time.