On the personal accounts of Pigafetta, there were various key reasons as to why the relationship of the Europeans and the native Filipinos went smoothly despite their obvious similarities. First reason was that no matter the race or nationality was, there was and is still a benefit to be gained. One of which is the opportunity of being able to trade products. The ship Pigafetta sailed on contains products that were uniquely found on their land. In a similar fashion, there are also precious resources and materials that the natives could offer in exchange for the products of the Europeans making barter achievable. Consequently, setting sail on a "newfound" island made it achievable for both parties to form connections that would both be beneficial for them. The Europeans are able to ask for supplies that they are lacking in their ship in barter for anything our native Filipinos deem valuable or useful to them. As long as both the Europeans and the natives were able to find a point in which both groups are benefiting, then this would transcribe good business relations with one another.
Another reason is because the Europeans showed their loyalty towards the relationship that they wish to make between them and the Filipinos by sacrificing one of their armed soldiers which equals to a hundred of his men. This means that the Europeans were willing to give up some of their valuables to show their sincerity and that they were trustworthy. Two men from the Europeans were entrusted to the Filipinos for a while implying their trust on them that they will not cause them any harm.
Also, even though they weren’t able to communicate through language but only through signs, there was a respect of culture wherein the Europeans did what the Filipino’s tradition and practices were in terms of eating, drinking, and the way they live their everyday lives.
The first round of encounters between the Europeans and the natives were peaceful and pleasant. It is because they welcomed each other without the sense of threat but with open arms. They were able to trade goods which is one of the main trends before. Barter of goods and different things are the most prominent act in their time wherein they build stronger relationship and connections.
On Antonio Pigafetta’s account of his first voyage around the world is found the earliest detailed reference to cocoanuts which proves that this plant, palm trees, has been in the Philippines for a long time now, lasting for a hundred years. He was so amazed on how useful the cocoanut tree was to the natives of the islands. He provided a detailed description of the tree and its fruit with astonishment. Considered the most useful tree in the world, the cocoanut palm and cocoanut fruits provide bread, wine, oil, milk, and cord for binding together the boats. Every part of it and even its fruit can either be consumed or used in their daily living. The heart of the said palm gives them liquor or can be a refreshment or milk or can be preserved to be vinegar. On the other hand, the white substance can be eaten fresh or could be dried and made into bread. Moreover, they consist of marrowy substance, which people had been eating fresh, and clear and sweet water in the middle of the marrowy substance which is very refreshing to drink. The shell can be burned and produce a powder useful to the people while the leaves of the tree were used in making mats, pillows, etc. Furthermore, the tree itself was used as foundation to their huts or houses. As what Pigafetta had claimed on his account, with two of these palm trees, a whole family of ten can sustain itself. In the Philippines where families rely on the coconut palm for survival, people refer to it as the "tree of life."
It was stated there that gold was abundant in an island called, Butuan, wherein by just sifting the sand, you can already find pieces of gold. Pigafetta also stated that the gold was as abundant as the hairs of the natives but they have no iron. So the Spaniards offered them some merchandise like metals and irons. Natives, without knowing the true value of gold, trade it for something they think that are more useful for them such as metals, iron and other large merchandise.
On the other hand, since the earliest years, it was very evident that wearing gold and jewels are markers of wealth, power and status in the society. As mentioned in the account, The King of the island of Butuan wears two large golden earrings, gold rings on his fingers and toes and even his dagger had a gold hilt on his waist. Even the haft of his dagger and his earrings are all made of gold. He also has three spots of gold on every tooth as if his teeth were bound with gold. These shows how grand and powerful he is with those gold on his island.
Pigafetta’s observations of the following:
a. Trading Attitude and Wares
The manner of trading begins by offering a quantity of merchandise to each other. The people have their weights and measures for the things that are set for trading. Pigafetta also mentioned that the captain have seen how the natives cared nothing but only for the knife that they even offer them a crown of massy gold but they refused it to let them know that their merchandize is much valuable than their gold. Pigafetta said that: “the natives should learn at the very beginning that we prized our merchandise more than their gold.” For a little bit of context, of the captain’s men went to shore to get water and was met with one of the natives wanting to barter with a crown of massy gold but the captain refused for him to do so because they prized their merchandise more than their gold.
b. Food and Manner of Table Serving
In terms of food and manner of table serving, according to Pigafetta, the food are served in large amounts in a porcelain platters and it is always paired with wine placed in jars. Those platters are also served consecutively and it took them 5 to 6 hours to finish all of these. He also stated that during the duration of their meal they make ceremonies and other signs of friendship towards another.
c. Drinking Practice
Even with the simple drinking, they seem to have a tradition. Some situations actually show their tradition. One for example is a wine that was left in a cup and is to be put into a jar by itself. Also, a king’s cup was always kept covered and no one else drinks from it except the king. There was also an event that shows their drinking practice where the king raised his clasped hands towards the sky and towards Pigafetta; and when the king was about to drink, he extended the fist of his left hand towards Pigafetta and then that was the time that he already drank. Furthermore, their drink was actually properly kept wherein the jar where the palm wine was placed was covered with sweet- smelling herbs and arranged with four small reeds.
d. Music and Entertainment
It could be noticed that they are actually inclined in music as their source of entertainment. There was an event where it was narrated that there was a group of women playing drums, striking two suspended gongs alternately with a stick wrapped somewhat thickly at the end with palm cloth. According to the narration, they also made us of a large gong and also some small gongs which their strike against each other. It was mentioned that their gongs were made in China. Also, women particularly quite naked women bring entertainment as well.
Another noticeable thing is that music is actually present even in their tradition. There was a situation where they need to make obeisance to the sun and dancing and blowing of trumpets were present in their showing of homage to the sun. Also, even with the rowing, they make use of music; just like when the king rowed while singing past many dwelling which were upon the river. Another one is when, after parting with the king of Zubu, the prince then invited them, the captain-general, to his house. There they saw 3 very beautiful girls each playing a different instrument and said that “They played so harmoniously that one would believe they possessed good musical sense.
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