Lord, I never wanted to be separated from You.

The First Five Groups of Evangelizers in the Philippines

Intramuros in Manila (c/o Getty Images)

The friars were the main protagonists and true conqueror for the faith. The first five groups of missionaries to arrive in the Philippines were as follows:

1. Order of St. Augustine (OSA) – 1565 - Augustinians

2. Order of Friars Minor (OFM) – 1578 - Franciscans

3. Society of Jesus (SJ) – 1581 – Jesuits (technically and canonically, they are not friars)

4. Order of Preachers (OP) – 1587 - Dominicans

5. Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR) - Recollectos

There were also secular priests who helped in the evangelization of the Philippines.

Year of Arrival as a formal mission

Number of  pioneer
4 priests and 1 lay brother
14 priests and 1 lay brother
2 priests and 1 lay brother
13 priests and 2 lay brothers
9 priests and 3 lay brothers
Point of entry

Mission territory
Cebu, Manila, Negros, Panay, the Tagalog region, Pampanga and the coastal areas of Ilocos region
Manila, Tagalog Region (Mindoro and Tayabas) and Bicol Region (Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay and Sorsogon)  plus Marinduque.
Manila, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, Visayas and Mindanao
Manila, Bataan, Pangasinan, Cagayan Valley, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Mountain Province, Batanes and Babuyanes.
Manila, Bataan, Zambales, Mindoro, Romblon, Simara, Tablas, Sibuyan, Masbate, Burias, Ticao, Palawan, Calamianes, Cebu, and Mindanao

Basic Descriptions
Pioneer missionaries of the Philippines.  

They were the only missionaries present in the Philippines until the arrival of the Franciscans.
They did not acquire an hacienda.

They wrote the Tagalog grammar.

They studied the customs, laws and usages of the natives, as well as their rites and ceremonies.

They were initially lured more by the prospect of going to China.
They were initially tasked to survey the field and minister to the Spanish community.

They excelled in the education apostolate.

They were expelled from the Philippines because of political reasons in 1768 and returned in 1859.
They founded UST and Letran

They brought devotion to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.

OP Missionaries were immediately sent to their mission posts after they had settled.
They acquired the most scattered territories since they arrived when the islands has already been partitioned into mission areas among the religious based on ethno-linguistic categories.

Gutierrez OP, Lucio.The Archdiocese of Manila: Pilgrimage in Time (1565-1999), ed. by Crisostomo Yalung., Manila, 2000.

Fernandez, Pablo. History of the Church in the Philippines (1521-1898), Manila, 1979.

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