Limahong, the Chinese invader

By Herbert Vego

FOLLOWING the publication of my column on the celebration of the Chinese New Year this week, my friend Bogz Balonzo asked, “Who came to the Philippines first? Magellan or Limahong?”

I immediately saw the relevance of his curiosity: Both Ferdinand Magellan and Limahong were foreign invaders who sought to conquer our land in favor of Spain and China, respectively.

“Magellan,” I quipped. “He came in 1521 while Limahong, in 1574.”

Let us skip the Magellan story, which even children have heard of from a song sung by the late Yoyoy Villame. Limahong’s less-discussed invasion deserves attention to clarify a current issue.

The presence of American personnel in four new military bases in the Philippines seems to suggest preparation for a possible Chinese invasion, judging from China’s aggressive harassment of our maritime troops and fishermen at the West Philippine Sea.

We have heard of pro-China propagandists claiming that China’s occupation of the Scarborough Shoal was not an “invasion” but a legitimate exercise of sovereignty over it and adjacent territories which we believe within our exclusive economic zone.

However, the Limahong tale is good enough to disprove the Chinese diplomats’ assertion that never in history have they tried to seize the Philippines.

Limahong invaded Manila on November 29, 1574 with a fleet of 62 war ships. On board were around 2,000 sailors, 2,000 soldiers, 1,500 women and unspecified number of artisans. They subdued and killed the most of the Spanish troops led by Martin de Goiti.

By then, our country was already under the Spanish colonial government.

With his men dying, too, however, they eventually retreated to a Pangasinan town (not indicated), where Limahong decided to settle and die of old age (79) in 1575.

But as the saying goes, defeat is an orphan.  Thus, China denies Limahong’s alliance with its emperor at that time, Shenzong. He was supposedly a mere adventurer envisioning wealth, glory and empire.

There is no truth to Maritess’ claim that Xi Jinping is a reincarnation of Limahong.



THIS writer joins Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas in lauding the entry of Sumakwel Nava Jr. to the city council. I have known this soft-spoken guy for three decades.

I had never thought of him as a potential politician because he was already happy in his various positions in several branches of the Philippine National Bank (PNB) in Iloilo City.

The then PNB Senior Assistant Vice President Leopoldo “Doods” Moragas once told me that he had not heard of Nava crossing sword with anybody, whether literally or figuratively.

Having retired from the PNB, he is expected to be a fiscalizer in the council, where he reported for the first time yesterday Jr. after taking his oath of office before Mayor Jerry P. Treñas.

He was armed with an appointment paper belatedly signed by Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., since it was in August 2023 yet.

Reporters covering the City Hall quoted Toto Sumakwel as having mentioned “teamwork” in carrying out his functions.

Mayor Treñas expressed the hope that “we will continue with the collegial body that will support the policies and programs of the administration.”



RETIRED Bombo reporter Jerome Varon is one of the latest “bill returnees,” to quote MORE Power President Roel Castro.

No less than the distribution utility’s vice president for customer care, Maricris Cabalhin, broke to Jerome the news that he would be receiving his mandatory refund for bill deposit in accordance with the Magna Carta for Household Power Consumers.

“Nice item to spread around,” Jerome wrote in his message to this writer.

As prescribed under Article 7 of the Magna Carta for Residential Electricity Consumers, distribution utilities are mandated to refund the one-month bill deposit of their customers after three years or 36 months of paying religiously on time, and with no record of service disconnection.”

Therefore, if Jerome made a deposit of P5,000.00, he would get back the same amount.

Puede na ta ka inum, Jerome. Your choice of coffee or beer.