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An Urban Legend

Reading online threads, blogs, testimonials, analysis and historical accounts about the fate of Fray Diego de Herrera and the crew of galleon Espiritu Santo leads me to conclude it as an urban legend. The characters are factual but the story was distorted, exaggerated and sensationalized.

Here is another version about the fate of Fray Diego de Herrera written by Fray Juan de Medina, O.S.A. in 1630 but printed in Manila in 1983. Please read...

"In these early years a disaster befalls the Augustinians, and somewhat dashes their hopes. This is the death of Diego de Herrera with ten priests who are coming, six from Spain and four from Mexico, to augment the missionary efforts. Of the thirty-six priests obtained by Herrera on his mission to Spain, but six set sail for the Philippines. The four from Mexico who join them are: Francisco Martinez, of the chair of writing in the University of Mexico, an excellent Greek and Latin student, who had been prior of the Augustinian convent in Lima, Lesmes de Santiago, an ascetic, and formerly a successful merchant; Francisco Bello; and Francisco de Arevalo. The shipwreck is quite near Manila and is due "to the carelessness of the pilot--and I think that this is the first ship that has suffered shipwreck on coming from Mejico." The loss of Herrera is felt keenly, for he was an enthusiastic and zealous worker. "The loss of this ship was felt keenly in the islands, for it bore heavy reinforcements of troops, money, and other things needed in the new land, which lacked everything. But above all they were anxious because they were surrounded on all sides by enemies, and had but few troops, and these were scattered in many districts. But those who grieved most were Ours...." Medina continues"

Chapter XIX

Of other events, and when the other religious entered into the islands The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, Volume XXIII, 1629-30, by Various

In observance of the lenten season, let us include in our prayers the late Fray Diego de Herrera, may he rest in peace.

Suggestion: A movement is seeking to beatify the fray and mentioned was carbon-dating technology possibly for authentication purposes. If indeed they are serious, they can opt to have a DNA profile on the remains and compare it with Fray Diego de Herrera's relatives. The most accurate and appropriate technology for identification purposes in this century. The University of the Philippines in Diliman and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), I understand, have a DNA profiling laboratory.

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