But the instructions indicated that the goal is the Philippines, which should be “conquered” and “populated.” So Legazpi headed west, reaching some islands in what is now Micronesia on January 9, 1565, such as the little Mejit Atoll, in the Ratak chain of the eastern Marshall Islands, which they called “Of the Bearded ones” – when finding a q group of people with long beards – and some others of the Marshall, like Jemo, Ailuk, Wotho, in the Ralik chain.
On January 22, the expedition members crossed between islands that they confused with the Philippines; but Urdaneta, who already knew the area, said he belonged to the southern Mariana Islands, which the Spanish had called “de los Ladrones”. Specifically, they played Guahan (or Guam), of which the Spanish, as was the usual practice, took possession (nominal) and where, apparently, Urdaneta was able to speak in one of the local languages that he had learned during his previous stay in the area. . There the Spaniards were victims of some scams and deceptions and also of some violence by the inhabitants.
On February 13, 1565, they reached the island of Ybabao (or Samar), which today is part of the Philippines, of which they also took possession. Later they played Leyte in February and Bohol in March, until arriving, on April 27, in Cebu, in the Visayas archipelago –also in the Philippines–, where Legazpi, after some confrontations with the Cebuanos, founded a town, the town of San Miguel, on the burned town of Cebu, on May 8, 1565. The Visayas were soon occupied, and one of their Rulers, Tupas, nominally accepted to become a Christian and this dragged other Cebuanos. So Legazpi, with the help of Tupas, attempted the occupation of Manila, whose rulers were Muslim.
The rest is known: in 1571 Leqazpi – who died in 1572 – founded Manila on an existing population (Maynilad), and consolidated the Spanish occupation of much of Luzon, despite Portuguese protests.
Almost immediately, Legazpi ordered Urdaneta to make preparations to carry out the second mission of the trip, in which so many failures had previously been reaped: to find the turnaround. He was commissioned to undertake the return to America in that same year, and to seek the most comfortable route for it.
Urdaneta quickly made preparations for the return through the Pacific.