A Conquistador’s Tragic Love Story



In 1571, Manila, Philippines, a youthful conquistador named  Juan de Salcedo arrived
from a successful campaign from the Bicol region, South of Manila. He was the youngest
of his colleagues and the most daring one as well.

On his return, he was ordered by his grandfather Miguel Lopez de Legazpi to establish
the Ilocos region for Spain. Brimming with confidence and moved by his pursuit of glory
he was eager to start the new campaign.
A day before the start of his journey, Juan stood atop of a rock in Pasig river and gazed
over at the river delta. Across him stood Lady Kandarapa with her long black hair gently
being combed by the passing wind. With his eyes fixed on her beautiful bronze skin his
heart skipped and knew what love is. Kandarapa felt the same and their souls intertwined,
only to be separated by the mischievous hands of fate.

Upon knowing of their love, Kandarapa’s family forbid their relationship as her family has
commited her to the Raja of Macabebe. Conversely, Juan’s grandfather Miguel also
objected as he has other plans for the young scion. In all his gallantry, Juan nonetheless
vowed to his grandfather his loyalty to Lady Kandarapa .

As time passed Kandarapa and Juan exchanged letters and rings and promised love
to each other regardless of the difficulties. Time passed, Kandarapa was then
baptised into Christianity and changed her name to Dolores.
The time came when Juan had to venture onto Ilocos, and the night before he left Juan
 yearned for Dolores’ love and warm embrace. Secretly, Dolores sent a lotus flower and
a letter noting her undying love and faithfulness to Juan. Juan wrote back to Dolores,
but it was later intercepted and burnt by his grandfather Miguel.
Juan ventured on a long and weary campaign to the Ilocos region and through his mastery
of  the sword and shield he pacified the region and they rendered him loyalty.  

News were circulated about his accomplishments and along with those news were gossips
and exaggerations that Juan married a king’s daughter and later died in a battle.
When Juan returned to Manila to claim his love for Kandarapa, he learned that she
had long been dead of a broken heart. To make matters worse, his grandfather, Miguel
 Lopez de Legazpi, also died a few weeks earlier.

Time passed and Juan remained true to the vow he made to Dolores and to the
statement he made to Legaspi. Juan never married. He later returned to Ilocos where
he caught malaria and died. In his breast pockets were found dried leaves of lotus
flowers Kandarapa gave him.

Juan de Salcedo, conquistador, was dead at 27.

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