The commitment of the Spanish monarchy to discover a transoceanic route that allows access to the Spice Islands, as well as impacting the achievement of the first cincumnavegation on the earth in 1522, led to the discovery of a new stage for European expansion, that the expedition of Miguel López de Legazpi finally opened with the founding of the first Hispanic settlement in 1565, in Cebu, starting point in the conquest of the lands that would be Philippines. The reconstruction of prehispanic cultures rely on information provided by the earliest chronicles, documents in Castilian that, given the absence of local sources, are the only available resource for the history of the sixteenth century and, despite reflecting only the perspective of the conqueror, therefore invaluable.
Mosaic of cultures in the called archipelago of San Lázaro, a term coined by Fernando de Magalhães in 1521, are classified in four groups. First, the aytas representing the descendants of earliest settlers, who arrived by land before the sea level rise that occurred after the last glaciation. Although there were not a homogeneous group, certain characters ethnic, linguistic and cultural, economy of hunting and gathering among them, marked profound differences with the other inhabitants.
Muslim groups in Mindanao, Sulu, Palawan and southwest of Luzon, with the Moluccas formed a commercial network dominated by the sultanate of Brunei. The Spanish conquest led to a new clash between the two religions, epilogue of mourning held in the peninsula until 1492, achieving the Spanish administration to eradicate the influence of Islam in Luzon, while in Mindanao and Sulu, more deeply rooted, for centuries it has represented the resistance to the power emanated from Manila.
Third, Visayan language is the common link between populations occupying lowland namesake archipelago, central part of the Philippines between the large islands of Luzon and Mindanao. As in ancient Greece, a common culture in a fragmented scenario characterized the human geography of a people essentially maritime.
Finally, it studies populations that are not included in the preceding groups, that is, those groups of Malay origin who did not kept stable ties with the sultanate of Brunei, and did not belonged to the Visayan linguistic field, located in Luzon, Mindanao and Panay.