A Very Common Name
We have not found the baptismal record of Pedro Calungsod. Most, if not all the baptismal records of the 17th century in the Visayas have been destroyed in fires, typhoons or by termites over the centuries. However, it may be beyond doubt that the boy from the Visayas was a Christian by the mere fact that he bore a Christian name, "Pedro", which he must have received at his baptism.
His family name is variously spelled in the different documents as "Calonsor" or "Calongsor" or "Calangsor" and "Calansor". His real family name must have been Calungsod . The variations of the spelling of Pedro's family name in the documents may have been due to the Spanish authors' inability to fully hear a Filipino name.
The documents say that Pedro Calungsod was an indio bisaya, that is to say, a pure native of the Visayas region of the Philippine archipelago. The documents do not specify which island of the Visayas he came from. "Calungsod" is a very native and descriptive Visayan family name
The Visayas (or Bisayas) region during the time of Pedro Calungsod included all those islands whose natives had the general physical characteristics of the Visayans or who spoke the Visayan language
Moreover, there have always been three Visayan languages: Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Waray. The term lungsod for "town" is Cebuano. In Hiligaynon, "town" is rendered banwa. In Waray, it is “bongto”. Thus, the Calungsods may have originated from a town in the Cebuano-speaking region in the Visayas that mainly includes Cebu, eastern Negros, Bohol, southern and western Leyte and a good part
Today, it is not easy to trace the place of origin of the "Calungsod" families. The name can be found in different parts of the Philippines. However, the "Calungsod" families are densely found in the Visayan towns of Ginatilan in Cebu, Hinundayan and Hinunangan in southern Leyte, and in Molo district of Iloilo City in Panay.
We can, however, be certain of the ecclesiastical provenance of Pedro Calungsod. If he was a Visayan, then he belonged to the old Diocese of Cebu. The then Diocese of Cebu was one of the three suffragan dioceses established in the Philippines by Pope Clement VIII. Its episcopal seat was located in the City of the Santisimo Nombre de Jesus (the Most Holy Name of Jesus), that is, in the city of the Island of Cebu in the Visayas called Sugbu or Zebu or Sebu or Cebu. The jurisdiction of this Diocese covered the entire province of Leyte, that of Cebu with its adjacent islands, the province of Caraga, the province of Panay, its adjacent islands up to Calamianes, Paragua, Mindanao and the Ladrones Islands—later renamed the Mariana Islands.
We do not know what Pedro Calungsod looked like. The documents simply describe him as a Visayan indio. The writer Alcina, who was a contemporary of Pedro Calungsod, described the male Visayan indios of his time as usually more corpulent, better built and somewhat taller than the Tagalogs in Luzon; that their skin was light brown in color; that their faces were usually round and of fine proportions; that their noses were flat; that their eyes and hair were black; that they— especially the youth—wore their hair a little bit long; and that they already started to wear camisas (shirts) and calzones (knee-breeches).
Pedro Chirino, S. ]., who also worked in the Visayas but in the 1590's, also described the Visayans as well-built, of pleasing countenance and light-skinned.
Antonio Morga who wrote in 1609 described the Visayans as well-featured, of a good disposition, of better nature and more noble in their actions than the inhabitants of the Island of Luzon and its vicinity. Pedro Murillo Velarde, S.J., added that the Visayans were excellent swimmers.
As a bisaya, Pedro Calungsod must have surely spoken "Bisaya", the language of the Visayans in general.
Pedro Calungsod was a valiant energetic youth. As the documents would put it, he was "animoso", "[tenia] alentados espiritus". Those who witnessed his killing remarked how agile he was in skirting the first spears that were hurled at him by one of his assassins. Those who personally knew him believed he would have defeated his two fierce aggressors all by himself.
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