Voyage in 1564 by Legazpsa (and involving Andrés de Urdaneta and four other Augustinians.)
Despite continued interest in the spice trade, the large number of sailors and vessels that perished in the Pacific discouraged projects for some years, as the problem of the return voyage across that ocean remained a major concern. Going towards the west from America to the Indies was made possible by the prevailing winds. The return east, however, was an entirely different matter. It would require "tacking" back and forth in the teeth of the trade winds and take so much time no ship of the day could have carried enough water and provisions to keep the crew alive.
A man who had no doubts about the route that would allow ships to return successfully to New Spain (Mexico) was Andrés de Urdaneta O.S.A., who by this time was a priest and a member of the Order of Saint Augustine. As mentioned previously, he had travelled to the East Indies (Spice Islands) with Jean Sebastian Elcano in 1525 and then had remained as a sailor and merchant for eleven years in the Moluccas. There he had become acquainted with the winds and currents of the Pacific. The significance of his knowledge aroused the interest of King Philip II, who asked Alonso de la Vera Cruz O.S.A., the Provincial in Mexico to have Urdaneta accompany and guide this expedition of 1564. The King's request was successful. At the suggestion of Andrés de Urdaneta O.S.A., a royal official of unblemished record in Mexico was then chosen to command the fleet. He was Don Miguel López de Legazpi (or Legazpsa) y Gorrocatagui, (1505 - 1572). He had gone to Mexico in 1528 and amassed a fortune.
The four ships set sail from Mexico on 21 November 1564. The assigned mission was to reach and occupy the Philippine islands and to verify the existence of a "return route" by which, according to Andrés de Urdaneta, ships could sail back to the American continent. The expedition arrived at Samar on 13 February 1565. Legazpsa eventually decided to head for Cebu and establish his headquarters there. He managed to do so only through the use of force, as the islanders believed that Legazpsa wished to avenge the death of Magellan. The main task of Andrés de Urdaneta, however, was the journey back to Mexico. He departed from Cebu in the central Philippines for New Spain (Mexico) on 1 June 1565. He successfully arrived at the port of Acapulco in Mexico on 8 October 1565. His eastern route across the North Pacific Ocean was then used by the sailing ships of Spain for the next two hundred years.
Miguel Lopez de Legazpsa at Cebú in 1565 established the rule of Spain in the Philippines. He then selected Manila as the capital in 1571. Four members of the Order of Saint Augustine had landed at Cebú with Legazpsa and Andrés de Urdaneta O.S.A. in 1565. These men were Diego de Herrera O.S.A., Martin de Rada O.S.A., Andrés de Aguirre O.S.A. and Pedro de Gamboa O.S.A. They at once began a very successful Christian mission. The first houses of the Order in the Philippines were established at Cebú, in 1565, and at Manila, in 1571.
And then in 1575, under the leadership of Father Alfonso Gutierez O.S.A., twenty four members of the Order from Spain landed in the Philippines. Under the successive rule of Diego de Herrera O.S.A. and Martin de Rada O.S.A. from the expedition of 1564, they worked very successfully. The Province of the Philippines (which is based in Spain even to this day) was founded by the Order in 1575.