The Lequios is a group of Hebrews who settled around Ophir, which the Spaniards considered the Philippine islands to be, before its colonization.
In Spain there is a 16th Century Book entitled "Coleccion General de Documentos Relativos a las Islas Filipinas." It is found in the Archivos de Indias de Sevilla. It was reprinted in 1920 in Barcelona, Spain by the Compania General de Tobaccos de Filipinas. Its Tomo III (1519-1522), pages 112-138, contains Document No. 98 describing how to locate the land of Ophir.
This same volume also contains the official documents regarding the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan. It also contains the logbook of Francisco Albo, the chief pilot of the ship Victoria. This logbook is also one of the main references regarding the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan.
Ophir was "…in front of China towards the sea, of many islands where the Moluccans, Chinese, and Lequios met to trade…"
Along the route described by Document No. 98 are locations of old Jewish settlements.
Settlements were established at selected places to trade and process the gold and silver. The ships collected the gold and silver and brought it to King Solomon. To the credit of the Hebrew people, their settlement remained true to the Jewish faith even for thousands of years. Settlements were found in India, Burma, Sumatra, and Vietnam (Annam and Cochin China). Jewish settlements then, even extended to the Philippines, which was Ophir proper.
In association with these records, Spanish books mention of a mysterious people known as Lequios. Modern historians variously identified them as Okinawans, Koreans, or Vietnamese. They were favorite targets of Spanish ships during the time of General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi because the ships of the Lequios were always laden with gold and silver.
Also, according to Documents 98, the Lequios were big, bearded, and white men. They were only interested in gold and silver when trading at Ophir. Okinawans, Koreans, and Vietnamese people are not big nor are they white. Their beards are just small goatees and could not satisfy the word "bearded". Therefore they were not the Lequios. The Lequios were thus deemed to be the remnants of Hebrews and Phoenicians who have made enclaves in their trade with Ophir proper.
These Lequios were scattered among the islands of the Philippines. Eventually, they too were converted to Christianity: along with the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Animists of the Pre-Hispanic Philippine states after active Hispanic settlement via the Americas became uninterrupted in the 333 years of Spanish colonization.
- Coleccion General de Documentos Relativos a las Islas Filipinas
- Número de documento Noventa Ocho "delante de China hacia el mar, las islas donde muchos de los moluqueños, chino, y se reunió con el comercio Lequios"