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PIA Press Release
2010/10/01

Senate pays tribute to historic Galleon Trade

Manila (1 October) -- The Philippine Senate, led by Senator Edgardo J. Angara pays tribute to history through Dia del Galeón, which highlights important aspects of the Galleon expeditions and brings together Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Angara filed a joint resolution marking October 8th of every year as a special working holiday to commemorate the Dia del Galeon or "The Day of the Galleon". Angara also led the opening of an exhibit in the Senate about the galleon trade.

October 8 marks the day in 1565 when Basque explorer and astronomer Fray Andres de Urdaneta found the first return route ?or "tornaviaje"? from the Philippines to America aboard the galleon San Pedro.

"The historic Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade marked the beginnings of globalization. Scholars agree that the first real global trade dates here, forming the first direct and permanent trade link between Asia and Europe and the Americas. This makes Manila the birthplace of globalization. The galleon trade put Manila at the center of the universe in the 16th and 17th century," said Angara in his privilege speech.

The highlight of this year?s Dia del Galeon festival is the arrival and opening of the majestic Galeon Andaluciato the public on the 5th of October.

The Andalucia is a modern replica of one of the 17th Century Galleons that traveled across Europe, Asia and the Americas in the 1600s until the early 1700s. The ship was a project conceived and developed by theFundacion Nao Victoria, named after the first vessel which sailed around the world.

The commemoration of Dia del Galeon was initiated by the Philippines with Mexico and Spain. During the Baler 400 celebration, Angara suggested the idea to Mexican Ambassador Tomas Calvillo Unna and Spanish Ambassador Luis Arias, who received it enthusiastically.

"We then held a series of meetings with key Latin American diplomats and representatives. An Advisory Board composed of all 36 nations that participated in the galleon trade sat on the Board with DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo as Honorary Chair," said Angara, chairman of the Dia del Galeon Steering Committee.

In October 2009, UNESCO?s General Conference in Paris passed a resolution to institutionalize the ?Dia del Galeón? ("Day of the Galleon:) every 8th day of October.

Through the cross-cultural journey of the galleons that took 12 months to complete, the Philippines was introduced to plants like sampaloc, achuete, avocado and cacao, from which we learned how to make tsokolate de batirol. In fact, tsokolate comes from the Aztec word "chocolatl".

Meanwhile, the Philippines exported to Mexico its indigenous plants like ylang ylang and abaca, as well as the barong tagalog.

"We should resurrect our long and fruitful ties with the Ibero-American countries which the galleon trade had forged. Our 16th century relations with these countries brought trade, investment, agriculture and the enrichment of our culture and language. It would be to our great cultural and economic benefit if we return to our roots and reunite ourselves with the Ibero-American bloc," said Angara.

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova has commended the Philippines for organizing the International Dia del Galeon festival this year.

The Dia del Galeon committee has organized a string of activities including Artes Talleres, as well as workshops open to the public from September 24 to 28, and the Viaje del Galeón from October 8 to 11.

Artes Talleres is a three-week interdisciplinary festival of workshops, demonstrations, exhibits, and performances highlighting the impacts of the Galleon Trade. A culminating activity will include a theatrical production of Mexican playwright, Miguel Sabido's Juana la Loca . The play will involve workshop participants, local artists and a Spanish composer. It which will fuse Filipino and Spanish languages, and include indigenous art forms. (COMSTE) [top]

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