MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines will add another feather to its cap as it spearheads the commemorative activities of the first International Dia del Galeon Festival this September 15 to October 15, 2010, culminating in a grand celebration in Paris on October 12.
The grand festival recognizes the importance of the Galleon Trade which flourished between 1565 and 1815. The Philippines played a key role in the trade route using galleons which linked Asia to Europe via Mexico.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a resolution in its General Conference in Paris last October 2009 declaring October 8 of every year beginning 2010 as Dia del Galeon. This resolution was co-sponsored by the Philippines, Mexico and Spain with the support of ASEAN and several European countries.
October 8 is said to be the day when the San Pedro Galeon, with navigator Fray Urdaneta, reached Acapulco in 1565. This event established the Manila-Acapulco route linking Asia, the Americas, Europe, and Africa, and later dubbed as the "Tornaviaje."
What the Galleon Trade brought
The Galleon Trade brought a wide variety of Mexican influence to the Philippines. The galleons from Mexico carried in its cargo sampaloc, achuete, and tsokolate de batirol, among others.
The trade route also brought Filipino products to the world. The fragrant ylang-ylang, which is still made into garlands and sold on the streets of Manila today every afternoon, was brought to Europe via Mexico. Ylang-ylang is still used in French perfumes to this day.
From Manila, the Barong Tagalog also arrived in Mexico and Cuba, where it is called "guayabera."
"The Galleon Trade served as the precursor of globalization," said Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, UNESCO Commissioner on Culture and Dia del Galeon Festival Director.
Events lined up
For the 1st Dia del Galeon Festival, the Baler 400 Steering Committee headed by Senator Edgardo J. Angara, along with the UNESCO International Theater Institute, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) teamed up with embassies and national and international agencies to make the event possible.
|At the Dia del Galeon Festival 2010 press conference: L-R: Miguel Angel George of the Mexican Embassy; Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, UNESCO Commissioner on Culture; Sen. Edgardo Angara; Vilma Labrador, National Commission for Culture and the Arts Chairman; Jose Hornero of the Spanish Embassy; and Jose Ma. Fons of Instituto Cervantes. Credit: Karen Galarpe, abs-cbnNEWS.com
The Festival, with the theme "History, Heritage and Habitat," will be officially launched in Bohol on Thursday, July 22, also the province's 156th Foundation Day. It also coincides with the Bohol Sandugo Festival.
A three-week festival featuring workshops on arts, heritage and cultural exchange, demonstrations, exhibits and performances will be held from September 15 to October 8. Participants will be from the Philippines and all the continents with the Galleon Trade experience.
An international conference will be held from October 8 to 10 which will gather scholars, artists, cultural workers, and governance leaders. The historical, political, economic, and cultural impact of the Galleon Trade history on contemporary civilizations will be discussed in an effort to find ways to enrich the present global agenda on sustainable development.
The Viaje del Galeon is scheduled from October 9 to 14, a one-week educational trip to various Philippine ports of call tracing the Galleon Trade route in the country. There will be on-board workshops, seminars, interactive performances and celebrations at the ports of call.
Other events include the launching of a commemorative stamp designed by renowned artist Juvenal Sanso; launching of an international yacht competition across the Pacific; national student music, literature, and visual arts competitions; and, bilingual declamation contests.
"The Dia del Galeon on October 8 will cap this eventful 2010 for the Philippines. Celebrations in the 3M's--Manila, Madrid, and Mexico--will be held simultaneously," said Angara.
"Spain is very thankful for this initiative to strengthen not just our ties but also that with the Asia-Pacific rim," said Jose Hornero, First Secretary of the Spanish Embassy.
"The Mexican government is glad to support a Philippine initiative to declare the Dia del Galeon. We are enthusiastic to support the Philippines in this event," said Miguel Angel George of the Mexican Embassy. -- Karen Galarpe, abs-cbnNEWS.com