MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE) A replica of the Spanish galleon which plied the Manila-Acapulco route centuries ago docked in Manila on Wednesday, October 6 in celebration of the Dia del Galeon Festival.
"Andalucia" is a replica of a 17th century galleon that figured in trade activities between Asia, Europe, and the Americas a long time ago.
The galleon arrived at Pier 13 of the South Harbor in Manila to a warm welcome from government officials, the diplomatic community, cultural workers, students, and the general public.
"Ibinabalik lang nito sa alaala ang panahong Maynila ang sentro ng komersyo sa Asya," said Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim.
Officials from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Mexican embassy were present at the welcome ceremony.
"Andalucia," the wooden galleon replica, was made by the Nao Victoria Foundation. Its sails were made in Ilocos. The galleon was docked in China for the World Expo 2010.
The public can board "Andalucia" and view the traveling museum on board. Entrance is free from October 6 to 9. Viewing hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on October 6 to 8, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on October 9.
On opening day, students couldn't wait to board the galleon. "Excited po para makita ng personal 'yung bahagi ng kasaysayan," said Vianca Vargas, a 4th year high school student.
"Dapat pumunta dito 'yung mga estudyante dahil iba 'yung matututunan nila," said Alvin Santos, a high school teacher.
The 30-strong Spanish crew on board was also excited to visit the Philippines. "I know that Spanish and Philippine culture have so much in common and I want to experience it," said Monica, one of the crew members.
Dia del Galeon aims to preserve the fruitful relations of the countries linked by the galleon trade centuries ago. -- Report from Francis Faulve, ABS-CBN News