Plaza Mexico: A Little Forgotten Spot in Intramuros

The 400 Years of Maritime Expedition Monument of Mexico and Philippines

While most of the people focused on the landing of Galeón Andalucia in Manila last week, my friend Gibb and I stumbled on this area that seemed to have been forgotten by time (and perhaps some maintenance too) itself. Called as Plaza Mexico, this place-the banks of Pasig River in Intramuros Manila-has been the original port of call of the fabled galleons of the past. Indeed, the 270 years of galleon trade that became one of the Spanish Empire’s economic machinery and an event that triggered globalization into a whole new level.

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Galeón Andalucia Docks at Manila

Galeon Andalucia in Manila

It has been two hundred years since the “Pearl of the Orient” has last seen a galleon. After most Latin American countries gained independence in the 19th century, especially Mexico, the famed Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade ceased to exist. Two hundred years later, Manila was visited—like somewhere in the past—by a Spanish galleon from Seville, Spain, the Galeón Andalucia.

As part of the Día Del Galeón celebrations in the Philippines, the 17th century Spanish galleon replica docked at Manila’s Pier 13 at South Harbour after traveling for more than six months at the sea, from Seville in Spain to Manila. Before they even arrived here, the ship was at the 2010 Shanghai Expo in China. The galleon is manned by 30 tripulantes, 28 hombres and 2 mujeres.

Galeón Andalucia is docked at Manila’s Pier 13 at South Harbour (that’s near Eva Macapagal Ferry Terminal). She sits like a majestic chica from the past. Her masts tower the horizon. The wooden replica is powered by wind and by machine.

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The First Día Del Galeón Opens in Manila

Nao Victoria - Spanish Galleon Replica to Dock at Manila on Oct 5

After two centuries of almost left in the oblivion of time, the journey of thousands of miles that initiated the modern trans-Pacific trade, has been celebrated. Manila, the first ASEAN cultural capital, opened the 1st Día Del Galeón Festival (Day of the Galleon) on 24th of September, 2010. The said festival will go on all the way to the 8th of October, 2010 with the theme “Connecting Continents.” With cultural presentations, academic conferences and the revisiting of a replica of the Spanish galleon, the event was organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Instituto Cervantes, the Embassies of Spain and Mexico, and all other non-government organizations, and members of the academe and the Philippine government—rekindling the once (almost) lost connection between Philippines, Mexico, Spain and the rest of Asia in two centuries of treacherous journeys across the Pacific, that changed the course of world history.

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