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.

Now, its not like you saw Captain Jack Sparrow swinging around her masts but really, the galleon is one great manifestation of Spanish power during the 15th to the 18th Century. Galleons were used as “the bridge” between Europe and Asia—between Spain and the Philippines through Mexico.

Galeon Andalucia Full of tourists

And yes, they were treasure ships that the British and Dutch buccaneers and the Pirates of the Caribbean would love to get their hands on it. The ships were loaded with the riches of the Orient, silk, silver, gold, porcelain, and much more. The ships powered the imperial machinery of España for a long time! Those ships have to traverse the often dangerous Pacific—and a lot of them have sunk, marooned and even turned into ghost ships! One shipwreck would send the far-flung Spanish colony of the Philippines temporarily back towards the “Dark Ages.” That is how important these galleons are during that phase in our history.

Now, I don’t like to sound like a historical bookworm here but most of our “Hispanicity” was not an effect of direct rule from Spain, but it was through Mexico or Vicarey de Nueva España back then.  Yes, you heard it right! It’s not about Thalia and Manny Pacquiao’s contenders but a lot of things that we thought as “pure Kastila” is a product of a mash-up back in the land of tortillas and hot tamales! Imagine, 270 out of 333 years of Spanish colonial rule, we were under the Viccarey de Nueva España and the only way Spaniards could go here is through Mexico. Kaya tignan-tignan nyo na at malay nyo’t may lahi pala kayong mestizo! Records were so vague back then that they haven’t recorded whoever embarked and disembarked the galleons back then. Along with it were words, culture, flora, fauna, and even some of the classic “naughty words” were brought in, if you know what I mean.

Okay, let’s just stop the nerdy talk. Yet it is interesting to know these things in our culture.

Anyway back to topic, Galleón Andalucia will be here in Manila until October 9, 2010. It is open to the public for FREE! Yep, that’s right! Just go to Pier 13 South Harbour and have yourself registered at the PPA Gym before entering Pier 13. It is open from 8AM to 4PM on October 8 and 8AM to 12NN on October 9. Just make sure to be early so that you can be accommodated by the ship. The crew only allows 100 people at a time. Don’t forget your cameras so that you’ll have your own souvenir-and even change your Facebook profile pictures!

Soy Capitan de Galeon Andalucia!

Families are advised not to bring their kids, 8 years old and below as per Port rules.

By afternoon of October 9, the galleon will leave the docks of Manila and it is bound towards the “Queen City of the South,” Cebú. According to a Spanish crewmember that I’ve talked to, Estaremos allí en Cebú en cerca martes de la semana próxima.” They’ll be at Cebú by around Tuesday next week, October 12, 2010. So mga bai og atong mga higala sa Sugbo, you’ll have a chance to get a glimpse and embark at the galleon!

Its so nice to take a glimpse of what our culture has. Being a Filipino doesn’t mean that we have to deny our past that we were influenced by the Spaniards (or the Mexicans) through these boats that served as the Philippines’ bridge to the West for 270 years. It is a legacy in which it has shaped the history of world economic trade and society. In my opinion, knowing more of our colonized past makes me realize that we have to put things into another perspective, in order to understand how is it to be a true blue Pinoy.

¡Vamonos a Galleon ahora!

More Photos here:

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1 comment to Galeón Andalucia Docks at Manila

  • World Wide News Flash

    Galeón Andalucia Docks at Manila…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)

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