The Galleon Was the Forerunner of "Titanic"

Filipinos manned the mighty ships; Andalucia Galleon docks in Manila Bay

And now, everyone has a chance to jump aboard a formidable ship that once ruled the world.

From October 5-9, the Philippines will host the Andalucia, a 17th century replica of a Galleon. Berthing at the Manila Harbor, guests from all over will be able to view and walk through history.

Without fuel and minimal modern technology, the Galleon is almost exactly as it was four hundred years ago.

The Philippines will once again claim its glory as one of the centers of global trade and cultural transmission. The Galleons, which traveled twice a year from Manila to Acapulco, brought with it goods from four continents. Bounties of the Earth such as silver, pearls and chocolate; and exquisitely made items such as porcelain, silk and pina were traded in Philippine and Mexican ports. Up to eighty percent of the crew were Filipinos, and to this very day, Filipinos are still renowned as Masters of the Seas.

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts and Día del Galeón in partnernship with the Fundación Nao Victoria of Spain, have collaborated and will bring in a piece of world history on Philippine shores. The vessel departed last March 21 from Seville Spain and has crossed the Mediteranean and Indian Oceans. Currently, it is docked in the Shanghai International Expo in China.

The Galleon is 51 meters long and can hold up to 5,000 people! It weighs 495 tons and has ten cast iron cannons reminiscent of days gone by.

Galleon


For those who think history can only be read in old books, this will bring history to light. Philippine national and cultural agencies have pooled their resources together with the Philippine Ports Authority, MARINA, Philippine Coast Guard, and the Philippine Shippers Association on-board to plan the arrival of the Galleon. The Galleon will be part of the Día del Galeón festivities for the months of September to October. Let us celebrate the new Philippine Renaissance.

The Día del Galeón Festival will focus on the impacts of the Galleon and will mirror the three concerns of the United Nations for the year 2010: the protection of biodiversity as impacted by climate change, the advancement of seafaring concerns, as well as Cultural Rapprochement. The Philippine festival will add a new dimension to the Galleon trade as it will highlight the role and impact of the Filipinos during the trade as well as emphasizing indigenous art form and heritage at par with Hispanic art form. The Organizing Committee is chaired by NCCA's Dr. Vilma Labrador, with Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo as Advisory Board Chair. Senator Edgardo J. Angara is the Honorary Chairperson of the event while Cecile Guidote-Alvarez is the Festival's Director General.

Preparations are underway for the UNESCO-approved global observance of Día del Galeón scheduled for October 8 to remember its historic role as a trade route connecting continents and as a vessel of cultural exchange. For more information log onto www.ncca.gov.ph, www.diadelgaleon.blogspot.com , email diadelgaleon@yahoo.com or call (632) 527 2192 local 616. Also, on Facebook and Twitter, just type diadelgaleon. (NCCA/Charisse Aquino-Tugade)


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