Press Release
August 7, 2011


The Aboitiz Foundation has committed to sponsor two Filipino scholars to Mexico to undertake research on the Galleon Trade.

Kristyl Obispado and Kristoffer Esquejo, both instructors from the University of the Philippines-Diliman Department of History, will be flying to Mexico on a study grant courtesy of Aboitiz Foundation later this year.

The Memorandum of Agreement between UP and three partner institutions from Mexico, namely

El Colegio de Mexico, El Colegio de San Luis and the Mexican National Archives, is currently being finalized. This research exchange is in line with efforts to encourage cooperation between the two countries.

Senator Edgardo J. Angara, a former UP President, is at the forefront of this effort, which he initiated on his visit to Mexico earlier this year.

Angara sought mutual assistance between Philippine and Mexican universities and other institutions of higher learning, primarily through the exchange of scholars who will conduct research in the areas of History, International Studies and Southeast Asian Studies.

Obispado and Esquejo will undertake research on the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade, a culturally significant subject which put the Philippines and Mexico at the center of global commerce beginning in the 16th century. It also facilitated enormous cultural and political exchange whose resulting institutions still exist in both countries to this day.

The research effort is also in line with the celebration of the international Día del Galeón Festival held in October of each year. This year's celebration will be hosted by the Philippines again in Cebu City and is expected to be attended by diplomats and scholars from Spain and Mexico, among others.

"It's about time we institute a research exchange program such as this," said Angara. "This is the first of its kind, made possible through the cooperation of UP and its counterparts in Mexico, and especially through the philanthropy of the Aboitiz Foundation."

He continued, "Our national identity owes so much to the Galleon Trade, but we have very little scholarship about it. The Aboitiz Foundation is giving our scholars the means to explore a subject that is extremely significant to our country's history."

Angara, UP and Aboitiz hope that the project will create a precedent and encourage greater cooperation among other universities in the country and abroad.

"We hope this first batch will be followed by more in the future, not just in History, but also in technical fields and even in sports," he said.

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