Press Release
October 13, 2009


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today keynoted the celebration of Dia del Galeon hosted by the National Historical Institute, and urged Filipino historians and scholars to revisit the historical trade links between Spain and the Philippines.

"The Manila galleon became the lifeline for Philippine-Spanish relations, sailing continuously for two and a half centuries - a record that no other shipping line has ever matched. It gave us a place in world history like no other economic feature of the country," said Angara, author of the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day celebrated on June 30 of every year to commemorate the long-standing friendship between the two countries.

He added, "the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade marked the beginnings of globalization. The first real global trade dates from the Manila galleon trade, which formed the first direct and permanent trade link between America and Asia. The world became a global village, with Manila as the most important port in Asia."

Angara also emphasized the need to strengthen Philippine-Spanish ties through cultural and educational exchanges.

"Only 50 years ago, many of our national leaders were beneficiaries of Spanish education. Today the United States, United Kingdom and Japan have become the Philippines' main sources of education and training. Why shouldn't Spain, our historical madre patria, become more involved in educating our people like it did hundreds of years ago when they built the first schools in the country? We should pursue more academic exchanges and scholarships between our two countries," he said.

Many historical and anthropological documents on colonial Philippines are stored in Spain's archives and libraries. But because of the lack of Filipino scholars who can speak Spanish, these documents remain out of reach to local historians. Angara thus proposed that language teaching be a major educational endeavor for Spain in the Philippines.

Dia del Galleon commemorates the arrival of Fray Andres de Urdaneta in Acapulco from Cebu in 1565. Urdaneta's 129-day round trip journey officially established the return route and regular course of the historic Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade throughout its two-century existence.

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