22  May 2014 - Philippine Ambassador to Mexico Catalino R. Dilem, Jr., attended a documentary showing entitled “Un Galeon de Manila” (A Manila Galleon) in the city of Cuernavaca in Morelos State.

Screened at the Palacio de Cortés, the oldest conserved colonial-era civil structure on the continental Americas, the hour-long documentary detailed the wreck of the San Felipe galleon in 1576 off the coast of California, and its excavation in a joint effort between US archaeologists and Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropologia y Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History) from 1999 to 2011.

Ambassador Dilem thanked the audience for their warm welcome, and spoke of the important historic link between Mexico and the Philippines that the galleon trade represented.

Also gracing the event was noted Mexican archaeologist, architect, and expert on Philippine-Mexican history, Dr. Juan Antonio Siller Camacho, who answered several questions that the audience had concerning the galleon trade. Dr. Siller Camacho highlighted the cultural impact that Mexico and the Philippines had on each other due to this commercial exchange, such as the effect that Asian goods had on Mexican arts and crafts.

The event was well-attended: aside from the general public, sectors represented included students of tourism, members of the historical and scientific community, cultural promotion officials, and representatives of the Acapulco Naval Museum, Ambassador Dilem was accompanied by Third Secretary and Vice Consul Mikhal de Dios.

Before the documentary screening, the Philippine Embassy officials were received by Dr. Siller Camacho and Mr. Juan Contreras de Oteyza, museum director of the Palacio de Cortes. Dr. Siller Camacho gave the Philippine Embassy officials a guided tour of the museum housed in the Palacio Cortes. Of special interest was a display featuring artifacts from the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade, such as Chinese pottery, traditional Philippine weaponry, and agricultural products introduced to the Philippines from Mexico, such as achuete, corn, tobacco, peanuts, chilis, and chocolate.

In addition, Dr. Siller Camacho showed the Embassy officials the historic trader’s route through Cuernavaca, used to transport galleon goods from the port of Acapulco to Mexico City. Ambassador Dilem and Vice-Consul de Dios were also brought to Jardin Borda, a historic garden in the city center, which contained Philippine mango trees from fruits brought over during the galleon era. END