November 5, 2009

Manila hosts International Galleon Conference

The Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade, an important economic infrastructure of Spanish colonial rule, was a flourishing trade that plied the Pacific Ocean, shuttling back and forth from Manila and Acapulco, Mexico from 1565 to 1815, carrying goods such as spices, porcelain, textile, furniture, gold ornaments, fixtures, etc is made famous by one single coin, the Spanish Peice of Eight.

In an initiative to bring the understanding of the rich tradition of the galleon trade within the public realm, the Intramuros Administration is organizing the International Conference on the Galleon and the Making of the Pacific, on Nov. 9-11 at Villa Immaculada, Gen. Luna cor. Anda St., Intramuros, Manila

“The Galleon trade built Intramuros, from its churches, to the schools,” states Anna Marie Harper of the Intramuros Administration. “It marked the start of globalization from the Orient to Europe.” At its peak, only one single coin conquered the trade of the world which was no other than the legendary "Dos Mondos" or the Pillar Dollars. Known for its beauty, purity, and aesthetic. The "Dos Mondos" not only symbolizes the meeting of the East and the West by design but it otherwise characterized the passion for travel, adventure, and exploration.

The three-day gathering of scholars from Spain, People’s Republic of China, Indonesia, the United States, Mexico, and the Philippines will look into the context and infrastructure of the Galleon Trade, its impact on regional trade in Asia and the Americas, and the horizons of change and cultural transformation brought by the Galleon trade.

“More than just an exchange of goods, the Galleon was key to an exchange of culture amongst the countries along the route it plied,” Harper adds. “Even today, linkages between Filipino and Mexican culture can be traced back to their roots in the Galleon trade.”

Students, the academe, cultural workers, and history enthusiasts, are enjoined to attend the conference, which covers discussions on heritage and conservation in the port cities during
the Spanish empire, trade in island Southeast Asia from 1565 to 1815, music in the rituals and ceremonies during Colonial Manila, insights into the transformation of the economy during the Galleon trade, a survey of the cultural influences from Latin America during the Galleon trade, the contribution of the Philippines to the galleon and the making of the Pacific, and the Manila-Acapulco Trade from the Perspective of Mexico-Sevilla traffic.

Speakers include economic historian Dr. Benito Legarda; Dr. Gusli Asnan of the Ministry of Museum and Antiquities of Indonesia; Javier Ruescas and Javier Wrana of the Associacion Cultural Galleon de Manila-Madrid; Dr. William Summers professor of Musicology of Dartmouth College, US; Dr. Wu Jie Wie of the University of Beijing; Architect Jorge Loyzaga of Mexico; Architect Francisco Pol, Professor, University of Alcala and Recipient of the Premio National de Urbanismo, Spain; Dr. Carlos Lles Loza, urban sociologist from the Universidad Carlos III.

Two roundtables (heritage conservation and current researches on Intramuros and the galleon trade) will be convened with presentations from stakeholder institutions in the vicinity of Intramuros. Dr. Ing. Adolfo Jesus Gopez, president of FEATI University, Ambassador Reynaldo O. Arcilla, Dean of International Relations of Lyceum University, Dean Ramona Lopez-Ty of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, and Professor Manuel Zamora of the Intramuros Studies Center of Letran College are among the discussants.

Aside from talks, round table discussions, and workshop sessions, the conference also features out of conference activities, including museum tours and walking tours.

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