Press Release
November 25, 2011


Madame Margarita Zavala, spouse of the President of the United Mexican States, expressed interest in collaborative economic and cultural initiatives with the Philippines, including a monumental project to build a galleon museum in the country.

In her remarks during a cultural gala held on Thursday in her honor, Zavala said, "This museum could serve as an intercultural and globalization research center which will further help in uniting us.

"This project will surely have the support of countries such as Mexico, Spain, China and the United States among others," she added. These countries were among more than 30 nation-states involved in the 250-year-long Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade from 1565 to 1815.

Senator Edgardo J. Angara, who brought up the idea, hosted a Cultural Gala in honor of Zavala on Thursday, the last day of her two-day visit to the Philippines.

"The closing of my visit to the Philippines is this wonderful cultural gala organized by Sen. Angara and his wife. I'm very thankful for both of them for building these bridges that unite the Mexico and the Philippines," said Zavala.

Several high-ranking cabinet officials attended the event, prompting Angara to remark, "We can have Cabinet meeting right here."

Angara hosted the event along with DepEd Sec. Armin Luistro and DOH Sec. Enrique Ona. Sen. Franklin M. Drilon and DOJ Sec. Leila de Lima were also co-hosts though they were unable to attend.

DFA Sec. Albert del Rosario and DSWD Sec. Corazon Soliman were guest speakers, while DTI Sec. Gregory Domingo and DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson were among other honored guests.

Leaders from the business, cultural and diplomatic communities were also in attendance.

Guests were treated to performances from some of the best Filipino artists: the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, Shirley Halili-Cruz Ballet Company, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, tenor Ronan Ferrer, pianist Jason Ros and sopranos Lara Maigue and Katrina Saporsantos.

Highlighting the occasion was the exchange of commemorative tokens between the Philippine and Mexican sides.

Luistro, Ona and Soliman joined Angara and Postmaster General Josefina dela Cruz of the Philippine Postal Corporation in presenting commemorative Dia Del Galeon (Day of the Galleon) stamps to Madame Zavala, who served in the Mexican Congress prior to her husband's election as President, as well as Calvillo.

In return, Cavillo presented commemorative Dia Del Galleon lottery tickets to the Philippine officials.

In his remarks, Angara underscored the close ties between the Philippines and Mexico, whose historical relations date as far back as the 16th century.

"For 250 years, the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade served as the lynchpin of global commerce, the forerunner of globalization as we know it, and one of the longest running and most successful shipping routes ever," explained Angara.

Angara continued, "The interchange through more than two centuries was equally cultural as it was economic, if not more so. Traditions, institutions and ideas travelled with the mighty galleons together with goods and products."

"In short, a significant part of who we are and what we have become was shaped during those 250 years that we were connected through the galleons," stressed Angara.

Angara noted the re-emergence of Pacific nations as the center of global economy, evidenced by the vigorous pursuit of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the recent APEC summit in Honolulu.

"I have no doubt the Pacific--especially the Philippines and Mexico--will once more figure prominently in this revival," he said.

Zavala echoed this, saying, "I'm sure the reason for this similarity has to date back to the Manila Galleon which united us in trade for many, many years, centuries ago.

"It is in our hands now to push for this new galleon of the 21st century as Sen. Angara remarked...  We share history, we share a common reality," said Zavala.

"To share our cultural goods and the valuable experiences of our artists which enrich our daily lives, Mexico and the Philippines will once again be a civilizing bridge between the Asian and American continents, a bridge of understanding, of peace, of hope, of generosity," explained Zavala.

The First Lady closed her speech on light note, "I know you speak in English but your heart is still in Spanish." (30)

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