Galleon Andalucia is a replica of the 17th century Spanish galleon that sailed across the Old Europe, Asia and New World of the Latin America for trading of goods. It was docked at the Pier 13 of South Harbor in Manila last October 6-9 for the launching of the first international festival commeration of the galleon trade of yore in which our country were among the major players, along with Mexico. The Andalucia was the first vessel to successfully circumnavigate the world.
This modern-day replica made of oak is 51 meters long, 40 meters high and weighs 500 tons. It has 6 decks, 3 masts and 7 sails. Its has 2 gigantic anchors perched on the side of the ship that weighs a total of 1450 kilograms. Definitely eye-catching for everyone. It can also travel at the speed of 5 knots or about 10 kilometers per hour. It was sponsored and built by the Foundation “Nao Victoria” and supported by Andalusian government and its business community.
The Galleon Andalucia revives the legendary trading vessels of our ancestors who exchanged goods like silk, porcelain and spices for almost 3 centuries linking Manila, Acapulco and Seville, sailing across Pacific Ocean between America and Asia.
The Andalucia departed Seville, Spain last March 21, traveling roughly 11,000 miles and crossing different seas and ocean to reach Asia. Before docking to Manila, this traveling exhibit was also seen in Shanghai, China for the 2010 World Expo as highlight of the Spain Pavilion to promote culture and civilization.
Starting October 8, 2010, Dia Del Galleon (Galleon Day) is to be celebrated every year as designated by the United Nations’ cultural agency, UNESCO. This is to commemorate the beginnings of world trade and cross-cultural enrichment through the Spanish galleon. It only means to say that galleon didn’t just served as trading ship but for exchanging unique cultures from different foreign lands as well.
The moment I heard about this news, I dedicated my one-day rest day just to see how it looks like. My curiosity brought me so much expectations and wondering. I even asked my friends if they want to go with me, but only Leslie was able to make it. It became part of my itinerary in my PROJECT: TOUR MANILA for the launching of my travel blog. As indicated in the announcement, the visiting hours for walk-ins is until 4PM. Leslie and I arrived at around 3:30PM. Upon arriving at the South Harbor Gate, we have seen a lot of people in queue line, the guard told us that the public viewing was already closed due to overwhelming response of the people.. So when the taxi is about to u-turn, we alighted then still proceed inside.
First stop: another guard asked us where are we going. I told him we will see the galleon. He let us in. Next gate, another guard asked if we have an invitation because the registration is already closed. I showed him not an invitation but just a printed announcement I found in the internet. Then he let us in (yeah!). Then at the gym where the registration area is, a lot of registered people were still waiting for their turn to see the galleon, but there were still a lot of unregistered people (that includes us) who are asking/begging to let their names be registered. But as they said there was no more registration even if its not yet 4PM as stated, next will be opened tomorrow. They also added that they stopped the registration since 12nn because they cannot accommodate anymore the guests who registered since morning. We were all pissed off because the organizer was not able to anticipate this kind of scenario. I told Leslie that we’re not going unless we see the galleon. That’s how persistent I was that time. “By hook or by crook” ika nga..I need to calm then speak. I used a lot of alibis like we came all over from Batangas just to see the galleon, that I am a blogger who needs to blog about this, that i emailed the organizer prior to the event and then she asked for the printed email, I gave the one I used with the guard on the gate. (Pak! huli, akala ko lusot na!) “it isn’t an email she said, you just print the public announcement. She was pressured by lots of people who want to get in where the galleon is docked. I can see that she was already pissed off and almost to cry. She cant handle the situation alone. She even said that it was the worst job ever. Just imagine, twenty persons versus one. Even add the people who confronted her earlier. I know there were (sinong hindi iinit ulo sa mainit na panahon sabayan pa ng mga nagrereklamo). She let us signed the registration for tomorrow morning. But I just realized that I cant go back next day. So again. I need to speak to her no matter how mad she is. Then she let us go with the group “try to make singit”. Wait! it isn’t over yet. The another facilitator told us that the guard will not let us in if we don’t have a sticker (serves as a proof that you are registered). I went back to the girl, and she still didn’t give us a sticker. I need to use my acting skills. (stop talking and pretend like you’re begging with your eyes, then say please). Best Actor! Then she whispered “OK go with them”. I asked for her name but she refused to. Leslie and I went with the group, taking our luck, come what may. When we were about to enter the gate the guard notice that we don’t have a sticker, I said “from MEDIA”, the other facilitator who told us earlier that if we don’t have any sticker we will not be allowed to enter supported what I said. Yipeeeee! they let us in and then that facilitator gave us a sticker to wear. She refused to give her name as well. Define SUCCESSS!!!!??
Little steps became bigger and bigger as we were getting close to the galleon. I was really amazed. It was indeed a sight to behold. But, the clouds got darker and darker. Another guy who was done viewing shouted “ayan na ang ulan” (there’s the rain). He expectedly received a lot of reply. “Sama ng ugali mo!, porke tapos ka na.” (lol) And he was right, a minute before be hop on-board the management closed the bridge going to the galleon because they explained that they need to cover some important and complicated things inside the galleon to avoid getting wet and damage. Then the heavy rain fell. We were like ants running in different ways. Thankfully there is a big tent to cover ourselves from the pouring rain. Everyone decided to have their picture taken outside the galleon even if it still drizzles. (Di bale nang sipunin, atleast nakita ko yung galleon at may picture ako.) Still a lot of people kept insisting if they can go on board even for a minute just to see what’s inside but they refused to. They only let VIP’s to go inside and watch a presentation in the form of monologue by that veteran artist. I don’t know here name but I’ve seen her on TV already. Leslie and I had fun taking picture from different angles. Before we left I was able to meet the girl I was talking earlier. Her name is Charice. She was the one explaining about the history of the Galleon to the guests. She’s very nice and we even have a picture together.
The event was attended by different people from all walks of life. Students, teachers, nuns, ship captains, celebrities, and other people from different institutions and organizations spent a time just to see this magnificent phase of history and perhaps to understand its contribution. Indeed, I had fun seeing such effort to showcase the public a glimpse of our past.
The galleon was also docked in Cebu and Bohol, two of the famous trade landmark during the Spanish Era and was opened for public viewing in ten days before it sails home.
Then we headed our way to Manila Ocean Park’s Acquatica for the musical fountain and light show. We failed to visit Intramuros and Fort Santiago which is also part of my itinerary due to the bad weather and so much time spent with the Galleon Andalucia. As Leslie said, “hindi naman aalis ang Intramuros, yung Galleon minsan lang makikita.”
MORE PHOTOS!Click to enlarge.