Galleon Museum Set to Open this Year at SM MOA
The SM Mall of Asia Complex will have an additional feature that aims to highlight an important time for trade and commerce of the past. True, the Spanish occupation of the Philippines from the mid-16th century until the end of the 19th century was stained with turbulence and oppression but it also left an indelible mark that still persists in modern Filipino culture and society.
From 1565 to 1815, the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade flourished. Trade and commerce were made possible through the annual trips between these cities, two Spanish colonies from the opposite sides of the world, carrying important goods and commodities.
It is this important part of history that education advocate and former senator Edgardo Angara wishes to highlight. He shares that most of the vegetables mentioned in “Bahay Kubo” were brought in through the galleons. Many of our crops and seeds came from Mexico and Latin America such as corn, pineapple, chocolate and coffee.
“But more than crops and commodities, the galleon trade brought an exchange of culture, ideas and religion,” shares Angara. Many of the still existing religious icons in the Philippines were carried through the galleons such as the Black Nazarene of Quiapo and the Nuestra Señora de la Porta Vaga of Cavite.
Last December, the Museo del Galeon Inc. and the SM Group of Companies held a groundbreaking ceremony at the beachfront of SM Mall of Asia complex. Ambassador Julio Camarena of Mexico and Hans Sy initiated the ground-breaking ceremony. Also present were Pasay City mayor Antonio Calixto. The program featured Marian Roces, lead curator of TAO Inc. as the keynote speaker. Angara, who is a member of Museo Del Galeón Inc., also participated in the ceremony.
Through this partnership, a life-size reproduction of a galleon will be erected at the 5,000-square meter land provided by the SM Group. The Manila-Acapulco Galleon Museum will be a cultural facility which bases its reproduction on a set of naval architectural plan published in 18th century Manila.
SM Lifestyle and Entertainment Inc (SMLEI) president Ed Tejerero shares that the museum will measure 65 meters by 60 meters. It is scheduled to open late 2015. Roces, a curator for more than 40 years, shares to The Daily Tribune her excitement about this project. Admitting to continuously struggle with maintaining and sustaining museums, she hopes that this upcoming undertaking will be a turning point especially with a big conglomerate such as SM Group in the picture.
The curator also gave a glimpse of what to expect in the planned three-storey galleon museum. As opposed to her preferred synchronic presentation, Roces shares that the museum will be linear so as to give museum-goers a clear perspective of the chronological order of the famed galleon trade. It will feature five permanent galleries, all divided into a specific time frame, and a temporary exhibition space.
Roces shares that they plan to exhibit artifacts — from religious icons, navigational instruments and trade commodities — from the 42 nations that the galleon’s route passed through. It will have a fully digitized array of interactive experiences such as videos, short documentaries and interactive games.
Published in The Daily Tribune on January 4, 2015