THE NATIONAL Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) took 300 participants from all over the Philippines for the Viaje del Galeon, a four-day educational trip from Manila to Cebu last October 8 to 11.

The event sought to raise public awareness on the galleon trade, the famous commerce through the giant galleon ships between Manila and Acapulco between 1565 and 1815 which opened Manila to world trade. The Viaje del Galeon was also held to develop and strengthen youth leadership, and educate the delegates on the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines from Spain. Most of the participants in the event were composed of young student leaders.

“We have to educate young people about our history. They need to know what the Philippines was in the past,” said Fr. Harold Rentoria, OSA, NCCA Commissioner on Cultual Heritage.

UST Graduate School professor Edgardomar Castro said that the experience taught him not only to memorize history but appreciate it.

He linked the cultural enrichment program to the coming UST Quadricentennial.

“The 400 years has been very significant for the Thomasian community because of the numerous alumni and their contributions to society,” he told the Varsitarian.

“After 2011, it will be more meaningful if we really look back to our history and use it for the betterment of the future.”

(From top) The image of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in the grounds of Metropolitan Cebu Cathedral, the participants of the trip inside Basilica de Sto. Niño, devotees praying during the procession and the Heritage of Cebu monument. Photos by Paul Allyson R. QuiambaoGood voyage

The image of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, the patroness of the galleon trade, was brought aboard.

According to Msgr. Rigoberto de Guzman, rector of the Shrine of Antipolo, it was the first time that the image had sailed again since the galleon trade ended.

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He said that based on history, whenever the image accompanied the galleon, there would be no famine, storms and fights among the crew.

Trip to Cebu

The event started with a heritage tour in Intramuros. The youth delegates visited different landmarks such as the Fort Santiago, San Agustin Museum and Bahay Tsinoy museum.

It was then followed by a Marian procession of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage from San Agustin Church to Eva Macapagal Pier. She was enthroned inside the Super Ferry 20, the ship that held the participants to Cebu and back to Manila.

After the enthronement, a Mass was conducted and a roving exhibit that featured the life of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi was opened.

A lecture about the galleon trade was delivered by Celestina Boncan, a professor of history in the University of the Philippines-Manila.

The ship arrived in Cebu at around six in the evening. The Antipolo image was welcomed by devotees and a marching band. A motorcade of the image followed from the pier to Basilica de Sto. Niño in Cebu City where a welcome Massn was held.

Monsignor De Guzman said that the image’s arrival to the basilica was significant as it indicated the reunion of Mother and Son: the patron saint of Cebu is the Santo Nino.

After the Mass, the image was transferred to the nearby Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral where she stayed overnight.

To enrich the delegates’ knowledge about the heritage and culture of Cebu, the delegates visited heritage sites the next morning. They visited Bantayan ng Hari and Casa Gorordo.

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The event ended with the participants and the image going back on board for Manila.

Viaje del Galeon was part of Dia del Galeon Festival 2010, an international event that commemorates the galleon trade as vehicle of cultural transmission among continents and peoples.

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