As I write this, Spring is just around the corner. And it has been only a month since I came back from my yearly winter break in Mexico — my favorite destination. But already, I am saving and planning for my next winter getaway. Of course, it’s in Mexico once again.
My dilemma is, I can’t decide where to stay this time around.
Acapulco is on top of my list. Mainly because I found there various traces of the history of the Manila galleons, which I am very interested in at the moment. Acapulco, if you don’t know it, played a big part in the history of the Manila Galleons and have a museum of it in the city.But, not only that. I was also drawn to Acapulco because, finally, I’m able to connect with a kababayan who was living there. And he’s a cook, too, so that means having Filipino meals whenever I feel like it.
But the thing is, I am getting very interested on the history of the Manila Galleons like crazy. My regular nature-tripping & archeological ruin visits have transformed into some kind of objectives pertaining to history of the Philippines’ past. My interest have shifted to finding out or tracing the path of the galleons; what happened to Filipino sailors who chose to jump ship to stay and where in Mexico could they possibly be concentrated at.
Of course enjoying the wildlife, nature & ruins of Mexico and capturing them in photos did not wane. It was still part of my agenda when there. But I can’t understand why the history of the galleons was bugging me almost daily that I desire to go back even more frequently. And possibly stay even when it’s not winter.
And now, I’m having difficulty deciding where to stay in Mexico next. Because according to my research, it’s not only in Acapulco where the galleons left some of its past. Almost the entire Pacific region of Mexico was once a stop over of the Manila Galleons and left some record in all of them.
Below is a video of Philippine culture display in Acapulco.
And that is not a small area! My usual visits of 2 to 3 weeks will not be enough to cover them.
In my research, some of the places that came up are:Barra de Navidad – where the galleons sailing from Mexico to the Philippines were built. It was also here where a galleon group led by Andres Urdaneta & Miguel Lopez de Legazpi sailed to Manila to start the conquer of the Philippines (in 1565, Legazpi actually landed in Cebu). My research shows that every year, there is a festival celebrating the departure of the galleons to Manila every November.
Colima – many Filipino sailors of the galleons who jumped ship settled in this town. This Pinoys brought with them the knowledge of making tuba which they taught to the natives. It is widely believed that Mezcal (the grand daddy of Tequila) was produced copying the technique used in this Filipino ingenuity.
Zihuatanejo – another shipbuilding yard for the galleons bound for Manila during the colonial period. The area was also a contender to become the main port for the galleons besides Acapulco in the old days.
San Blas (Nayarit) – was the former customs area where the goods brought by the Manila galleons pass thru for checking and inventory.
San Jose del Cabo, Mazatlan, Banderas Bay (Mazatlan), Manzanillo – were the galleon stop overs along the coast to stock up on goods before proceeding to Acapulco. I’m pretty sure there are Filipino sailors who made this places home.Mexico City – the site of the former biggest market for Asian goods called The Parian. I’ve been here just recently and have seen some displays of artifacts from the galleons at two museums and there is a small concentration of Filipinos working here, who I met some last time I’m there.
Veracruz – goods from the galleons of Acapulco was transported by land to the port of Veracruz for shipment to Spain via Cuba.
Those were just some I found recently.
If I dig deeper, I’m sure I will find more. But anyway, I made up my mind as a result of this post – on my next trip, I am thinking of staying at Barra de Navidad in order to document the marker of the first sailing of the galleon to Manila and/or to join in the festivity of the first galleon sailing.
I would also like to find out if there are more to find of the footprints of the Manila Galleon or if it was as extensive as in Acapulco. And I am also visiting South of Barra de Navidad — Manzanillo, which is less than an hour away.
I’m also going to visit Guadalajara to see what they have over there, or if they a have a museum that houses some artifacts from the galleons. I wish to find something that somehow was part of the Nao de China.
With all those 3 places already in my agenda and with an historical objective behind the trip, my 3 weeks in Mexico will surely pass quickly this time around.