By lovely a. carillo
Mexican Ambassador to the Philippines Julio Camarena Villaseñor cited the booming cacao industry as proof of the centuries-old bond between Mexico and the Philippines.
“The Acapulco/Manila Galleon connected our two nations for 250 years,” the ambassador wrote on the page of the book “The Manila Galleon” before he turned it over to Malagos owner Charita Puentespina last week.
Villaseñor toured the Malagos Chocolate Museum and tried his hand at chocolate-making.
He said the Philippines has retained most of the names of the products it got from the Galleon Trade such as chocolate which also carried the Aztec name “xocolate.” He said cocoa beans was the currency of the Aztecs and used by them to exchange products and when visitors arrived, he said, the Aztecs made drinks out of chocolate.
Villaseñor stressed the many similarities between the two countries especially when it comes to chocolates. He said the book was very significant in the linkages between the two countries since the Galleon trade paved the way for the exchange of products between Manila and Mexico.
He said there are other products from Mexico which were brought to the Philippines such as “maize” or corn, “kalabasa” or squash, “chayote” or sayote, “achiote” or achuete, and fruits like chico and guyabano. He also cited the Filipinos observance of semana santa or the Holly Week and Misa de Gallo as traditions that were influenced by the Mexicans.
Villaseñor said there are Mexican companies that are interested in putting up hotels and other tourism-related facilities in the country. While there are concrete plans for this, he refused to name the Mexican companies bent on investing in the country’s tourism industry.
He said there are Mexican companies who are very keen on investing in Mindanao’s agro-industry.
The envoy also cited the role of the Mexican Air Force in the liberation of the country during World War II. He said during the war against the Japanese, only two air force came to liberate the Philippines, the US Air Force and the Mexican Air Force.