The Philippine Expert’s roundtable meeting on the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade Route to the World Heritage List was held April 23, 2015, as initiatives of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines and the Department of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with the UST Graduate School – Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics. This effort was the Philippines’ preparation for the possible transnational nomination of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade Route to the World Heritage List jointly with Mexico.
The following were the experts and the topics they discussed during the roundtable meeting: Dr. Celestina Boncan on the Tornaviaje; Dr. Mary Jane A. Bolunia on Shipyards in the Bicol Region; Mr. Sheldon Clyde Jago-on, Bobby Orillaneda, and Ligaya Lacsina on Underwater Archaeology; Dr. Leovino Garcia on Maps and Cartography; Fr. Rene Javellana, S.J. on Fortifications in the Philippines; Felice Sta. Maria on Food; Dr. Fernando Zialcita on Textile; and Regalado Trota Jose on Historical Dimension. The papers presented and discussed during the roundtable meeting were synthesized into a working document to establish the route’s Outstanding Universal Value.
The Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade impressed its remarkable significance for linking four continents and two oceans, contributing to the development of trade in Asia, Europe, North and South America. It paved the way for the widest possible exchange of material goods, cultural traditions and practices, knowledge and belief systems and peoples. For some 250 years, it served as a formidable bridge between East and West. Today, it is considered as an early manifestation of globalization, having influenced the politics, philosophy, commerce, and trade development of almost the entire world. The Galleon Trade firmly put Manila on the world map as the largest trade hub in the Orient with solid historical links to its neighbors. The Route becomes symbolic of UNESCO and the World Heritage Convention’s aims and objectives in establishing peace across nations through shared heritage and a culture of understanding.