04 December 2014 - Philippine Ambassador to Mexico Catalino R. Dilem, Jr. attended a three-day series of commemorative activities from November 21 in the port district of Barra de Navidad, Municipality of Cihuatlán, State of Jalisco, Mexico, to mark the 450th anniversary of the Maritime Expedition of Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi and circumnavigator and Augustinian friar Andrés de Urdaneta to the Philippine archipelago. Ambassador Dilem was accompanied by First Secretary and Consul Angelo V. Amonoy.
Ambassador Dilem participated in the opening of festivities by leading the ribbon-cutting for the 1st Mexico-Philippines Friendship Festival, accompanied by high-level Jalisco government officials. The street named Calle López de Legazpi, site of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, was lined with students bearing Philippine and Mexican flags.
In his formal remarks, Ambassador Dilem underscored the close and friendly relations between the Philippines and Mexico, citing a Sister City Agreement concluded on November 21 that binds Barra de Navidad with the City of Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
A civic ceremony held later at the Commemorative Monument of the Legazpi-Urdaneta Maritime Expedition featured the singing of the Mexican and Philippine national anthems, in Spanish, by young students of the Escuela Primaria Miguel López de Legazpi and a wreath-laying at the foot of the Memorial.
In his address, Ambassador Dilem announced that the Philippine Embassy would soon turn over a painting that renowned Filipino artist Manuel D. Baldemor had agreed to donate to the Cihuatlán Municipal Government, which also administers Barra de Navidad, in recognition of the continuing friendship between the Philippines and Mexico that underpinned this year´s memorable celebration of the Legazpi-Urdaneta Expedition.
The next two days featured a a heavy line-up of activities, including an academic conference, a theater play, and chorale singing, as well as performances by symphony orchestras, a jazz ensemble, and several musical artists and live bands.
The Legazpi-Urdaneta Expedition was a defining moment in the annals of world history, ushering in the Spanish occupation of the Philippines that lasted well into the 19th century, facilitating transpacific commerce through the discovery of a favorable west-to-east route across the Pacific, or the tornaviaje, and bringing about the first stirrings to life of a global village. END