"The ports are gateways". Ports have certainly played an important role in shaping the history of mankind. Not only have the ports been gateways for the exchange of goods with other countries but they have been witnesses of the transfer of peoples and cultures. These ports became the guiding stars of the first sailors who navigated the deep seas in search of spices and new lands. As these navigators reached the ports and eventually put out to sea, they were constantly greeted by two words: "welcome" and "farewell".

What was on the Galleons?

From Acapulco to Manila – Galleons to Asia carry silver and missionaries”. Galleons from Acapulco to Manila carried conspicuously large quantities of silver, as well as a large number of missionaries burning with the zeal to spread Christianity in the Far East. Silver was of course a necessary requisite. It was used to pay goods bought and sold in Acapulco, the expenses incurred in purchasing goods in Manila, salaries for officials living in Manila, living costs, funds for building in the town, royal subsidies, and other costs incurred in the Philippines. This silver was carried in the form of silver coins or bars. For this reason, galleons travelling from Acapulco to Manila were even called the “silver ships”. Of course, “silver and missionaries” were not the only things carried on the galleons to Manila. Their cargoes also included official documents including edicts and ordinances issued by the Spanish Government, items of mail, cocoa, vanilla, sugar cane and other produce from New Spain; Spanish wines, play cards and other daily items; animals; and a wide variety of plants and other produce consisting mainly of maize, tobacco, tomatoes, gourds, papaya, chili, avocados, peanuts and others grown in the Americas. Passengers on the galleon included government envoys, soldiers and merchants. What they brought to the Philippines was something less tangible: the customs and manners of Spain or New Spain, such as folk festivals liked to the Christian calendar and the customs of godparenting.

Excerpts from the catalogue entitled "A Testimony of the 400th Aniversary of Mexico-Japan Relations, Special Edition: The Dream of Friendship carried by the Galleons",

Manuel L. Quezon, First Filipino President of the Commonwealth visits Mexico in 1937

The historical ties between Mexico and the Philippines gave Manuel L. Quezon, the first President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines the yearning to visit Mexico before any other Latin American nation. He was in Mexico from April 8 to 13, in 1937, after visiting Washington, D.C. Quezon was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Aurora Quezon, his two daughters, Maria Aurora and Zenaida, and their son Manuel. President Quezon was overwhelmed by the reception given to him by the Mexicans; his intention was to travel to Mexico only as a tourist and not as Head of State. To his surprise, he found the Mexican people waiting for him with a military detachment ready to receive him with honours as President of the Philippines; he commented ―Why did the Mexican people cheer me wherever I went?... ―I looked out of the presidential car and they all shouted ―Viva Quezon‖. He was received by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, General Eduardo Hay, Mr. Cosme Hinojosa, Chief of the Central Department, and Brigadier General Manuel Avila Camacho (who later became the President of Mexico). The President and his family were accommodated at the Palace of Chapultepec. In Xochimilco, at a banquet given in his honour, he said that he felt as though he was in his own country; the songs were familiar, having heard them in his homeland, he also found the Mexican indigenous people resembling the Filipino indigenous. One of the main goals of his visit was to know more about Agrarian Reforms that was being implemented then in Mexico. On the last day of his stay, he met President Lázaro Cardenas in Taxco, and in a strong and friendly embrace, he bid farewell. 

As President Quezon stated, ―…as in the past the galleons from Acapulco crossed the Pacific exchanging merchandise, I hope that today, by boat or other means, there will be an exchange of ideas and affection between the peoples of Mexico and the Philippines that will maintain both the countries in constant contact with each other. I trust that one day the President of Mexico will visit the Philippines. We will show the person representing you, the admiration and warm affection we feel for Mexico.

Sources: Transcript of press reports published in the El Universal of Mexico City, covering the visit to Mexico by President Manuel L. Quezon, as prepared by Raul Guerrero Montemayor, Mexico City,
2001; the Embassy of Mexico would like to thank Mrs. Nini Quezon Avanceña, daughter of President Quezon, who graciously honoured us with a courtesy call for this article and Philippine Ambassador
to Mexico, Francisco M. Ortigas III for his support.