Long before Galeon Andalucia docked in Bohol, intrigues were already spreading about its choice of port- Catagbacan, Loon, a small wharf quite unknown to many. Some sectors claimed it was because of the war between Mayor Dan Lim of Tagbilaran and First District Representative Rene Relampagos and Governor Edgar Chatto who have been trading bitter words (mostly from Mayor Lim) last elections and it seems there is no end to it.
When the Galeon docked in Cebu, I never heard of issues like that of Bohol that goes far worst than the trade winds.
Well, you know what happens to intrigues especially when it concerns politics and politicians.
Anyways, the Andalucia is a replica of the first galleons that came to the Philippines during the Spanish regime and lasted for about 200 years. The first galleon to discover the trade route from Cebu to Mexico was the ship that carried Andres de Urdaneta, part of the convoy of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. It is worthy to note that Legazpi came to Bohol and made a pact sealed with blood with a native chief, Sikatuna; hence, the yearly Sandugo Festival of Bohol.
Galeon Andalucia, so named because it was built in Andalusia, Spain, graced the Shanghai Expo before exploring once again the trade routes it discovered. Manila, Cebu and Bohol were chosen because of the historical importance mentioned above.
Being a Boholano by spirit and blood, I chose to wait for the Galeon Andalucia to dock in Bohol waters despite the open opportunity to visit it in Cebu. Bol-anon jod ko kaajo. I am a true-blooded Boholano.
Boholanos are not ready for historical events. You might say I was wrong. When we went there a throng of people from all walks of life deluged the venue so that I could barely breath. They were there to witness history. In my analysis, majority of the Boholanos were there out of curiosity not because of history. Nothing historical came to their minds. They pushed and shoved to show their ignorance. Some went home frustrated, Mao ra diay to? That was it?
Boholanos are not the disciplined kind. In Cebu, people lined up waiting for their turns despite the heat and thirst. I don't know what went on in Manila. But I witnessed both crowds in Cebu and Bohol. And Bohol did the worst. There were no clear instructions at the port. We brought our passes for the event but they were not honored by the guards and the policemen. First come first serve, they said, so the shoving part was justified.
Boholanos are power-hungry. While the common people waited for their turn, the influential people of Tagbilaran (politicians, businessmen, lawyers, the "educated ones", the alta sociedad) used the exit to gain entry right infront of everybody. Worst, they used the police to guide them.
Boholanos are not concerned with the environment despite the environmental awards they got. Plastic bottles, empty tetra packs, wrappers of many kinds, were thrown in the clear waters of Catagbacan even if there were trash baskets at the haphazardly done "terminal".
And so I just sat on the sides contemplating on the crowd's mentality and the importance of the galleon trade in the past that paved way to modern trading. I sat remembering that these Spaniards were part of the race that we considered our enemies once. These Spaniards enslaved us for 300 years before selling the whole nation to the Americans. I remembered that for 300 long years we obediently and meekly followed like lost sheeps the orders and caprices of the Padre Damasos on that certain period of our history. Those Padre Damasos who spread hatred and distrust among us natives in the guise of Roman Catholicism, ostracizing the indios that wanted freedom and independence of the Las Islas Filipinas.
Like Dagohoy, I stood, err sat, on solid grounds.
First two photos of the galleon grabbed from Galeon Andalucia album of Bohol's First Lady Pureza Veloso-Chatto. The rest of the photos courtesy of Chin-chin Bretana.