Davao chocolate museum symbol of PH-Mexico ties

DAVAO CITY (PIA)- Visiting Mexican Ambassador to the Philippines Julio Camarena Villasenor said that the chocolate museum located in Malagos is a representation of the deep ties between Mexico and the Philippines.

The Mexican envoy visited the museum yesterday (April 12) as part of his itinerary in Davao City which included meeting with local government officials and local businessmen. The chocolate museum is located inside Malagos Garden Resort, an inland nature resort and cocoa plantation about 28 kilometers from Davao City’s downtown area.

Ambassador Villasenor was impressed with the museum which contains historical anecdotes about the origins of chocolates. Chocolate originated from Mexican Aztecs where it eventually reached Spain after Mexico was colonized by Spanish conquistadores.

The first recorded shipment of cocoa to the Philippines was recorded in 1660 brought as cargo by a Galleon traversing Manila to Acapulco.

The envoy cited the deep historical ties between the two countries. Particularly during the Spanish regime when Mexico was a viceroyalty of Spain and the Philippines was ruled through Mexico until it won its independence in 1821.

Villasenor cited the galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco which spurred the ties between the two countries.

The galleon trade introduced many Mexican crops now common in the country like corn, tomatoes, guyabano, achuete, Kalabasa (pumpkin).

They also share common cultural practices such as the popular celebration of fiestas, noche buena and todos los santos.

Mexican words like Palengke and Tiangge have become part of the Filipino vocabulary.

Philippine historical imports to Mexico include mangoes and coconuts.

Villasenor said that the tequila was inspired by the distillation process employed in producing coconut wine or tuba. The Mexicans employed that distillation in their native agave plant.

The envoy also cited the role of the Mexican Air Force in the liberation of the country during World War II when it sent an air force squadron to help liberate the country from the Japanese in World War II.

Villasenor said that even today the ties between the two countries are still deep particularly in the economic front.

Mexico is one of the top investors in the country. In 2013 and 2014 it was the top country in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) to the Philippines.

Mexico’s FDI to the country in 2013 and 2014 amounted to $6.8 billion.

Among the investments are in cement (Cemex), softdrinks (Coca Cola FEMSA) and call centers. The Philippines in turn has investments in Mexico like port development (ICTSI), distilled spirits (Emperador Brandy).

The envoy said that currently Mexico as among the top investors in the country. And is bullish with the trade relations between the two countries.

During his visit to the museum, Villasenor presented a book about the Galleon trade to the Puentespina family, owners of the resort and the museum. (PIA/RG Alama)

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