by Marian Z. Codilla
The Galeon Andalucia, which sailed from Spain three months ago, is a replica of the ships used by Spaniards for trade in the 16th century to 19th century.
“This is a living a museum,” said Miguel Talegon Zaera, communications manager of the Andalucia.
Cebuanos will be allowed to tour the ship for free during its six-day stopover.
Made of polished pinewood, the galleon is 55 meters long, 20 meters wide and is a sight to behold amid the modern ships in the pier.
It arrived in Cebu after an ll-day journey from Manila.
The top deck or toldilla was off limits to all except the captain in the past. Today, this is where its Spanish crew can relax and see the sights as they journey.
Visitors can stand on the main deck and visit the bridge, where the ship’s steering wheel is located.
The admiral room is a reception area for selected visitors and dignitaries.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who welcomed the crew, said the vessel symbolized the cultural and historic ties between Spain and the Philippines.
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said the relationship of Cebu and Spain should continue to flourish.
“Four hundred eighty-nine years ago, the first galleon that carried Fernando Magallanes docked right here in the shores of Cebu,” she noted.
“We look forward to a shared future as our past is inextricably linked.”
Ignacio Fernandez, the expedition director and ship designer, said ship builders were guided by the photo of a galleon from the archive of Lord Marquez de la Victoria, a collector of centuries-old galleon designs.
Modern features were also added. Aside from its seven sails, the ship has an engine that is used when the vessel docks and departs. Some portions of the galleon are also airconditioned.
The ship’s speed can reach 10 knots if the sails are unfurled.
The Andalucia has sailed through unpredictable weather in its voyage from Spain, through the Mediterranean Sea, Suez Canal, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal.
Stops were made in Malta, Israel, Egypt, Oman, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Singapore and China.
After the Philippines, the galleon will retrace its route to Andalucia in southern Spain instead of crossing the Pacific Ocean.
“With the weather, it is not recommended to go to the Pacific Ocean,” Zaera told CEBU DAILY NEWS.