Updated:   December 09,2016

What is the Manila Galleon Connection? Watch video and discover tasty delights from this nation of more than 7,500 islands.

Madrid Fusion Manila began in 2015, with the goal to encourage cultural and gastronomic exchange between East and West through the historic bonds between the Philippines and Spain. The resounding success of the first edition attracted more international participation in the second annual event, which was held at the SMX Convention Centre, Pasay City in April 2016.

In celebration of this 450th year old Galleon Trade connection, the organisers themed the 2016 event:The Manila Galleon: East Meets West. Their goal: to develop the gastronomic conversation not only between the two countries but also different parts of the world.

The Manila Galleons

The era between 1565 and 1815 is of great historic significance to the Philippines, Mexico and Spain. The discovery of the Manila Galleon Maritime Route (Manila-Philippines to Acapulco-Mexico) in 1565 marked the beginning of economic, cultural and gastronomic ties between New Spain (Philippines and Mexico) and east-west trade – which lasted 250 years.

Manila Galleons are Spanish trading vessels. The Galleons brought Chinese silk, porcelain, ivory, precious stones, spices and exotic eastern goods to Acapulco. These goods were exchanged for silver in Acapulco, but most wares were transferred onto West Indies Fleet heading for Spain.

On the outbound, the Galleons carried silver and luxurious goods to Manila. The flourishing trade turned Manila into one of the world’s popular shipping hub for trade between China and Europe.

Global EAT - Madrid Fusion Manila 2016: The Manila Galleon Connection
The Spanish Global Trading Route (Nikao Media)

The West Indies-Manila Galleon trade extended from Europe to the Americas, and to Asia Pacific. It’s the first historic and longest global trade route in its time, according to the paper by Javier Ruescas & Javier, published in Wrana Asociación Cultural Galeón de Manila.

A big draw to the annual event was the International Gastronomy Congress attended by trade professionals and amateurs. Latest culinary trends and techniques were demonstrated by influential chefs from 10 countries: Spain, Peru, Mexico, Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Korea and USA.

Speakers featured from the East were: Michael Aspiras, Kevin Cherkas, Leah Cohen, Amy Besa & Romy Dorotan, Yoshihiro Narisawa, Paul Qui, Myke Sarthou, David Thompson, Nurdin Topham, Jungsik Yim. From the West:Ricard Camarena, Jordi Butrón, Dani García, Ángel León, Virgilio Martínez, Enrique Olvera, Joan Roca, Jorge Vallejo.

Related: Canadian Chef Cherkas Making Waves in Asia

The Trade Exposition was crowded with visitors sampling delicious Spanish and Filipino gourmet products. There were also tasting seminars, food and wine pairing presentations. Exquisite dishes from the islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao were highlighted at exposition.

The 3rd Annual Event is returning to SMX Convention Centre again in April 2017 with the theme, Towards A Sustainable Gastronomic Planet.

The rich and diverse cultural heritage of Philippines with its Spanish, Mexican, Chinese influences makes the country’s cuisine brilliantly tasty and a must try.

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