This article is available in Spanish.
Being former Spanish colonies, there are obviously many similarities between the Philippines and Mexico. The 250-year Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade made it possible for both countries to share and trade, whether it’s language or culture, exports and imports, and other things.
In the Mexican War of Independence in September 1810, Filipino Ramon Fabie, who hailed from Paco, Manila, fought alongside Mexicans against Spanish conquistadores. Such is the respect for Fabie that, according to Mexican ambassador Gerardo Lozano Arredondo, his name was inscribed in bronze letters on one of the walls of the Palacio de Minería in Mexico City. Some streets in Mexico and a square have also been named after him.
During the World War II, Mexico sent its 201st Fighter Squadron, a unit of the Mexican Expeditionary Forces, to aid the Philippines.
Fast forward to 2019 in Mexico, some schoolchildren in Barra de Navidad in Jalisco sang the Philippine national anthem in Spanish, its original version, to commemorate Galleon Day.
Evidently, the two countries, unexpectedly brought together by the Spanish conquest, have a shared history unknown to many. Ahead, we’ll explore this deep relationship that was centuries in the making.
In the Philippines, most Filipinos use Spanish last names. This is also true in Mexico and in the rest of Latin America.
In an 1849 Decree, Spanish Governor-General Narciso Claveria ordered Filipinos to adopt last names from the book “Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos.” This means that, though most Filipinos have Spanish surnames, they don’t necessarily have Spanish or Latino ancestry.
In the case of Mexico, many Spaniards wedded with the natives during the New Spain era, which brought mixed-race population. Some also got their last names through baptism.
The most dominant religion in the Philippines is Roman Catholic, which accounts to more than 86% of the population.
In Mexico, Roman Catholic is also the major religion, which is 82.7% of the population. After Brazil, Mexico has the second largest population of Roman Catholics.
When it comes to culture, Filipinos and Mexicans both love going to the “fiestas” or parties. In Mexico, 15-year-old girls celebrate their quinceañera. In the Philippines, once a woman reaches 18, her family throws out a “debut” party for her.
There are also many festivities around Mexico and the Philippines. The Day of the Dead is very similar to the Araw ng Mga Patay. When celebrating these, Filipinos and Mexicans flock to the cemetery to visit their dead loved ones. Sometimes, they even hold parties to pay homage to the dead.
As both countries are former Spanish colonies, this is already given. The Filipino language has over 4,000 words from Spanish. Some examples are words Filipinos already speak every day, and there are profanities and swear words as well. There are also words that are similar.
During the Manila Galleon Trade, words in Nahuatl were also carried across the globe. Some examples are “cacáhuatl” (“kakaw”), “achiotl” (“atsuwete”), “cuamóchitl” (“kamatsili”), “petlacalli” (“pitaka”) and many more.
When it comes to food, Mexico and the Philippines both have delicacies that originated from Spain. Some examples of these are empanada, adobo, cuete mechado and caldereta among others.
Mango, mescal and tequila, which are popular in Mexico, are believed to be originally from the Philippines. On the other hand, pineapple, guava, avocado, camachile, and many more came to the Philippines from Mexico. The connection between the two countries is deep-seated in this department.
Both Mexicans and Filipinos are attached and loyal to their family members. In fact, in both countries, some adults still live with their parents. In the Philippines, some even live with their extended families, which is generally not frowned upon in the Filipino society. For Mexicans, extended families are also typical, but they live in different houses.
This sport is a big thing in both countries. In Mexico, boxing is the second-most popular sport after soccer. Professional boxers like Juan Manuel Márquez, Érik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera hail from Mexico. In the Philippines, boxing is among the most popular sports. From Pancho Villa and Manny Pacquiao to Nonito Donaire, it has undoubtedly produced the world’s greatest boxers.
Mexico generally has many Spanish colonial structures since it was heavily colonized by Spain. In Mexico City alone, there are plenty of Spanish era constructions such as the Zócalo or the Plaza de la Constitución, Palacio Nacional and the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral.
In the Philippines, many Spanish colonial sites remain: the walled city of Intramuros, Calle Crisologo, various churches and ancestral houses.
The many similarities between the Philippines and Mexico are very uncanny. Despite the vast distance, the two countries brought together by centuries of colonization were able to share and trade. With the 21st century globalization, the Philippines and Mexico are expected to foster their relations, just like the old times.
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