How do PH, Mexico compare?

How do PH, Mexico compare?

by Daryl Zamora, CCO on December 2, 2011 - 5:29 pm

Beauty icon counts the ways

When she was in Mexico, 1964 Miss International and former Tourism Secretary Ms. Gemma Cruz-Araneta would sometimes catch herself getting confused — whether she was in the Central American state or in the Philippines.

They have tiangges (makeshift shopping stalls) near churches and in public plazas, said the beauty pageant titleholder in a recent lecture organized by the Department of Asia Pacific Studies.

Entitled “The Philippines and Mexico: Separated yet Connected (Philippine Cultural Identification with Mexico),” the talk by Ms. Cruz-Araneta highlighted the two countries’ relations during the Spanish colonial times, particularly through the galleon trade. The end of the two countries’ subordination to Spain let those links loose, she said.

According to Ms. Cruz-Araneta, who lived in Mexico from 1972 to 1989, Mexicans and Filipinos seem to have certain virtues — and vices — in common.

Even certain Mexican names and products have Philippine origins, she added. The city of Acapulco in Mexico’s Pacific coast has a clan called “Maganda”, with the stress on the second syllable.

Once, when she met a Maganda and told her that her surname is actually the Filipino term for “beautiful” (though with the stress on the last syllable), the Mexican was surprised.

She also related that some Mexican townsfolk sell tuba, a strong alcoholic drink made of fermented coconut water, a popular drink in Philippine provinces. The Mexicans also call their version tuba, though with a difference in pronunciation.

Ms. Cruz-Araneta, who was tourism secretary from 1998 to 2001, has served as director of the National Museum while being part of the National Historical Commission. Now she is the vice chairperson of the Manila Historical and Heritage Commission. She also writes books and newspaper columns and has radio and TV shows. #

Photo by Mr. Carlo Cabrera, Corporate Communications Office
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