Manila Bulletin Online, June 30, 2005

Philippines-Spain Friendship Day

CHRISTIANITY is not the only legacy of Spain to the Philippines. Language and literature, trade and commerce, plants and animals, art and architecture are the other areas where Philippine history and culture were immeasurably enriched by Spain.

Most Philippine languages were enriched by the Spanish language. "Mesa", "silya", "gobierno", etc., are some of the numerous Spanish words that are now part of many Philippine languages. The two-and-a-half centuries of galleon trade between Manila and Mexico enriched Philippine flora and fauna. Cattle, horses, cacao, coffee, tomato, avocado, chico, peanut, maize, potato, chili, etc., were brought to the Philippines by the Spanish missionaries and conquistadores.

The churches, convents, and the world-famous Walled City of Intramuros are our Hispanic architectural and artistic heritages. Spanish metrical romances produced Francisco Baltazar and his epic Florante at Laura paved the way for the flowering of Philippine literature.

Above all, Spain's liberal traditions and institutions, notably the 1812 Cadiz Constitution, nourished Filipino libertarian aspirations and traditions. Because of our Spanish liberal heritage, our people today are staunch adherents of freedom. Dr. Jose P. Rizal himself acknowledged his indebtedness to Spain's liberalism as he led Filipino efforts to equally enjoy such natural rights as freedom and liberty. Filipino nationalism was thus nourished by Spanish liberalism.

All these led colonial and contemporary writers to liken the relationship between Spain and the Philippines to that between a Mother (la Madre España) and a Daughter (la hija las Islas Filipinas). Perpetuating this magnificent relationship, Republic Act No. 9187 (Philippines-Spain Friendship Day Act) was passed declaring June 30 of every year in our country as Philippines-Spain Friendship Day.

"Amistad Duradera" (Lasting, Strong Friendship) is a beautiful phrase that truly describes Philippines-Spain relations.

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