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(27 September 2022, Singapore) In observance of this year’s Maritime and Archipelagic Nation Awareness Month (MANA Mo), personnel and family members of the Philippine Embassy in Singapore visited the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) on 25 September 2022 to learn more about early Asian maritime trade and raise their awareness of maritime and archipelagic concerns of countries in the region.

Housed in a historical building by the Singapore River, the ACM  is the only museum in the Southeast Asian region devoted to exploring the artistic and diverse heritage of Asian civilizations through its permanent collections, including the Maritime Trade Gallery and the Tang Shipwreck (Khoo Teck Puat Gallery).

Filipino volunteer docent Mr. Mark Fillon gave the Embassy a guided tour of these Galleries, which are located at the Museum’s Ground Floor, and which carried the theme, “Trade and the Maritime Silk Routes”.

The Maritime Trade Gallery features Chinese, Japanese, and Southeast Asian ceramics and other Asian furniture and decorative arts, much of it made for the export market between the 9th and 20th century. It also displayed ancient maps and views of Canton, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Batavia, Nagasaki, and Manila to highlight the history of the cosmopolitan Asian port cities that came before Singapore.

The Tang Gallery showcases the objects found on the Tang Shipwreck, discovered off Belitung Island in Indonesia in 1998. It is one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of recent times. Found at the site was a remarkable cargo of some 60,000 Chinese ceramics dating from the Tang dynasty, together with finely wrought gold and silver objects, bronze mirrors, and more ordinary objects belonging to the crew.The wreck demonstrates that the region has been a center of global trade as early as the 9th century.

Chargé d’ Affaires, a.i. Emmanuel R. Fernandez, who led the Embassy, remarked, “The key to understanding the region lies in an appreciation of its archipelagic nature. The tour of the Galleries underscored how the early economic and trade ties along a busy sea route, called  the ‘Maritime Silk Route’ – have led to the exchange of technologies, artistic ideas, and contacts between peoples of different cultures”.

Following the tour of the galleries, Embassy personnel and family members also had a picnic-style salu-salo at the ACM grounds fronting the Singapore River.

Pursuant to Proclamation No. 316 signed in 2017 by former President Rodrigo R. Duterte, MANA Mo shall be observed every September to raise the awareness and consciousness of every Filipino on maritime and archipelagic issues and concerns facing the Philippines. (END).

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