11 October 2011 – The Philippine Embassy in Madrid, led by Ambassador and Mrs. Carlos C. Salinas, went on a familiarization tour of Tordesillas and Valladolid on Saturday, 08 October 2011, as part of its efforts to build camaraderie among its personnel and learn more about Philippine history and its close links to Spain.
Embassy personnel and family members visited the city of Tordesillas, the location where the Tratado de Tordesillas (Treaty of Tordesillas) was signed in 1492. Said treaty, signed by Queen Isabela of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon and King Manuel I of Portugal, divided the known world into two spheres of influence – Spanish and Portuguese.
The group´s first stop was the Museo del Tratado de Tordesillas where they were given a guided and comprehensive tour of the museum. The tour guide emphasized the importance of the Treaty of Tordesillas and cited that the Philippines was ceded to Spain by the Portuguese even though it was under the latter´s sphere of influence.
After museum tour, the group proceeded to the small town of Simancas where the Archivo General, containing more than 35 million documents including those from the Philippines, is housed.
In Valladolid, the Embassy visited the Museo Nacional de Escultura and had their picture taken by the statue of Valladolid´s famous son King Philip II of Spain after whom the Philippines is named after.
The last stop of the familiarization trip was a visit to the Museo Oriental, a private museum owned by the Augustinian congregation. The Congregation has been in the Philippines since the arrival of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Fr. Andres de Urdaneta (an Agustinian priest) in the country in 1565. It houses an intensive and priceless Filipiniana collection accumulated through the years by the Augustinians in the Philippines. The Museo Oriental´s collections are considered the best private collection in Spain of Asian art and objects.
Fr. Blas Sierra de la Calle, the Museo Oriental´s curator, personally walked the group through the museum´s collections. He pointed out objects of interest not just from the Philippines but as well as from China and Japan where the Augustinians had missions. One aspect that he emphasized throughout the visit was the importance of the Philippines to the Congregation as it was the jumping off point for its other missions in Asia, Africa and even South America.