The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Graduate School in Manila, through its Center for Conservation of Cultural Property in the Tropics (USTGS-CCCPET) under the leadership of its Director, Professor Eric B. Zerrudo organized and held two modules on Heritage Conservation at the La Piazza Hotel in Legazpi City. Module 1, held on February 22-24, 2019 was a “Capacity Building Seminar on the Development of a Conservation Management Plan (CMP). Module 2, held from February 25-27, 2019 featured a “Safeguarding Mechanism for Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).
The modules brought together forty-nine (49) cultural heritage workers from the academe, local government units (LGU), and non-government organizations (NGO) from regions as far as the Ilocos and Isabela in northern Luzon, to representatives from the Visayas—Samar and Bohol and from Mindanao: Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, T’boli in South Cotabato and Zamboanga City. Delegates from the Bicol region were amply represented: Naga City, Masbate, Catanduanes, Sorsogon and several from UST Legazpi, Albay. The author attended the ICH module as the representative of Sorsogon State College (SSC) and the Sorsogon Museum and Heritage Center (SMHC).
The modules featured almost twenty (20) speakers whose lectures were spread out over six days. There were experts in Engineering, Architecture, Interior Design and Conservation Management for the CMP Module; and Cultural Managers, Performers, Historians and Anthropologists for the ICH Module. Heading the list of speakers were Prof. Zerrudo himself, the module organizer who gave introductory talks on Conservation Management Plans and Policies in the Philippines and “How the Past Creates the Future Now, Rethinking Heritage and Reforming Conservation.”
Among the other notable speakers were Professor Regalado Trota Jose, UST professor and archivist, a published author of Simbahan (1992)and expert on the various Spanish colonial churches all over the Philippines. Prof. Analyn Salvador-Amores an associate professor and former curator of the Museo Kordilyera at the University of the Philippines Baguio, who spoke on “Tapping Ink, Tattooing Identities: Tradition and Modernity in Contemporary Kalinga Society.” Mr. Lutgardo “Gardy” Labad, a famous music composer for film and stage, theatre director, cultural impresario and a cultural education and development advocate from Bohol spoke on the various LGU-sponsored cultural programs and rebuilding efforts after the earthquake in 2013 damaged many of its churches.
The speakers from Bicol were Fr. Hermel Pama,O.P. of Guinobatan, Albay and a faculty member of the UST Graduate School Cultural Heritage Studies. Fr. Pama completed his M.A. in Anthropolygy from the University of the Philippines-Diliman and talked about Antimethodology, Ethnography and Fieldwork. Finally, Dr. Mary Jane Louise Bolunia, from Sorsogon and the National Museum would have spoken on the Traditional Craft on Boat-Building but was unable to attend due to an accident.
Fieldwork was also scheduled for the participants. In the CMP Module, the participants were divided into five groups who visited the Camalig Church, the Tabaco Public Cemetery and Capilla, the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Terminal in Legazpi City, the Cagsawa Ruins and the Old Houses in Tabaco City, all in Albay. The ICH Module visited abaca-weaving in Camalig, tabak-making in Tabaco, pottery-making in Tiwi, the Pantomina Dance in UST Legazpi and pinangat-making in Camalig.
At the end of the modules, the participants were encouraged to cascade their learnings to and capacitate their respective constituencies so that the mandate of “preserving, protecting and promoting cultural heritage” can be carried out all over the country—a mandate that is at the core of the mission of the country’s primary cultural agency—the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
The modules were carried out with the active collaboration of other agencies, such as the UST Center for Continuing Professional Education and Development (USTGS-CCPED) and the UST-Legazpi Bikol Studies Center, under the leadership of Dr. Susana Cabredo, Vice-President for Academic Affairs. Finally, a generous grant from the United States of America Embassy in Manila, through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation as coordinated by Mr. Edwin Raymund Vergara, helped fund many of these activities. Once again, join us in our battlecry, “Pangalagaan ang Pamanang Pinoy!”