My internship at ICOMOS Philippines was a unique one, to say the least. Despite the COVID-19 global health crisis and community quarantine measures in the Philippines, the internship experience at the organization, although entirely conducted remotely and facilitated online, has been very educational and worthwhile. Although I worked remotely, was still able to be exposed to different facets of heritage work and the heritage movement in the Philippines and abroad.
One of the first projects I worked on was the continuation of a study on the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP). Primarily, my task was to interview local government units on how they accomplished their annual listings for this registry. Through this we identified gaps in the processes in which ICOMOS, or the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) itself, could intervene at to help resolve the problem for the better.
Fortunate are those LGUs whose government leaders collaborate with local communities for the appreciation, preservation, and conservation of their local cultural properties and heritage. Others submit the list for compliance, so I think more attention from the NCCA and its allied agencies must be channeled towards these localities for continued education and co-creation of local cultural knowledge of their heritage. They could also benefit from direct assistance in both the technical and logistical aspects of the work.
In one of the webinars that ICOMOS hosted on food security, a farming community that was watching got in touch with me. Today I work hand-in-hand with that farming community. After my internship, I am better equipped to understand the unique local context these communities have lived in, both past and present, and appreciate their continuing traditions and survival of community identity in this rapidly urbanizing world. I am happy to witness their shared appreciation of their local culture and, ultimately, the preservation of this local indigenous Filipino heritage.
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